The following is an update to our Summer 1995 Toronto/Muskoka travel diary.
We used the excuse of a Friday business meeting in Toronto to take a weekend trip to this wonderful city. The exchange rate with US dollars was good so everything appeared to be substantially discounted.
We decided to stay in Yorkville and immediately sought out Fritz Cafe, the jazzy little pizza joint that was tucked away on the pedestrian walkway called Old Yorkville Lane. We were happy to find Fritz, just across the from the original location, on the corner of Cumberland and Old Yorkville Lane. Fritz has grown up by expanding into a space that is four or five times the size of the original tiny spot, and the menu includes a large selection of salads and gourmet dishes. They have maintained the small cafe atmosphere in the front bar area of the new location, and have gone upscale and funky in the back. The room had soft colors and lighting, the high ceiling was covered with billowing cloths and on the walls were picture frames and mirrors decorated with bronzed fruit.
While the brick oven pizza smelled great, we decided to splurge and ordered delicious seafood dishes. The food was great and the service was notably fast and efficient (as compared to our last time visit). In fact, the waitress was good enough to recommend a few areas where we hadn't been before that are described below. We enjoyed Fritz so much that returned again over the weekend.
We went to a movie at night in an area called West Bloor, a ten minute subway ride from Yorkville. We were pleased to find a bustling neighborhood of boutique stores, booksellers, coffee bars and corner grocers with beautifully displayed fruits and vegetables (we couldn't resist buying our breakfast for the next morning). We picked a crowded cafeteria styled cafe and enjoyed cappuccino and dessert while waiting for the movie to start.
This small movie theater company (there were only two screens at this location) decided to make the movie experience more memorable. While waiting in line, an usher apologized for the delay and handed out movie magazines. Once we were seated, the same usher came up on a stage in front of the audience and announced that he would ask some trivia questions, with movie tickets as prizes. The crowd was very excited by the two rounds of the game, and the winners were pleased.
We returned during our second day Queen Street West. We found that this former retro-chic boulevard, which was a cross between Berkley, CA and East Village, NY, had changed, radically. Many of the older stores were gone and replaced by expensive clothing boutiques (including chain stores) and the number of restaurants had increased significantly.
We enjoyed lunch in a restaurant called Peter Pan, which had a number of salads, sandwiches and other light fare. The restaurant had a pleasant atmosphere, almost a modern version of a diner, with booths and counter seating.
We walked from Yorkville to Kensington Market, an area covering four square blocks on the edge of Chinatown. Kensington Market was a hodgepodge of small clothing stores, corner grocers, cheese and bulk food shops, butchers, a bakery and a cafe. We walked the narrow streets, stopped into a few places, tasted a few things, and enjoyed the tantalizing smells from the various food stores.
One last notable dining experience was in Joso's. Make a reservation in advance for this small family owned restaurant, located just a few blocks north of the center of Yorkville on Davenport Road. The specialty of the house is fish, and there are lots to choose from. In fact, you are shown a large tray of all of the fresh fish of the day, which are flown in several times a week. The restaurant is festive with every inch of the walls covered with paintings and you are surrounded with a number of interesting sculptures. The scene is slightly 'R' rated as most of the art is of nude women. The food was great, Joso and his staff are quite friendly, and we'll be sure to return on our next visit.
I enjoyed the article about Muskoka. I grew up there in the summer at a small town called Beaumaris. I will be going back there this summer.
I'm glad you enjoyed a week visiting Skeleton lake in the township of Muskoka Lakes. My husband and I have a small cottage close to the marina on road #3.
We enjoy frequent summer visits from our children and grandchildren, who like ourselves, love "Skeleton Lake" and all it's pleasures.