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I took a break from writing while playing tourist, using our City Pass to visit sites in and around Toronto. The pass is good for 9 days, so we had to cram it all in, even with our leasurely two months of time here!

As we visited the big ciy, at first I was pretty turned off by the parking, traffic, public transportation, crowds and just about all of it!

Then we started to see prettier parts of the city and I mellowed a bit.

The GO train is a lovely way to get into Toronto. I was not as thrilled with the streetcars and subway, especially at rush hour heading home. I witnessed the crush of people on a streetcar that just had no more room!

A woman defied the driver and pushed back into the vehicle, then wanted me to pass her money forward and get her a transfer. The driver was nice and made sure I wasn’t standing on the steps. Still, the next trip, we chose our car and paid for parking and I think the cost was about the same.

We have been to Casa Loma, The Royal Ontario Museum, The CN Tower, and The Toronto Zoo.

Downtown Toronto as seen from top of CN Tower

Toronto waterfront as seen from top of CN Tower

I have mixed feelings about zoos and the line to see the pandas was crazy long, but when do you get to watch a panda do a summersault just a few feet away from you? She was just lovely. And they are very focused on getting new babies born and repopulating these beautiful bears.

So,I got to thinking about how we are not really residents and not really tourists. It is kind of like being on a “staycation” only at somebody elses home, not ours. Housesitting is a unique way of staying home. We are home, but at someone else’s home and we are not on a constant run, visiting the sites and trying to do as much as we can in a foreign place. We do want to see the area. And we are also “just living”.

Aside from the tourist whirlwind, the rest of our time here has been the best of a staycation. At “home” I am sure I would have been gardening ceaselessly, and getting things in order. Here, there is not that much to clean up. I actually did sweep the big circular driveway, just for the exercise.  And I tend the gardens here and there. I have a pot of flowers on the deck and I planted some basil for us to pinch and to leave for our homeowners.

The time to sit on the deck and listen to the waterfall in the pond-that is my favorite. Add a gin and tonic and some healthy snacks and it makes for a lovely time. In my old life, I was always wishing for more time to do that. I also love walking by the lake and am thrilled to be increasing my distance and speed.

It feels lovely to relax in this beautiful home, to enjoy Lake Ontario, the Canadian people and the lush green scenery in this community and to know we are not responsible for the big upkeep costs, the property taxes and  the utility bills!

The hardest part for me is not having friends to hang with. I look forward to that improving in Australia, where will be in a small village where the neighbors are expecting us and I get to be part of the weekly pottery group.  We will still get to delight in the wonderful tourism of WA, the beaches, mountains, wildflowers, whale watching and more.

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