I had a great time. My husband and I stayed at a small hotel in The Beaches. It was quite a bit quieter than downtown - I actually heard birds chirping when I woke up! And just one streetcar ride to downtown. I love the sound of the streetcars. I spent four weeks in Toronto in my late twenties, running away from the ending of a bad relationship back in Ottawa, considering a permanent move to the big city. I stayed with some friends, got a part-time retail job within a couple of weeks, and could have stayed. But I kind of had a love hate relationship with Toronto then. I was living smack downtown on Queen Street West, in a cool apartment on top of a dress shop. It was very, very busy and exciting. For the first couple of weeks I totally loved it. Then I started missing parks and trees and creeks and rivers; the greenspace that is so plentiful in Ottawa. There were so many people in Toronto. It made me feel quite insignificant most of the time. And there was the matter of a certain fellow back in Ottawa, named Greg, who had given me such a nice, warm hug goodbye and made me think of him for the first time as perhaps more than my brother's best friend.
I ended up returning to Ottawa. Greg and I eventually got together, got married, and had two kids. We lead a wonderful, calm, relaxing life. But, man, was it fun to visit Toronto this past weekend. I could have stayed a week. I miss it already.
We chanced upon the movie premiere of The Breakaway while we were killing time on Yonge Street before surprising my brother, Neil, at his 40th birthday party at the Imperial Pub. There were Bollywood dancers, a live elephant all decked out with a rider on its back, and the stars in fancy rickshaws. The hero arrived on a prancing stallion. You don't see that in Ottawa.
On Sunday, we met Neil and his wife, Devi, for brunch at Shanghai Cowgirl on Queen Street West, then went on a tour of some of the sex shops, to leave my business cards and promotional postcards. Come as You Are on Queen Street, The Stag Shop and Northbound Leather on Yonge, and Out On the Street in the gay village. Devi, a native Torontonian, drove through the crowded streets with evident skill to get us around. She had to have her car nearby, since she is a practicing midwife and on call this week. Luckily, her pregnant clients refrained from having their babies on Sunday :P.
Northbound Leather on Yonge Street was the highlight of the tour for me. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a big fan of leather. When we walked in, the smell of clean, high quality leather assailed us. It was lovely. I can't even begin to list the items of clothes that were available, not to mention fetish items such as hoods and masks, puppy paws and harnesses, you get the idea. Plus, interspersed among the leather items were beautiful glass-covered display cases containing high quality sex toys made of stainless steel or leather. I was in heaven, even though I couldn't really afford 95% of the stuff.
I went up to the desk, where a very cute gay man with a nose stud and fauxhawk was standing, and asked if I could leave my cards. I showed him the postcard and he looked interested. He seemed very surprised that I was writing m/m romance but he was very enthusiastic about displaying the cards. Devi tried on some puppy paws and Neil bought a pair of boots that were on sale. Greg had a great time looking at the leather kilts and jackets and checking out the bustiers.
While they were busy, I motioned Fauxhawk Boy over to ask him some questions about the items that were on display in one of the cases. He was such a sweetheart and opened the case up so I could have a closer look. I asked him questions to get a better idea about the use of some of them, and he was very open and forthcoming. Not to mention cute as fuck. If Richard and Morgan had been there it would have been a delectable trifecta of homosexual goodness. I wishe I had asked for his name :(
I ended up buying a rubber/aluminum wrist cuff and then Greg tried on a Leatherman hat and holy shitfuck, did I want him to buy that thing. But it was pretty expensive and I knew he wouldn't spend the money, even if it almost gave me an orgasm when he put it on and looked at me with those sweet brown eyes.
So we left and went to the gay village. I got a rainbow necklace and we bought some lube called 'Fuck Water' just because of its name. We had a few beers on a patio, watching the eye candy and enjoying the beautiful weather. I was in Heaven. I made sure to leave some postcards and business cards on the table when we left.
The next morning, Greg surprised me by wanting to stow our bag at the train station and go back to Northbound Leather to get the hat that I'd liked so much. When we got there, I saw cute-as-fuck Fauxhawk Boy inside. The door was locked so I knocked (it was 10:10 and they were supposed to be open). He recognized me and when he opened the door for us he said "Hi, beautiful!" (to me, not Greg). It was a lovely start to my day. Greg tried the hat on again, making me swear again, and bought it. I shook Fauxhawk Boy's hand and thanked him for helping us out so much. WHY didn't I find out his name? I can be so shy about the dumbest things.
Anyway, we had such a fun time in Toronto I can't wait to go back. Maybe in the spring or for my birthday I'll go down by myself like I used to do every year in my twenties, to visit Neil. Hopefully, I can see a drag show and perhaps I'll save my pennies for something nice at Northbound Leather. Hopefully Fauxhawk Boy will still be working there and I can get his name this time ;) Then, at least, I can rave about him on my blog with proper decorum.
Here is a hat similar to the one Greg bought and, man, does my body do crazy things when he puts it on!