Get Out of Town

Toronto Life - - Editor’s Letter - —Sarah Ful­ford Email: ed­i­tor@toron­to­ Twit­ter: @sarah_ ful­ford

My favourite place to es­cape the city for a quick get­away is the Drake Devon­shire in Prince Ed­ward County. My hus­band and I were there in the win­ter and had a blast. At night, we had an excellent meal and a rowdy drunken game of Ping-Pong. In the morn­ing, I took a yoga class. The inn is perched on a lovely spot up against the lake, but the vibe is de­cid­edly ur­ban (the room ser­vice menu even of­fers sex toys).

The restau­rant at the Drake Devon­shire is one of sev­eral out-of-town spots our critic, Mark Pupo, rec­om­mends in this is­sue’s fea­ture on des­ti­na­tion din­ing (“Flavour Coun­try,” page 63). In what surely must be the best as­sign­ment Toronto Life has given a writer this year, Mark trav­elled hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres to find places that are so sat­is­fy­ing they’re worth the drive.

He picked spots in St. Catharines, Dun­das, Jor­dan Sta­tion, Cam­bridge— places that make fun day trips on their own. I know this from ex­pe­ri­ence. In the spring, my fam­ily and I took a mag­i­cal walk through Ball’s Falls, a con­ser­va­tion area near St. Catharines on land set­tled by Ja­cob Ball, a Loy­al­ist who built mills on the water­falls of Twenty Mile Creek. Be­sides pro­vid­ing my 12-year-old son with lots of gig­gles (“Ball’s Falls!”), the area had gi­ant rocks for the kids to climb and dra­matic falls views. Next time I’ll leave the kids at home, fol­low Mark’s ad­vice and eat at Pearl Moris­sette, which he calls “the most ex­tra­or­di­nary new restau­rant in the prov­ince, and per­haps the coun­try.”

The prox­im­ity to mag­nif­i­cent na­ture is one of the best things about liv­ing in Toronto. My hus­band and I are com­mit­ted day trip­pers. He’s an avid birder, which means early morn­ing road trips to chase down a north­ern hawk-owl or a pro­thono­tary war­bler. And lately he’s taken up the sport of but­ter­fly catch­ing (much to the em­bar­rass­ment of our tween). He’ll cap­ture one in his net, iden­tify it with his On­tario but­ter­fly book, show off his catch to passersby and let it go.

We re­cently dragged our kids to the Lime­house Con­ser­va­tion Area on the Bruce Trail (just north of Mil­ton), which still has lime kilns from the mid-19th

cen­tury. The kids loved the deep fis­sures in the es­carp­ment rock known as the Hole in the Wall and crawled deep into them, some­times us­ing rather pre­car­i­ous-look­ing old wooden lad­ders. They were in heaven.

For day trip­pers who would rather plan their out­ings around art, our cul­ture sec­tion this month (page 93) is de­voted to theatre, gal­leries and con­certs out­side the city: a mu­sic fes­ti­val in Elora, an ex­hibit of fe­male artists in Kitch­ener-Water­loo, plus our rec­om­men­da­tions for what to see at Strat­ford and Shaw.

And some­times, the best day trips are just across town. As a life­long Toron­to­nian, I’m em­bar­rassed to say that last sum­mer I paid my first visit to Bluffer’s Park Beach at the south­ern tip of Brim­ley Road in Scar­bor­ough, and it was a to­tal rev­e­la­tion. It’s a le­git­i­mate bring-your-towel, stay­for-the-day beach that feels a mil­lion miles from the city. We flew a kite, ate water­melon and lazily read books on the sand. New this sum­mer, the TTC will run buses ev­ery 15 min­utes from Kennedy sta­tion on week­ends and hol­i­days, mak­ing the beach more ac­ces­si­ble.

In this is­sue, we spot­light a unique com­mu­nity of Toron­to­ni­ans who are well aware of the beauty of this stretch of the Scar­bor­ough lakeshore. They live right on the water’s edge, in so-called float homes (page 75): reg­u­lar-look­ing houses that are built on con­crete barges at Bluffer’s Park Ma­rina. They’re a tightly knit bunch—quite lit­er­ally. Their homes are 36 inches apart and tied to­gether.

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