Please bear with me while I recount two great days I’ve had over the past week…
On Canada Day I woke up early (well, kind of) and went for a run close to my house, up through the Don Valley Trail. With the Don River running beside me, it was stunning, albeit kind of smelly at some points. The run was refreshing. Other runners passed and smiled, or waved, or offered words of encouragement. Oh the joys of being Canadian.
After my run, I spent most of the day cleaning the backyard for a little birthday gathering I had over the weekend.
My excitement for my evening on Canada Day built late in the afternoon, when I made my way to Toronto's Harbourfront.
I went early to people watch, before meeting friends to see a band that we used to watch play in people's basements. They've worked hard over the years and it's definitely paid off.
As I wrote this, I was sitting on the "Splash Bar and Grill" patio, drinking a Canadian, with a full view of the stage. I’ll describe the scene for you:
The patio was packed; there were families, couples, and people from every walk of life strolling along the boardwalk.
Most people were wearing red and white – it was so nice to see how proud Canadians are.
To my left, I had a perfect view of the stage, the CN Tower and bits of the Skydome (sorry, Rogers Centre) in between the condos that dot our city's skyline.
Behind me the lake was spotted with sailboats, a ferry making it's way to the island, and a tour boat. I could smell the gas from a police boat docked on the water to my left.
There were clouds threatening rain, but the sun was still shining and it was a beautiful way to spend our nation's birthday. I almost feel it would have been fitting to stand on my chair and yell, "My name is Corrinne. And...I...AM...CANADIAN.". But, I didn't have the balls to do that...
I sat on the patio for about an hour by myself, saving seats for friends and awaiting the start of the concert. It was almost surprising that I had an amazing time by myself. Everything I saw in that hour made me smile. That's what Canada is all about. Well, that and good Canadian Music, like Chad VanGaalen and The Constantines.
Chad VanGaalen opened the Sirius stage for the Constantines. His crooning swooned the ladies in the crowd and jokes had everyone laughing. I had only heard one or two of the Calgary artist's songs, but I'll definitely be listening to more.
The Cons' opening song from their most recent album, Kensington Heights had the crowd going wild. It was a flawless set, vocals and music knit so tightly together. My friends and I had seen the Cons play in friend's basements (as I mentioned before), almost 10 years ago, so it was amazing to see them in this type of atmosphere.
After a VERY late night celebrating my 25th birthday (and one too many glasses of champagne), I wasn’t feeling so great, so wasn’t fussed when I didn’t have huge plans to celebrate on my actual day of birth.
A couple of my friends mentioned that Femi Kuti was playing at Harbourfront, and after my great experience on Canada Day, I thought it only fitting that I check this one out.
Femi Kuti is an incredible Nigerian musician, whose Afrobeats from his most recent album Day by Day rang out with a jazzy undertone and made the entire place erupt. His group Positive Force provided the incredible sound with a rocking horn section, keyboard, drums, and guitar.
We began watching the show just inside the stadium, but after being pushed and shoved more than we could handle, and with no room to dance, a couple of us left the group to find a spot along the lake. It turned out the entire boardwalk was just as full as the stadium, but we found a good spot and spent two hours dancing, singing, and clapping along to Femi Kuti’s tunes.
After his amazing set, it was off to the Horseshoe Tavern to see another fantastic band, Jay Spectre. It was great to see some old friends and hear even more good music.
From the Horseshoe, I walked over to Ronnie’s in Kensington Market to meet some friends for a couple of drinks. I definitely recommend checking this tiny little place out. It sits on the South side of Nassau Street, with a front patio that rivals the size of the bar’s interior. They have a great beer selection and a great atmosphere. I ended the night perfectly with a ride on the back of a friend’s scooter to get a slice and go watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia at my buddy’s place.
I am blessed to have such amazing friends and to have access to such amazing music… So, thank you to all those who made Canada Day and my birthday so memorable.