After last years trip to Toronto for the Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala we decided to return this year , originally as punters but Johanna talked us into doing another Masterclass once she heard we were coming back ! As soon as the date was announced (about the time of last summers Islay trip) we booked up the flights and Hotel . Once again we flew with Air Transat but this year we stopped at The Novotel on The Esplanade .
Thursday 30th April
Having drove down the night before to Manchester we arrived bright and early at the Airport for the 12pm flight only for the flight to be delayed for 5 1/2 hours ! There was a slight technical problem with the cabin lights , so at 5.30pm we finally took off for Canada . I have to say that once again the “Security” at Manchester once again excelled themselves at being such happy characters……. Unlike the Canadian Border Patrol who tend to make jokes about things , especially when they spot you’ve declared 12 bottles of whiskies on the entry form ! After a nice conversation they only charged us $50 duty (don’t ask!) . After a great Limo drive to the Hotel seeing all the buildings with lights on , we dumped the cases in the room , freshened up and like sensible people hit the bar ! Melanie hit the Lailey Unoaked Chardonnay and i had Alexander Keiths IPA . After a couple we hit the sack.
Friday 1st May
After a Hearty breakfast we went out for a wander somewhat overly dressed we found out , after a walk around St Lawrences Market we returned to the Hotel and stripped down to T-shirts as it was hot ! St Lawrences Market is probably the best Market we’ve ever been into , the food selection is superb and beautifully presented , the place is spotless !
(Click on the photos to see full size versions)
The meat selection is amazing and the fish selection is out of this world ! If we lived near it i think we could easily do a lot of shopping in there !
We took a slow walk along to the Distillery District from there , after a wander around the shops we met up with Johanna and Charles for a bite to eat at Pure Spirits , once again we went for the Pure Spirits Pappardelle accompanied by some Ontario Wine (when in Toronto….) . Now last year when we hit this restaurant we were left in the dark by a power cut and missed something that Johanna pointed out , their bottle collection……
These were all bottles to do with the Canadian Company Hiram Walker who happened to own the Gooderham and Worts Distillery which is the site where this restaurant happens to reside . Hiram Walker also happened to own a certain Islay Distillery in the late 70’s / early 80’s and we happened to spot a couple in the display……..
Ooh to try these ! J & C dropped us off at the hotel and we freshened up before meeting up with them at The Keg for an Evening Meal , also present were Angus MacRaild , Phil and Simon Thompson , Yuki Yamazaki , Kentaro Wada , Igor Kossov , Paul the owner of the Bon Accord and our great friend from Toronto Wendy Harker . Much merriment was had over the night before ourselves and Wendy headed off for a nightcap at C’est What and to meet up with a few other Toronto whisky Drinkers – Paul and Nancy , Rick and Ivo . I have to say that the C’est What was absolutely roasting that night , probably not the best way to visit a bar for the first time . We had a great night and it was great to finally put faces to names , meet old friends and make some new ones .
Saturday 2nd May
Show day ! After breakfast we took a wander north from the hotel , Melanie did a little shopping therapy before we hit the Red Lobster for a late lunch……
She done a great job of wrestling with the Ultimate feast !
On the way back to the hotel we encountered a parade through the centre of toronto to commemorate the Liberation of The Netherlands in 1945 by Canadian Armed Forces .
Seeing it was such a glorious day (in the mid to high 20’s C ) we decided to stop at one of the many pubs on our hotels street for a drop of refreshment , we chose the Tilted Kilt , an interesting one by my good woman…….
We were joined by another internet friend who i’d briefly met at last years Spirit of Toronto , Raj Sabharwal (@WhiskyRaj) from Purple Valley Imports . We had a great natter in the sun with a great guy , we then bid our farewells before heading back to the Hotel to get ready for the show……..
To be Continued……