Tag Archives: Toronto

The Art of Compromise

After an extremely long week at work I hopped on a late commuter train to spend a blissful weekend with my parents and our spoiled (but worth it) Pups.

Not surprisingly I was eagerly anticipating a frosty beer. Ok fine, on the train its luke cold at best. Regardless, beer was the reward at the end of a particularly dark tunnel.

As the Train Attendant (ummm… I’m not sure if that’s a thing) wheeled the cart towards me I prepared both my crispy ten dollar bill and my appetite to be whetted.

Turns out I was in for some disappointing news. Beer, as was requested, was sold out in all varieties. Let’s face it, if they had Coors Light left I’d still consider it sold out.

I sat and pouted for a bit but the lady eagerly offered me other options, to which I continued my pouting, until she landed on the magic backup option – brown liquor.

So here I sit, enjoying my Friday Compromise – a Scotch and Soda.

Happy Friday Everyone 🙂 and a belated Thanksgiving to my American friends.

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SisterFest: Almost Birthday Fail

Best laid plans, or not so much …

As my Sister’s 35th birthday was landing on Thanksgiving weekend, I planned well in advance for the two of us to have a night on the town together a la Cirque du Soleil! I actually ordered the tickets in July using Aeroplan points and arranged fancy pants VIP treatment. Needless to say we were both pretty excited.

Being that I’m an exceptional planner, it was not exactly expected when as we attempted to enter the Grand Chapiteau we were informed that our tickets weren’t for that evening – they were for the prior Friday. Fail! My jaw hit the floor and we shuffled over to the box office to see what, if anything, could be done.

Box office is maybe a generous term, considering that Cirque is a traveling show and all facilities are mobile. Thusly, we stood in front of a mobile ticket booth as I told my sob story. Thankfully the Customer service woman was helpful and determined that not only were my tickets not for the day I had purchased but they weren’t even in my name. Thanks Aeroplan, so glad I paid that extra fee so you would make my reservation for me. Bunch of jerks.

In the end Cirque issued us re-invitation tickets for another night, including the VIP addition! Extremely pleased with how helpful they were, minus a couple of points for it taking an entire hour and us standing outside in the rain during the process.

Thankfully Sister was manning the phone during this time and got us a reservation nearby at Gilead Wine bar, so libations and sustenance were not far off. Dinner was wonderful and we were able to salvage an otherwise awkwardly cancelled evening.

Entertainingly, our dinner was at a restaurant that sat directly across from some modern town homes that had giant glass windowed kitchens. Throughout dinner we were able to semi-creepily be amused by the goings-on in the various kitchens.

The most interesting events occurred in one particular unit where a handsome (from a distance, at least) man carefully made what I could only imagine to be the most delicious popcorn. He had one of those fancy popcorn makers with the red bottom and large glass top, which he placed in front of a large white bowl. Once the popcorn was popped, he slowly poured butter over the bowl and then added THREE further toppings – two shaken, one more poured. He then carefully tossed the ingredients in the bowl with two wooden spoons!

I was far too intrigued by the whole process, but the waiter stopped by and admitted that we weren’t the first guests to be mesmerized by the popcorn routine!

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Despite the giant clusterfuck that our evening began as, we managed to have a great night out and had even more birthday goodness in the weekend – which is another story.

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Gallery 501

I feel like such an Artiste!

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I joined some colleagues this evening at an event called “Paint Nite” – which is, well, pretty self explanatory.

You choose which night you are going to go based on the painting you’d like to end up with. We chose the Toronto skyline, and I sincerely doubted it’s Easy rating.

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The instructor guides you through the evening in a relatively easy to follow step-by-step manner. Easy to follow ended for me when any variety of creativity was involved. Making randomly shaped buildings proved especially taxing. The instructions for our painting included lots of reflections in the water and highlights on the buildings from the sunset – that seemed entirely too difficult so I finished with my wonky CN tower.

Et Voila! My strange looking Toronto on its 501 Streetcar Gallery Tour through the heart of the city.

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If I end up keeping it, I’m pretending a little kid did it.

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None Shall Pass

Nothing beats a giant commuting clusterfuck on a Wednesday morning!

While bobbling along on the streetcar this morning, I noticed that the traffic seemed a bit heavy. Shortly after that thought, the streetcar driver came on the horn to first ask everyone near a window to ensure theirs was open and secondly – which really should have been firstly – that something was blocking the road ahead. He then added that if we were in any kind of hurry he would suggest getting off and walking.

Not an awesome sign.

I get off the streetcar and see a chain of other stranded streetcars waiting ahead of me – definitely a sign to try a new route. As I pass through Leslieville and approach the train bridge near Degrassi street (yes, that Degrassi) I see a Fire truck clearly blocking the road.

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This set up is clearly blocking the actual issue, and I can’t help but start laughing when I see what the actual problem is. Some silly truck piled high with some metal structures clearly didn’t quite fit. Kudos to the driver for almost making it before his cargo started to fall off.

Sorry for the crap photo, I was laughing and surrounded by uniformed police and firemen – so I was clearly distracted

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So here I am, finally on another streetcar route and only lost about 20 minutes, and gained a pile of humid morning sweat. I should have just got to the gym this morning!

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Ransom

I ran into a family friend while at Toronto’s Festival of Beer this past weekend and caught up quickly. He then took a quick photo of me and sent the snap to my dad:

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This whole interaction amuses me: the note to begin with, my Fathers response and, most importantly, the fact that this guy has my dad’s number stored as Papa Bear – he is not related. I guess he got contact information from my sister or I and just didn’t bother to update the contact name 🙂

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That Would Buy a LOT of Popcorn

After a busy weekend of racing around the woods at Warrior Dash, D and I decided to cap off our weekend by seeing a movie at the new Cineplex VIP theater at Yonge and Dundas. The tickets are more expensive but they gain access to a smaller theater with large arm chair style seating and, most importantly, in-seat Food and Beverage service.  Beer, in the theater, brought directly to my seat? YES PLEASE.

So we avoided cottage traffic and toured down Airport Road lazily back towards the city eventually arriving at the theater with just enough time to find out seats and place our food and beverage orders with the waiter.  He was very friendly and carefully repeated our order before tallying everything up.  He handed me the credit machine and I went through the familiar sequence of button pressing.  When he asked if I wanted my copy I said absolutely not, those things always end up bunched up at the bottom of my purse!

Our beverages arrived shortly and the movie was about to begin.  All snuggled into my favourite sweater, in a big comfy chair, bird-sipping a beer (apparently that’s what my Mom says I do) and about to watch a comedy – what a great Sunday evening after an adventurous weekend.  This arrangement is very similar to the Gold Class theater experience I enjoyed in Australia, but not quite as awesome – the seats in Gold Class were unreal.

Our waiter suddenly reappears and hands me a copy of the receipt.  He then explains that he went ahead and voided the transaction as he assumed my almost FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR TIP was likely accidental.  Holy hell, accidental for sure! I like to think that I’m generous, but a 992% tip is a bit unnecessary – it was only two drinks and entrees!

The curious bit though is how that happened, neither the dollar amount nor the percentage of the tip bear any resemblance to my pin number or to what I would normally tip in this situation.  Thanks random Cineplex dude, while I’m confident I could dispute the charges had this actually gone through, I’m happy that he had the mindset to correct my fault right away.  Hopefully my 20% tip wasn’t a bummer.

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Let Your Fun Out!

Sometimes working in the heart of the Financial District is awesome. Sometimes, not so much, but today I will focus on the awesome.

Summertime brings out all sorts of Interesting marketing campaigns in downtown Toronto – get out there and meet new customers while us office dwellers actually spend time out doors during the nicer summer months, right?  While some tactics are more commonplace, like the free sample handouts (8 Belvita Breakfast Cookies and counting!), others are more inventive and eye catching.

I had a bit of a double header last week in the the marketing slash free stuff category.  First off I received an email from Uber  indicating it was their second annual ice cream day.  For those that may not know Uber, its an App that lets you set up an account, order taxis and provides you with information on the driver (like their name and phone number), where the cab is exactly located and automatically charges your credit card when your ride ends. Given that I love to take cabs (read: lazy as hell) and never have cash on me, this App lets me hail a cab with ease avoid the hassle of them not wanting to take credit.  For whatever reason (probably the built in tip the App suggests) Cabs seem to like working with Uber. So, totally Win Win.

What makes Uber even more awesome is that they are totally committed to experiential marketing in the best possible way.  The company frequently offers up promotions that mostly have nothing to do with taking a cab, but offer you a chance to experience their service while doing or receiving something fun.  Today, for example, as of 11am you could open up your Uber App and order an Ice Cream truck, on demand.  Other promotions have included Poutine delivery during NXNE here in Toronto, Rose delivery on Valentines day, and my favourite Kitten play time in a few cities.  They even have Uber Boat taxis up in Muskoka now, and recently started delivering Grand Electric Tacos and Steam Whistle Beer, by boat. These guys are awesome.

Sorry, I seemed to digress a little there.  So at 11 am, I opened up my Uber App, ordered some Ice Cream and grabbed some coworkers.  The truck showed up as promised and passed out 5 freshly swirled cones and typical Uber swag – sunglasses (Hey Uber, time to change this up! I could outfit a small country in your fake wayfarers by now!).  This was already a quick and fun break from the office, but then we saw this:

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I had noticed the strange blow up tent thing a few days ago, but was never close enough to check it out.  As we had some time to kill eating our cones, we decided to see what the KD Fun Shop had to offer.  The idea is that you browse around the shop, select an item and then go to the checkout to pay – but this store doesn’t accept money, it accepts FUN. Each item has a sticker on it that outlines what type of fun you must have in order to ‘buy’ your item.  If you wanted a set of Kraft Dinner bed sheets (for serious, that was an item) you had to recite a KD rap.  Maybe you were interested in a KD Tshirt that turns into a Horse Mask if you pull it over your head? That’ll cost you a Robot Dance. I ended up selecting a pair of ‘Funderpants’ and had to crack out my best Chicken impersonation.  Fun? Yes! Professional? Maybe not.  Sadly no one snapped a photo of my excellent performance.

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While a bit on the cheesy side, it was a fun way to kill fifteen minutes, get a hilarious novelty item and a free box of Kraft Dinner.  Well done guys.

I even found an excuse to don my brand new KD Funderpants at the Warrior Dash!

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