Scarborough Bluffs and how to get to the “secret spots”

Scarborough Bluffs, and how to get to the “Secret Spots”

Six months in ‘The Six’, and acquainted to Toronto’s hustle and bustle. Our rough calluses, well earned from previous trekking adventures were now next to nonexistent…  this was not a good sign. Parks, segregated gardens, and the occasional overgrown sidewalks, would not be our only form of environmental stimulation. It was time theses Aussies went ‘Walkabout’, got some fresh air, and went on an adventure.

Scarborough bluffs stretches across 15 kilometers of Lake Ontario’s shoreline, it is also home to parks, walking trails, beautiful beaches and a few secret gems.

Before the adventure can begin….you’re going to need a few essential items. We would be letting down our home continent (Australia), if we didn’t put Sunscreen at the top of the list, so there you go mum… Sunscreen,

Next a  hat, walking shoes, Cloths you don’t mind getting little (Or a lot) dirt on, a power bank to recharge for all those instagramable pics you’re going to want to take and enough water, snacks and cute picnic food to survive you the day or possibly longer – we’ve all seen 127 hours.

Getting there –You clearly know how to use the internet as you’ve managed to find the best travel blog on it, so I have faith you will be able to find the Subway and make your way to Bloor and Young station. From here catch the east bound line 2: (Bloor and Danforth) subway straight through to the last stop – Kennedy station. Then take the new bus line 175 that rolls straight down to the Scarborough Bluffs. P.s this only runs on weekends and though the summer months.

*Get there early! Especially if you’re driving, the car parks are full by 10am, and all the best picnic spots will be too.

 

So you’ve made it….now what?

 

Get a little sightseeing done and explore first, as I mentioned it gets very crowded and nobody wants other people in there snapchats. Make sure to take a look around the Marina, there’s beautiful sail boats and a fancy looking seafood restaurant if you’re hungry, and didn’t pack a picnic lunch. Check out beach, soak up some sun, get wet, and try to forget about the fact all this is going to be under a foot of snow in a few short months.

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Now let’s break the law!

 

Me: Wait…break the law?

Also Me: Yes, that’s what I said. Break-the-law.

Still Me: Okay, let’s do it

If you’ve spent more than 15 minute’s googling the Bluffs, then you’ve seen a few of these aesthetic pictures floating around.

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Nice Eh?

Well for 3 weekly payments of $9.99 you too can get theses awesome shots…..

Relax, I’m Joking, I’m going to help you get them absolutely free, that’s right, with today’s special offer you don’t have to pay so much as a dime.

Actually it depends entirely on you how much they will cost, as if you’re caught you’re looking at a $5000 fine…OUCH!

From what I’ve read it is very rare to actually caught or fined, it’s more of a warning as theses incredible cliffs are made up of sand, and aren’t exactly the safest place to visit. To quote the great Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean “the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rule

I did it and risked Deportations, so don’t be a chicken (If you are the Immigration Bureau or Police reading this, I have never broken the law, nor do I ever intend to… Promise☺ )

For real though, this is a pretty difficult climb, so It you’re not confident doing it, stay on sea level, and enjoy the sun and sea (Lake) People have seriously injured themselves and even died…

I have constructed a map, to make it a little easier to figure out where you are and want to go. It look me a decent 5minutes possible more to create, so appreciate it and take a good look.

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Walk west to the park past through the car park and at the far right end you will see a small clearing for a thin animal track

Follow that track, and when the dirt road splits in 2, take the road less taken (the one on the right). Push through those over hanging branches, and climb up and over the fence, then continue up, up up, you may need to use side branches and dig those manicured nails into the dirt.

Eventually you’ll make it to the peak, and the photo shoot may commence.  

Getting down is just as hard, if not harder so be careful upon your descend. I came home with a hardcore war wound, complete as proof of my hardship, so even stilled climber such as me, can trip.

The Last and most important step in this adventure is the all-important Instagram upload so make sure you tag us @bootsandbag

 

Happy Travels!

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Where to find the best coffee in Toronto (trust me i’m Australian)

 

Take it from two Aussies arriving in Toronto who strongly live by the mentality of ‘death before decaf’. After a painstaking 30hour flight, a strong amount of caffeine was the only thing that could break us through the jet lag. We had heard the rumors and knew the Aussie standard would be hard to come by and therefore opted to ask some local Canadians that confidently directed us to try Canadians famous Tim Horton’s. I don’t even know where to begin in reviewing this beverage, I refuse to call it coffee, unless you can classify dirty bean water, and sugar as coffee. Additionally I made the mistake of ordering some food to company this disaster. And was served a plate (cardboard box) of calories, carbs and what may or may not have been a vegetable, this yet to be determined.

Don’t, go here, just don’t.

 However before you subject your taste buds to the torture of repulsive imitations of coffee I have endured over the past few weeks, there is hope found in a handful of cafes. Below are some of our favorite cafes in Toronto that not only supply consistently great coffee, but fun hangout areas you’ll want to stay in all day.

 

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Jimmy’s Café

Get yourself downtown into one of the 6 ‘jimmy’s’ cozy cafes and surround yourself with inspiring walls covered by rap legends and Historical figures, the design layout changes from store to store.

The Blend,

Now lets get a little technical and dive into Jimmy’s many coffee blends, you have a few choices from the blend hall of fame, each is named after a famous “jimmy” from jimmy Hendricks to James dean. Combine that with a pretty unique drink list, including such delights as the Purple haze, Goth Latte or JVO (Jimmy’s very own). You’ll find your classic cappuccino a bland beverage in comparison to these awesome specialty mixes. Additionally no one likes coffee that drains your pockets even if its good coffee, and lucky for you, this isn’t as issue. The prices are descent for Toronto standards and leveled by the amount of shots per coffee.

To top it off the staff are very warm, if not a little eccentric and are always up for a chat. You can find one of these little gems everywhere from our local Baldwin Village location as well as Kensington, Gerrard, Queen west, McCall and Ossington.

 

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Dark horse

The dark horse also has 6 cafes within Toronto, with one situated right in the heart of Chinatown and located right next to a funky record store.

This place is cool, everything and everyone in there is super modern with a quirky, rustic edge. It has a awesome contemporary interior with wooden flooring and a large communal table that looks designed precisely for the purpose of whipping out your laptop and Mooching off the hour of free Wi-Fi (it’s okay we all do it). Decoratively vaulted ceilings, exposed old brick and elaborate polished metal, bordering the espresso bar gives this café a unique character and style. Additionally is front is complete with large elongated windows that allow you to watch the chaotic street go by while you relax with a hot cup of chai accompanied by some trendy folk music.

The Blend

This is a specialty café with beans from Detour and 49th Parallel to give their customers a seasonally diverse and interesting espresso. You will have to expect to pay a little extra for a good cup of coffee here, however if you craving a little afternoon delight, swing up after 3pm and treat yourself with a baked goods at 50% off. These treats looks so gold you could but on a kilo just looking at it, but with 50% off, it’s worth it.

 

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 Crafted bean Coffee

Crafted bean is along Dundas West Street, amongst half a dozen private art galleries and opposite the famous Ontario Art Gallery.

This is where I grab purchase my vital morning caffeine dosage after a run. I love the charming staff, atmosphere and the beautiful printed designs that is printed onto each coffee (check out the pictures below). Additionally there is a large range of delicious Tea’s and student discount. This café is never super busy so you would have to wait long for your coffee, and finding a table for you and your laptop is easy.

 

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De mello palheta Coffee Roasters

De Mello Palheta is only a short walk from my house, situated by Young and Eglinton, it was originally recommended to be by a local, however this place is listed at the top of almost every coffee review in Toronto.

It is an absolute hipster haven, and an undisputed crowd pleaser.

The beans are roasted in store and distributed to some fine-dine coffee establishments like Sorry coffee co., Neo Coffee Bar and Toyko smoke.

The masterminds behind this concocted creation are two Melbourne born Aussie brothers (like I said, Aussies know their coffee).

I have even read reviews by Californians who order their beans hear in bulk and have them shipped over.

When walking into De Mello you will be welcome by inviting and fun décor and friendly and attentive staff with excellent customer service. You will find that only after a few visits they will have remembered your name, coffee and ask how your aunt Mary in hospital is doing.

If you’re after a non- douchey or pretentious staff that genuinely make you feel like an extended family member visit De Mello Palheta . Don’t just take my word for it, get off your computer, jump on the TTC and come up to the best part of Toronto; Eglinton (totally not want to be bias, but this is my neighborhood and it’s the best part of the six).

 

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Bicerin Espresso Bar

Bicerin has taken over the coffee scene within Baldwin village offering free wifi, comfortable seating and of course that great coffee. Freshly roasted single origin beans make for great tasting coffee, and if like me you prefer a healthy alternate milk, you have the option of soy, coconut milk and my favorite; almond milk. One of my favorite aspects of this coffee joint is that it feels very personal with close wooden tables that are often shared with 2-3 people, plus friendly staff that make it very easy to strike up convocation.

 

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Café plenty 

A chic nook along Dundas west and a new recently opened store in the Financial district. Fall in love with the modern blanc white layout and the smooth coffee taste. There is a huge range of pastries, paninis and salads that makes this a already popular brunch/lunch stop, so don’t expect to get a seat at lunch time unless you’re ready to fight for it. The paninis will cost a steep $10 but they serving sizes are huge and come with a complementary side salad, and for the vegan and gluten-free species out there you have not been forgotten, there is plenty of item on the menu, you’ll be sure to fall in love with. Go ahead while yourself and support a small growing business.

If you know any great cafe’s in Toronto that I haven’t listed please let me know in the comments below 🙂

Bonappetit!