by Stephen Johnson
Our son, David, became a diehard hockey fan this past summer. Two things contributed to his transformation – the Sens seventh game semi-final run and a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
We started our visit to Toronto with a trip to the Aga Khan Museum. It has been on my bucket-list since the museum opened in 2014. The first things a visitor will notice at this landmark are the beautiful reflecting ponds in front of the museum, creating a sense of peace and harmony.
The museum highlights Islamic Arts through the centuries. At first, we were concerned David might be bored but he was fascinated by the amazing tapestries and ceramics. The museum also features a restaurant that highlights food from the Middle East. David discovered shawarma and it has now become one of his favourites. The Aga Khan museum and foundation are dedicated to tolerance of all religions, and a visit to the museum is a good place to start.
Once we were done, the weather was quite warm so we decided to go back to where we were staying in downtown Toronto, the Chelsea Hotel, and enjoy a swim. David thought he could twist my arm to go down the corkscrew waterslide but I preferred the view from the hot tub.
Pretty soon, it was time to go hit the town again. We decided to make a return visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium located near the CN Tower. If you have a budding marine biologist in your family or just like to see cool sharks, the aquarium is a must-see. What we did not realize the night we visited was that the aquarium was also featuring a live jazz band aka Toronto date night. I will not soon forget fashionable twenty-somethings flirting and mingling while oblivious pre-teens ran between the jellyfish exhibit and the stingray touch tank just barely missing servers offering hors d’oeuvres. This interesting juxtaposition of two worlds all took place with the mellow tones of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald standards as background music. It may have seemed to be a recipe for disaster but somehow it worked. Perhaps it was also a way for mom and dad to enjoy a few quiet moments while their son or daughter was touching the stingray.
As mentioned, David became quite a hockey fan during the Sens run in the 2017 playoffs. I thought a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame would be a nice complement to his new-found interest. The HHOF knows its demographic. While it features a lot of history about hockey, there are also many interactive games to keep everyone entertained. David and I tried our luck at the goaltending and hockey shot stations. I can tell you that Craig Anderson and Connor McDavid have no fear for their jobs. We also had the opportunity to call a couple of famous moments in hockey. Again, I don’t think Sportsnet will be calling any time soon.
The ultimate moment was when we had our chance to get a photo with the Stanley Cup. I pointed out a few of the famous names on the Cup, including Wayne Gretzky. David was thrilled to see the Cup in person. Perhaps next year, the Sens names will be engraved on it.
We ended the day strolling around the beautiful Distillery District. There are numerous cafes, shops and restaurants housed in heritage buildings. The area is largely pedestrian, making it a nice place to stroll with kids. There are also a number of condos giving the neighbourhood a lived-in feel.
We wrapped up our time in Toronto but vowed to make return in the near future. Perhaps to watch the Sens defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs!
For details about Toronto, check www.seetorontonow.com.