Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Toronto, Canada

Two weekends ago (Nov. 13) my mom had a conference in Toronto, and I decided to fly up and meet her to hang out for the weekend. It's onl a bit more than an hour to fly there from DC, but surprisingly expensive - I think the taxes are more than the actual cost of the flight.

Anyway, I got there on Friday evening, a bit after her conference had ended. We decided to get dinner at a place called "Crush" - it's a wine bar just down the street from the hotel where we were staying. The food was great and my mom and I both tried a flight of Spanish wine.

On Saturday we started the day with a stop at Starbucks, and then make our way over to the CN Tower for a view of the city. It was very cool to see the view.

They also have a glass floor area, which was neat.

For lunch, we walked to the Distillery District and found a restaurant there. We decided to share nachos and then have soup, which seems like a reasonable amount of food, until the nachos came out and we saw there were enough for a family of five. (Of course we finished them anyway...)

The distillery area has lots of little boutiques, so we shopped around a lot. There was a place that sells fireplaces that you can hang on the wall, so you can just move them from room to room like a picture. My mom and I were joking that we should get one, and then we wouldn't have to watch the yule log on TV anymore. Though since it's a gas-fire, we wouldn't have any of that fire-poker excitement.

For dinner, we went out with my friend Dave Pritchard, who lives just outside Toronto - he went to MIT also, but I haven't seen him in a few years. We had great pasta and pizza dinner at a place called Lucy's and learned a bit about the crazy-fancy math stuff that Dave does for his PhD. The title of his PhD is "Linear Programming Tools & Approximation Algorithms for Combinatorial Optimization." I think it boiled down to him figuring out how write algorithms that solve problems that are (almost) impossible to solve. And something about helping traveling salesmen. I might need it explained once more. After dinner we went for beers and ended up discussing game theory - I've got the prisoner's dilemma written out on a napkin somewhere around here. It was a really fun evening.

Sunday was the last day my mom and I were in Toronto. We started the day with breakfast at Tim Hortons - we figured we had to give Canadian fast food a try. However, we ended up staying for an hour and half - this happened a lot during the weekend, we'd start chatting and the time would fly by.

We did eventually leave Tim Hortons and walk up Yonge Street. It turned out that Sunday was the Christmas parade in Toronto, so most of the rest of the day we spent watching that.

Then we had a very quick run through Chinatown and Kensington Market before heading to the airport.

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