Wednesday, July 18, 2012
A summer in Toronto: Sugar Beach
We moved back to Toronto for many reasons. They include, though are not limited to, reasons of community (good friends), Jewish life (good Shabbat dinners), vibrancy (by the truckload), things like that. Leaving the house with two young children isn't easy, but when I have an entire city just waiting for me explore, I can handle a little early morning chaos. Just so we're clear: leaving the house with Alyce (4.5) and Shira (2), in the summer, in a heatwave, for more than an hour, means packing snacks and lunch for three, preparing water bottles for three, finding swimsuits and towels and extra sets of clothes, applying sunscreen (which, if done properly, takes at least ten minutes between the two of them, not counting the argument you know you're going to have with Alyce about how putting sunscreen on her neck tickles), pre-departure bathroom stops, and at least one heated discussion with both of them over how many dollies can come with us.
Oh, but it was worth it yesterday. We packed ourselves up and visited a new place with a new friend (aren't those great?). Have any of you heard of Sugar Beach? I had not. The park opened up in 2010, and while it isn't a traditional beach where you can wade into the water, it is an incredible space for making you feel like you're at the beach. It's like they found a pier and dumped sand right on top of it, just for you play in. So you can sit in enormous adirondack chairs (bolted down for their safe-keeping), underneath enormous pink umbrellas, and enjoy a break from the sun while your two children bury your feet in the sand. Sound good? It was. Even better was the splash pad tucked off to the side where Alyce and Shira spent most of our time, leaving me to chat with my friend and stare at her beautiful baby. Shira, a bit shy when it comes to splashing water, was only devastated once, when the calm bubbles of water shot up three feet and surrounded her in a giant waterfall. She never quite forgave it that.
We were a tired bunch on the way home. Heading to the waterfront was worth the effort, but don't let all that sand and splashing fool you into thinking that it was always an easy trip. From where we live we took one bus, two (short) subways, and walked fifteen minutes. Each way. That's a lot to handle with a stroller and a bag filled with all that stuff I mentioned earlier. We were so exhausted after two hours at the park (three hours since leaving our house) that me and Alyce tucked ourselves away in an air-conditioned Starbucks for a lemonade the size of Shira, while the actual Shira caught a nap. But there was so much more than just being tired and I found enough patience yesterday to actually enjoy the good stuff, like watching Alyce discover buildings that seem to touch the clouds, or explaining to her sister how to ride the subway (because she's the expert now). We came home hot, tired, and some of us a bit sunburned (ouch my back), but I think we all had that feeling of accomplishment to get us through. We adventured. And then we came home to rest up for next time.