Monday, March 31, 2008

Take off, to the Great White North!

Julie and I are just back from a brief visit to Toronto (Ontario, Canada). The locals pronounce it "ta-RAHN-o" like a silent-type second t. We went there on a summer road trip a couple of years ago and really loved the clean, laid back, international, feel of the city. Julie was on her spring break last week, so we decided on a revisit with a quick shot up there and back. The weather was as cold as it is here in Chicagoland, but not worse. Our visit was originally intended for simple pleasure, but Julie, being the go-getter she is, worked in a couple of GET WELL SOON signings while we were there. There seems to be some buzz about it up north. So it became half biz, half pleaz.

First stop was this cool indie comics shop I'd heard of AFTER our last visit to Toronto. So we'd missed it before. This time, we hit it right away. It's called the Beguiling, for some reason. Most indie comics shops pale in comparison to the indie comics mecca we have here in Chicago, Quimby's.But this shop's on par with Quimby's or, I'd go far enough to say, it's better. I love a good comics shop that has a great selection of both indie/snob stuff and fanboy/superhero stuff. Equal opportunities. The Beguiling has that. This two-story shop has an immense, albeit cluttered, inventory. What puts it over the edge is their excellent collection of original comic art for sale, which I've taken advantage of a time or two. Highly recommended. Hey, there's Julie out front!

The next day, we kicked off the mini GET WELL SOON tour, by hitting up two indie kids books stores and one chain store in the outer city area. I also love sweet independently owned book shops. Nothing better. First one, was a little joint called the Flying Dragon. Julie signed a few copies of GWS and the very friendly crew fattened us up with cookies, strawberries and hot tea. Excellent.

Next stop was another indie kids book shop. A nice corner store called Mabel's Fables. Julie looking extra cute by the storefront:

This, too, was a very friendly visit with a warm and welcoming crew. Another two-story shop with loads of great kids books. They even had this rotating Tintin display that looked ultra cool. Good enough to get a pic by, I reckoned.

Last up was this uber-chain (e.g. Borders bookstores in U.S.) called Indigo. Julie cracked off about 10+ signatures and we headed out. It was in a massive mall. Outside the bookstore was a chain restaurant called the Pickle Barrel. Creepy lil' mascot/logo/sign out front.

Next day, we headed home. I skipped telling all the various bits of dining, sight-seeing, and lots of walking and public trans. I ain't got pics of any of that. Good to be back in America. Feet up. Bathing again in pop culture. Hanging out with the cat. Back to work.

Til next time, eh?


Anonymous said...

Very cool pictures and blog on your trip! That pickle will haunt me till the end of my days.


Kaleb said...

wow a bookstore entirely devoted to children's books! I remember one called Toad Hall back in Austin. I thought that was the only one.

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks for checkin in bro bro and Kaleb. Apparently kids' book stores have the best names. Toad Hall! There's one near us called Crocodile Pie. Mabel's Fables and Flying Dragon ain't too shabby either.

Vinizki26 said...

Toronto is com pletely underrated ... nice to see that some Americans are making their way over here!

Vinizki26 said...

p.s. borrowed your Pickle Barrel image ... hope that's cool!