Toronto Staycation

Father’s Day at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel.

Back in 2017, I won a one – night stay at the Harbour Castle in a Pugalug Pug Rescue fundraiser. I decided to have a Father’s Day staycation with Dublin (left), Raisin(right) and my foster girl Nacho (centre). This was Natcho’s first subway ride.

The hotel lobby was raised above street level. This required a bit of a climb but there was a ramp which made the climb easier. It was Pride week so the flag was flying.

We checked in and the staff were all goo goo over the pugs. Part of the booking was they would supply a couple of dog beds and a treat bag. While we waited for the beds to be delivered, the pugs checked out the lounger.

I got a harbour view. Spent some time in the lounger with the pugs, sipping a glass of wine and looking out the window.

It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday as we headed out to explore some of the Harbourfront.

We were very familiar with Paws Way from the Pugalug events that were held there. We walked around the exhibits then sat for awhile in the air conditioned space. Paws Way is a space devoted to dogs and cats. It is run by the Purina company. It has since been closed down.

There is an education area with books for adults and children. The Purina Hall of Fame is housed here. It honours the animal heroes that are selected each year. In the back is a large, enclosed space that is used for events. There was a King Charles Cavalier private party at the back so could not slip in.

You can take a walk around the building. Didn’t understand the meaning behind this artwork that was mounted on the wall. It is sad. But Nacho found a piece of ice cream cone.

We went to a grassy park area near the ferry terminal. Out hotel is in the background.

With a lot of condo development in the area, grassy parks are at a premium. However they are spaced out all along the Harbourfront trail which makes for a great dog walk.

Near the ferry entrance is a stature dedicated to Jack Layton. He was a city councillor who later ran for federal politics. He was leader of the New Democratic Party. His good nature resulted in his party being elected as the Official Opposition. The statue is a double bike with Jack in the back. There is a slogan “Jack has your back”.

When we got back to the hotel room, everyone was ready for a nap. Raisin tried out the big bed first. The hotel had dropped off the “Heavenly Beds” which Nacho took an instant liking to. Dublin eventually crawled into his and was out in seconds. Moved Raisin to the lounge, tucked her in, then went for dinner.

The next day we were up early and walked to Harbourfront Square Park. I planed to go to the end where the Music Garden was. We took our time, found rest spots and watched the water.

Back at Paws Way, we stopped at William’s Cafe for coffee and muffin. William’s is a place where you can bring your dog into the seating area. When it first opened, it was the only place you could do that in Toronto.

As I mentioned, there are a number of small parks along the way. At the Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre is a long, narrow stretch. At the end is a Stonehenge block along with picnic tables under some trees. It is considered to be part of the HTO Urban Park.

The HTO park is a play on the chemical name for water H2O. It was created between 2004-2005 and offers a sandy beach, umbrellas for shade, grassy hills and trees.

The Marine Fire Rescue Boat is docked just next to it. Sometimes you can catch the boat, just off the docks, shooting water from all of its spouts. It’s like a floating fountain.

The Music Garden is a jewel in the city. The world famous cellist, Yo Yo Ma, contributed to the design. Spiral walkways, beautifully tended flower beds and an area for summer concerts make this place a delight. I used this park for photo shoots for the Pugalug Pug Rescue fundraising calendars.

That was the end of our staycation. Nacho really enjoyed sniffing and exploring. Raisin and Dublin met lots of new people. I enjoyed pretending to be a tourist in my home city.


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