Overused? Cliche? Maybe, but when a moment of pure joy hits, the feeling of weightlessness, lights, noises and colours blend into the proverbial yellow brick road making you want to burst out in happy tears or sing Joy to the World, because these moments are fleeting and in a world of excess, hard to recreate organically.
I had a magical night with my bestie Sarah (seriously you should follow this girl) at Toronto's Nathan Philips Square on a quiet Wednesday evening in December. Skating. Exploring the market; eating vegan hot dogs, drinking spiked egg nog and devouring home made tarts.
The temperature was just the right type of chilled, miniature clouds from a puff of breath, hair bundled under my toque but no need for long johns tonight. All my senses were heightened once I reached Bay and Queen, the music, the laughter the shrill screams of people landing on ice.
I am not a great skater by any definition, I learned on a frozen bay just off of Lake Erie and have had the same skates since I was eight years old. But I pick up quickly and can manage gliding around a rink a handful of times, without much thought.
It was amazing seeing the different groups of people on the ice, a group of new Syrian refugees were getting help on the ice for the first time, eyes twinkling with child like innocence, hand in hand with their new Canadian chaperone. A thrill, I am reminded that we take for granted. An older couple lost in a world of simpler times, holding each other in synchronized movements. Kids zipping around, chasing one another taking our breath as they zoomed by.
Even watching the rink was joyous, you could feel the energy flowing.
The market place was a nice surprise, booths lined up with offerings from mittens and jewelry, to food. Wanting to try something new, we stopped at Sauasage Party a pop-up serving up vegan hot dogs and sausages. I decided to try The Big Wiener which was topped with purple kraut, maple beer mustard and little pretzels, I had an option to try a hot dog or beer sausage I decided on the later. Paired with a super treat of Maple Bourbon Vegan Eggnog the sausage with its delicious combination of toppings could have passed off as its meat counter part. I hope to run into this pop up again as there are a few more combinations I would love to try.
With the crowd a little more dense then when we arrived, and with happy tummies and wobbly legs we decided it was time for an exit. Even though City Hall was towering in the back drop, my eyes fell on something much more exciting Carla's Cookie Box. Rows of multi flavoured butter tarts, brownies and cookies and a smiling face behind the counter we decided we could have just one more taste. My choice was a peanut butter tart, with its gooey center and flaky shell. Delicious.
Flavours, sounds and smells made up a blissful night of joy. Moments when everything around disappeared and the moment was all that mattered.