Alright, look, since we’ve been in this lockdown after what was a very brief, glorious moment of having patios open (when was that? March? April? What even is time these days? We recall heat lamps and people wrapped up in blankets and the patios closing before the main course even arrived), it’s time to be honest here. After all this time we can finally say it:

This kinda sucks.

PHEW, it’s good to get that out. 

Thankfully, there are things to do to help keep us positive. We have streaming services playing movies, video game consoles for distraction, and even a way to put on an in-house Youtube Karaoke party with your family. Those are all well and good, but we like to give things a little OTT spin around here and there’s plenty of ways you can start to feel good about things while getting the added endorphin rush of supporting your local businesses! 

So let’s go into some handy tips on what you can do to help yourself feel good!

Start the Day Off Right

Mornings have always sucked, but now they seem to be extra grey and the bed seems a little more inviting than usual. On top of that, it’s easy to feel like time has no meaning these days. For those reasons we find it’s best to start your day off on the right foot by doing something that makes you happy. While there are some nice grand gestures one can do to start feeling better, sometimes what makes the biggest difference can be the little things that elevate otherwise mundane experiences. Just giving yourself a little treat that makes you think “You know what? I’M WORTH IT!”

A great example of where to start is that all-essential cup of lifegiving coffee. But put away the Folgers, because we’re not talking about just any coffee. We’re talking fresh roasted, organic, single origin coffee that you grind yourself from the local and, rather appropriately named, Third Wave Coffee. Always fresh and in rotation, Third Wave’s coffee is a luxurious way to start the day and get you smiling. Stop in now to grab a bag and maybe pick up something tasty while you’re at it. Afterall, you’re worth it!

Escape With the Power of Reading

For centuries books have been our way of escaping the dreariness of everyday life, allowing us to enter into realms fantastical. Within seconds we can be transported to real life places or fictional lands filled with adventure, excitement, romance, and treasure! And as always, we turn to our stalwarts of the written word, Ben McNally Books.

As a suggestion for gentle and heartwarming reading, we suggest World of Wonders by famed poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil. In this collection of essays Nezhukumatathil talks about the natural world and its many inhabitants, explaining how each of them can inspire, support, teach, and transform us for the better. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. And that’s something we can all do with a little more of.

Go For a Walk (It’s Allowed!)

Despite there being a stay at home order you are allowed to go for a walk for the purposes of exercise and for general mental health, and there’s no place in the city better for that than Old Town Toronto! So take in a little bit of sun by exploring the wonderful David Crombie Park along the Esplanade and of course take in the beautiful flowers in Springtime bloom at St. James Park. Want your views to have a bit more of an artistic flair? We got you covered in our OTT Art Crawl with all sorts of beautiful works of public art for you to enjoy safely! 

Discover Your Next Divine Meal

When we’re feeling down and in need of a bit of a pick me up, we tend to do the things that make us happy and part of that is ordering some good, healing comfort food from our favourite local spot. It brings out a fun sense of discovery, we get to try what might be our next favourite meal, and honestly, nothing is as good for the soul as stuffing your face with some cheesy, calorie-rich meal that the menu claims is “party size”.

Some classic comforts include sinking into a mountain of sushi from Nami Japanese Seafood Restaurant, some cheesy thick crust pizza from ARDO, or a rack of wild boar from Woods Restaurant. After some good meals like these, you’ll start thinking that maybe things will turn out okay after all. 

You know what goes well with good food? Good drink! And when it comes to finding a good pairing with your meal, OTT is where to go. A wine from Cantina Mercatto is always our go-to, but we also have our local Wine Rack on King Street E. with their expert staff as well as the vast selection of delicious wines from CoMMO Food sold alongside their prepared frozen meals.

As for beer, well, we have that too with the Goose Island Brewpub offering up locally-made beers, and in particular a 12-pack mixer for a pretty reasonable price! We’ve mentioned C’est What’s amazing selection of Ontario beers before and folks, they’re a Toronto institution for a reason and we can attest that the beers are always incredible.  

Hang in There.

Hey, we know things are pretty scary and, if we’re honest, more than a little frustrating right now. We’re all feeling a little done with the past year and we’re all really eager to get back to our lives and doing what we love without limitation. 

So in this time, just remember that you aren’t alone, things will go back to normal, and we here can’t wait for all of our businesses to fully open up again so you can have the total Old Town Toronto experience that makes our little neighbourhood one of the best places on Earth. And we will get there. In the meantime, let’s all support each other and remind ourselves that it’s not just the businesses in Old Town Toronto that are great, it’s the people.  

So let’s hang in together. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll get there, with a couple of drinks and some takeout for the road.  

We got this. 



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