1. My Home Gym

I’m not the most motivated guy when it comes to working out and yet, when I was living in Vancouver, I would schedule two-a-days: a 45 minute run in the morning and a 45 minute weight workout at night.  How did I manage to pull off such an ambitious routine?  Well, having a home gym (treadmill, elliptical, and weights) in my basement helped.  A lot.  It was as easy as going downstairs.  No driving.  No looking for parking.  No waiting for equipment to free up.  And, best of all, I could multi-task: exercising and catching up on my shows.

Here in Toronto, the gym is always packed mornings and closes t 10:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on weekends!  I can watch whatever happens to be on the wall-mounted t.v.’s but, unfortunately, can’t hear anything so have to follow along by reading the subtitles.

Since moving east, my workouts are down roughly 75%.

2. Fresh Fish

Please, don’t try to recommend me “the best sushi in Toronto!” because, without a doubt, Toronto’s best sushi is Vancouver’s middling sushi (which, to be fair, is worse than Japan’s worst sushi).  The sad fact is the fish here is just not that good.  Oh, sure, we hit our local markets and pick up fish whenever we can, but it’s just not the same.  The other day, we picked up some “fresh” scallops that ended up releasing a crazy amount of liquid in the cooking process, the telltale sign of being previously frozen.  I truly miss Brian and the gang at Seafood City on Granville Island.

3. My Kitchen

With its big island, wide counters, and varied kitchen utensils.  And extra work kitchen.  Here in Toronto, our kitchen is so tiny only one of us can cook at a time. It’s tight, there’s not enough shelf space, and the knives are dull (we ended up having to purchase a new knife set).  As much as it annoys me, my irritation pales in comparison to the Akemi’s monsoon of frustration every time she attempts to prepare dinner.   She really, really hates this kitchen.

4. The Weather

It rains all the time in Vancouver!  Yes.  And the temperature usually stays above freezing.  When I go out improperly dressed for Vancouver weather, the worst I can expect is to get wet.   Here in Toronto, it’s frostbite and the loss of feeling in my extremities.

5. A Backyard

In Vancouver, “taking the dogs out” required little more than opening the back door or, Jelly’s case, carrying across my back porch and setting her down in the grass. Now, it’s a whole song and dance – morning, afternoon, evening, and night – bundling the dogs up, taking them to the park, and back.

6. Sweet Potatos

For some reason, people here don’t know what sweet potatoes are – or have been living under the delusion that yams are sweet potatoes – because wherever I go, I see yams being sold as “sweet potatoes”.  It wouldn’t be so bad if they just called sweet potatoes something else, but they simply don’t exist here.

7. A Good Bookstore

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I miss the gang at The Book Warehouse.  They were my second family, their book shop my home away from home I would visit on a weekly basis to chat about recent reads and purchase a pile of new reads.  Here in Toronto, it’s slim literary pickin’s.  There’s a pretty good genre book shop (Bakka Phoenix) but nothing in the way of a book store offering general fiction.  I’ve checked out a few but they’re maddeningly cluttered and simply not  conducive to a pleasure perusing experience.

[My co-worker Natalie Cooper has taken offense to this particular item and has supplied me with a list of “great bookstores” in the city.  After discounting used book shops, specialty bookstores, and bookstores I’ve already visited and eliminated, I am left with three options.  So, let’s just say that – so far, I’ve yet to find a good bookstore in Toronto.]

8. My Books!

My towering to-read pile (last I checked, three rows wide and thirty books deep) will sit untouched until my return in June.

9. The NFL Package

I’m now back to the old days of having to watch the crappy Giants and even crappier Jets while far more superior teams (read: almost every other team in the league) play far more interesting games on channels I can’t watch.

10. My Friends!

Of course.

22 thoughts on “November 29, 2014: Things I miss about Vancouver!

  1. So sorry all of you (including the pups of course) miss home. If the show does well, you could buy a second place in Toronto (better suited) or…you might be able to work remotely from Vancouver? Would the show be a 12 month commitment or do you get a break, like the actors?

    We don’t have yams here (that I’ve seen) but someone is always trying to give a basket of sweet potatoes to me. Apparently, sweet potatoes are easy to grow here.

    As for “the loss of feeling in my extremities”, I can sympathize.. With Raynaud’s syndrome, I would never survive a Toronto winter. Have you thought about jogging? It would keep you warm and the outdoors aren’t regulated by gym hours.

  2. about #8;
    can’t you have whoever is watching your house send you some of them & you can send them back when your done reading them?

    canada needs something like booksfree.com

  3. just tell yourself it’s worth it because you’re running your own show now and things couldn’t be better career wise I’ll tell you what I’ll keep warm for you here in sunny Arizona.

  4. In the US sweet potatoes are often erroneously referred to as yams. However, I’ve never heard of yams being referred to as sweet potatoes. A yam is a yam, but a sweet potato can be a sweet potato or a yam…according to the USDA.

    Sweet potatoes have more nutrition than yams, and they’re far tastier, imho. When I was a kid I lived on yams for two weeks in Jamaica. Mashed yams. Baked yams. Poached yams. Hard-boiled yams. It seems whatever you could do to an egg you could do to a yam. I could never figure out why they tasted so crappy until years later when I realized that what we eat here in the States aren’t yams at all, but sweet potatoes…and what we were eating in Jamaica were, in fact, yams. 😛


  5. Didn’t it snow in Vancouver yesterday? Michael Shanks’ daughter Mia posted a pic of it…perhaps it’s missing you too?…

    I miss Vancouver every hour I’m not there as well….sadly for the first time in 10 years I don’t think we’ll make our at least once a year trip there due to finances *sigh*…good job I stocked up with Sockeye from Seafood City, Granville this year 😉

  6. About #2;
    Is it really that bad?? I agree that what “best sushi” means is relative, don’t think there is such thing anywhere. But definitely can’t even compare with medium or high end ones in Japan. My favorite is Sawada. However, living in withdrawal from all the higher end sushiyas I could visit in Tokyo, I still do have my favorite here in Toronto … only one though (not in downtown). Don’t think it’s worse than Japan’s worst though. They are quite picky on their fish supplier. Many fish they include in their omakase menu came from Japan. Depending on the season, that’s where I could get anago (not from frozen), uni from Hokkaido (good but not the highest end one), katsuo, kohada, aji. Lately they have sawara, kawahagi, and sayori is back.

  7. I have to agree with Kathode – I very seldom if ever see true yams around these parts, but there are different types of sweet potatoes.

  8. I was just thinking of asking you if you missed Vancouver. You beat me to it. 🙂

    As always, one person’s nightmare is another person’s dream. My husband was in the Canadian Armed Forces for 30 years. Way back in the 1980’s when the Berlin Wall still existed, we got transferred to West Germany. I know that some military families hated being in Europe because they were so far away from home and family. I, however, loved the opportunity to learn about the culture, the different foods, and travel to all the bordering countries because they were just a short ride away. Of course, it meant carrying different nationalities of cash with me, but I saw it as a wonderful chance to see part of the world that I might never visit again.

    I guess what I’m saying is, look at this as a chance to get to know a part of Canada that you may never again experience after your show eventually finishes.

  9. That’s a LOT to miss, and you all have my sympathies.

    Would it be worth considering renting a house? That could fix a few of the issues.

  10. You could…….tip-toes up to the subject….get a Kindle. You’d have every book the world of Amazon has to offer. No storage issues. No cargo weight (plane, mail, suitcases). Granted, you miss out on the conversations with the clerks, but you don’t seem to be isolated and lonely of someone to talk to.

  11. You guys would hate my tiny kitchen. No counter space, and not near enough cupboard space. I have to store canned food in the basement pantry, and extra utensils and baking sheets/racks in the second hall linen closet. Yes, two linen closets, and two hall closets, and a miniature bathroom in the upstairs hall. Sigh, old 50s box house. Needs a new roof, the electrical outlets are loose, and I have deep misgivings about the plumbing under the tub. But I do have a great view out the picture window, and a fantastic backyard.

    I guess I have to visit Vancouver, then I could miss it too. Right now I miss Hawaii and Cancun. And oddly, Shiraz lately.

  12. Ooooh… I wonder if I should mention that Seafood City actually closed down mid-November. We’ve been getting a lot of their customers at 7Seas since.

  13. Joe until you mentioned the Giants I thought for a moment you moved to Chicago. I have many of the same problems. My club that was 3miles from my house is now 45+ mins by crowded freeway. There is no Asian market within 10 miles of my apartment. I have to settle on going to my neighborhood store on my days off in Minneapolis/St. Paul and get quality ingredients. I bring a cooler with me every time I drive. Great place for pizza but I dream about a Fat Lorenzo’s special. It is not all bad. I found a good old time vinyl record store. All the best. Can we now say Merry Christmas?

  14. If it’s any comfort, it’s freeeeeeezing here in Vancouver right now.

    That said, I realize that saying it’s “freezing” in Vancouver is akin to saying that a place in Toronto has amazingly fresh sushi – different leagues. 😉

  15. … Then why does that one crazy lady keep coming in!?

    Apologies for misinformation!

    Things have actually been kinda chaotic at the fish shop. The manager is out on extended sick leave and the owners are starting to get involved more as a result… and seem to have decided that the manager wasn’t doing a good enough job ensuring quality and maintaining customers… We’ve already been gifted knives for filleting that are actually sharp! Which makes all the difference when you’re filleting 8+ previously frozen sockeye… Hopefully by the time you’re back in Vancouver, things’ll be different in a good way!

    Though I may have snapped and offed at least one of my co-workers by then.

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