Tag: the federal

Travel Swellness: My Ford Canada #FocusOnMyTown adventure


So if you follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness) or Twitter (@healthswellness), you may have noticed that I flooded your feed last weekend. I felt like I was all about town like that little kid in the Family Circus comic. And that was because Ford lent me a Ford Focus Titanium for the weekend and asked me to showcase some of my favourite places and things to do in my city, Toronto. You can find it under the hashtag #focusonmytown, but here’s a little diary of what I got up to!


the cats in the Ford Focus Titanium

9 a.m. Gently forced my cats into their carriers then into the roomy backseat of the Focus and trekked on up to the vet. I don’t own a car so having the Focus to zip them on uptown to my favourite vet was such a relief (although I suppose less of a relief to them — as you can see, this one’s unsure she wants out of her carrier in the vet’s exam room). Overall, they have a clean bill of health, yay!

the cat at the vet

10:30 a.m. Picked up my friend Diane, dropped off the cats at home and we set out for a day of adventure in the city. One of my favourite things to do is go for brunch, so we went to The Federal, which has been on my list, like, forever! The Federal had a great cozy vibe, the service was friendly and the steak and eggs was delicious (the beef was more tender than the best boy band song).

The Federal steak and eggs

1 p.m. Back into the Focus, I drove a few blocks south to the final day of the Toronto Flower Market. I’m so sad it was the first time I was able to check it out, because the flowers are so pretty and fantastic value — I was overwhelmed with what to buy!

Toronto Flower Market

2 p.m. With a little time in our itinerary before our manis, we stopped into Nadege Patisserie for some sweets and a coffee. I love the patio here; there’s great people watching but what I’m really there for the croissants, sandwiches and macarons. The bread here is phenomenal. It’s also quiet enough so you can have a meeting here (I always suggest it when setting up meetings!) or if you need to do some work (although there’s no wifi).

Nadege coffee break

3:30 p.m. Drove my sporty little Focus to the east end to my favourite place for a manicure, Tips Nail Bar. Have you seen my fancy, detailed manicures for when I run a marathon? All done by hand by the amazine Leeanne Colley, who’s the owner of Tips and she’s also Revlon’s Nail Expert. Tips has just recently relocated to a space on street level and it’s gorgeous! Check out the pretty canvas that stretches across the main wall, and the stunning light fixtures over on BeautyGeeks (her photos are better than the ones I’ve snapped). I could hang out in this space forever (and sometimes I sorta do — some of my manicures can take three hours with Leeanne’s painstaking work on the designs!). Me and the nail pro extraordinaire herself, I love this picture of us!

me with Leeanne Colley of Tips Nail Bar

Here’s what Leeanne created for me that day — as you can see, I took the opp to admire my wicked evil eye manicure every time I was stopped at a traffic light.


6 p.m. With a small window of time, the Focus (and, ahem, my excellent driving skillz) got us over to High Park super quickly and we hunted down the pretty Hillside Gardens I’d seen on Instagram that I’d been obsessed with finding. I am in High Park at least once a week (I do a lot of my marathon training in the park) but had never seen this park. We found it easily enough, and I’ll definitely be coming back — it reminds me of gardens I’ve visited in Europe.

Hillside Gardens

And by the way, driving and taking a leisurely stroll in High Park is so much more pleasant than doing sweaty hill repeats; I’ll have to do it more often.

at Hillside Gardens

8 p.m. Back into the Focus and back over to the east end for dinner at Ruby Watchco. This resto has been on my must-try list for a few years, and especially so after I went to see chef Lynn Crawford speak about one of her cookbooks; I love how low-key and approachable she seems. I didn’t see her at the resto that night, but that’s ok, I was too busy enjoying the delicious meal. The salad — grilled red beet and burrata — was da bomb. (Sadly, my photos in the restaurant are not the greatest…)

11:30  p.m. Dropped off Diane at home (thanks for spending the day with me, friend!), and headed on home for a few hours of sleep.


morning sky

5:30 a.m. Forced myself up and behind the wheel of the Focus. Why so early? Because there was Phillip Lim for Target launching! How convenient to have the Ford Focus this weekend (Toronto subways ridiculously only open at 9 a.m. on Sundays so this made it possible to head to Target nice and early!). Even in my tired state, I was rewarded with a beautiful morning sky as I drove to pick up my friend Rachel. I also made sure to load the car with both coffee and water; needed to be alert and hydrated for the insanity that I was expecting at Target.

coffee and water essentials

7:06 a.m. Park the Focus and we get into line at Target. How do I know that very precise time? Because Rachel remembers looking at her watch and thinking 54 minutes until she could buy coffee (she didn’t quite know I was not going to let her beeline for Starbucks — there was crucial shopping to get done!).

8 a.m. Target opens and people go bananas for Phillip Lim for Target — I’m talking sprinting and pushing bananas. But thanks my trusty (albeit a bit gruumpy in her caffiene-deprived state) friend, I score some of the items on my wish list. I made a pretty decent haul, no? Even better, we got matching Boom sweatshirts — twinsies! We refrained from lying on the hood of the Focus, kept it klassy, haha.

Phillip Lim for Target purchases

Boom sweatshirt twinsies

8:45 a.m. We attempt to use the GPS to get us to Evergreen Brickworks. But it keeps telling us to take Pottery Rd., which was closed. And we can’t figure out how to make the GPS offer us an alternative route. We are both directionally challenged, but determined to get there. Much driving in circles ensues.

10 a.m. We finally figure out another route and we arrive at Brickworks…and discover the Farmer’s Market only happens on Saturday, doh! Ah well, we go for a quick walk and enjoy the greenery.


11:30 a.m. Back into the Focus because we are hungry and on the hunt for food. I drive us down to Table 17 in the east end for some brunch. Hello, eggs neapolitan!

Table 17 eggs neapolitan

1 p.m. Drop Rachel off at home (Thanks for being such a fierce shopping buddy!).

1:30 p.m. I need a nap but with loads of clothes and stuff to donate to the Salvation Army, I pack up the trunk of the Focus and drive over to drop off the goods…only to discover it’s closed on Sunday. Womp womp womp.

I had the car until that evening, but with just three hours of sleep, I needed a nap, and I sadly said bye-bye-bye (sing it in your head like that NSYNC song!) to my little blue Focus Titanium. I didn’t get a chance to figure out how to set the ambient lighting in the car, or voice activation, and to use the Park Assist, which I’ve tried before but not this time around as I was able to find parking easily (that feature so great, though, if you’re a poor parallel parker…like me!).

What would make your list of Toronto musts if you had a Focus to zip you around town?


Leave a Comment September 20, 2013

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