Street Signs

There are the big cities and there are the small villages. London, New York, Toronto – marathon-length stretches of concrete both vertical and horizontal, and people all around. So many people. And then some. Then there are the cute-by-comparison streets adorned with a jigsaw of cluttered shopfronts and that one local grocer. Awe-inspiring or charming. I just couldn’t reach a preference, I’ll take it all, thanks.


The Toronto coffee scene has impressed me with it’s style and variety. After a two-hour-long hike through the city I turned a corner and stopped in my tracks when I realized what was standing right in front of me across the street. Balzac’s Coffee Roasters. This is startlingly and ridiculously exciting because this cafe is one that is listed among the top cafes in the entire world on various ramblings around the web. I’d made note of it a couple years back, vowed to find it, and promptly forgot all about it.

Why is it so often that as soon as you forget about a something you want to find that it finds you? This has happened to me numerous times (recently – the Case of the Missing Wallet). Perhaps I’ll give a go at forgetting about a stable income or direction in life and it will come to me. Sounds surprisingly reasonable now that I type it out, actually.


Anyway, Balzac’s. It is inside a library so that’s a good start. Books + coffee is a golden combination. Decor: Parisian style wicker chairs, large windows looking out on to the street, and stylish display at the counter. The staff was happily ready for a chat and as per usual, I took about 7823602 hours to make up mind and order. The selection included a Nordic latte with honey, vanilla, and cardamom. I’ve never seen that in the Nordic land of Finland. Hm. What I got for the price of an arm and a leg was a toasted almond latte that, though beautifully crafted and surely delicious to someone else, was just not my thing. I detected a hint of marzipan, which makes perfect sense, but failed to remember earlier that I, as it happens, cannot stand marzipan. I’ll just have to go back and try the Nordic latte. Another funky idea I found was a peanut butter latte (smelled better than it tasted). The things people dream up these days…

Cafe M on Yonge street
Cafe M on Yonge street

In small towns you find so much character. People know each other, they know what they like. You find yourself in the mood to amble through and wander about just taking your time, which leads you to discover the absolute best signs for their shops. Props for the creativity.

.                    IMG_3723                              IMG_3716

And the cherry on top of the cake is definitely the sign belonging to this little corner cafe:

Red Brick Cafe in Guelph
Red Brick Cafe in Guelph

Ready for it? Here it is, only in Canada.

< hot coffee ^bear probably!!! (wouldn't risk it)
< hot coffee ^probably bears!!! (wouldn’t risk it)

Big city or small village, a little humour goes a long way.




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