An early Sunday morning in cold April. We find ourselves in the Old Town walking slowly toward St. Lawrence Market. The farmer's market is closed on Sunday, but we are heading to the Sunday Antique Market right across the street. Downtown is surprisingly empty, the morning air and light envelop the city and that's exactly how we love it. It is the only honest way one can meet Toronto's historic buildings and enjoy its vibrant architecture. And it doesn't happen very often, it is a megalopolis, after all. We are lucky today. Getting up early on Sunday it seems to pay off.

Standing on the traffic island at the intersection of Front Street East and Church Street we are catching the 5-story red brick Flatiron Building's narrow end dead center standing proudly in front of two skyscrapers. What many do not realize is that Toronto's Flatiron actually preceded New York's famous Flatiron building by more than 10 years, though the one in NYC gets much more publicity.  
I left my camera home intentionally. My day is devoted to my family.

As avid lovers of antiques, three of us adore spending time at flea markets. They are, in fact, rare in urban cities, however, right in downtown, St. Lawrence indoor and outdoor antique market is the retro oasis we love visiting. While I am looking for old china, kitchen utensils, vintage textiles, and furniture, my son is browsing collectible comic books. When it comes to negotiating, bargaining and making a deal, it's my husband's job. He is good at that! I mean, really good! I, on the other hand, am probably the most desirable client for all vendors. Thanks to my man, I am leaving the antique market with a steal of a deal for an old English blue and white ironstone plate, two wonderful linen napkins, vintage photographs and books, and four French Limoges china saucers. I am more than happy; how little I need...

There is an even more overwhelming excitement when we pass by the spectacular Gothic Revival architecture of St. James Cathedral and the ringing bells fill the moment with joyous sound and a sacralized sense of time. It immediately brings me back to Italy where I spent one whole summer in my aunt's house waking up every morning to the reassuring, gentle, yet solemn bell of the local church. I stop. I breathe. I am present. The slow and steady ringing of the church bells awakens my spiritual pulse reminding me of the significance of every moment, of the marvels that surround me... The wonders of the world aren't far away.

We are rambling around the neighborhood, enjoying each other's company and immersing in the charm of our town; our son standing tall beside us, my husband making jokes, I, myself, trying to hold my dress to prevent a Marilyn Monroe moment when the air from the street vent shafts blows it up unexpectedly. Brunch at the restaurant gives us lasting energy for the day. We laugh, we share impressions, we agree "Toronto is one cool city!" The hesitant sun touches our faces as we make ourselves comfortable on the bench and watch people passing. We feel cozy in a very large place. We spot a friend...

Everything seems brighter, everything tastes better, everything is exciting and promising, everything has a pleasant smell, everything we do feels right this day.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."                                                                                                                                                                                   ~ Mary Jean Irion, "Let Me Hold You While I May"

You can see more of my iPhone photos and Instagram gallery here or click on the button on the righthand side of the blog. 

What are your weekends looking like lately?