From the fifth floor café of the Art Gallery of Ontario, you can see Grange Park and all the way south to the CN Tower. I was sitting there last Sunday taking in the sunny view along with my latté when I noticed something odd.
The place was full. Every table had smiling, happy people. But I was the only person sitting alone. Now, I know for a fact that I'm not the only single person in Toronto. In fact, researchers tell us that half of the baby boom generation is single. So, where was everyone else?
I realized it's time that single folks -- whether or not they're looking to put a ring on it -- came out to play. I've got nothing against online dating (the fastest-growing segment is people 55-plus), but I'm hoping to meet my next beau the old-fashioned way. It's a numbers game. The more I go out, the more chances I'll have to meet the next Mr. Right. (And others have got to play if this is going to work...)
Besides, novelist Henry Miller put it best, "Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music -- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with splendid treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people. Forget yourself."
In this spirit, I humbly submit a list of my favourite places to go solo in this city -- and invite you to do the same in return (where are the greatest places to enjoy life and meet fun, fascinating people in your town?).
Royal Conservatory of Music's Koerner Hall
This is a jewel box and, bar none, my favourite place to take in a performance. This Saturday, November 26, I'm going to Still Black, Still Proud's "African Tribute to James Brown" and you better believe I'm going to dress up for this one! (Check out my video below -- it was shot there.)
Indigo Books Manulife Centre
Who says the bookstore is dead (right, Ann Patchett?). This is the flagship store of a Canadian company, and I've taken to calling it the community centre -- I often meet someone I know there. I'm working on the modern equivalent of dropping a hankie. Something like, "Hey, sailor, carry my books to the cash?"
So much nightlife for an early bird -- but, yes, I'm going to see a play, too. Red, about the painter Mark Rothko (by playwright John Logan) got terrific reviews in London, and I've heard great things about this production. If you want to go, it's on at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts until December 17th.
Lee Valley Tools
Last year I went shopping there with my brother on Christmas Eve -- and two guys approached me with that, "How you doin'?" look. Had I not been in the middle of writing my third book, I'd have become a regular visitor. Count on me heading there once a week over the busy holiday season.
LCBO Tutored Tastings
I'm going to go to some tastings at what we Torontonians call the LCBO - the largest beverage alcohol importer in the world. I figure a nice malt whiskey evening would be about right, and I love that they call these "tutored" -- it's not just about a free drink (or meeting men sans chaperone), after all!
Art Gallery of Ontario
Yes, I'll go back. Because I know that, having read this, thousands (or hundreds, at least) of people (and a couple of men) will be there on their own. Plus, there are some great shows this season, like one about Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde. (Saw some great Rothkos there this summer, so worlds are colliding in our fine city.)
Now, over to you... What's a great place or two to meet people in your neck of the woods?
Julia Moulden is a speaker, columnist, and author of "RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50", a 12-week course on discovering passion, purpose and possibility at midlife. Check out the video (a.k.a. book trailer!):
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