Looking outwards for love in the daily places we find ourselves…

by Uma Mody, Staff Writer

Photo source: Uma Mody

Love, love, love. 

Valentine’s Day has the whole month of February putting you in the mood for love and comfort. We often turn to a romantic other or even our friends and family to celebrate love, and that can be fulfilling, but, what if we looked to the spaces around us?

We visit locations as often as we see our loved ones. They provide us with comfort, security, and a sense of familiarity that we can hold close to our hearts. They share a particular ambiance that we appreciate as an accessory to our day-to-day such as working, studying, walking and even setting the vibe for when we are with friends and family. They are also full of all sorts of memories.

In the digital age, we might take these spaces for granted. The obvious one: being on our phones instead of looking around and taking in the atmosphere of our surroundings. Even the idea of getting caught up in the messiness of life has us bouncing from place to place, without taking many seconds at all to breathe in each setting. But the digital age has also conditioned us to discuss and rate these places in a virtual world. For example, TikTok provides us with ideas for where to take your hubby for Valentine’s day, where the best cafés to study in T.O. are, and even where nice parks and places of comfort scatter around the city. Comment sections create a space to discuss our feelings in these places and what the general “vibe” is—sometimes as a warning by recommending not to go, other times as a way to understand what a place can do for someone. 

Sometimes, merely reflecting on our routines and familiar places is enough to appreciate and cherish them. Below are some of my favourite places to go to, and what they mean to me:

Church and Wellesley & Second Cup

It was a Sunday. I strolled into Second Cup after looking for somewhere to study post a long weekend of procrastinating and struggling to find the mood to work. My friend and I had already stopped at two other cafés down the street, but one was busy and the other was about to close. We were desperate. Church Street is already one of our favourite areas in the city: walking down brought back good memories from the summer of celebrating Pride and going out to eat at one of the various restaurants in the area. Church and Wellesley is known as a place for love, as an important queer cultural centre. The Second Cup there, where I often study, has also provided me with love and comfort, from the friendly barista asking us our own places of recommendation in the city, to listening to the warm hustle and bustle of community members meeting up for a coffee. It’s a lovely area to be in, winter or summer, so I highly recommend visiting during the month of February for some comforting vibes.

Yorkville

Yorkville will always have a special place in my heart, from childhood memories with my family to my university days of living near the area. Plus, it has a warm and buzzing vibe in the evening, especially on weekends during the summer where everyone goes out and dresses up for dinner. I tend to walk through Yorkville on my way to and from class and work, and even just in those ten minutes, my day is a bit brighter purely from the comfort of the environment. From observing rich families and their lifestyle, to spotting celebrities like Drake, Yorkville is a cute, fun place that I have cherished for many years now. 

Toronto Music Garden

Although this recommendation is for the summer, it is worth noting as a vibrant little corner of Toronto. One of my most frequently visited places is the Toronto Music Garden. The scenery is beautiful and the peaceful vibes by the lake shimmer, with live music and other groups settling themselves on the hills, basking in the sunny weather with food and drinks by their sides. My friend and I would buy a bottle of wine, get some cups with ice, and lay on the grass, enjoying whatever food we decided to bring for a picnic. The City of Toronto describes this place as “one of the city’s most enchanted locations”, and I must agree. This is most certainly a place to enjoy the feelings of love by yourself or with others.

As I’ve shared a few of my favourite places around the city for love and comfort, I hope you, too, will begin to think about and appreciate the places you find yourself feeling at home in, especially during the romantic month of February. 


Work Cited

City of Toronto. “Toronto Music Garden”. Toronto.

https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/1707/index.html.

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