Horseshoe Tavern 370 Queen Street West, Toronto

My last couple of Detours to took me to Toronto and back for shows, but this one was a day trip full of exploring, like the good tourist I am, followed by a show at night to support my pals New Hands. Along with my friend Luisa, we drove out to the city we are now feeling more familiar with, excited for a nice spring adventure.

We grabbed some coffee and just enjoyed walking the length of Queen Street. A highlight for us was a trip to Steve’s Music Store. Marveling over all of the guitars, keyboards, and drums, it fueled our desire to want to learn. So overwhelming, I wouldn’t know where to start, but still inspiring!

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Amid the urban downtown core, we found a little spot to sit. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, passing through an iron gate that looked closed off to the rest of the world and ending up in a gorgeous garden filled with trees and flowers. It was an ideal spot for photos and we watched a happy wedding party having a photo shoot. The groomsmen had swagger, let me tell you! This sparked a mini photoshoot of our own.

Photo by Luisa
Photo by Luisa

Getting hungry, we decided on something of the fast food variety and checked out Hero Certified Burgers, on the corner of Spadina and Queen. It’s a chain in Toronto and its surrounding areas (there is one in Burlington too). This one is open 24/7 – good to note for a future late night stop.

We had walked so much already that it felt good to have a seat and relax. Looking at the menu, we said it was like a gourmet burger joint. I chose the Cranberry Onion Turkey Fiesta, which I noted tasted like Thanksgiving. Luisa had the Blue Moon, which had blue cheese, and is available just for a limited time. We liked how the fries were cut in tiny pieces.

Hero Certified Burgers
Hero Certified Burgers

From there, we needed to walk off our meals, so we headed back down Queen and ducked into a few shops, making mental notes along the way. Our walk continued on and we inadvertently ended up in Chinatown, where we had never been before. Just past that, we had a rest stop in Grange Park before heading back to Queen.

We arrived fashionably early at Horseshoe Tavern, happy to be back again (our first time ever at Horseshoe was two months prior for Kate Nash). I’m excited to get to know more Toronto venues.

New Hands
New Hands

This was my first time seeing New Hands play out of town, unless Burlington counts, but I consider that still within my general reach. It’s also, surprisingly, the closest I’ve ever been to the stage at one of their shows. Excuse the blurry photos, but I was so close I just couldn’t bear to put the flash on right in their faces! I was very proud to see them rock the ‘Shoe for the first time. Their first of many shows at the legendary venue, I’m sure.

New Hands
New Hands

I was really impressed with one of their newer songs, “Dreamer.” It was the best I’ve heard it sound yet and I just happened to choose that one to film. Spence mentioned they had just played the song back in Hamilton on Morning Live a couple days before. We were also treated to a new song that I had heard maybe once before. Their material is shaping up nicely and if I haven’t already expressed my excitement for this album – I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS ALBUM!

New Hands
New Hands

Members of Toronto bands Wildlife and PUP were also in the house, and my friend Brendan McCarney of Last Frame Pictures. It felt like home in that way, with fellow artists out to support each other.

Shout outs to the other bands that night – The Turks, The Canadian Shield, and Dangerband (who I saw for the first time a couple months ago opening for Hollerado). All great bands, although I have to let my hometown bias take over for this particular post!

More Detours to come this summer!

– Kristin

kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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