Toronto and CCS: First impressions

Caution: Very long blog… I tried to condense my first 25 days in this post!

The Weather

img_0201When I first got here, weather was always a convo starter and I totally relate why. So, you see, it deserves the top spot for this story.

I was never used to talking about it back home because it’s relatively predictable there. Here, it’s a major topic that actually makes up a chat. What makes it more amusing is the fact that it is confusing, i.e. snow doesn’t mean it’s colder. When the day is brighter, it’s actually colder because there are no clouds trapping the warmth (cue in Sineskwela music…). Aaaand… despite my weather shock, people keep telling me that this winter is actually “warm”! HOW?!

I took photos outside my apartment on days that I actually liked the weather, i.e. cheerful, bright (white and clean count as bright). Below are some photos that will try to tell you what I mean.

 The People

Before coming here, I was imagining things, but it is only when you allow yourself to fully immerse and find comfort in the different that you will begin to appreciate the beauty in things. 

I want to underscore how polite, neighborly, and warm the people here in Canada are. Daily paper front pages contain stories of kindness and generosity. I would always clumsily drop my winter gloves in the subway and, one time, this guy from the other side of the train went out of his way to approach and pick them up for me.

My office mates are equally friendly, easily approachable, and seemed genuinely appreciative about me being here. Of course, I can’t miss my kababayans who also work in the Society!

CCS Filipino delegation–our first lunch together!

The Society and its work

The vision is a Canada where no one fears cancer. 

I see how the Canadian Cancer Society and its people live up to this promise every single day. They have a very clear sense of purpose and the mission is easily articulated. Even their emblem, the Daffodil, embodies the message of HOPE. The Society’s goals are to reduce the burden of cancer in the country and enhance the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. They FIGHT FOR LIFE.

I’ve done a couple of engagements with staff and external partners, and I always walk out of meetings awestruck about how their work bring them closer to the goal. It gives me pride, while humbles me at the same time, to know that I will be part of this work at least in the next 6 months. (Stories about my assignment on my next blog)

And just yesterday, the Society announced its joining forces with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). Read more about this exciting development here.

The Places to See

So I tried to make good use of my weekends despite the strong urge to stay curled up in bed and went to see some tourist spots in Toronto. I bought tickets to these must-see attractions via the CityPass and it saved me 43% so it was already a good deal. 

CN Tower
It used to be the world’s tallest self-supporting structure until 2007, when Burj Khalifa and Tokyo Skytree happened. There’s an outdoor edge walk, which I, of course, didn’t dare try. Best to go before sunset to get a good view of downtown Toronto at dusk, just aww.

Royal Ontario Museum
The nerd in me got all excited about this. Here are my favorite exhibits.

Casa Loma
I have a particular penchant for old, grand things and so I thoroughly enjoyed going around this majestic castle.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
I miss the water in the tropics and the underwater life. One of my faves so far!

Even outdoor stuff are picturesque.

“Do-what-the-locals-do” will be up next.


  1. Great blog, Kristel! Loved your views on the weather!! And I concur…it has been a very WARM winter! Be sure to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame and a Maple Leafs game…even if you don’t like hockey you’ll appreciate these two places!!! Looking forward to your next blogs. Looks like you are enjoying yourself already and I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures!!

  2. Nice! By simply reading this post, I feel like I have been to Canada. Love that you posted lots of tasteful photos. Looking forward in reading your next blog specifically on the stories of your assignment in the society! PS. I particularly like the scene on the subway.

    1. Hey, Chardy! Thanks for following my stories and sharing it on FB. Hehe. I miss you, guyzzz and our kalokohan back home. Hope everyone’s doing great! 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I can see that you are enjoying both the new friendships and the weekend tours… until the next blog…
    Take care and pray always!

  4. Hey, Kristel! I enjoyed reading your blog post! I am happy that you’re doing well. Totes on loving old and grand things! Hahaha! Hope to hear more of your stories when you get back, most especially your work with the Canadian Cancer Society. 🙂 Take care always!

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