I always wondered which came first: the mall or the subway stop. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can tell you that the mall was there for a full decade before the subway extension. Apparently Yorkdale was the largest mall in Canada when it was built in the late 60s; and one of the largest in the world at the time. Hooray? I guess. If you like malls.

We took the Cherry car to St Andrew and double-checked that the subway was running (we learn from our mistakes, eventually) and then north to Yorkdale Station. We had to visit the mall. There’s literally nothing else in the vicinity; west of Dufferin is plazas and industrial areas and after Downsview and Wilson we wanted a little something different. A thing that I would choose to describe as “air conditioning”. (It was over 35°C in the shade. They declared a heat advisory after we arrived.)

I do enjoy shopping, even just window browsing, and I especially enjoy shopping indoors when it is horrible outside. During my last week in Tokyo my friend Kayoko and I spent a very fun afternoon trawling around Aeon Lake Town, which is one of the largest malls in Japan–it has TWO subway stops dedicated to it and also an indoor lake. Yorkdale does not have an indoor lake. Mind you, since most malls in Canada are a variation of the same stores no matter where you go, Yorkdale redeems its lack-of-lake by being “luxury” mall. It’s kinda fancy. It’s the first point of entry into Canada for a lot of retailers and that means it works hard to attract them. The recent renovations made it even more open, spacious, and deliciously air-cooled.

Also Ean needs some new shoes and Rockport was having a sale.

(Their previous shoes were ones we bought in March in Mihara, and they are already disintegrating. Mind you the sneakers were only 3000Y in a tiny mall in the edge of a small town, so it’s a miracle that they lasted this long.)

Of course it’s still a Saturday, so after less than an hour we were both d-o-n-e from the crowds and interested to see what else lay in the area. New shoes equipped, we ventured out into the baking sunshine.

So what else is there around Yorkdale?

Short answer: nothing.

Longer answer: once we walked back to Bathurst, plenty.

Walking south on Bathurst, we stopped at La Mexicana, a teeny but delightful Mexican restaurant for lunch. We shared a plate of *very* loaded nachos–almost more than enough for two people–and a cold bottle of apple pop (that I have since made it my quest to track down and stock my fridge with. It was very light and not too sweet). The entire meal was under $20 but we tipped well and that left us with about $3 out of our budget for the rest of the afternoon.

Walking off the nachos in the heat was not a great idea so we retired to a nearby park to sit under some cottonwood trees. It was wiltingly hot out, even in the shade, but it was nice to lay on the grass and chat. There were a lot of families out with kids playing and between that and the mall crawl we felt very nostalgic. So clearly the only thing we could do next was track down banana popsicles.

When I was a kid we lived out in the country, and for treats we used to go into the nearby village of Cherry Valley and go to Wendy’s, which was actually run by a woman named Wendy. (Definitely not to be confused with the hamburger chain). Wendy’s was a proper general store–by which I mean it sold groceries, hardware, pest traps, assorted bits and bobs, random one-off items and also rented movies. It had a screen door on one of those old-fashioned springs that would slam it closed behind you with a very loud KER-BOING and a big freezer with lots of freezies and popsicles. Banana was my favourite, tied with lime. But while lime is a very common flavour in candy, it’s rare to find banana-flavoured anything. Maybe that’s why it’s so particularly nostalgic for me.

It took us a couple of tries to find a convenience store that sold banana popsicles specifically but we persevered (by which I mean we walked a few blocks). The lady behind the counter–possibly named Wendy but I didn’t think to ask–found our obvious delight and excitement very amusing. Also, and I don’t know if you know this, but popsicles are now A DOLLAR EACH. I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to still be a quarter BUT STILL. A dollar.

That ate up the rest of our budget but it was definitely worth it. Now when someone asks you what price you can put on reliving your childhood you can say A DOLLAR.

Or two, if you find lime popsicles at the same time.

As a post-note, while I was at Aeon Lake Town with Kayoko-san, we stopped in a Ye Olde Japanese Sweet Store and she very generously and excitedly helped me pick out an armful of sweets and snacks she’d enjoyed as a kid. Some were great, some were interesting, some were… interesting. But I think I might put together a care-package for her in return and put in some Canadian treats. Obviously popsicles are a no-go, but I think maybe pop-rocks and fun dips. What do you think?