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Toronto

finding my Happy Place

If you’ve ever experienced a Canadian winter, you likely know these three things to be true: it starts far too early, lasts much too long, and is ridiculously cold. While my February birthday technically makes me a winter baby, I’m definitely not cut out for temperatures below 10C and find myself constantly drained of energy as soon as the cold weather hits.

I’ve mentioned before how Instagram-friendly locations are one of my (many) weaknesses, so after seeing places like the Museum of Ice Cream and Color Factory all over my feed, I made it my mission to find something like that near Toronto. Enter Happy Place, a pop-up installation filled with bright colours, lots of confetti, and rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches – the perfect Instagram-worthy cure for winter melancholy.

After a full week of suffering through rain, wind, and the first snowfall of the season, my Happy Place appointment had finally arrived. Armed with my brightest sweater (who knew I owned clothing that wasn’t monochrome?), a fully-charged phone (a truly rare sighting), and my best friend/reluctant photographer, I set off for the Harbourfront Center.

And, of course, I had to dress up for the occasion – a phrase here which means “wear clothes that weren’t monochrome.” ModCloth made my dream of looking like a fun schoolteacher come true with this bright, rainbow sweater which perfectly coordinated with the buttons on my matching skirt. The Happy Place employees all gave me compliments, which I guess means that wearing colour once in a while can pay off.

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For the first ~5 minutes of the visit, there were only a few of us inside. This lulled me into a false sense of security, leading to me spending far too much time eating tiny M&M candies in the entranceway and being startled by the 5 o’clock rush. Even with an influx of people, I rarely had to wait more than a few minutes for a photo spot – something that was probably helped by the time limit imposed on a few of the installations. (That said, if you think I’m tempted to go back for a second visit, just to get more cute photos with candy machines, you would be correct.)

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An hour later, once I had made it through all the installations, I found myself fully recharged and ready to take on the world. Sorry Instagram haters, it turns out that good selfie lighting really can be the best medicine.