Should You Dine By Yourself in Toronto?


Have you ever had brunch by yourself?

I just did.

Or what about dinner? Or lunch?

As a single female living in a big city you don’t always have the networks you had in your hometown to relax or go out with.

Does that mean I’m going to sit at home, bored on a sunny Toronto Saturday?

Um no, it does not.

I’ve gone to plays, pubs, bars, festivals and more by myself since moving to Toronto – so why not brunch, right?

Well in this post I’m going to tell you what happens when you dine by yourself in the city.

Let me say that I’ve had lunch by-myself numerous times in London with no problems or stares. Anonymity and individuality are very much accepted in that city, as is the reality that if you live on your own in a big city you will be going to outings by yourself.

In Toronto I find a different attitude exists.

The diner I went to is very popular and was very busy when I walked in.

“How many people do you need a table for?” asks the waitress when I am clearly by myself.

“Just one,” I say.

Right away I see a kind of pity in her eyes.

“Do you want to sit at the bar, there are no tables available,” she says.

There are obviously tables available.

The bar I see, as I look over, is where the solo diners are relegated. They all look uncomfortable and awkward, trying to read their papers in peace near the noisy bar.

“I’ll wait for a table,” I respond.

Let’s stop here.

Have any of you ever experienced this? That as a female (or even male) your life is perceived to be less than desirable if you do not have company all the time?

I have friends and acquaintances, I just like being by myself and enjoying the city on my own!

Why is living a more individualistic life seen to be something sub-par or undesirable?

I’m not doomed to hang out by myself, I chose to spend this Saturday morning by-myself!

Back to my brunch experience.

When dining out on yourself a book is your savior.

Scrolling through your smart phone only works in preventing stares for a little while, after that you look desperate.

A book says ‘I’m smart and I’m enjoying this alone time’.

Once seated I took out my book because the rowdy group to the right of me was already looking at me with surprise.

As I try to read my book and settle in I really feel that my fellow diner patrons are looking at me with some kind of warped compassion.

“Should i call someone so I look normal,” I wonder.

But no, I do not.

“I will enjoy myself no matter what,” I think to myself determinedly

And you know what?

I did.

After a while I ignore those around me and enjoy my (very good) eggs florentine and my soapy book.

Pretty soon other diners who are by themselves arrive ( I guess the bar got full) and I am one of the ‘normal’.

Those who are with company enjoy their company, while those of us by ourselves enjoy our reading.

Harmony is achieved.

So will I brunch by-myself again?

Absolutely.

It was so fun and relaxing. Tomorrow I am brunching with friends, but today I was a person on her own in the city.

And you know what?

I liked it.

P.S – how cute is my hat?

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