Their web site gave no clue about service times, so I guessed. The earliest Orthodox services locally start at 8:45 (not counting the ultra-early-morning minyanim), so I figured between 9 and 9:30 would be good. I walked in the door at 9:10; there was someone handing out info sheets (schedule for the rest of the week), but even after I looked around the lobby a bit I had to ask him where the women's section was (he didn't volunteer it). I walked in and right by the door was a bookcase... full of machzorim and other books, but no siddurim. Confused, I walked back out into the lobby, to be told that siddurim were in racks on the backs of the pews. Ok; I should have ignored the bookcase. Oops. Nothing wrong with any of this, but it did cause me to adjust my "friendliness" expectations. I sat down, picked up a siddur, and listened to figure out where we were. The women near me were all competent and engaged in the service (not talking with each other). Almost immediately after I sat down they started the chazan's repetition of the amidah, so they were making faster time than I'd expected. I later learned that services had been called for 8:30.
After the amidah a rabbi announced that because this was the day before Pesach, we'd be doing things a little differently. Halacha requires that you eat three real meals on Shabbat; it's permissible to fudge the last, but the first two have to be real. There is also a time limit after which you can't have chametz, but you can't eat matzah right before Pesach either. I already knew all this, but I found it refreshing that he explained it rather than assuming. So, we were going to suspend services to go eat, and then we'd come back and continue.
I followed the crowd to the social hall, which was set up for people to sit down and eat. Somebody made kiddush; it was not obvious where to get wine (or juice), so oh well. (I later found that there were cups out at the buffet table on the far side of the room.) After kiddush and motzi (said individually) I followed people to the buffet table, which was a real spread and not the cookies etc that I'm used to. I took a little food (it was, after all, 9:30 in the morning) and looked for a table to join, succeeding on about the third try. On the way I exchanged greetings with several people, but none engaged me in conversation (or invited me to join them) even after I said I was a visitor. How odd. The man I sat next to (another woman indicated that chair, so I assumed that was ok) did talk to me and seemed pretty friendly.
We had an interesting conversation, actually. He asked what brought me to Toronto and I said visiting in-laws; he then said something like "but you're here alone?" and I said yeah, I'm the religious one in the family. He then asked -- saying that if this was too personal he'd understand -- how my husband and I had reconciled our different levels of observance. You see, he's more religious than his girlfriend, and he's trying to figure out what that might mean for them. So I talked about how we had discussed this thoroughly at the beginning and set limits, but even so you don't always realize where you're going to bump into problems, so goodwill and openness are essential. (An example that I gave him: my deal with Dani is "he doesn't interfere and I don't make him do stuff". Fast forward to the first Sukkot after we moved in; I started to carry the dinner out to the sukkah, stopped, and said to him "I need to eat in the sukkah and would like to eat with you but I don't want to force you; how should we proceed?", and he followed me out.)
We didn't talk about this, but I think he's in an easier situation, especially within an orthodox community, being the man and more religious. As it was taught to me, a traditional woman follows her father's customs until she marries, and then she follows her husband's. So the community norm is already that she'll adjust. (I don't know how that works if the husband's customs are significantly less stringent, by the way. I assume such marriages are rare.) But there's a minimum ante, so to speak; you don't join a traditional congregation without accepting certain basics. They're going to be arguing over details, I expect, not "I keep kosher and you eat bacon cheeseburgers during Pesach". It's a little weird to be the observant one and a woman, meaning that I do certain things that would customarily be done by my husband (like making kiddush) except he won't do them at all. This isn't the reason I'm not an Orthodox Jew, but it is one of the things that I know would make me stand out in such a community when maybe I don't want to stand out. Even if I wanted to give up egalitarianism publicly -- which I do not, let me clarify -- it would still come up at times and feel weird.
Partway through the meal someone announced that we were welcome to keep eating (and someone would tell us when the service was resuming), but for those who are interested, the rabbi would be teaching halacha related to the haggadah. I was in the middle of this conversation so I didn't go immediately, but I caught the end of it, including something I'll write about later when I talk about the seder.
More people filed in (I assume that announcement was made), and then there was one of the things that I thought was well-done: they announced that we would be continuing with the torah service in here, and another rabbi would be teaching a class in the room next door. I think that's smart: traditional Shabbat morning services are pretty long, and if you're trying to attract people who maybe aren't fully learned (or committed yet), or who are but are there with people who aren't, providing alternate programming that's still religious seems like a good idea to me. I went to the class out of curiosity; it was fairly well-attended by both men and women. (I'd guess that about 25% of the people who had been at the kiddush were there.) The class itself was so-so (and exposed a bit of the less-desirable underbelly of Aish), but I'm glad to see it. At the end of the class the rabbi led everyone through the formal declaration nullifying any chametz remaining in our possession. He did this wedding-vow style, reading a word at a time and having us repeat -- clearly not assuming fluency here.
I had heard the end of the torah service through the wall (when everyone sings you can tell), so I guessed they were somewhere in musaf when we finished. I left at that point rather than going back in; I noticed that many other people were doing so too. (I knew that guests were expected at the house where I was staying, so I didn't want to be too late. And I don't normally do musaf anyway.)
All in all, it was an interesting experience. I don't know that I'll go back, but I'm glad I went once.