In June I grabbed a plane ticket to Toronto to visit one of my old uni friends, oh gosh we had fun, it was a great trip!
So now to my experiences of Toronto;
Arrived in Toronto from London Gatwick about 3pm and we reached the city around 5pm and after a clean up we took a walk to the ‘Times Square’ of Toronto ie Yonge-Dundas Square. This was a great introduction to the heart of the city, and the vibrant night life. My friend is very lucky to live very close to the centre of the downtown!
One word…. well two words actually NIAGARA FALLS!!! My friend bundled me and another of his visitors on a bus to Niagara Falls and this is, no surprise, one of the highlights of my trip. I have never experienced such a overwhelming sense of how very small and delicate us human creatures are before this. It really is just like in the movies where we all dress in the waterproof ponchos and experience the full blast of the spray rolling over us. They say that the view is better from the Canadian side but if you have a ETA for USA as well you can see it from both!
We even saw Taylor Swift, the Joker and Elvis in Niagara. Out tour guide described the town as the Blackpool of Canada… 😉
Funny story actually, our guide told us not to swim in the water or cross any bridges as we would technically be illegal immigrants in USA; he told us a story of two girls who didn’t listen to the warning and crossed the bridge in the imagine below and were detained by the USA authorities for 18 hours while their passports were sent for from their hotel!
The tour trip we did also included a visit to Niagara on the Lake village, Souvenir City and a stop off at a wine tasting (this is the only University in the world in the science of wine drinking!) I don’t normally drink wine but their dessert wine was divine.. .
We started the day the Canadian way with Maple Syrup and pancakes! As is the custom in Northern America you also get too many pancakes for one person to tackle… but we needed to stock up on food for a busy day ahead of walking. Luckily all the tourist attractions in Toronto are really close to each other so you are quite able to walk from Dundas to the aquarium and CN tower, to the Toronto Islands and food markets. On this say we opted to just visit Ripleys Aquarium with our newly acquired 7 day Toronto pass that affords you access to all of the tourist attractions and saves you looooads of money….. it also only cost about £70 including tax 🙂
We set off to see the St Lawrence food market and Kensington market, we got to travel by the trams ;)… not quite as exciting as I thought it would be on the trams hahaha! Anyway between seeing both the markets we popped up the CN tower for a poggles.
Around Kensington market there was a lot of cool graffiti which offered a more bohemian vibe that was a fresh air a way from the main city buzz. In this area was what was called the ‘Garden car’ very cool! This was also the day I got bad tan lines on my feet, tut tut, my fault from not wearing sunscreen on a cold day!
n food for a busy day ahead of walking. Luckily all the tourist attractions in Toronto are really close to each other so you are quite able to walk from Dundas to the aquarium and CN tower, to the Toronto Islands and food markets. On this say we opted to just visit Ripleys Aquarium with our newly acquired 7 day Toronto pass that affords you access to all of the tourist attractions and saves you looooads of money….. it also only cost about £70 including tax 🙂
We took a walk to Riverdale Park which is located in a beautiful neighbourhood called Cabbagetown (real name!) which is full of traditional ‘English’ style homes which looked in better shape than the houses that inspired them back in the ‘old world’. The farm consisted of a barn with various animals in perfect for small children but still fun for adults! After a picnic we headed down to the lake (it seems more like a ocean it is so vast!) and jumped on a ferry to the Toronto Islands, be warned, you will need good walking shoes when visiting the island! I loved the walk around the island but was sad that is wasn’t hot enough to enjoy the beaches :).
In the centre of the island is the main hub of restaurants and cafes but we opted to get off near the Gibraltar point lighthouse so that we could snap some photos (it is meant to be haunted by the ghost of the first lighthouse man!). It was worth the walk although we did spend a lot of time trying to figure out where all these people with the Chuckle Brothers cars ie a quadricycle were coming from as we figured it would be fun to get one….. but we never found where they were dispatched from… sad days 😦
Today was a museum visiting day so we set off to the museum of Ontario and then to the Bata Shoe Museum.
I must confess that coming from a continent rich with museums and culture I was extremely disappointed with the Ontario museum….. it had the smallest gallery in the whole place dedicated to Canadian history and the aboriginals, the majority of the museum is let over to Dinosaurs (pretty cool and interesting however) and other cultures from around the world. I kind of expected a bit more history about the country that I was actually visiting
but hey the British museum in London is dedicated more to what Britain has taken from other countries than to Britain itself! It took about 4 hours to see everything 🙂
The shoe museum was nice, but very small for the price with no much to see but both of them are on the same street which makes them easy to see together.
Toronto zoo day! For such a large tourist destination getting there from the city was hard work; I had to jump on the tube then change for a local bus that takes you directly to the zoo. I went on my own that day due to my friend not feeling to well but actually ended up exploring the zoo with a Oz guy who was also visiting there alone, how crazy was that! Anyway, the zoo is very vastly spread out in the middle of a forest which affords a LOT of walking so if you plan to visit make sure you wear comfortable shoes. The animals are VERY spread out, not like London zoo where it is like bang bang bang and you have seen the entire zoo in one mile square space! (ps London Zoo might be a bit bigger than a 1 mile sq 😉 ). The great thing about this zoo is that they had just had their first panda cubs born in Canada! It was a very hot but luckily there is a lot of water fountains dotted about the park 🙂
The odd thing about the zoo being so open to local wild life the park was teeming with all sorts of unlikely animals like ducks and squirrels and other birds, and seeing them mixing with the ‘exotic’ animals was quite an endearing scene!
We had one last walk around the Riverdale park before I was dispatched off to Toronto’s main airport It is another odd thing that to get to the airport you have to take 2 tubes then a bus! Toronto really needs to sort out it’s transport system! Everyone complains about taking so many tubes to get to London Heathrow but this is crazy different!