The drive from Niagara Falls to Toronto via Queen Elizabeth Way is an easy and direct path, but full of traffic. What I thought would be an hour, hour and a half drive turned into something like three hours. That's okay, though, because Toronto was our destination and I was excited to get there!
First impressions of Toronto...the outer boroughs of NYC. In fact, the apartment we rented in the Little Portugal section reminded me a lot of Astoria, right down to the confusing parking areas in an alley behind the houses. Once we'd found where to park the car, we quickly unpacked the car and moved into our new digs, another AirBnB place. By the time we had done this, it was already around 5 p.m. and we were starving. Our host told us that there were a lot of great eateries in the neighborhood, so we set out for a walk in search of food and just checking out Toronto.
Kinda Queensish, right? Anyway, after walking around for hours, deciding that we were way underdressed for a lot of the eateries we came across, we opted for some Mexican takeout and headed back to the apartment...delish! The rest of the evening was spent sitting on our cool little porch, drinking, laughing and people watching. That night was probably the most relaxing and one of the funnest nights of the entire trip. Oh, and Gary found a lil piece of himself in that neighborhood, too...
The view from our porch
We had until Monday morning at the flat in Toronto, and our plan was to explore the city on Saturday and hit Canada's Wonderland on Sunday, our last full day. Start with roller coasters, finish with em. We got up Saturday morning and headed on foot towards Lake Ontario, the center of the downtown area. I should have known ahead of time that we'd be doing a lot of walking that day...any day spent exploring a city is such, and boy did we walk! Over 30,000 steps that day!
One of the sites that we wanted to visit was the world-famous CN Tower, an icon of the Toronto skyline. We walked along the water, using our vision to get towards the iconic landmark. The day was gorgeous, sunny skies and warm temperatures, and we meandered through the promenade, stopping at an outdoor craft fair along the way. Once we'd hit the street where we wanted to be, we left the shoreline towards CN Tower.
Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, is just next to the tower and a game was just beginning, which was kind of cool. I almost wished I had bought tickets to the game because that would have been even cooler. As it turned out, the CN Tower itself was a day killer! The line to go up to the observation deck was about three hours long, and though it did kill much of our day, and our energy, it was still a pretty awesome thing to do.
As you might imagine, the views of the city and Lake Ontario were spectacular, and looking down into the stadium was pretty neat. They had this one attraction up there, a windowed floor that you could stand on, looking all the way down 1,800-plus feet right below you. Not as easy as it sounds. Rich was the brave one there, taking advantage of the unique perch. Me, I stepped on and off so quickly, you had to be watching me all along to catch it, lol. Check out some pictures...
There's my brave Dit!
After the tower, we headed back to walk along the waterfront once again, with a new destination in mind. I had read in a guide book about this place called the Distillery. I wasn't sure exactly what it was, and I did misjudge the distance, causing us to walk another hour or so just to get there. The Distillery is a district full of cafes, shops and restaurants set within the former, historic home of the former Gooderham & Worts Distillery.
Though the place was charming, I think the long walk there had taken the wind out of our sails a bit and we tiredly meandered through the bustling area in a little over an hour. It was a cool place, very crowded, and it was there that I found my Toronto Maple Leafs shirt. That's a thing I have about Canada. I'm a big hockey fan (I would have LOVED to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but didn't want to torture Rich and Gary.) and whenever I visit, I like to grab a shirt of the local hockey team. I added this one to my Quebec Nordiques shirt that I bought awhile back. Anyway, check out some of the sights of the Distillery...
These ladies were selling prose, on any topic, name your price. I couldn't think of a topic.
By the time we were ready to leave the Distillery, we were starving. We decided to head more towards home, this time in a taxi, to catch a row of restaurants that a local artist had told Gary about. We opted for a big sports bar, of which I can't remember the name, and we ended up staying there for several hours, closing our night over some brewskies and conversation. It wasn't the evening I had envisioned, but we were tired and we did have a lot of laughs.
We made our way home, bellies full and a little bit of a buzz in our heads, looking forward to sitting on our porch with some more laughs as we contemplated our day in Toronto. The moon was bright that night, a perfect period to a pretty nice day! Very cool city, Toronto. I think I'd like to visit again.
The next day, Sunday, would be the last day of a very memorable trip. We were going to finish it like we started...riding roller coasters. Stay tuned as we take a look at the cool Canadian coasters of Canada's Wonderland, and in the meantime, check out the rest of the trip...