Monday, May 29, 2017

An Awesome Day in Toronto

After our long day of traveling yesterday we decided last night not to set an alarm. So this morning we slept in and awoke at around 8:00am. After getting showered, dressed and organized we were ready to venture out.

I checked a map and we decided to start our day by walking to the St. Lawrence Market thinking we could grab some breakfast once we got there. So we left the hotel on Queen St. W. and headed east. We walked approximately 2.1 km (1.3 miles) along Queen St. to Jarvis St and then headed south to the Market. Along the way we saw lots of things - the South African War Memorial, the Ontario Courts, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (home of the National Ballet of Canada), the Nathan Phillips Square (with a beautiful fountain and lighted 'Toronto' display), lots of shops and restaurants, some beautiful architecture, the Old Toronto City Hall, St. James Park, and then finally the St. Lawrence Market. Unfortunately, I did not do my homework and we weren't able to visit since it was closed today (Closed on Mondays). We still hadn't had any breakfast so we decided to head toward the CN Tower and looked for something along the way. We had passed quite a few places before we got to the Market but after the Market things were not looking so good. Then we saw a Tim Hortons (which happen to be everywhere) and decided to go in. This is a coffee house that also serves light breakfast. But we didn't stay here to eat - there was a line of about 18 people. So we left and saw some more restaurants a couple of blocks down. Again, no dice - these weren't open for breakfast. So we headed back toward the CN Tower and I noticed a sign at an office building for Coco Deli. So we went in and we each had a breakfast sandwich and coffee. Just what we needed! While eating we decided to do a sightseeing bus tour of the city and found where we needed to go for tickets. It was a little after 10:00am when we left the Deli. Just across the street from the Deli is Berczy Park. We noticed a trompe l'oeil painting on the back of a building. So we walked into the park and took some pictures. The painting is on the back of a beautiful old flatiron builiding. After the pictures were taken we walked down Wellington to Yonge. We walked down Yonge to Queens Quay. Then we walked down Queens Quay to Robertson Crescent. Here we found the place to get our tickets. During our walk here we stopped to take pictures and stopped to check out a few things. It was around 11:30am and the guy selling the tickets told us that the tickets included a harbor boat tour and there was one at noon. We decided to do that first.

So we walked a few blocks to the boat (crossing the Amsterdam Bridge - used in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding). We only had a short wait until the tour began boarding and we headed out. The cruise takes you out onto Lake Ontario and around the Toronto Islands (we had wanted to take a ferry to the Islands and do some exploring but the Islands were closed and the ferrys werent' running due to the Islands being flooded). It lasted about 45 minutes and when we first started out if was sunny and warm but towards the end a little storm moved in. We got some rained and wind and it got a little chilly out on the water but by the time we docked the sun was back out and it was as if the storm had never happened. I enjoyed the boat ride and getting to see the Toronto skyline. After leaving the boat we retraced our walk back to where we bought our tickets and boarded the bus for a driving tour of the city. This is one of those Hop-on, Hop-off tours and is called City Sightseeing Toronto. There are 21 stops along the route and you can get on and off the bus as much as you want for 48 hours from the time you bought your ticket. We did the entire route without doing the on/off thing and then we left the bus at around 2:30pm to find something to eat. We had a quick late lunch at Gabby's on King St. W and decided what we wanted to do next.

After eating and relaxing we decided to walk to the CN Tower and get some views of Toronto from way up high. We went through security, bought our tickets and took the elevator to the observation floor. The elevator is quick (58 seconds at 15 mph for 1136 feet) and interesting - you get a view of the City as you head up with a window looking out, you can see down to the ground with windows on the floor and you can see the elevator shaft with a window on the side - very nice! Once at the observation floor (called LookOut) you get some spectacular views pretty much 360° through large windows. Then you can go down a level (or two) to an outside (enclosed with bars and wire) for more views. Also, on that level is a glass floor that you can walk on - it is also set up with a camera overhead and you can have your picture take from above looking down to the ground below. No, I (nor Thomas) did not walk on the glass floor, I just stood at the edge and took pictures. For an additional fee you can also go up a little higher to the Skypod but we didn't do that. And, they also have something called the EdgeWalk (Watch here!). You get put into a jumpsuit and fitted with a safety harness. Then you go outside (yes outside the building on a platform that goes around the entire building way up in the air) and you are connected to a metal railing and you walk around the building. And if you are adventurous you can lean over the side looking down or lean backwards over the edge. And, NO!!! we did not do this - too expensive and too scarey! After leaving the Tower we spent a little time walking around outside and taking some pictures before going to one more thing before calling it a day.

We walked back to Queen St. W (which is where our hotel is located) and went to Nathan Phillips Square. I wanted to see the fountain and the Toronto display and get some pictures. We arrived there with lots of other people - it was around 5:30pm and people had finished work and were just hanging around. I got some nice pictures of the fountain and the display (this display consists of the letters spelling out Toronto with a maple leaf at the end - the letters light up and change colors). After this we decided to call it a day. We returned to the hotel, showered and just relaxed. Tomorrow we will spend a part of the day in Toronto and then head to Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side).

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