Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Arriving in Niagara Falls - WOW!!!

It is our final day in Toronto (well only part of the day) and then we are off to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. We started this morning by getting all of our things packed and then loaded into the car and then checked out of the hotel. Once that was done we set out to do a few more things in Toronto before making the drive to Niagara Falls.

The first thing we did was walk along Queen St. W. and looked for Rush Lane. I was looking for Graffiti Alley.
[Also known as Rush Lane or Rick Mercer’s Alley: This motherlode of graffiti art (about a kilometre of space) runs west from Spadina Ave. to Portland St. The back alley entrance can be found between Queen St. and Richmond St. Some artery offshoots also run north or south from this alleyway.]
We had no problem finding the area and it was worth taking the time - some really beautiful art and we had a great time walking amongst it. There is one main alley with a few little side alleys and most of the buildings are fully covered in art. I took lots of pictures and we ended up spending about an hour in the area before moving on to our next location.

From here we walked along Richmond St. heading east until we arrived at Yonge St., here we turned and walked south to Wellington. We took Wellington east just a few blocks to Berczy Park. At this park we took pictures of the beautiful dog fountain and then continued our walk on Front St. passing by the Flatiron Building. A few more blocks down Front St. brought us to our destination - the St. Lawrence Market. We spent a little time wandering around the market checking out the vendors and then stopped at Paddington's Pump for some breakfast. After eating we walked around the market for another little while and then headed out to continue our day.

We continued our walked along Front St. until we reached Parliament St. and turned right and walked two blocks to Mill St. where we turned left and made our way into the Distillery District. We spent a little time letterboxing here but I won't go into detail about that. If you want to read about our letterboxing adventures you can go to A Few Boxes in Canada. We checked out a few places here and took some pictures. We decided we didn't want to walk anymore and we still had our tickets for the Hop-on, Hop-off bus so we made our way to the bus stop location to catch the next bus. We rode the bus to the stop closest to where our car was parked. It was now time to say good-bye to Toronto and head for Niagara Falls.

Before we settled in Niagara Falls we decided to take a drive up to Niagara-on-the-Lake. I had read that it was a beautiful place to visit and spend a little time. When we arrived in town we had some trouble finding a place to park. The town was packed. So we continued through town to Queenston Heights Park to do a little letterboxing (go to A Few Boxes in Canada to read about that) and walk around a bit. This park is beautiful - well manicured, some wonderful monuments, a restaurant and a commanding view of the Niagara River. We took pictures and found the letterboxes and then made our way back to Niagara Falls.
[Note: When I planned the drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake I had wanted to drive from Niagara Falls along Niagara Parkway. Everything I had read said it was a beautiful drive. But we ended up following Google Maps from our phone and it took us another way and I never realized what was happening. My point is that if you are going to drive from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake make sure to take Niagara Parkway.]
Once back in Niagara Falls we made our way to the hotel to get checked in. We pulled up in front of the hotel (Embassy Suites by Hilton) and we were greeted by valets. There is no parking at the hotel - it is a few blocks away - and you have to pay for parking (C$60/day). So, we gathered our luggage, left the keys with the valet and entered the hotel to get checked in. At the desk the guy checking us in showed us where our room was located in the building. I had reserved a Fallsview Room - it had a good view of  Horseshoe Falls. Then he showed us a room view that encompassed all the Falls (American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe). It was only C$25/night extra. We took it! Check in was complete and we headed to the elevator, took it up to the 16th floor, found our room and entered. The room was incredible (and we had splurged for the room and view) - we entered into a sitting area with a desk, sofa, chair and tv. then you walk down a hall with a coffee set up and sink on one side and the door to the bathroom on the other. You enter the bathroom and there is a whirlpool tub on the right with an opening looking into the bedroom (it has shuttered doors to close for privacy if needed) and a sink on the back wall. There is a door on the left (opposite the tub) that goes into a small room with a toilet and shower. The bedroom had two queen beds and floor to ceiling windows, a dresser with a tv and a comfy chair. But none of that really mattered - it was all about the view. A full view of all the Falls, the Niagara River and Niagara Falls, USA. I have to admit that I would pay the money all over again to stay in a room with this view. It was stunning!!! We spent about an hour just sitting and enjoying the view and relaxing.

After a while we decided to find a place to eat dinner and then take a walk to get a closer look at the Falls. We ate at one of the restaurants in the hotel and then walked along a promenade that paralleled the road and river below. Along the way there were viewing areas (but because of trees there wasn't much of a view) where you could sit and there were shops and other buildings along the way as well. We then exited the promenade onto Murray St. and that took us to Niagara Parkway and a walkway along the river with great views of the Falls. So we walked from the American Falls down to Horseshoe Falls and the Visitor Center. We probably spent an hour or so just enjoying being at this incredible wonder before deciding to head back to the room to shower and relax after a long busy day. I am sitting here on one of the beds writing this and I am reveling in the view I have of the Falls. As the day fades the Falls are illuminated - the colors change every so often and my favorite so far is when the American Falls are red, white and blue and the Canadian Falls are red and white. It is really time for me to get some sleep so we can enjoy our first full day at Niagara Falls.

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