A Travellerspoint blog

Toronto

August 2nd - 23rd

We opted for a 3 week stay in Toronto to give us sufficient time to explore both the city and surrounding area and as usual, give us some stability for Alyssa and her schoolwork. As it turns out, most of the above was accomplished.

Our accommodation was a 3 bedroom Townhouse in Little Portugal, just on the fringe of Downtown (We could walk to Downtown in about an hour). Our house has all the modern amenities; gas stove, high speed internet and a wonderful back room where both plenty of bouldering (Alyssa) and world exploration (Nick) took place. Sadly though for Alyssa, no TV was present so she had to resign to watching TV shows on Youtube after dinner each night.

The world of Bouldering

The world of Bouldering

As we arrived on a Sunday, we promptly found the nearest Supermarket (about a 20 mins walk away) and then prepared the week's worth of study. Our host left us an extensive list of activities in the neighbourhood, one of which was a Farmers Markets on the Monday afternoon which Ronnie and I attended. It turns out that there are 3 Farmers Markets in the area, all in different locations, on different days and for the most part, with different vendors. As usual, the first week was mostly schoolwork and the occasional walk around the neighbourhood. Thankfully for Alyssa there was a wonderful park/playground just across the road which was frequented regularly when her school work was completed.

Our first trip to Downtown was on a Friday via the local Streetcar. We caught up with an ex Townsville friend, Mark McGregor who was in Toronto for 6 weeks as part of the organization group for the PanAm and Para PanAm games. He recommended we catch up at a great and cheap Thai restaurant and we ate, drank and just wondered how Townsville was copping without us. We also visited the famous St Lawrence Markets where meat, poultry, seafood, breads, pastas, fruit, vegetables, you pretty much name it was sold by the numerous vendors.

St Lawrence Market

St Lawrence Market

On the weekend we decided to partake in our usual activity of renting a car and travelling into the countryside. Our Saturday destination was the small town of Fergus, about an hours drive West of Toronto. The reason was the 70th Annual Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games. Highlights were the Tug of War, the hammer and stone throws with competitors from all over the world, Highland fling dancing, bagpipes (we missed seeing/hearing the Red Hot Chilli Pipers) and a Guinness World Record attempt for the most Cabers tossed at one time. Thankfully for the 15,000 people in attendance a new record of 69 was set.

Fergus

Fergus


Parade

Parade


Caber toss World Record achievement

Caber toss World Record achievement


Outdoor curling

Outdoor curling


Tug of War

Tug of War

Sunday's destination of choice was Niagara Falls, a mere 90 min drive away. A few things should be noted about Niagara Falls. Firstly, the town of Niagara Falls is tacky. Its basically a small version of Las Vegas, mostly with a view of the falls but it definitely feels over commercialised and out of place. Secondly, the falls are amazing. They may not be the highest waterfalls in the world, but the sheer volume of water cascading is intense. The Canadian side provides the most complete view of both the American and the much more impressive Canadian falls. We cannot really fathom visiting the falls from the USA side without crossing the border to get a better view of the Canadian falls to gain a greater appreciation of the amount of water that flows over the waterfalls (more than a million bathtubs per second). Afterwards we promised to take Alyssa out for lunch and we visited the Rainforest Café, a themed restaurant that is designed to depict some features of a tropical rainforest including plant growth, thunder and figures of rainforest animals. To enhance this theme, some of the figures are animatronic. Our lunch order was misplaced and took longer than normal to be delivered so we were provided with a complimentary sparkling Volcano dessert.

Niagara Falls 1

Niagara Falls 1


Niagara Falls 2

Niagara Falls 2


Rainforest cafe

Rainforest cafe


Sparkling Volcano dessert

Sparkling Volcano dessert

The following weekend we ventured Downtown for our second and last time for the Inaugural Annual Sweetery festival were a wide variety of sweets and drinks were on offer with many stalls hosted by the students of a Culinary School. Following the sugar fix we headed to the historic Distillery district, home to many of Toronto's hottest designer boutiques, unique cafes, artisan shops, art galleries and the Mill Street Brewery, the destination for Dinner along with a sample of a few of their beers.

Alyssa love

Alyssa love


Sweetery festival

Sweetery festival


Mill Street Brewery

Mill Street Brewery

Our last full day in Toronto we decided to attend the 130th Annual Canadian National Exhibition, the Canadian version of the show or Ekka which is actually one of the largest 'fairs' in North America. Highlights were the Mardi Gras Parade, International Sand sculpting competition, Rising Star talent competition and the Big Bang Theory Art exhibition.

Sand sculpting

Sand sculpting


Big Bang Theory Art exhibit

Big Bang Theory Art exhibit


Rules to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Rules to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Next stop ..... a 4 hour flight West to Calgary.

Posted by V3USA 15:55

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login