Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Short break in Canada

Having just returned from a short trip to Canada during April, I thought I'd share a few of my memories and pictures on my first visit to Canada.

I arrived at Toronto Pearson International airport after an 8-hour flight from London Heathrow, which seemed to take an age for some reason. I must say after flying Virgin Atlantic the previous month, the Air Canada plane seemed very basic indeed. I can remember barely being able to see the movie, which if I remember correctly was In the Line of Fire. It was by no means the worst plane I have been on, though having some decent food might have gone some way to improve the experience.

Enough moaning about the flight and onto explaining what I did in Canada. I won't go through everything as I'm sure that will bore most people to death and you'll probably just end up looking at the pictures anyway.

On my first day I got a feel for the city by having breakfast at a place called Over Easy on Yonge Street, incidentally Yonge (pronounced young) is supposedly the longest street in the world, not that I was going to find out by walking from one end to the other. I got chatting to the guy who worked there, who quickly worked out that I wasn't from around here and told me about a few places worth visiting.

My first stop was the CN Tower which although incredibly tall, so far as being the tallest in the world, isn't really much to look at and is also really difficult to take photos of from close by. Though it's not until you go up the CN Tower do you really get to appreciate it, the views were incredible and I was extremely fortunate that I had a whole week of very warm and sunny weather. I really couldn't have wished for better weather, it was just perfection. The icing on the cake of the CN tower must be the glass floor, great views, though not for the faint hearted. I enjoyed it, but I could see a lot of nervous looking people around me.

I managed to cram in a visit to the Rogers Centre that used to be the Skydome until a large telecoms/cable company called Rogers bought it out. The Rogers Centre is absolutely huge and it was quite interesting being shown around the place and seeing the various facilities. It even has a hotel joined onto the centre, with about 70 rooms looking onto the field.

I also did a cruise of the harbour and Toronto Islands from Queens Quay West, which was very nice and relaxing. The captain of the ship was a very good looking girl as well, which made it all the more pleasant. I recommend taking a tour and you're in for a treat if she's on the same boat!

One thing about Toronto is that I guess close to 50% of the population are immigrants, which is great as you've got plenty of different types of food to choose from and most groups will have their own district like China Town and Little Italy. Kensington Market is an excellent area to check out, there are just so many different people from all parts of the world there.

Toronto is a great place for shopping as well as having some huuuuuuge great malls; it has a city beneath a city. In fact there are other 27km of underground shopping arcades. I did manage to get lost a few times as the directions aren't always straightforward.

I visited Niagara Falls, which was quite a nice attraction, but ultimately I felt a bit let down because of the cheesy amusement arcades and casinos within 2 minutes walk of the falls. The Maid of the Mist was a truly excellent boat tour, which after you have put on your raincoat goes past the Bridal Veil Falls and then towards the mist coming off the Horseshoe Falls. This is the perfect opportunity to get soaked, just make sure you put your camera away somewhere!

The Bad: Toronto can be quite expensive, lots of homeless people, though most are very pleasant and helpful.

The Good: Good eating, very clean for a large city, plenty to keep you occupied and the nicest female captain I have ever met.

So would I go back to Toronto again? I would have to say definitely yes.


Ash said...

Excellent pics, looks like a beautiful place and i'm glad you enjoyed it despite some of it's flaws.

nac said...

Excellent place and the flaws are relatively minor. Hope to go back one day. :)

MarciNYC said...

ahhhhhhhh... it's been 20 years, no 21, since I was in Toronto. I think it's time for a visit again.

Great photos -- thanks for sharing. I'll be back to see where you travel next.

nac said...

Just got back from London for the weekend, will put up some of my photos in the next day or two.