What a wild couple of years it has been! Lots of fun, hard work, growth and education! This is the closing of a chapter in my life, and a new one being started.
I got to be in Toronto for a week in July and it just so happened to be during the pan am games. What a place!
The municipal underground parking wasn’t too bad, only $6 per half hour… sarcasm doesn’t translate well through text. Anyway I found my way up a set of stairs out of the underground parking garage and popped up in the Nathan Phillips Square (NPS) where there was a PAN AM concert going on. This place was hopping! “What have I got myself into?!”, I thought.
I heard that the Eaton’s Center was one of those places that you should see if you’re in Toronto, so off I went through the park and down the road to find it! LOTS of stores in the three story high (1 or 2 underground) shopping center. When I finished checking out the variety of shop locations and had some great food court chinese food (it really wasn’t that bad), I exited the underground onto a street to continue my exploration. As I strolled around, I pulled out the touristy map that I grabbed from a tent at the NPS Pan Am festivities and saw a large yellow line that said “Yonge Street”. It looked like it looped around so I figured that I’ll just keep walking and end up back at NPS, right? A few steps later, on the sidewalk itself is written in metal “you’re on yonge street, the longest street in the world.” Well, the idea of ‘just loop around’ turned into a very bad idea at that moment.
While getting lost in Toronto (er…exploring), around the next corner, in fact, I was asked by some young folks with broken English as to where city hall was. I also was looking for city hall and told them “It’s this way… I think. Follow me!”. Off we went towards our shared destination. Turns out it was 5 kids on a university tour of Canada! Two from Brazil and three from Russia. Nice kids, I didn’t catch all their names but it was great to meet them. They spoke English really well and were well mannered. I should have given each of them my business card! Drats! In any case we ended up back at NPS, waved our farewells and I headed back to the car.
Sushi-Ya! This place was a hoot! Here’s a video of “speedy” (a sushi chef) serving up some beer with Saki shots and a blow torch!!
Seriously great sushi! Fun staff who put up with us and served us well. There were a couple loud & slightly rowdy businessman from Texas at the bar but the restaurant is laid out well enough that they didn’t disturb my dining experience. I would highly recommend you go to Sushi-Ya in Toronto/Mississauga. The outside doesn’t look all that pretty but the inside is nicely decorated and food is delicious!
I enjoyed a trip to the Ripley’s aquarium in downtown Toronto, there’s a lot to see there! If you walk slow enough you would be able to spend a whole day there enjoying the sights and sounds! Below image shows my blue man group audition. It went well although they said I didn’t have the right body type. I joke! This is a neat blue light shining down from above at the aquarium! In the background of this picture is a two story high HUGE fish tank, loaded with Kelp and sea life!
We had a great poutine at Smoke’s Poutinerie on Queensway also! There was a great gal working there who was going to school and this was her evening/weekend job. I hope she’ll forgive me, I can’t remember her name! She was awesome.
Smokes Poutinerie was full of any style of poutine toppings you could imagine! Country Chicken style poutine (chicken pot pie filling), Italian poutine (italian pizza toppings), hogtown (pulled pork, bacon and sausage) and a philly cheese steak poutine (I bet you can figure out what toppings were on this one). I don’t know if it was that we were closer to Quebec then on the west coast but the poutines were awesomer than I have had before!
We were in the poutinerie for about 40 minutes, we crossed the street to where the car was parked, I stood by the passenger door and some other guy walked up, got into the car and started it up. That’s not our car! Our rental car was gone! There was another blue toyota (like the one we were driving) parked in our spot! Luckily some college student guy rambled something to us about a car getting towed away about five minutes earlier. WHAT?! Well, that started a fun trip! Hail a cab, jump in, drive for 25 minutes to the towing yard, find out there were three unpaid parking tickets on the rental car!! Unbelievable! Well, it all worked out ok in the end… although I haven’t formally heard how the rental return went. I’ll have to ask my visiting `murican friend as it was his rental.
Well, here I am again, I’ve returned to Toronto for my tours farewell week. One night we ate at Wahlbergers, another at The Medieval Times and one at the CN Tower.
Wahlbergers was timed nicely, as we had just been seated and a Toronto Blue Jays game was just over. The line up WAS HUGE in no time. Great food though, and I was substantially full after eating (and I was hungry before sitting down).
They had a great pencil picture of Donnie and Mark on the wall. If I knew who the artist was that drew these, I’d say to them, “draw me like one of your Wahlbergs!”
My last day in Ontario was spent at Niagara Falls, what an impressive place in this world to see. There are 6 million cubic ft. of water pouring over the crest of the falls every minute, EVERY MINUTE!!!
The HornBlower was worth every penny! It’s mighty impressive to be that close to that much water. I put away the phone because I pretty sure the spray would destroy my phone with water damage (and i would have been right)! The amount “drizzle” coming from the water falls made it hard to keep your eyes open.
Side note, makes sure you buy an adventure pass, it’s the best value for sure.
I’m bummed there wasn’t more about Nikola Tesla and was saddened to hear that the power generation station had been shut down in 1999 so you don’t get to see Mr. NIkola Tesla’s original AC Generators working. I hope they do up a museum in that building, it would be AMAZING I bet.
Going behind the falls and through the tunnels was ok, The two spots where you end up behind the falls wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be (might have been that I was already on the HornBlower in front of the falls though). The look out deck at the bottom of the falls (you enter this through the “behind the falls” experience) was really neat, I’ll give you that.
The 4D movie experience was alright, kinda cool and at one point it really did feel like we were heading over the falls but you’re holding onto a railing so you know that your not moving…just your brain playing tricks on you.
Over all it was a great experience and I hope to one day bring the kids!
Dinner at the CN tower was kind of neat, the slow rotation was cool, I’d recommend going when there’s more day light, the nightline was cool, but the HUGE section of nothing over Lake Superior is boring in the dark… or frightening. It’s nothing but PURE darkness out there!
The CN Tower is SUPER tall (553 m [1814 ft]), and then standing on the glass floor is a MUST! The glass floor is 447 m (1,467 ft) high.
A buddy of mine and I jumped on the glass floor as well, freaked out some of the other tourists (ok, I was a little worried the first time we jumped as well).
We even got to see the Louis the 13th bottle of cognac! This hand blown crystal vessel with a 100 year old cognac in it! “It’s one century in a glass,” they say. This opaque black bottle retails for around $22,000 each! The bottle itself empty appears to be worth of upward of $8000 dollars.
Along the lines of “rich taste”, I did get to have food grad gold flakes on my dessert. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hesitated to eat it. I mean, it’s GOLD! I learned that gold doesn’t have any flavor and is fairly soft in this thin flake state.
All in all, Toronto is a fun place. Glad I could spend a couple weeks here experiencing this central Canadian city!