Ok so I am sitting here, finally typing, and totally overwhelmed by you America. I’ve just finished my
university college orientation, and I’ve been living in Boston for over a week now. Damn Boston, you’re turning my head. All the new people, the culture, the ghosts, mate I think you’re stealing my heart a little 😉
You are also scaring the piss out of me because I have to be all independent and stuff. Excuse my language please.
But I can’t really start on Boston yet. Or Miami. Or NYC. Or Niagara Falls. Because I haven’t even told you about my adventures in Canada, eh? And the stereotype is true – a LOT of Canadians put ‘eh’ in wherever, whenever 😛
So I invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy my non-stop commentary (of what I can remember) of my time in Toronto. It’s only been a few weeks but it feels like a lifetime already!
Ok so, last post I was gallivanting around California, enjoying life with my cousins and basically getting adjusted from one time zone to another while riding rollercoasters. That is to say, both literally and metaphorically. Because if anyone has been through customs, they know it is a biatch…
So when I got on that plane to head over to Toronto, I was nervous and exhilarated at the same time. I mean, I had just gone from immediate family to relatives. Now I was going off to meeting friends. In my three step plan, the next step was going to be ‘go to Boston alone‘. But nope, NO, refuse to think about that. So I arrived in Toronto (Pearson Airport I’ll have you know because now I know international airport names and I feel very seasoned!!!) and waited for my friend’s flight, which was coming a bit later.
Being the sleuth/Sherlock rival that I am, my keen eye observed something. Canadians are OBSESSED with Tim Hortons 😉 – There are other alternatives, eh? So obviously, I had to buy something so I got a grilled cheese sandwich. In the US for 5 days and grilled cheese was already my first choice, don’t be judging me, it’s only natural!
It was good. I mean, the bread was big and toasted well and the cheese was totally U.S.-like so, DUH, it was awesome! But nothing to write home about. Even though I am writing about it now… UGH you know what I mean 😛
Bottom Line: Canadians, Tim Horton is fine and a cool and whatever, but I saw one every corner. Every corner.
But yes, moving on… I LOVE TORONTO (that escalation though 😛 )
It is so peaceful, and beautiful, and we weren’t even staying in the best area! The sun was super glaring but it wasn’t ridiculously hot and majority of the streets were so clean AND BEST OF ALL, traffic was literally minimal! I mean, Sydney, if you could transfer half your cars to Toronto, that city would be more lively and Sydney would become more manageable!
Can I just point out that my mate (AC) and I didn’t actually end up working out how exactly the tram system worked so we may or may not have taken advantage of our charming Aussie accents and international student vulnerability to get a few free rides and a lot of help (notice the distinction)!
However we did, on foot on tram whatever, we made our way around the city, loving every second!
Our first stop though was the CN Tower – would you believe it goes up over half a kilometre (Americans can’t convert me to using the stupid foot-inch-yard-mile system, it literally sucks!) and casually sways up in the wind when you are the top part? Casually of course, it won’t break in two… maybe 😛
My camera couldn’t even capture the enormity of it but look at the giant grand pencil! I call it that in jest because in all seriousness, it was absolutely beautiful. You stand there, looking at this and really do wonder how we made it. It is quite breathtaking.
We did our classic check in through the metal bars and security and actually (going to brag a little) were very intelligent because we came early morning. Crisp sun, blue skies and no lines, can life get any better? We were one of the first in the building and because there were no people when we were going up, I could get this shot of us shooting up the elevator – how scary does that look right??
The view (you’ve already seen a few snippets) was of course, gorgeous. No other word for it. You could see planes taking off and landing, you could see the small islands near the city that are accessible by Ferry, you saw everything!
Extreme close up coming up *you have been warned* – this was taken a little higher up, we got an extra pass which allowed us to the highest point of the building without actually doing the edgewalk (which is on my bucket list of things to do for sure!)
When you went outside, the wind really whipped your hair back and forth! It was so much fun 😀
We also crawled on the ‘skywalk’ glass, it was pretty scary at first!
Moving away from a touristy aspect for the moment, can I just say how much my appreciation for good, solid organic whole food stores has grown during this trip, of course starting from Toronto? I mean, for one, they have something called ‘yellow plums’ which made ridiculously excited, and look at how fresh everything looks!
And there was so much choice! Brasil nuts, do you want them roasted, salted, roasted and salted, normal, with skin, or without and the list just keeps going on!
I know, I’m probably making Australia sound like some backyard hick of a country from my excitement, but I’ve just never seen stacks and stacks of shelves filled with every kind of dessert and snack for every kind of person all in one organic store which also had their own cafe. It is everything in one and I loved it! 😀
As I mentioned above we were walking around the city a lot, only taking trams when necessary, so we also noticed that there were a lot of parks everywhere in Toronto. Big parks, small parks, and absolutely beautiful parks which had a ‘secret garden’ feel about them!
AC and I had a real Hitchcock moment with the birds in this particular park though – we sat on the bench, all adorable old-lady style, and started to feed birds, but what we didn’t count on was the ferociousness of them. There was one fat pigeon near us, and once had dropped a few crumbs we were basically assaulted by wing flapping and beak jabbing at our feet.
Needless to say we got out of there quick smart! The saddest part? We had originally gone there to feed squirrels 😛
My favourite park, that we actually just stumbled upon, was the Roundhouse Park – I actually thought of my dad immediately since it was a beautiful photography place. Basically, it was a park built around preserving vintage train lines, and old fashioned trains (probably steam though I can’t quite remember).
It was so cool, seeing the preserved old station, and the trains with all their various old carriages and uses still there – I felt like if I had been having a Twilight Zone moment, a conductor would have appeared out of no where and whisked me off on a journey through old Canada!
Speaking of vintage though, have any of you ever heard of the Distillery District? A not-too-far tram ride from the hostel AC and I were in, there was not one person who didn’t encourage to go to this place.
And boy were we glad we went. Despite neither of us being the legal drinking age 😛 (Disclaimer: Legal drinking age is very different to what my friends and I deem is the actual drinking age, this is a note for all future posts)
The Distillery is basically a historic suburb which has become a mishmash of vintage shops, restaurants and eateries, as well as a showcase for old machinery. Overall, a great place for some live music and to kick back with a beer,
I think it was very Victorian architecture, with large pathways weaving between these grand old brick buildings. And at night, when the fairylights came on (we left just as it was getting dark), you could tell this was one of those ‘it’ places in Toronto 😀
We visited chocolate shops (of course) and a whole array of beautiful bath and body, vintage furniture and hipster clothing stores as well. Don’t mind the industrial machines in the middle or the gorgeous ‘Lockheart’ (any Harry Potter fans out there?!), it’s just part and parcel with the scenery here 😉
AC and I ended up eating at the very popular pub come restaurant, the Mill Street Brew Pub which, despite our inability to drink, turned out to be a pretty great choice 😀
It was your typical, all American (Canadian I should say), cosy ‘welcome all dads’ style of pub, complete with the TV in case they bring kids 😛
Don’t pretend it doesn’t happen, I saw the fathers in families manoeuvring themselves oh-so-not-subtly!
I loved this place’s mindset to be honest 😉
You’d be surprised how quickly you learn to share food over buying your own dishes, be it in the US or Canada, because serving sizes are… wait for it… LEGENDARY (see what I did there 😉 ?)
Spectacularly huge, look at our classic OJ. It’s literally 1/3 larger than an Aussie glass. But hey, it was super fresh so all good here 🙂
But these nachos, they were 100% magical. Vegetarian, two types of cheeses, proper Western salsa (not the fresh stuff, I’m just not as keen on that) and an overdose of guacamole.
God I miss these nachos. Crispy, but flavoursome with the veggies and cheese melted in perfect proportion on top with generous dips surrounding the golden goodness.
I wish I could keep writing more in this post BUT I have a castle coming up to show you (don’t worry, I didn’t ‘book it’ – a new phrase I learnt here in good ol’ hometown of Boston – to Europe or anything), there really was a traditional grand castle right in Toronto… or on the outskirts of 😀
Canada Part II (I make no promises) coming soon 😉
Au revoir for now!
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