vinyarb

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May
21

So, I’ve been drifting in and out of jetlag this week, and haven’t had the time to properly document the Canada / Vegas trip. Plus, I was also waiting for the lovely wife to montage the photos beautifully, otherwise this will be a pretty damn long post.

First up, Yonge Street, also known as Main Street Ontario. It is a major street that connects lake Ontario in Toronto with northernĀ Ontario. It was also formerly the longest street in the world at 1,896km!

So if you tell any Canadian you’re living along Yonge Street, you’ll be laughed away. OR if a girl you fancy tells you that, you can be sure she doesn’t really want to be found, by you.

The day after we landed, we took a city tour, and the city tour pretty much stuck to Yonge Street, showing us just how important this street is to Toronto, especially in the 1790s, when it was first constructed.

We then took a boat ride out to Lake Ontario, and boy was it beautiful. One of the better experiences travelling and going on day tours we have are in Canada. The guides are friendly, funny, and most of them seem to have a wry, self deprecating sense of humour. The highlights from the lake tour not only included the sights, but also the guide’s astute observations of Canadians.

The tall structure at the bottom picture is CN Tower, or Canadian National Tower. Built as a communications and observation tower in 1976, it held the record as the world’s tallest tower until they got bumped out by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

We also went for dinner atop the CN tower, a revolving restaurant and soaked in the view from up top. There is also an observation deck with a glass floor from which you can stand on, and look directly down to street level. At a height of 342 metres, its definitely not for the faint-hearted. (Children however, seemed unfazed by it, and can often be seen jumping up and down the glassfloor. Seriously kids, NOT a good idea.)


As we travel through Toronto, we find that Canada is actually home to many records. So far, we’ve had the one-time world’s longest street, world’s tallest tower, and now, we head over to St. Lawrence Market, dubbed the world’s best food market by National Geographic.

A bustling market with the best selection of fruits, vegetables and seafood to whip up a satisfying lunch.

Seriously, look at the size of that lobster!

If you’re not convinced, here’s the same lobster placed alongside a 2-year old asian human being:

Yeah, said lobster fed 3 adult-sized humans, with sampling pieces left to share among another 4 adults. OK, that’s either because the lobster is that huge or asians are small eaters. Maybe both.

If you have a sweet tooth, St Lawrence Market caters to that too!

Jelly beans and Cupcakes in St Lawrence Market, Toronto

Onward!

This time of the year (early May) is a wonderful time to be visiting Canada. Its cool (between 15 – 20 degrees Celsius), you can walk around alot without breaking into a sweat, and the air is a lot fresher and dryer. The flowers would agree, I think, as they bloom brighter and more vibrant than any other place i’d seen (other than Japan).

Canadian flowers are happier

Another must-see in Toronto is the Casa Loma, a gothic revival style houseĀ mimicking the styles of various castles. It originally belonged to Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, but is now a museum and landmark of Toronto.

Sir Henry Pellatt himself is a most interesting historical figure, and was a very well known figure in Canada. He was a financier and soldier, but perhaps best known for bringing hydro-electricity to Toronto.

However, there’s something to be said about his house. Being very wealthy at the time, Sir Henry commissioned EJ Lennox, a renowned architect and friend, to help design and build Casa Loma. Both of them took a year off to travel around the world, seeing castles to gain inspiration.

The end result, however, became an amalgamation of styles so jarring that Casa Loma also became known as Toronto’s fabulous folly.

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Yeah, the kids weren't too impressed

Toronto is also home to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where there’s currently an ongoing Gallery of the Age of Mammals, showcasing an array of large fossil skeletons from the Ice Age.

Royal Ontario Museum

Pictured here with me is the extremely rare (only 1 in the world) subset of the Homo Sapiens known as the Amelia Lye. She makes up for her petite size with astoundingly large lungs and a very insistent vocal range, allowing her to scare bigger predators into submission.

Among the highlights of the Canadian side of the trip was a drive up to the Niagara Falls. Bordering Canada and America, the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls collectively form The Niagara Falls.

The Falls are situated more along the American border, which means the view is splendid from the Canadian border. And so it is.

Niagara Falls

But what’s better than looking out at the Falls from the hotel? Taking a boat ride out to the very edges of the Falls! A boat ride called Maid of the Mist provides just that! They also provided ponchos, because without those, we’ll all get damn soaking wet! Just look at the mist pouring out from the base of the falls! We actually couldn’t even see the contact point of the falls and the water below.

Maid of the Mist

The bridge above is called the rainbow bridge, and it offers Americans quick access into Canada to enjoy a good view of the Falls.

We also took time out to visit the Konzelmann winery on the way back from Niagara, which turned out to be one of the highlights for my father-in-law. šŸ™‚

Konzelmann winery

We next took a drive to the scenic, quaint and quiet village of St. Jacobs Country, a little town in Ontario occupied by Old Order Mennonites.

Old Order Mennonites are a branch of Christian Protestants who practice a lifestyle without some elements of modern technology, which explains for the quaint and old-school village style buildings and businesses over at St Jacobs.

St Jacobs Country

Old-school village rural goodness. Where else could I have expected to find The Elder Wand?

St Jacobs Country

 

All in all, it was a wonderful Canadian leg of the trip. We got to see what was once the world’s longest street, what was once the world’s tallest tower, the great Niagara Falls, and even managed to retrieve the Elder Wand, what more could we ask for?

Awesome Canada

 

This concludes the Canadian leg of the tour. Next, Las Vegas! Watch out for that entry in the next few days!

All pictures lovingly montaged by my wife. You can follow her on Instagram with the handle femmejalouse.

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