Toronto, the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario, is
a relative modern city with its history dating back to the late 18th century.
The City of Toronto has over 2.6 million residents in 2011, and it is currently
the fifth most populous city in North America. Its cosmopolitan and
international population reflects its role as an important destination for
immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities by
percentage of non-native-born residents, with about 49% of the population born
Getting there ...
My brother and his family came to Canada and United States
for summer vacation, and we planned to meet them in Toronto to start our
journey together (Toronto and New York). We arrived in Toronto earlier
in the afternoon and checked in to the hotel in the city, and drove back to
the airport at night to pick them up. We had two rental cars that
Woanyu and I drove separately for the next few days. When we went back
to the parking lot after we picked up my brother, we (the boys) struggled
for a while to try to find our car (we were really disoriented that we
searched for the wrong level, wrong sections, etc.) so I arrived at the
hotel almost 20 minutes later than Woanyu did.
The Second Day ...
- Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, on the international border between the Canadian province
of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York, is a collective name for the
three waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.
While not exceptionally high (~173 feet for Horseshoe Falls, and 870-100
feet for American Falls), the Niagara Falls are very wide (Horseshoe Falls
is about 2,600 feet (790 m) wide, while the American Falls is 1,060 feet
(320 m) wide). More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 m^3) of water falls
over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost 4 million cubic
feet (110,000 m^3) on average.
Stepping out of the parking lot at the Niagara Falls, we already felt the
mist and spray in the air. Iris thought that it was raining, but it turned
out that it was only the mist.
We took the famous "Maid of the
Mist Tour" ferry (which included a simple rain poncho for every passenger)
from the Canadian side. The ferry can reach quite close to the base of the
falls. Even though we stayed in the lower deck, no one could keep away
from the water spray.
We left from Niagara Falls at about 3PM and drove back to Toronto to
take a break in the hotel. Everyone else were all so tired that nobody
wanted to come with me to go around. I decided to go alone at about
5PM to take the ferry to Toronto Island. It's a nice walk through the
downtown Toronto to the ferry terminal (~1.25km). The view of the
Toronto skyline with CN Tower from the ferry and the island was really
awesome that I wished I could stay longer until after sunset, but I had to
catch the next ferry back to Toronto by 6:30PM to have dinner with my
- CN Tower
We had a nice dinner at a place called "Big
Daddy's". The dim atmosphere, along with the jet lag from the long
flight from Taiwan last night had my brother's families falling asleep
during the dinner.
After dinner, we walked to the CN Tower to see the night view of Toronto.
At 553 meter (1,815 feet) in height, the CN Tower was technically the
world's tallest building from its completion in 1976 until 2009 (surpassed
by the Burj Khalifa, Dubai). Stepping on the glass floors (called
"elephant proof") in the elevator and at the main observation level was
actually a little scary. One cool thing was that we can even watch the
baseball game at the Roger Center
from the above.
The Third Day ...
- Casa Loma
Built by Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt in 1911-1914, Casa Loma's 98
rooms took $3.5 million and 300 men to build. At the time of its completion,
it was bigger than any private home in North America. Unfortunately, the
Pellatts made some bad financial decisions, sunk deeply into debt and
eventually had to declare bankruptcy. The house was abandoned in 1924
until the city purchased the property in 1937.
- Distillery District
The Distillery District is a national Historic Site with an incredibly
rich history. The site was once The Gooderham and Worts Distillery, and
represents the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial
Architecture in North America. After 153 years of continuous
production, the Gooderham & Worts Distillery finally ceases operations.
During the '90s, The Distillery finds a second life as the number one film
location in Canada, and the second largest film location outside of
Hollywood. Over the years, more than 1700 films used the site. In
2001, an ambitious project was undertaken: to restore The Distillery and its
more than 40 buildings and transform it into a pedestrians-only village
entirely dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment. When the
Distillery Historic District opened in May 2003, it quickly becomes a vital
part of the city and one of Canada’s top tourist attractions.
We wandered around the Distillery District for several minutes, trying to
locate a good restaurant. Unfortunately, there were too many choices to
choose from, so we went to a small cafe and had a few sandwiches and bowls
of pasta. After our short lunch, we spent another few minutes checking out
some stores. There was nothing interesting, so we just got into the car and
went on our way.
Next Stop ...
We drove back to Toronto Airport (YYZ) after lunch to catch flight to our
next stop: New York City.
However, there was a storm around NYC so our flight could not take off until it
cleared up (we actually got on the plane, but were asked to get off to wait for
further notice). Although there was almost 2-hour delay, the kids
had a good time at the airport ....
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