Toronto, Canada

Travel Blog By J
Sep 2010

TORONTO.  The cultural, entertainment and financial capital of Canada and its largest city.  Very cosmopolitan, modern and teeming with attractions to satisy every tourist's need to explore, enjoy and shop!

Thankfully, the transport system in dowtown Toronto is very safe and efficient.  We were able to see almost all of the popular attractions by taking the metro and the hop-on hop-off double decker tour -- very touristy, I know :)  The HOHO tour costs CAD 35.00 and has about 25 scheduled stops.  We bought our ticket on the bus at Dundas Square.  We sat in for the whole loop which ran for 2 hours so we could have a general overview of the city.

Here are my trip's highlights:

a commercial, public square surrounded by buildings and shops.  At night, this looks like a mini NY Times Square.

Dundas Squre during the day

Buildings with huge LED screems brighten Dundas Square at night


Old City Hall, which was replaced later on due to shortage of space. 
This now functions as a courthouse.

Nathan Phillips Square, fronting the new City Hall, which also
serves as a skating rink during the winter

Loved this place for its many gourmet food vendors, fresh produce and seafood, antiques and art.  So many things to see and buy here.  Every corner is interesting!

St. Lawrence Market

Carousel Bakery:  selling the world-famous peameal bacon sandwich

Peameal Bacon is made from cured pork loins trimmed of all the fat and bones. 
Peameal comes from the ground yellow peas with which the bacon was
originally coated to ensure that it had a better curing and shelf life.

A wide selection of meats is also available.


When in Canada, try POUTINE -- french fried topped with fresh cheese curds
covered in brown gravy.  This dish originated in Quebec, Canada.

One can also find anything and everything in St. Lawrence Market such as this! 

Kensington Market is in an old neighborhood, the narrow streets of which are lined with vintage shops, bakeries, retailers of new and used clothing, art galleries and other eclectic shops.

We took a harbourfront cruise to see Toronto's skyline, prominently featuring the CN Tower. 

Guinness' Book of World Records state that this is the world's tallest tower at 1,815 feet.  Its elevators can reach the top in just 58 seconds.  Not only is this a towering structure, but it is also a might one -- being built to withstand an 8.5 earthquake.  In 1989, Brendan Keenoy made history by climbing up the stairs in only 7 minutes and 52 seconds!

This is home to Toronto Argonauts football team and the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.  It has a retractable roof.

Made this as our lunch stop for the day.  This area is popular for its cafes, restaurants shops and artist studios which are all housed in original buildings of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery. 

The Distillery District

Appreciate art for free

Try SOMA's chocolates.  Soma, voted best chocolate in Toronto Life,
makes chocolates in small batches directly from the cacao bean. It's a real treat!

One of Toronto's exclusive shopping district.  We were hoping to spot some Hollywood celebrities here who attended the Toronto International Film Festival.  Too bad we didn't see any.

Canada's most famous castle.  It was built by a prominent financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in 1911 as his residence.  It is huge with three floors, a basement, stables and towers.  It now belongs to the city of Toronto, when Sir Henry Pellatt went bankrupt and was forced to give it up.

Tours are offered inside the castle using self-guided audio commentary.

Casa Loma's Main Hall

Of course, not to be missed is Niagara!

Before heading to the Falls, we stopped by at Niagara-On-The-Lake for lunch.  Niagara On-The-Lake is a charming little town in Southern Ontario where Niagara River meets Lake Ontario.  Travel time from downtown Toronto is about 90-minutes.  This is a nice place to take a stroll past beautiful houses and to look into the little shops that sell anything from clothing, souvenirs and sweet treats. 

NOTL's main street

Prince of Wales Hotel (est. 1864)

Taking the Maid of the Mist ride is a must for every visitor.  This half-hour boat tour takes you to the base of the American Falls and then to the basin of the Horseshoe Falls.  The boat stops for a while here giving passengers time to feel the intensity and power of this majestic natural wonder.  What an awesome experience!

All suited up.  Here we go...

The American Falls, which lies on the US side, is between 70-100 feet. 
Less than 10% of the water flows over the American Falls.

The American Falls

The smaller Bridal Veil Falls, which also lies on the American side.

The Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side


And before we left the place, we saw a rainbow across the falls :)

* All the pictures used here are the writer's own.