Day trip to Toronto - Friday, July 10, 2009

Day trip to Toronto - Friday, July 10, 2009

It will be hard to top yesterday's experience, however, we at least hope to try. We can't wait to see Toronto! We'll be there shortly as it is only about 45 minutes from Niagara Falls. The last time I did this exact trip (Niagara Falls and Toronto), I was around 10- or 11-years-old. I came with my parents and brother, my aunt and uncle and my cousin Gabi (he was less than 1 year old).

Toronto is a very large city and very similar to New York City. There are many people from different nationalities living there.  Since we had only about eight hours to spend there, we decided to do a city tour on a double decker bus and a harbor cruise. The tour was informative and entertaining. We saw some of the major sites. The city is very cosmopolitan. There are many museums, including a shoe museum that seems interesting. In addition, there is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Casa Loma among many others.

Casa Loma is a beautiful castle. Several films have scenes shot within the castle. The original owner was Sir Henry Pellatt he was a very wealthy man because he owned the power company. He wanted to build a castle because he traveled to Europe and thought the European castles were gorgeous. He hired an architect that had never visited a castle to design it from photographs. The castle had running water and electricity, unlike the European castles. Although he was very wealthy, he was also very generous and continued to pay all his employees that went to fight in WW1 for several years. This coupled with the Great Depression made him lose a lot of money and go into debt. In addition, there was a Canadian law that allowed the government to take over any profitable business without paying for it. So they took advantage of this law and took the power company from him without paying him a cent. He ended up living in the basement of his chaffeur's apartment building. He had been knighted in previous years, so the queen paid for his funeral. He had one of the largest funerals ever in Toronto.

We went through some of the nicer and trendy neighborhoods. We learned many facts. Toronto was originally called York, after York, England. People started refering to it as Little York (after New York) and residents didn't like it, so they named it Toronto after the Toronto Isalnds located across the harbor. Toronto was their original Iroquis name. One of the neighborhoods just north of the original town didn't want to pay taxes to York so they established their seperate town called Yorkville. It's one of the trendiest areas of the city. There are many nice designer shops there.

We went by some of the stadiums, the Skydome (also known as the Rogers Centre) and Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors (basketball) and the Toronto Mapleleaves (hockey) play at the Air Canada Centre. The Blue Jays (baseball) and the Buffalo Bills (football) play at the Roger's Centre.

Apparently, Toronto's theatrical performances rival those of New York, according to our tour guide and server from the Skylon Tower last night. We would have loved to take the kids to see The Sound of Music, but there was no time. We have to rush back to the states to catch a Boston RedSox game on Sunday. We have our priorities straight!!!!

We got off the next stop and went to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which was located in a mall. We didn't go in because we wouldn't have enough time to finish the rest of the tour. Upon the completion of the tour, we went to the harbor area and browsed around in the shopping centers and outer areas.

We went on the second part of our tour, the Harbor portion. We took some fabulous photographs of the Toronto skyline, including the CN tower and the boats.  It was a nice finish to the visit. We were hesitant about the cruise because we were all tired and wanted to go back to the hotel. Al really wanted to do it, so we stayed and we are glad we did. Alissa was clowning around as usual making everyone laugh as she pretended she was modeling and posing for photographs.  The trip was nice, we are all glad we went to Toronto. It would have been nice to have more time there. At least we know we'd like to come back another time.

We are now driving back to our hotel in Niagara Falls to catch the 10:00 p.m. fireworks display over the falls from our hotel room window. Can't wait as I'm sure they'll be spectacular!!!  We've had a fabulous time in Canada and we will definitely come again soon!

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