Saturday, December 31, 2011

Toronto and the underground city!!

The bus trip to Toronto was a good day. A good sleep to start with and then an Australian bloke got on and sat next to me and we ended up chatting most of the way to Toronto. When we got there I walked the last mile to the hostel and booked in. Its a nice place. Small but comfortable rooms and friendly people. I was hungry though and went out into town to get a beer and some dinner, plus more ideas what I should do here. I found a good bar and had Jerk Pork, whilst chatting to a few of the bar staff about ideas and what to do here in Toronto.

I like being back in Canada. New York is a fantastic city, but Canada is like Americas friendly cousin that is just as nice but not so much in your face. All the bar staff gave me some great ideas without making me feel daft for not knowing anything about the city. Plus, I like the look of this place. Its dark and cold, but with steam rising out of the concrete in every corner and clouds immersing the tops of the buildings. It has a good vibe and Im going to relax and enjoy my 3 days here.

After a great nights sleep, without being woken by any muppets, I was up early and threw a dice to decide what to do with my day. I already knew I was going to do the CN tower this afternoon, so it was just the morning to sort out. I threw a 4 which meant that my day would be spent at Casa Loma, which translates as House in the Hill, in spanish.

Beforehand though I took a walk around the waterfront area to see the CN tower from below and get a jumpshot or two. It was freezing cold and very difficult to get a jumpshot with such a tall building so close. But I found a kids playpark and spent a while getting a good angle and a few shots. I also went down to the harbour and saw a couple of old sailing ships, but it was bitterly cold, so I started back into town, only stopping to warm up in a cloud of steam that rose out of a grat in the ground. What a cool way to warm up.

I reached the Casa Loma by subway and saw that the house resembles a castle, with towers rising up from a spectacular mansion, that is built on a hill overlooking the city of Toronto. I didn't know that much about it, but had a great few hours there.

My last view of NY, for two weeks anyway!


Fookin big reindeers in Toronto shopping centre

warming up on a cold day

secret tunnel!!

It turns out that it was built in the 1920's by a Torontian called Sir Henry Pellatt, who not only made millions of dollars in many different fields, such as providing Toronto with electricity from Niagara, but he also served as a Colonel in the Canadian Rifle Regiment. He also gave a lot of money back into the city of Toronto, but was unlucky as the authorities privatised some of his firms, without paying him anything in return. So, he lost all of his money and the house he built – Casa Loma, was never finished. It eventually turned into a hotel and then a tourist destination, which pleased Sir Henry when he was invited to the opening as a penniless old man he said, 'it was built for people to enjoy'. He sounds like he was a great fella and has a great life story. He even built hidden staircases in the house behind bookshelves and a secret 300metre long tunnel to his stables and garage which also look like a castle! It was blowing a blizzard as I toured the house so I took my time and learned a lot about the man and the castle itself before I eventually left and made my way into town to visit the CN Tower.

Unfortunately, the rest of Toronto did the same as there was now a beautiful blue sky above the tower and all the bleeding tourists queueing to get in down below. I decided to take a quick walk around the stadium adjacent to the tower before getting a bit of dinner and trying again tomorrow.

As for tomorrow I have three choices of places to see – The Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science centre or the Hockey Hall of Fame (Ice Hockey!) I just threw the dice and the resulting 5 means I will be visiting.....The Hockey Hall of Fame!! Im also going to take a wander around the Distillery district of town as well, before trying the CN tower again in the afternoon.

the sign says it all

Casa Loma


cn tower

chairs in the distillery district

with the stanley cup

It was another nice day out today. The distillery district was very quiet, due to the snow storm that was falling at the time, but I enjoyed wandering around the place an imagining what it would be like on a nice summer sunday afternoon. Then a reak treat – The Hockey Hall of Fame. I didnt really

Then after lunch I went up the CN Tower. It wasnt as clear a day as yesterday, but I still sat up there, at the highest point – 437metres, for a couple of hours, watching planes land at Toronto Island airport, watching the snow fly past the windows and the clouds envelop the tower, before passing by and leaving a clear view over the city as it got dark. It wasn't the greatest view, but well worth the effort in going up there. Plus, I got around town using 'P.A.T.H', which is a great innovation. Basically, because of the harsh winters, Toronto buildings have subways and passages built below them, joining offices and shopping centres to subway stations and hotels. You can enter PATH at the top of the city centre and using the passages ans walkways you emerge an hour later 2 miles away, having passed shops, restaurants, gyms and cinemas on the way. All below ground and all out of the weather. Its a brilliant way to get around on a shitty cold snowy winters day.

Famous hockey goal


toronto from the cn tower

through the glass floor of CN tower

starting to get dark

enough said - terrible terrible photo!!

Tomorrow I head to Niagara falls!!!
(Im actually here now, but this is being written in the past tense!!) more in a few days!

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