Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Got the Shirt!

As you may or may not know, one of the reasons I wanted to go to Toronto was to get an “I Love Toronto” t-shirt. And guess what! I had success! (It’s bright yellow even! See!)

Incase you don’t know me in real life or get why I wanted this shirt... I work right next to Toronto, Australia. Let’s just say the Australian version is not as big and glamorous as its Canadian cousin, and also they don’t see Toronto t-shirts... hence the need for me to travel 15000km! Ha!
I can’t wait to wear my new t-shirt to work next year J

While I was in Toronto, I decided to make the most of my 5 days, since the shirt buying actually didn’t take that long.

I went on two tours of the city – a walking one with a guide named Dave and a bus one with a tour guide with the flu... but she still managed to sound enthusiastic so it was all good!
Fun things I learnt about Toronto I learnt from the tours: (I feel a list coming on....)
-          - Toronto has a castle. Casa Loma I think it’s called. It’s pretty fancy and was used in a whole bunch of movies including X-men & the Pacifier (they are the only 2 I remember). It was designed by EJ Lennox. Let’s get to him in a minute.
-         -  The Eaton Centre (a shopping centre) has an artistic installation of Canadian geese (sorry no photo, I forgot to charge my camera) & this one Christmas the centre decided to put a red ribbon on each goose for Christmas. The artist saw what they had done and they ended up in court over it. The artist won. So his geese have been ribbon-less ever since.
-         - The street called Front Street used to be at the waterfront, but then the city reclaimed a whole bunch of swampy land so now Front Street is 800m from the shore in some places & it’s waterviews are blocked by a whole bunch of buildings and a highway.
-        -  When the developers were excavating for the Fairmont hotel they discovered the skeleton of a blue whale (this is weird because it’s not near an ocean). They found out that there used to be a zoo on that site and the owner had a blue whale brought in.... it didn’t live more than 1 week in captivity, but the zoo still sold tickets for the next 2 weeks until the smell became so overpowering that they had to bury it.
EJ Lennox designed a whole bunch of buildings in Toronto, including ‘Old City Hall’ (and the castle I mentioned before). With City Hall he was way over budget and over time so the councillors were mad at him... so in retaliation he sculpted caricatures of some of them into the building. He also wasn’t allowed to put a plaque on the building to say it was built by him... so instead he sculpted the letters of his name into the ornamental eaves of the building. Haha this guy is funny.

I went up the CN tower. It was the highest building in the world until a few years ago.

That day was nice and clear so it was cool to be able to see the city!  (this picture is not the city... it's just a cool display of the CN tower in the CN tower)
They have a glass floor, 327metres above the ground, which doesn’t look scary at all until you go to step onto it. It’s such a weird feeling.

I spent one day on a trip to Niagara Falls. It wasn’t frozen over (dad). The water was moving so fast! It was amazing!

I must say that Canada’s Horseshoe Falls were significantly more impressive than the American falls... sorry America.
The best thing about going to Niagara in the winter was that the mist from the falls had frozen on all sorts of things – posts, fences, statues and such, creating some amazing natural artworks!

SOoooo beautiful!
The strangest thing was being able to see the US. Yep, just on the other side of the river. Funny.
The sad thing was that the Maid of the Mist boats don’t run during winter... it’s a tad dangerous! Apparently sometimes ice chunks 10 storeys high float down the river (at crazy speeds) and crash over the falls... probably not a good idea to be under them then hey.

During the 5 days I was there the weather fluctuated by 24 degrees -from minus 12 with wind chill (still had nothing on that Edmonton day) to a balmy 12 above!   Crazy! So there was snow, clear but very cold, rain & overcast moments. Funny weather.

One other thing I managed to fit in in Toronto was see two movies  - Sherlock & Tin Tin. There was a cinema right near my hostel where movies were only $5 on Tuesdays... and I think $6.50 the other day. Good movies! I’m just sad I missed the Muppets L. There will be a dvd I’m sure...

Anyway, that was my trip to Toronto. It was a fun city!

Oh wait! I forgot the potatoes! The hostel I was staying in had a cheap-ish cafe. So I had dinner there this one night & there was a choice of salad or mashed potatoes on the side... those mashed potatoes were so yum! I even facebooked about them! Needless to say I had to eat there again the next night. Mmmm.
So right now I am back in Vancouver... In 40 minutes I will be checking out of the hostel and making my way to Langley to meet the family I will be living with this year! So excited and nervous all at the same time!
Next time we meet I will be at my home for the next 11 months! Eeeek!

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