For starters the advertising isn’t true. Most Torontians don’t in fact appear almost as cold as Coors Beer. That said I was highlighted of this fact when I got on the public bus from the airport which wasn’t exactly a great first impression of the city. Anyhow after catching the express bus and then the surprisingly slow metro system followed by the streetcar I arrived at my hostel just a stones throw away from the CN tower right in the heart of the city. There I got some lunch and had a relaxing afternoon before meeting some friends in a local bar.
We attempted to meet in a bar in Kensington Market which is part of Chinatown – just north of my hostel on the streetcar line. The streetcar is kinda like a metro line except that it runs down the centre of the street. It works well and they run every few seconds. After getting there I found it was closed. I also found that my friends hadn’t shown and hadn’t managed to get a text through to me due to network issues – I can’t believe these still occur in 2009!
Instead we went to another bar where I had a not very authentic Thai food I’ve ever eaten. It was a Pad Thai that was spicy and we didn’t get the traditional spoon and fork to eat it but got chopsticks instead! Points for trying with the chopsticks though.
The next day I thought I should head over to the CN tower. Toronto’s biggest tourist attraction which is apparently the tallest building in the world. Anyhow after getting my ticket from the bewildering selection of available tickets (I felt I was being scammed a bit – not something I’m used to in the developed world.) and got access to the viewing deck as well as a movie on the construction of the tower. I went up the viewing deck which offered good views of the city though unfortunately it was misty in the distance – just loke Shanghai though they assure me it wasn’t pollution.
Apart from that there is a glass floor which shows the several hundred metres of the tower sloping away from you below which was pretty cool. After all this I went back down ad watched the film. Unfortunately it started a bit like Petronas’ promotional 3D movie at the Petronas towers in Malaysia though it definitely improved towards the end and it was worth the C$5 to see it.
After that I headed over to the neighouring Union station which has some pretty cool architecture before walking up Younge street the main street in Toronto and apparently the worlds longest street. Younge street is quite interesting especially as quite a few of the newer buildings are built over the top of the old ones and I have quite a few photos of that.
Eventually I made it to the mall with tourist information in it where I investigated going to Niagra falls by public transport, the choice is to go with First or Stagecoach. So it’s a big decision. Stagecoach in this case are more expensive but more frequent – capitalism at it’s finest. I’ll let you know the thrilling results of that on Thursday. There we had a very long discussion about how wet you get at the waterfall as they don’t provide sacks to put your posessions in like the Argentinians did.
Afte that I heade to the Royal Museum of Ontario which was amesome. There they had the Dead Sea scrolls which were awesome and really interesting to see. They also had the largest collection of Chinese art I’ve seen outside the country which was also really worth seeing. It’s amazing how early the Chinese developed some technologies like guns, gunpowder and pottery. Other than that there were some more great exhibits which I looked at until closing time.