Toronto

I was pretty stressed to drive to Toronto. The city's traffic jams are legendary and some people had scared us to calculate up to 4-5 hours to do the 75kms that seperated us from the city (we had a deadline to hand in the rental car).  Yikes. And indeed there were traffic jams from the start, but fortunately we were 2 in the car and could swiftly drive along most of them because we were carpooling (on a special dedicated lane for that). Thank goodness for that.

Our European assumption that a city with a well-known metro system would surely have a smooth connection from the airport was wrong but after some bus combinations we managed to get downtown. How odd/stupid is it anyway to have a trainservice running from the suburbs that only functions 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening and that gets replaced by a coach bus service during the rest of the day....that risks getting stuck in traffic jams?  Dugh, what's the point stopping the train service?  Seriously why do the Torontions cling so much to their "king car" if it doesn't get them anywhere while there's such obvious improvements available? (Montreal by the way is not much better....with an active train station within 1000 m from their airport, you can only take a bus shuttle downtown....smart)

Anyway, traffic stress and the swelthering humid heat wave that had settled in over Ontario, made me feel quite overwhelmed by the high skyscrapers that were towering over us when we got out of the train station.  It took me a while before I found the energy and clarity to get the tourist thing going here. Where to go among these towers? 

But the waterfront turned out to be a good start. After hesitating to go to Toronto island to flee the heat, we decided to go for a walk downtown anyway and see where we got.   ....And we got far :p
Quickly we left the high towers behind us that did not have a big appeal to me and we discovered the other world that Chinatown gave us, and we browsed along the funny mix of little stores in Kensington.  The arts museum seems like a place I want to discover next time (if it's raining or so) .   Via the RONA where I'd also like to spend a day or 2 another time (it just seems odd to go inside musea when after a couple of days of cold and rain you are finally getting abundant sunshine), we walked slowly back towards lake Ontario passing Toronto's "Time Square" , visiting the old part of Toronto with its market etc...I can guarentee you our feet where pretty sore by the evening.

After visiting the CN tower, one of the world's largest freestanding building (exceeding 550m) with great view over the city, we met the Johns family again, friends of us.  With them we took the ferry to Toronto island and spent a lovely afternoon cruising the parks, beaches etc that made us seem in an different world from the cosmopole city.


Toronto's waterfront

backside of arts museum

Chinatown

Dundas Square

Toronto's skyline

CN tower

A walk with our friends at Toronto island

Toronto island's old lighthouse

view on Toronto's skyline from Toronto island

Toronto waterfront

Comments

Lilacspecs said…
I really enjoyed Toronto when we went a couple years ago, plus we drove through the wine country between Niagara Falls (tourist trap, but I felt compelled for my husband to see it once) and Toronto, including some maple syrup farms and the drive was beautiful.

The traffic is super stressful downtown though!
Brian Miller said…
very cool...what i would do to be on that sail boat right now...ahh...neat sights too...
Jenn said…
That is definitly one of the things we need to learn from Europe, better transit and less cars.

Love the picture of you and the CN tower

Jenn