The best thing about Toronto, or should I say “Toronno” for me was the people. The Torontians (is that a word?) we met were very friendly – one lady even re-opened up her shop after closing so we could look at some high-tec ski boots.
For days we wandered around Toronto checking out the various neighbourhoods – Chinatown, the CBD, the harbourside, and beaches. We checked out the main shopping areas and visited the Eaton Centre where we ate in the vast food court – there was a lot of choice and it was cheap and cheerful. We also tried Chipotle (burrito place) for the first time, which was lovely. One memorable foody experience was trying Sweet Jesus – an ice-cream parlour where I had an amazing Smores Hot Chocolate – highly recommended! They top it with marshmallows and then get out a mini blowtorch and burn them! It is a piece of theatre to watch them making it, as well as enjoying the eating also! 🙂
We wandered down to the Harbour-front which had nice views over the lake, but there wasn’t much going on there – maybe it was off-season as there was an ice-rink for the winter and I’m sure it would be busy in summer.
We visited the CN Tower – the tall communications tower but decided to heed the guidebook’s advice when it said that today’s purpose for the CN Tower is relieving tourists of their money. Bizarrely, there was a large chunk of rock from the Matterhorn near the base of the CN tower!
One of our highlights was riding the Miniature Steam Train in Roundhouse Park. We were perhaps a tad too old, as it’s meant for kids, but definitely fun for big kids too!
We also went to the Hockey Hall of Fame, where it turned out that they were doing a ceremony that night to present Hockey (ie. Ice Hockey) stars with awards. We walked down the red carpet (me giggling all the way as no-one stopped us) and hung out inside with countless Hockey Fans, who were there equipped with autographs and photos to get signatures form their idols. It was fun for us, even though we didn’t know who a single person was – but we gathered that someone was a VIP when the crowd of fans rushed forward 🙂
We visited a Cannabis Shop in the Church and Wellesley area, which was interesting to me – I’ve never been in a Cannabis shop before, so was a little apprehensive but it was an educational experience and I have an open mind so I went in. I held the door open for a rather sleepy looking chap coming out and he politely said “Thanks Miss, have a good day!” What a nice young man! Being called Miss / Madam / Love always goes down well with me 🙂 Inside it was just like a cafe where you order whatever flavour you like, and the air was heavy with weed. I presumed it was legal here. As we stepped outside, a policeman was standing on the street outside getting off a motorbike. I thought I’d be brave and ask:
“Hello! Can I just ask you a question… Is Marijuana legal here?”
“Oh…..” Looking at the Cannabis Shop inches away from us, my mind was racing – does he know this shop is here? I mean, it’s got a sign outside… Wait, Marijuana is the same as Cannabis… isn’t it?! And should I have mentioned drugs to a policeman in the first place?!
Although off to a slightly rocky start, somehow I explained that we were from the UK where all drugs are illegal, and he explained that Cannabis (aka Marijuana!) is legal for Medicinal purposes there – so you have to have a special card prescribed by a doctor which enables you to buy it from these Cannabis shops, and it is illegal to smoke it in public, so you’d have to go home and smoke it there. The Policeman was very helpful and nice and I was glad that I’d asked!
However, overall I’m sorry to say that I did not take to Toronto. Normally when I look round a city I see things and think “ooh this is nice, we’ll come back here for dinner” or similar. With Toronto I didn’t think that about anywhere. Much of Toronto was tall glassy buildings – it felt very American (which isn’t a bad thing!) but it just felt a little characterless. It was also massive, so we spent a lot of time on our feet. Even Chinatown, which I had looked forward to visiting, was not as appealing as I had expected. It was Ok in the daytime but we went here late evening for a stroll to check out dinner places for the next night and the streets were deserted save for homeless people. I don’t wish to cast aspersions but after my experience of getting mugged recently I was a little paranoid so I didn’t feel very safe.
We visited the Toronto beaches on our way out of town as we were leaving, and it was a pretty neighbourhood with lovely houses. Maybe we should have spent more time here!
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