Toronto Journals

Exploring Eastern Canada

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A May 2004 trip to Toronto by MichaelJM

Parliament Photo, Toronto, Ontario More Photos
Quote: Our aim was to cram as much as we could into this first visit to Canada without overstretching ourselves. In the end, we tried to do too much. The distances to travel on some days were tiring, and left little time to sight-see.

The first leg (Toronto)

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Parliament Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
On arrival in Toronto, we managed to get two of the remaining few tickets for Mamma Mia at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The Theatre, built in 1907, exudes old world theatre opulence. The waist-coated ushers appear to be from that bygone age and the décor, with its polished brass railings, hand-carved wood, and comfortable red velvet seats, speaks quality. The performance was exceptional with some great voices and well-engineered comic moments. I reckon it’s a must if you have time in Toronto. In our view, Toronto is a place to walk in. The city felt incredibly safe, both day and night, and pedestrian friendly. We sauntered in downtown and took in the smells, feel, and colours of China Town. ...Read More

On to Niagara

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Niagara Falls Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
In 1882, Oscar Wilde said, "Niagara Falls is simply a vast, unnecessary amount of water going the wrong way and then falling over unnecessary rocks. The wonder would be if the water did not fall." Several of his words may be right, but it is a spectacular sight. The Falls have always been on my "want to do list" and I was not in the least bit disappointed. The power of the water, as we stood on the "maid in the mist," could be seen, heard and felt, and I could not understand what would drive someone to want to "surf the falls." However, viewed from the top, the sensation of wonderment and excitement is hard to disguise, and I could almost imagine the desire of those "daredevils" who felt the need to e...Read More

Kitchener and beyond

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The town hall at Stratford Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
We based ourselves next in Kitchener, in the heart of Mennonite country, and from here we could explore the surrounding countryside to the west. In particular we travelled to St Jacobs, Stratford, Godderich, and the shoreline of Lake Huron. Kitchener-Waterloo was not what we expected, as it is a sprawling development linked and by-passed by a motorway. However, it proved a good base from which to explore. St Jacobs was our first stop-off, a fascinating little town. It’s full of shops with quality merchandise at reasonable prices. If you don’t want to buy, then the shop owners really don’t mind you looking – a polite thank you as you leave the shop seems to be expected and makes everyone feel goo...Read More

Montreal - a disappointment to us

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Montreal Photo, Montreal, Quebec
Quote:
The next leg of the journey was a long, but straight-forward drive, bypassing Toronto and into Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. Montreal has a true French appeal to it. Indeed the city, we were told by a local guide (more of this later), is in the process of removing all English signs and rewriting them in French. This includes historic business signs on the sides of buildings. It does seem a great shame, and I reckon it’s something that they will regret in time. Montreal was, however, not a city that we fell in love with, perhaps because it’s so big and we were based several miles outside of the city. However, we did enjoy our time there and managed to take in a carriage ri...Read More

Quebec City - a place to return to...

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Chateau Frontenac Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
On our way to Quebec City we stopped off at Trois-Rivieres. Our main memory of this town is The Monastere des Ursulines. Keep an eye out for the signs and pause to examine these impressive buildings. There are several little old houses en route to the public park and the Monastery - these too are worth a look. Having passed the Monastery, we veered off and walked along the riverside. Well worth the effort. Then it’s back on the road to Quebec. Quebec City, overlooking the St Lawrence River, was the furthest east of our journey. This city is an absolute must to visit, and we loved every step of our stay. This almost entirely French-speaking city feels truly cosmopolitan, whilst retaining its very...Read More