We were only spending a couple of days in Toronto, Canada's largest city. We arrived on Saturday and got to the Strathcona Hotel after 9 p.m. Tired from traveling (he from England and me from Nova Scotia), we just ordered room service and got some rest.
Sunday was a low key day. We met some friends for brunch in the hotel and then went to a pub for the afternoon, meeting up with a group of about 30 friends. It was a lovely chance to catch up and relax. When we left there, we caught the subway down Yonge Street, and walked along the busy part of Toronto though Dundas Square (Toronto's answer to Times Square) and downtown where the skyscrapers got taller and taller. A coffee stop to sustain us and then back to the hotel to rest our feet. We ate at the chain restaurant Jack Astor's that night as it was just around the corner from the hotel.
Monday was a dreary looking day. We had a few things in mind to do. We did plan on taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour but had changed our minds. However, when walking down Front Street, we got chatting to a young woman who was selling tickets for the bus tour and we ended up going on it after all. It was good, with an informative and somewhat cheeky guide. We got off near the Art Gallery of Ontario but our prime objective was to explore Chinatown and the Kensington Market nearby. We wandered Dundas St. W. and looked in some of the Chinese stores and markets and found some lovely chrysanthemum tea in a tea shop. The woman in the shop recommended a restaurant just a few doors down for a dim sum lunch so we ate there. No idea what we were eating but it was an adventure and we liked everything we picked!
From there, we walked a bit further and came to Kensington Ave. which is the main street in the Kensington Market, our other goal for the day. This is a funky neighbourhood, lined with shops in old houses, selling vintage clothing and crafts, with lots of fruit and veg shops, cafes and restaurants. Graham wanted to find a leather jacket and we spied one store that had quite a lot of vintage leather. He found one but it was too big and despaired that another was not on the racks but with a bit of persistence he did find something that fit him perfectly for a more than reasonable price. Result!
We stopped into a little bakery that really was just a take out and catering place but they had a couple of stools and we had coffee and cake there before walking some more. We made our way out of that area and walked another half hour through some nice streets back to the AGO to pick up the tour bus again.
We bought CN Tower tickets at a little discount from the tour operator because we had planned to do the tower as well. 10% is better than nothing and it means no waiting in queues! Up, up, up you go! IT's the tallest public observation platform in the world and it's very high up! We only went to the main level, not the skypod which is another hundred feet or more up. When you're that high up, there's not a lot of difference. The views are spectacular, even on a dreary day! We had a coffee in the restaurant and by the time we got to ground it had started to rain. The tower isn't far from our hotel so we didn't get too wet.
We ate in the hotel pub that evening and later met up with some friends for a few drinks at a pub/restaurant called C'est What. They've got an extensive beer menu, none of it from the large commercial breweries. It's all local or craft brewed! We didn't eat there but i think the food would probably be good too.