I forgot to mention that the flight we undertook yesterday should be the last one on this trip (hooray!) as we go home on the Queen Mary out of New York in early October and don’t have to fly anywhere.
Lazy start to the day. Nice. Although Jean’s phone hadn’t updated, so she thought it was 7.30 a.m. rather than 9.30!
It shows how inured I’m getting to Canadian prices. A C$25 omelette now looks perfectly reasonable, but that’s about £15!! For an omelette!! Bloody hell!
We then spent some time with the concierge at the hotel, sorting out some plans for the next couple of days. By dint of knowing who to speak to, she performed a minor miracle by getting us a table for this evening at the revolving restaurant at the top of CN Tower. She also got us a reservation on the Toronto hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus service, which includes a boat trip around the islands close inshore in Lake Ontario.
I had unfortunately lost the power bank which had kept my phone juiced so effectively up until now. I asked the concierge where I could get a replacement, and she pointed out a huge mall on the map.
We thought we’d do some sussing out by walking around a very warm Toronto.
First port of call was the CN Tower, of which more later. The concourse was packed, the main reason being that the Toronto Blue Jays (the local baseball team, but you knew that) were playing at home.
We then walked a fair way to this mall, the Eaton Centre, which is apparently the second largest in Canada. No, I don’t know what the largest is.
The place was certainly buzzing – quite a few young people around, which adds a bit of life to a place. Built on a block/grid basis, with loads of skyscrapers, like so many North American big cities – it is the largest city by population in Canada. Not as nice as Vancouver, but really quite likeable.
Finally reached the mall, and used the interactive screen to find a suitable shop. As I have a Samsung phone and it was a Samsung power bank that I’d lost, we headed for the Samsung shop, which took some finding.
After looking around and finding wireless chargers but no power blocks, I asked an assistant. To my astonishment, they didn’t sell them! Go figure! Anyway, he directed us to Best Buy a few hundred metres away, where we were able to find what we wanted (Jean decided she needed one as well) although the cables were outrageously expensive. Connected my phone up immediately and it worked fine.
Needed a coffee after that, so found a rather quirky Japanese coffee and croissant place. Couldn’t make head nor tail of it, so settled on a couple of Americanos. Took ages to arrive, and were lukewarm. Can’t win ’em all.
One thing that had mystified us was why I had to go back to Toronto Airport to collect the hire car on Tuesday morning when there appeared to an Alamo office about 300 metres from the hotel. We decided to at least find this place just to see if it was possible to transfer the booking from the airport.
This was much harder than it should have been. Google Maps took us to the foyer of Toronto Dominion Bank. On asking a security guard where the Alamo office was, he said it was downstairs one level. We eventually found this small office indicating that it was Enterprise/Alamo car hire, but please go down to our office on P3 to collect your hire. Mystified, we did just this, and P3 was actually a tier of a public car park! We did find the office, but it was dirty, scruffy and, most importantly, closed. Weird. Might check it out again tomorrow.
Pretty tired by now, but tried to find the place where our original concierge had told us to collect the tickets for the bus tour from. No joy, so we went back to the desk to seek more help. The lady there then actually booked them online for us, saving us a fair amount of legwork. Why the first concierge didn’t do that, I don’t know, but we now have tickets to do the bus and boat tour tomorrow.
Down to the bar for a swift G&T, then a 15 minute walk to the CN Tower for our dinner in the revolving restaurant.
The check-in process was chaos. You would have thought they would have got this sorted by now. Perhaps yet another staff shortage manifestation.
Anyway, we finally got into the lift to take us up the 250 or so metres to the restaurant. Christ, it was busy. I’d planned to take some video of the upward journey, but it was impossible as I was wedged in.
Got shown to our table with a great view over the city. I had the weird sensation that I was stationary and the outer wall was revolving. I was actually going backwards, very slowly.
As regards the meal, we opted for the two-course menu, Jean for the salmon and chocolate mousse, me for rib of beef and creme brulée. It was very good, but not exceptional, and the price was high, but not outrageous given it included a visit to the observation platform as well. The main experience was seeing Toronto as the sun set and the restaurant slowly revolved. Fantastic.
We went down to the observation deck. It was absolutely rammed at 9.30 p.m. on a Sunday. Far too many people.
As we couldn’t see anything really different, we hastily quit this floor and got back to ground level.
It was a balmy evening walk back to the hotel, and a nightcap was called for in a very decent bar, despite the rather jarring thumping music, before retiring to bed.
A bus and boat tour await tomorrow. I hope that you’ll follow my deathless prose reporting on this later. In the meantime, good night.