Day 37 (Toronto) – Monday, 15th August

Decided to go for the buffet option at breakfast, rather than à la carte. Not sure it was the best idea, as it was expensive and I don’t think I got the best value, but at least we could choose what we wanted.

Another warm day as we headed off for our bus/boat tour. Got to the appropriate bus stop to be accosted by a young fella from the tour bus operator who didn’t really seem to know what he was doing. We eventually got our official tickets just as the bus drew up.

We went three stops on the bus, with a rather variable commentary via headphones, before we got off for the included boat tour around the near islands.

As we had to wait about half an hour before the boat came in, we got talking to an Italian tour guide who had been living in Toronto for three and a half years. He was at least entertaining – he thought Mussolini was a beneficial influence on Italy before he got dragged into World War 2 – and offered various other, erm, interesting observations on the state of the world in general. Good fun.

We were first on the boat, so got pole position right at the front. It transpired that our Italian friend was also the commentator on the boat. Entertaining, as might be expected, but not sure if his facts were 100% correct…..

No matter. It was a pretty boat ride.

CN Tower – dominates the skyline
Large gathering of darters. Closely related to cormorants
No cars allowed on this island

14 small islands in all, and a very pleasant 45 minute trip.

Got back to the bus stop to continue our tour, to find that we’d timed it perfectly. The bus turned up less than five minutes later and we ascended to the open top. It was crowded, so we had to take a seat near the back with very restricted legroom. My poor knees…. On top of that, we didn’t have the benefit of headphones, being addressed via a microphone by a guide. We could hardly hear him over the noise of the wind, traffic and bus engine.

Once the bus stopped, we high-tailed it to the front of the bus for a) a better view b) more legroom c) better audio as we could now hear what he was saying.

From this point, we went the whole way round without getting off. It was reasonably interesting, and I’m glad we did it, but it’s not as nice as Vancouver. And the traffic was horrendous, not helped by the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays are at home AGAIN tonight!

Some pics:

Our hotel
No idea who these guys are
Flat Iron Building ( for details)
City Hall Clock Tower
St Michael’s Basilica
Massey Music Building. Poor pic, but a Canadian singer called Gordon Lightfoot, who I remember well from the late 60s, performed here. Think “Sundown”, “If you could read my mind”, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” amongst others. Great songs.
Casa Loma, a hugely expensive folly which bankrupted a very rich man.

Because of the traffic, the tour took an hour longer than it should have in hot sun and traffic fumes. We were glad to get back to the hotel after that.

Front Street, which is where our hotel is situated, is a main thoroughfare. It was gridlocked as we walked back, but we were also struck by the number of beggars. We didn’t see any particularly rundown parts of Toronto today – I’m sure they exist – but the city council is spending hundreds of millions of dollars building massive condominiums (condominia?). Surely more needs to be done in a rich city like this to help these people. And the next picture does nothing to dispel the gulf between rich and poor.

Royal Bank of Canada Building. Every single window has 1 ounce of 24 carat gold in it.

Nuff said.

Took room service for food again as the noise from the hotel foyer and associated pounding drum’n’bass was more than we could stand. Not in keeping at all with the rather staid image of Fairmont hotels. Besides, we had packing to do…

A very decent cheeseburger was enjoyed on our own personal table wheeled in to the room. Classy again. Nice bottle of Chianti too!

Tomorrow we pick up a hire car – unfortunately, we have to go to the airport to do so, but it’s four stops on the train and it’s Can$12.40 for both of us oldies! Bargain! Makes a change for Canada!

We have that car for the next 45 days until we drop it off in Boston, USA. Gives us so much more freedom – no worries about baggage weights and security checks. Hallelujah!

Next stop – Niagara Falls. Bet you can’t wait.

2 responses to “Day 37 (Toronto) – Monday, 15th August”

  1. your right cant wait to see nigara falls

    1. Pictures upcoming by the bucket load later!

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