Toronto – A mixed bag

It was a short flight of roughly 90 minutes from Washington DC to Toronto.  I flew with Air Canada and was surprised at how nice and wide the seats were.  Being a person of a more curvaceous stature having wider seats is always a bonus and Air Canada certainly passed on that front.  It was also quite the novelty that after finishing every sentence in English the flight attendant would then switch to French and repeat I assume the same thing.

Clearing immigration was a breeze, and upon arrival I sat in the Arrivals area trying to get access to the sim card I had purchased for Canada.  This proved a frustrating exercise because as it turns out the company that had the sim card wanted payment for November (pro rata) and also for December.  Definitely not worth the cost for one week and in the end I decided to forgo access and relied on Wifi wherever I went!

I caught the Union Pearson Express from the International Airport at a cost of $12 CAD straight to Union station and by the time I arrived I was famished.  A very helpful employee recommended Jack Astors, a chain restaurant across the road.

Now I’ve never had poutine before but always wanted to try it because the pictures I’ve seen made it look so delicious.  Considering that I’ve never been a fan of gravy it probably wasn’t the wisest decision to make.  The chips were barely warm, the gravy was bland and the cheese curds remained unmelted.  I ate half because I was starving but demolished the entire pan of garlic cheesy bread I had ordered, before making my way to West Bloor to stay at the Holiday Inn via the subway.

The Holiday Inn is located opposite the St George Street Subway station and is a student mecca because this is where the University of Toronto is.  It has all the great conveniences of everything you need nearby too, with a  24 hour Metro (supermarket) only three blocks away and surrounded by tons of restaurants and cafes.

It turned out breakfast was not included in the rate I was paying which peeved me off as it was a reason why I picked it, had it been made clear I might’ve opted for another choice.  The hotel was also very tired looking, had an original bathroom, the lobby carpets were wrinkled and filthy.  The room however was decent and the bed was fluffy heaven and best of all I got my bath to soak my tired weary body.  It also had access to washer/dryer for free and an onsite gym.

My first impressions of Toronto were initially disappointing.  After New York and Washington it, I’ll admit seemed a lame replacement.  As if this city was attempting to mimic New York with it’s old and new architecture, only it did so badly.  The odd mixture did not seem to fit in well and I found it a tad hideous.  Coupled with ongoing construction, cyclists who didn’t seem to know the road rules, and vagrants everywhere.  Not knocking people who fall on hard times, but it was definitely far from what I expected to see alot of in Canada.  And trust me there was a lot of it.  More so than what I observed in NYC.

Though I stayed in Toronto from Sunday to Wednesday, I only managed a full day on Tuesday because Monday was spent at Niagara Falls.  This is where Toronto absolutely redeemed itself in my eyes, and again my time spent there was not anywhere long enough but I managed to make a good day of it exploring downtown.

I began at the St Lawrence Market, and pretty much went to wherever it took my fancy as seen below.  

I was amazed at the fantastic window dressings that I spotted at Saks Fifth avenue.  Look at these mannequins aren’t they exquisite?

Then growing ever hungrier after walking miles,  I headed on to Momofoku where I had the tastiest pork buns I have ever had accompanied withan overpriced bowl of ramen!  Both were very good however.  And the broth with the Ramen is what I needed for my cold.

Then it was to more exploring and I took a jillion pictures and ended up falling in love with Toronto.  

So my time was short there but it was well worth the visit.  If ever you were to travel out there, I would recommend staying a few more days.  I barely was able to see Downtown and didn’t manage to visit much else.

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