Dirty Stinking Toronto

6 09 2009

We spent most of our first day in Toronto planning our trip to Niagara – The joys of hostel booking and logistics all came flooding back, with limited beds in Toronto we decided on 2 nights at Niagara and had to move across town for the remainder of our stay in Toronto! On our way to our new place, which later in the week was named Number One area in Toronto for Violent crime, we discovered a new animal species! At first I thought the very dark squirrel was just dirty, but it turned out this was a Brand new species – the Black Squirrel, previously unknown to the human race (except those living in the downtown Toronto area). Unfortunately using our phones over here costs about 55p/min so as we’re on a budget I didn’t bother to call The Natural History Museum.

As you can probably tell, if finding a different colour squirrel is the highlight of our first few days in Toronto then it’s not that great a city! So we headed off on the bus to Niagara falls for a couple of days. We were dropped at the bus station and walked down along the river towards town, commenting on the way how nice it was that the place had retained its small town feel, lovely B&B’s along the quiet leafy roads etc.. That was until we hit the actual town centre which is a very bad version of Weston Supermare or Blackpool on steroids – more garish amusements and arcades that you’ve ever seen in one place! We dropped off our bags and took the Maid of the Mist boat ride  up to the falls – very impressive up close as the water thunders over the Horseshoe falls, and that’s only 75% of the potential apparently as a quarter is diverted for hydroelectric power during the day.

On our second day we hired bikes from our hostel and cycled up the river to Niagara on the Lake – beautiful little town and great ride up beside the river past all the vineyards and peach orchards. There were plenty of huge houses along the way for us to gawp at – we learnt later that most of Canada’s rich folk have a place up here along with accompanying orchard or vineyard so they can call themselves ‘Farmers’ and get in on the Tax breaks given to the real ones! We stopped on the way back to try some of the local Ice Wine – very nice but a little out of our price range at $54 for a half size bottle!

We stocked up on Chinese food before we left as this has become meal of choice when eating out – always massive portions and plenty of vegetables which seem to be absent from North American food! Plus the Chinese Birth Sign place mats were good for massaging our ego’s –  For me, 1980, Year of the Monkey: ‘Clever and Skilful to the Point of Genius’! Zoë is apparently ‘Elegant and Creative, yet timid or puzzled’!

So we returned to Dirty Stinking Toronto as our Niagara Hostel owner kept referring to it – Toronto had recently finished a city-wide garbage disposal strike that lasted 6 weeks and inevitably caused the city to become over-run with rats!

Our last few days were spent wandering around Toronto sights like Toronto Island and a trip up CN Tower – officially ‘The Lamest of the Seven Modern Wonders of the world’! We quite liked it though, we’d rather go up there than through the Chunnel which is also somehow on the list!

We’ve now moved onto Edmonton where we’ve been since Tuesday staying in the lap of luxury at a friends house – our en-suite bathroom is bigger than our dining room at home and there’s not a box-room in site – Why can’t we build houses like this in England?!

We’ve been glad of the chance to relax for a few days and stock up on delicious BBQ’s and proper breakfasts every day – we were tiring of pancakes and maple syrup which seems to be the generic Canadian hostel breakfast!

Having time to relax and take long strolls around the parks etc.. also gives us a chance to consider the important questions in life, such as ‘Would you rather have a Time Machine or a Teleporter’ and ‘Could you drive a Golf buggy across America’. Feel free to add your opinions in the comments section below!

We pick up our hire car tomorrow and head into the Rockies for a bit of camping in bear country. We’re well prepared though – Zoë has bought the equivalent of bear kryptonite – a ‘Bear-Bell’ from Walmart. Hopefully we won’t get to test it as I’m not that confident in its abilities!

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3 responses

6 09 2009
David Allen

For a change, we can honestly say, “been there, done most of that!”. David and Penny.

13 09 2009
andy moulam

Hi
Glad all appears to be ok
The last time I was in America it seemed to me that every drove as slow as a golf buggy so I think the answer must be they already do. Has to be a teleporter as the risk of you squashing the bug that led to your great grandfathers excistance would be to great with a time machine which is somewhat of a paradox How can you kill your self in the past if you already excist . All mathematical answers welcome

Andy M

15 09 2009
Pam

Enjoying your news – had good chuckle at the Toronto blog! Hope you haven’t been eaten by and any bears and the bell did the trick! Take care.

Lots of love Mum xx

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