Join us as we journey across this great nation over the next year, attempting to delve into cultures and experience more than just the standard tourist. We will be renting homes via Airbnb and staying for extended periods of time; learning what it is about each city that makes it unique and sets it apart from others.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Oh, Ontario and your adventures. My favorite of course was that jaw dropping waterfall, but let us not forget perusing downtown
Toronto, the Distillery District and the Belt Line. This post is directed at our
Ontario based excursions and all the fun we had while pretending to be Canadian
for one month.
Let’s start with my favorite, Niagara Falls!
A-freaking-mazing! Granted driving into Niagara you feel like you've taken a
detour and have suddenly landed in the Canadian version of Las Vegas. It is kitschy,
full of casinos, Ferris wheels and total Niagara clichés, but in reality the
city does need to provide some other form of entertainment, I mean one can only stare
at a waterfall for so long, regardless of how remarkable it is.
We had made plans to meet up with Tom’s long lost cousin,
Tim and his partner Steve from Buffalo, while visiting Niagara, but first we
needed to take in the fury of the river. We arrived a couple of hours before
our lunch date, bound and determined to hike into the whirlpools; unfortunately
heat and lack of adequate planning prevented us making it before having to turn
around and head back into town. Feeling slightly defeated, but the excitement
of meeting family members for the first time quickly overcast our brush with
Tim is a cousin from Tom’s biological father side and since
Tom was quite young when his mother said sayonara to Ralph, that part of his
life has been minimal to say the least, especially since he passed about
eighteen years ago. Fortunately though, Tom’s brother, Todd, did some genealogy
research, looking for family members, medical history and what not and came across
some long lost cousins, including Tim. Being able to connect with him, learn
that part of their genetic make-up has been a great experience and learning
what little was known about Tom’s biological father has been fascinating. Meeting
up with Tim and Steve made for a wonderful afternoon; we spent hours chatting,
getting to know one another, learning about that side of Tom’s heritage and it’s
definitely one of the greatest treasures we've had on our journey. Thank you
Tim and Steve for making the drive across the border and dining with us even
though we were a little ripe from our hike; we did test that unconditional
family bond by meeting up post exercise.
Tom and his cousin Tim
On our way back into Toronto, we took a quick drive through
the thriving wine town of Niagara on the Lake, of course part of me want to
stop, taste the wine, but the urge to shower and crash had a greater pull.
Although I would strongly recommend for those honeymooners or couples checking
out Niagara Falls area to stay in Niagara on the Lake. The streets are lined
with flowers, adorable cottage homes, a park as the centerpiece of the city and vineyards
just around the corner; this is a city that exudes romance and full of so much more whimsy than Niagara Falls.
Tom taking in the Distillery District
Toronto and our excursions here were pretty mellow, taking
them a day at a time to peruse the downtown area, the urban beaches, the Distillery District and the Belt Line. All unique and each got their own day of adventures.
Why? Because Toronto is the Los Angeles of the East, seriously! This town is so
spread out and you literally have to drive everywhere and in horrific traffic;
it was a quick reminder of my strong dislike of LA and why I could never live
there. Although there was lots to see and do in Toronto, it was my least
favorite city so far, and maybe it had to do with how spread out it is and that
everything is at least thirty minutes away by car. Or maybe I have become
accustomed to walking cities and having everything one could possibly need
within a fifteen minute walk from our apartment, literally being able to
run out for something is a true gem.
Locks of Love at the Distillery District
Although we were ready to head back stateside, there are a
few things we will miss about Canada. Poutine for one, the delicious concoction
of fries and gravy, I mean, what’s not to love! Plus by the time we had left I was mastering the metric system and my ability to read directions in French, phenomenal! And, I am not going to lie, Netflix in Canada, awesome! Thanks for the
adventures Canada, but it is time to bid you adieu.