North America

Snapshots of… Toronto

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After a mental four days and nights at Dragon Con it was time to set off for a couple of more relaxing days in Toronto, Ontario. Or at least that’s what we thought. Prior to our leaving the UK I’d received an e-mail from clever-hotels.com whom I’d booked our hotel through advising that their partner company Navelar had gone into administration and that it was possible that out booking would not be honoured. We were on our road trip from London to Glasgow at the time and to say I was a little stressed out is probably an understatement. It then didn’t help when we arrived at our Glasgow hotel to be told that there was no booking for us their either and they had no rooms available. The very helpful girl on the desk (who usually doesn’t cover reception) was a bit panicked but did all she could to help us and eventually got us settled in a room for at least the first evening. Once in I had the joyous task of calling the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Toronto to see what our situation was, the woman I spoke to advised that everything was fine; the booking was in the system and fully paid for so we could relax. I wish I’d gotten her name as when we arrived in the Monday evening after Dragon we were told that in fact the booking had been cancelled, they wouldn’t reinstate it nor honor the original price we had paid and instead would be charged $149 for the first night, $179 for the second and third then $199 for the fourth PLUS TAX! Way over the £269 (approx $438) we had already paid out to clever-hotels.com. Not having any other option being completely wiped from travelling we stayed for the first night and I was able to find us a deal at the nearby Ramada Plaza on LastMinute.com for £238. I wasn’t giving the Marriott anymore of my money than I had to, had they offered to honor the price of the original booking or given us some kind of discount I probably would have just stayed but I found their customer service lacking to say the least. Anyway, our room at the Ramada was a lot nicer than there anyway.

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Luckily Tuesday was always going to be a quiet getting our bearings day so after we were allowed to check in early by the Ramada staff we headed off to Hooters for some food and then wandered towards the waterfront. I knew I wanted to visit the Toronto Islands so it made sense to find out the best way to get there and how much it was going to be. After some food we walked right past the CN tower, I knew we wouldn’t be visiting the top as Matt doesn’t like heights and I’m sure the glass floor would have put him off even more so I grabbed a few pictures.

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We saw the new Toronto Aquarium as well which is due to open some time in September but wasn’t quite ready when we were there. We found ourselves next to the Toronto Railway Museum and Steam Whistle Brewing where we took some more pictures.

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We found the Waterfront Centre but nothing seemed to be open, a small random beach overlooking the lake and the beautiful Toronto Music Gardens too. This was such a beautiful place I could have happily just relaxed there for quite a while.

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We also discovered that Canadian builders have quite the sense of humour with this sign:

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The following day was set aside for our tour trip to Niagara Falls which I’m going to cover in a second post tomorrow as it’s just so damn beautiful and we ended the day with a relaxing evening in the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi at the hotel spa. I think I may have done something to my right foot when I jumped into the pool although I didn’t feel anything at the time (no I wasn’t drunk at the time thank you very much 😛 I only started drinking after it happened) as I woke up on the Thursday morning with pain in my right ankle. I was convinced it was swollen but Matt thought otherwise so I donned my denim converse rather than sandals and we headed out anyway.

We’d decided to take the harbour tour across to the Toronto Islands rather than the public ferry as then we would get to hear a bit more about their background and the surrounding area. Captain Molly was our navigator for the outward trip and we were lucky enough to have her as tour guide on the return trip. Beautiful, knowledgable and so friendly I may have developed a little crush on her by the end of the day.

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Once on the islands we weren’t sure what to do first. The amusement park was close (which was probably a good thing given my foot!) so we headed straight for the Centre Island where most of the other attractions were. We had wanted to visit the Amazing Maze but couldn’t find it! (We’re pretty sure it doesn’t exist yet, or has maybe been demolished!) Not to be disheartened though we headed to the pier for views of some of the most gloriously blue water I have ever seen then took a leisurely walk along the beach just on the edge of the water (because the sand was too hot to step on for to long) before plonking ourselves down for a good half our or so just chatting. (And Matt getting bit by bugs!) At this point my ankle started giving up so I had to don the converse once again and we took a walk to find the lighthouse and trout ponds. We also took a cheeky visit to the clothing optional beach where we saw far too much old man penis and I giggled like the five-year old child that I truly am.

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All too soon it was time to go as the last tour back to the mainland was at 4:30pm. After a nap we went out for dinner and I indulged in a few drinks which made the ankle pain seem to fade away… until Friday morning that is when I couldn’t actually put any weight on it whatsoever and rather inelegantly collapsed in a semi-naked heap outside the bathroom door first thing in the morning. We had planned to visit the Royal Ontario Museum that day as our taxi wasn’t due to pick us up until 5pm but as I couldn’t walk we had a lazy day instead. We did manage to source an ankle support and some pain killers in a pharmacy which helped a little but it was quite nice just hanging out in the sun at Yonge-Dundas Square after some food and then later in Allan Gardens which was directly opposite our hotel. I also braved the walk to find Aberdeen Avenue just a couple of blocks away.

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Unfortunately we didn’t have a map with us at the time so couldn’t find Suffolk Street for Matt but I don’t think he was too bothered. Finally it was time to head off and catch our plane where the holiday bubble was well and truly burst.

If you aren’t quite bored of my pictures you can find quite a few more over on my Facebook Page 🙂

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