Tall towers and chocolate cake

Toronto Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 7 › view all entries

The nine hour bus ride to Toronto passed relatively quickly, with not much to see out the windows - just lot of flat, frosty ground. Passed through a few familiar places though, such as Scarborough and Grimsby!

On arrival in Toronto we went in search of our hostel. The website had promised a friendly hostel in a nice location, ten minutes away from all the main tourist attractions. We had chosen it initially because it was only $12, about £5, a night! We soon came to learn why it was so cheap.

For starters, the hostel being ten minutes away from the main attractions was a joke. Maybe for an olympic runner, but not for us with our backpacks. Secondly, the location - positioned between a battered womens shelter and a strip/lapdancing club, the hostel was on a v dodgy side street with very strange passers by, such as the man who jumped out from behind a bush then walked in front of us, looking back as if he was scared of the two teenage girls behind him! Finally, the "friendliness" of the hostel was non existent - from the moment we entered we encountered nothing but rudeness, until we tried to check out and the owner tried to tell us we owed him money. We had paid the full bill when we arrived, and they weren't getting another penny! It would have been worth it had it saved us some money - but we spent what we had saved on getting tipsy every night, as it made the walk back in the dark a bit less scary!

Thinking of Toronto, the first word that comes to mind is "cold" ! Having spent the winter in Maine, where the coldest it got was -27C, we should have been used to the cold - but somehow the -16C of Toronto was far more bitter, and made walking around very uncomfortable. The cold also turned the city into a ghost town as all the locals used the underground tunnels - however, the first time we found one we got lost and confused, so decided to brave the outdoors!

The night we arrived we went to an Irish pub, where we got a HUGE meal each and a couple of pints of very welcome Magners cider for about £8 each.

The following day, we went in search of the CN tower. Our original plan was to walk to it using the tower itself as a guide - being so tall, we were sure it would be visible from everywhere. However, whilst walking through the business district to get there there were a lot of other tall buildings so we did get a bit lost! It was during this walk that we came across a lot of homeless people, lying on steam grates to try and keep warm. It was quite upsetting seeing them as it was so very cold, and I was surprised by the numbers, espcially when I hadn't seen any homeless people in places like New York.

Arriving at the CN tower, we went up in the lift which was pretty scary as the side was glass! There were good views from the top, but the land was very flat and not very varied. Jen managed to tempt me onto the glass floor, which was very nerve wracking!

From there we went on to the place I had been looking forward to the most - the Hockey Hall of Fame. Having wanted to go there for about six years, i was very excited. I could have spent all day in there but as Jen isn't a huge fan we stayed about 3 hours, looking at all the incredible memorabilia, playing interactive hockey games, and watching a movie.

That night was a Toronto Maple Leafs game and we had decided not to get tickets due to lack of funds. Instead we went to Gretzkys, a sports bar owned by Wayne Gretzky, the best hockey player in history. The game was on the big screen, so we ate dinner (again, a huge meal at a reasonable price) and got the beers in. We also had the famous Gretzkys desert - 10 layer chocolate cake!! It was HUGE, ten layers of sponge with buttercream between each layer. We got a lot of funny looks when it was brought out to us, and we ended up taking about three quarters of it back to the hostel (which made a yummy, if odd, breakfast the next morning!)

The following day we just mooched around the city, going in a huge mall and checking out Yonge Street, the longest street in the world. We then headed back to the hostel to collect our dirty clothes, and took them to a laundrette round the corner. It was here that we had perhaps our scariest experience - we were alone in the laundrette, and a very strange man came in and started talking to us, and was doing drugs in front of us! In the evening we had dinner and cocktails at Hard Rock Cafe to fortify us for our walk back to Sketchville - we had to walk past that laundrette again!

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photo by: yasuyo