Eaton Centre, Downtown
After another 4 hour bus journey we arrived in Toronto
on a pretty dull Thursday afternoon. We got the subway and found the hostel pretty quickly as it was right on top of Dufferin subway station. What we hadn't banked on was that our 'boutique' hostel actually shared a retirement home so there were walking aids galore (might come in handy after a few shandies) and the unmistakable whiff that only an old-peoples home can muster. We only wanted a base from which to explore Toronto, and there were quite a few others our age (ie. under 75). The room we got was spacious too with a view of the CN Tower in the distance so we were happy.
We went straight to the Entertainment District for a look about and in search of food.
Old City Hall
I narrowly escaped a showing of Dirty Dancing as the only tickets left were restricted viewing and we headed down towards the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre. The CN Tower is incredible. It completely dominates Toronto's skyline and you can't help but gawp at it. We were tempted to go up to the top at that point but the weather wasn't great and the forecast was much better for Sunday. After some food in the Baton Rouge we headed down to The Rogers Centre, the home of Toronto's Baseball team, the Blue Jays (pausing every few minutes to stare up at the CN Tower!), where we discovered that the Chicago White Sox were in town on Sunday, so got some tickets.
After a stroll along a windy harbourfront we headed to the financial district, where we found a cosy little bar to pass some time while the weather brightened and we sourced opinion on where to head that night.
Thinking a film might be a good plan, we headed up to Yonge and Dundas, via Old City Hall and a massive indoor shopping mall, The Eaton Centre (check out the birds in the pics - I thought they were real for a while!). With nothing taking our fancy at the flicks we had a drink in the Hard Rock Cafe and caught the subway back to the hostel.
On Friday morning we had more of the city to explore so made the most of the included breakfast and set off for Bloor-Yonge (Yonge Street is the longest in the world apparently), and then walked down to the harbourside to book our trip to Niagara Falls. With that sorted we went to St. Lawrence Market in Old Toronto to see what was on offer. Toronto is said to be the most ethnically diverse city on Earth (As much as 50% of the city is made up by those who weren't born in Toronto), and it shows, especially in the markets.
The rest of the Old Town wasn't really that old, and after looking at the original Flatiron building we went back along the to the Entertainment District and then out to the Museum. Although we didn't have time to look around, the building is impressive enough - big glass pyramid-like structures tacked onto the side of a building that you'd usually associate with a museum. Before going back to the hostel we got the subway up to Casa Loma. Casa Loma is a chateau-like building that was built by the guy who utilised Niagara Falls for hydro-electric power. He managed to make so much money that he built a 98-room castle just for him and his wife! Worn out, we headed back - remarkably managing not to shrink any of our laundry this time.
With chores done we went out for the evening, following the advice of the barman in town and heading to The Annex, not far from our Hostel and near the University.
Dinner was in an Italian, Serra and was fantastic and the friendly waitress recommended The Green Room. Afterwards we found some pretty good live music a block away from the reastaurant and then set about finding the Club. In the next bar we went into, the barman looked horrified when we told him where we were looking for as it's a "grungey hangout" and recommended yet more bars to try. We decided to stay local, and a drink or two later it was soon 2am anyway, so we headed back home.