Toronto: Home of the Leafs
Toronto Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
After a forgettable night in a JFK airport hotel (late night arrival + 4am wake-up = poo) it was with much excitement when Anna and I landed in Toronto on a chilly and wet sunday morning. It had been over a year since I had last seen Mark (aka my brother, aka sparkplug) and Katie, and we were pumped to see where they are living now and also check out some of the major sights in Eastern Canada (and as it turns out we also got chaueffered around in a 2006 model Subaru WRX!! Not bad, not bad at all).
Toronto airport seemed like a ghost town, we pretty much had to wake the customs guy up so he could check us back into the country. Being a Sunday, Mark and Katie were both there to greet us which was awesome and after a quick catch up, we threw the board bags into the back of their truck (what else??) and made the 40 minute journey back to their place.
Mark and Katie live with Katies parents, Mike and Gay, 5 minutes out a town called Stouffville (dont pronounce the "ff"s though otherwise you get laughed at), north of Toronto. The house is a really nice double story family home, on 15 acres of fenced paddocks (awesome old style wooden fences), with a large dam and a large, protected forest over the back fence.
The town of Stouffville basically consists of one (long) main street which can be divided in two. On one end you have all the new shops and on the other end you have the old town. The area surrounding Stouffville is predominantly agricultural however if it goes the way of nearby towns, there will soon be 50 squillion double story houses, all looking the same with no thought for any sort of culture or style.
On our first night there we got to meet Katies sister and her fiance, and were treated to a superb roast meal cooked by Gay. Having immigrated from England around 20 years ago also meant that she threw in a couple of those famous yorkshire puddings!!
Highlights of our stay in Toronto included:
- Niagra falls.
For the sheer beauty of the falls, the nearby city/town doesnt do it justice. A corny piece of crap, you expect better of Canada. We did have one of the best burgers of our trip so far in a restaurant called Ruby Tuesday.
- Toronto City. Not as structured as Vancouver, the buildings are older and each with their own identity, in my opinion it gives the city a lot more character. Along with the big name department stores, their are smaller boutique shops, world class theatre venues, the very impressive ice hockey venue (home of the Maple Leafs) and the enourmous CN Tower that dwarfs everything else in the city. Anna and I took a trip up to the viewing platform, a staggering 340 metres above ground. I think the tower actually stands at over 500m but the top part is used for telecommunications, the towers original purpose.
- Watching a Maple Leafs game at the local pub in Stouffville with several die-hard leafs fans including Katie and Mark. Ice-hockey is definitely a religion over here and watching the Leafs win an important game to keep them in the finals race, its hard to not find yourself screaming at the tele on occasions.
Big thanks to Mark, Katie, Gay and Mike for putting up with us for 4 nights and making as feel like part of the family, we had a fantastic time!! Especially to Mark and Katie for acting as our tour guides the whole time...did I mention they had a WRX!! Also Katie, thanks for the ride to the airport, as stressful as it was (the day we left it dumped down with snow causing major chaos on the highways), I always kinda felt safe... in the end our plane was delayed an hour and a half anyway....such is life.
And so onto Quito....I am crapping my dacks.