Do you have a couple of Loonies?

Toronto Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 12 › view all entries
CN Tower

Do you have a couple of Loonies? These were the first words spoken to me on my first morning in Canada. It turns out a Loonie is Canadian slang for a dollar coin and this guy wanted some change for the vending machine but more about Loonies later.


Arrived at Toronto Pearson airport about 5:30pm local time last night, took the bus “downtown” and arrived at the hostel without much difficulty. Went for a wander for an hour or so to get my bearings, had a beer in the bar around the corner and went to bed. With a 5 hour time difference and a long day of travelling I planned on forcing myself to keep awake so I could get a good nights sleep and correct my body clock. However, this idea went to pot and I found myself staring at the ceiling most of the night almost too tired to get any shut-eye.

City below


So up at 6am, shower and having chatted to my fellow guest about Loonies, I ventured out to get some breakfast. Found everything closed so walked around for a couple of hours before stumbling on a cafe and had a ham omelette.


9am and I am first in the queue for the CN Tower. Standing 553 metres tall it is (for the moment) the tallest tower in the world and offers fantastic views of Toronto. The real size of it hit me when I came down and was looking at the huge sky-scrapers in the city thinking that they looked like a child's playset when viewed from the top of the tower.


Next stop was the (Ice) Hockey Hall of Fame. Not that interested in the game myself but was passing and thought I would give it a go.

Stanley Cup
So glad I did as it is a fantastic museum, full of exhibits and interactive bits and bobs. They also have the Stanley Cup on display there which I read was named after Lord Stanley of Preston (my home town) who, when Governor of Canada, donated it as the prize for the leading Ice Hockey team in Canada each year and today it is given to the winners of the NHL.


They also have the Lucky Loonie on display there too. In 2002 the USA hosted the winter Olympics at Salt Lake City and a Canadian team was hired to produce the ice for the hockey games. Unbeknown to the Americans a Loonie was secreted in the centre of the ice and so inspired Canada to gold medals in the men's and women's ice hockey competitions ��" hence the term lucky Loonie.


I decided to go back to the hostel in the afternoon with the intention of chilling out and writing my blog with a few cans of beer.

State Alcohol Shop
Wondered why there was no beer for sale in the supermarkets but it turns out that the only place you can buy alcohol privately (and even as a bar or restaurant owner) is at one of the state owned LCBO (Liquor Board of Control Ontario) stores. Apparently the temperance movement was a big thing in Ontario in the 1920s so the LCBO was formed to control the sale of alcohol and to know "exactly who is drinking and how much", even as recently as 1962 you needed a permit to even buy alcohol. Today the LCBO generates C$1.2bn a year for the Ontario government but it is strange that this (almost Soviet style of) operation exists in the western world today.


Found an LCBO a few streets away and left clutching my shameful purchase of 4 cans of (overpriced) beer in a brown paper bag and left hurriedly non wanting to catch they eye of any disapproving Torontonians. Back at the hostel an American guest was seriously disturbing his Canadian, Australian and European fellow travellers by sharing his views on gun control and recounting his exploits as a marksman - killing squirrels with a shotgun does not seem fair surely?!.


Bar crawl tonight but have to be up early for the IndyCar race in the morning.

 

LadyAnabelise says:
nice blog!
Posted on: May 09, 2011
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
CN Tower
CN Tower
City below
City below
Stanley Cup
Stanley Cup
State Alcohol Shop
State Alcohol Shop
A view from the bottom
A view from the bottom
And one from the top
And one from the top
Skypod
Skypod
A long way down!
A long way down!
Wayne Gretzky in the Hall of Fame
Wayne Gretzky in the Hall of Fame
Lucky Loonie
Lucky Loonie
Toronto
photo by: yasuyo