Because of sheer exhaustion, I couldn’t do blog posts for days 2 and 3. One thing I learned from the first day is that if you’re too tired to even open your eyes, you won’t have fun, and I didn’t want to miss out on the experiences just because I stayed up too late. In any case, for the rest of my Toronto entries, I will focus less on the (boring) details of our trip and instead write about the interesting observations I had. For example, for day 2, there were so many peculiar things I noted about the people of Toronto.
No matter how fast you set your pace, someone will always walk past you – well, it was more like push and shove, but that’s minutia. The people of Toronto (or at least the ones you encounter while walking on the street or while using the subway) always have a destination, and they will get there, on time, if they have to blow up a mountain along the way.
For this day, we intended to go to Canada’s Wonderland despite the sporadic mild showers. We looked up the address and it was blah blah JANE STREET. We looked at our subway map and sure enough, there’s a Jane street there! So with the few successes we’ve had with the public transit system, we felt confident enough to get on the trains and somehow just.. find Canada’s Wonderland (?). When we got to Jane Street, it rained a little bit harder and so we decided to stop for a bit and grab lunch at Asa Sushi. As it turned out, it was good sushi for an even better price. Ten dollar rolls would have about 14 to 16 pieces, which means huge! After lunch, we tried to find Wonderland but as we looked at the iPhone GPS, learned that although Canada’s Wonderland indeed is on Jane Street, it was also in Vaughan, Ontario. It would have taken four hours to walk there, 90 minutes to bus and half an hour to car. Rides were not to be for this day.
Instead we headed for the Royal Ontario Museum. We walked down Bloor Street (Bloor, by the way, along with Dundas, are my favourite streets. I love saying BLOOOOOR and DUNDAAAAS and savour every millisecond of saying it. I randomly say Bloor and Dundas every now and then, and my friends have gone quite annoyed with it haha.) to get there, getting face-to-face with Toronto’s downtown for the first time. The hussle and bussle is great, and the architecture is amazing. Royal Ontario Museum is an amalgamation of old and new, and its architecture completely represents this. The wonderful, old, palace-like building is blended with the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal structure, which is the essence of modernity with tall and wide walls jutting out in sharp angles into the sidewalk in all directions. Yes it sounds kind of confusing, but somehow it works. Google the ROM and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The museum was fascinating, and my favourite, I’d have to say, was the Asian section, particularly the Buddhist artifacts and the descriptions of their various levels of Buddhahood. After the museum,we went to the Eaton Centre to do some shopping. At the end of it all, I was so proud of myself because I did not spend a single cent to shop.
Since we had already purchased the City Pass (admission to 6 attractions), we thought we should go to the CN Tower this evening because we might not have time to visit it later. It was completely dark outside. The views were amazing! I had never been to a higher structure in my life. We paid the extra fee to go to the sky pod, which was 33 storeys higher than the regular, albeit already so darned high, viewing platform. We all know that at the CN Tower there’s an area where there’s glass flooring right? Well, we had been expecting it, but none could have prepared us for the view. I am not scared of heights, but I hesitated walking along the glass flooring. I eventually got my grip and actually tried to figure out ways to get an even better straight-to-the-ground view. With a little bit of puke in my mouth, I enjoyed the exhilaration. We took our time and gandered to the open-air part of the sky pod. We enjoyed the sights and just tried to take it all in. Altogether it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience.
We grabbed a quick dinner at Pizza Pizza (since it was already very late into the evening) and cabbed to the hotel. Ate Charmie’s feet couldn’t take it any longer!
I have done quite a bit of travelling in the past couple of years. I think that it is apt that the slogan for our province be “Friendly Manitoba”, since we Manitobans, indeed, are friendly. I am proud and never forget about this when travelling. Within an hour, we were yelled at three times. First, upon boarding a street car, second because of my video camera, and thirdly because of Linger’s camera. Whereas a Winnipegger, say, would calmly and mildly tell you that taking pictures is not allowed in a certain area, a Torontonian would ragingly bang on their booth’s glass window, point and then yell at you to stop. This is exactly what we experienced, and gladly we’re confident enough people not to be daunted by this. We just gave the Shrek-looking lady a glare as accusatory as we could muster and went on our way. Now imagine if she had done that with another Torontonian – there would have been a gunfight.
Having checked the weather forecast the night prior, we found out that the previous forecast of “thundershowers” for the whole day was changed to “mostly sunny”. We knew that we had to take advantage of this good fortune, and so we were faced with a dilemma: go to Canada’s Wonderland or Niagara Falls? We chose the former.
It was a lot of fun. The rides were amazing, especially the Behemoth! I’d have to say that it’s the best ride I’ve ever been on. It was the appropriate mix of exhilaration and speed, but through the wild turns and ups and downs, it was still very smooth. Charlotte and I – I have decided, by the way, that Charlotte is my favourite amusement park buddy. She would go on any ride with you, and she shares the same philosophy with me about amusement parks: have fun, just do it. – went on the Behemoth a total of three times, and Psyclone three times as well.
To the Toronto trip people, I have a confession to make! From CW, remember we were late for our 5 o’clock bus, reason why we couldn’t go back to the hotel to change? It was because Charlotte and I, in a bout of childishness, rode on the Psyclone another time right after the Behemoth. On our way back to the meeting place, we passed by Psyclone. We looked at each other. She asked me what time it was, and at that time it was about 8 to 5. I knew what she had been getting at. We smiled… and then we were late for the bus. Sorry!
A few other Wonderland highlights were the girls getting henna tattoos and lorenz getting a caricature. He posted a twitpic of the caricature – pretty wicked. As well we found out that there had been an earthquake in GTA, the buildings were shaking (from a work email coming from head office, giving updates), but as we were out of Toronto city proper, we didn’t feel a thing.
We headed for Eaton Centre to do a little bit more shopping, then went to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. It was also a good experience. Glaiza and Greene, Lorenz’s friends from the Philippines, had dinner with us. They were pleasant company.
We then spent quite a while in Dundas Square (Toronto’s Times Square), really cool place, took a lot of pictures then walked home.
Quick recap of today’s events: we headed for Eaton Centre to grab lunch and then went to Casa Loma (a really pretty castle) for sightseeing. I liked the castle immensely, and moreover enjoyed learning the history of the place. We walked to Waterfront and the Toronto Harbour to relax and enjoy the water. We then went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage (amid the loud city-wide strike of hotel labourers) and then headed home.
Final day. I learned something from Dong: excitement is something that you experience less and less when you see things for what they are, accept your situation and live in the present. It’s a part of the Buddhist philosophy – distinct from religion – that he subscribes in. Excitement is almost always there whenever we are about to embark on an anticipated journey or if you know that something good is about to happen. Trust me, I enjoyed this trip immensely, but the feeling of exhilaration was lost to me for the entire duration we were in Toronto. I tried to enjoy the moments I had with my friends and take in as much of my surroundings as possible. I also took the time to thank God for allowing such a thing to happen. But I am well aware that there will be more trips in the future; that this isn’t the last time I will see Toronto; that whatever I may have missed, I shall be able to experience at some point in my life. And so I was in no way overjoyed by the experience, nor the least bit sad when it was over. Besides, at the end of the day, it was the company of my friends that made the trip special – and I will bring them home with me to Winnipeg.
Well, here I am, thousands of feet above the ground, writing these entries. This is a happy time. I bid you adieu for now, and thanks for reading!