We flew to Toronto on Tuesday morning from Manchester, after spending the weekend with the in-laws (both mine and Phil’s – meet the parents event). Our flight was a reasonable 12:20 time, with us arriving in Toronto at 15:00 local time. I was so impressed by how easy everything was (we were let in the country!)
and promptly put the street address for our AirBnB apartment into my Google maps to workout the best transport option. My phone told me that a bus trip for an hour would get us to our destination. We walked past the trains in the airport and found our bus. After battling the ticket machine, we gave up and paid cash to the driver and settled in for our hour long trip. We went past many fields, industrial zones, motorways… it was glorious. I was just excited that we had arrived and so had our luggage. We get to our destination and then can’t locate the apartment. Plus, the surrounding area looked more like a small town, bare, but with a few shops, but nothing fancy. It definitely wasn’t as busy or flashy as I was expecting. And hey, where’s the CN Tower?
Absolute fail. We ended up in Hamilton. Some town 130km from Toronto, where they have the same street names and silly me didn’t realise that if you arrive at Toronto airport, you are not likely to get a Toronto address as first pick when entering it in Google maps.
As you can see from the map, the trip from the airport to Toronto is far shorter. So WHY THE HELL DID THE MAP SEND US TO BLOODY HAMILTON?! Needless to say, Phil took over the transport and logistics for the remainder of the trip.
Once arriving in actual Toronto, some 3 hours later than expected, we set off walking from the bus station to our place. We were staying very central on King Street W, so while wandering through the city a whole bunch of cops on motorbikes with sirens blaring started whizzing past us. I looked at Phil and squealed; “It’s PRINCE HARRY!”. He thought I was a nut job, but no no! HRH was there for the Invictus Games and I just knew it HAD to be him. My excitement level was at epic proportions (little did I know that in a few days I’d get even closer to the spunky prince…).
After much Harry excitement and we found our AirBnB we dropped our things and headed out for a meal ending up in the first bar we saw, which we both instantly fell in love with. Phil and I love a good English pub, a pint, pub grub, a bit of sport, it’s comfortable. So when we entered this Canadian bar (I don’t think they call them pubs?) it just felt right. The staff were lovely, there was a baseball game on the telly, and after ordering a pint each we tucked into some spicy chicken wings and homemade nachos (they actually made the nacho chips on site!). I wouldn’t say that Canada/USA are known for their food – we knew it would be casual, we both agreed this was our favourite meal of the trip. We got stuck into the Yankees baseball game and made the decision we’d buy tickets to see them play when we hit New York City.
The next day we stepped out into the 29*C heat and went in search of coffee, specifically Versus Coffee, which I had been following on Instagram and was dying to try one of their coloured coffees and take snaps of course. We also threw in our first bagel of the trip – and boy did that love addiction grow.
We then wandered through the city on our own sight-seeing tour and stopped into St Lawrence’s Market for a snoop and browse. I love a market. I don’t care if they’re selling crafts, food, people’s old knick knacks… whatever it may be, I’m there. But this market, holy hell. It exceeded all expectations. The place was huge and full of food and I was pumped. Of course, Phil, the voice of reason piped up and mentioned we didn’t need to do a weekly shop as we’d only be here a few days, and, realistically, was I going to cook? Heart breaking truths. The fact we’d just eaten a bagel with cream cheese meant no room for snacks, so alas, we left empty handed.
Back out into the sweltering heat we made our way down to the waterfront, as we remembered seeing some beautiful green spaces right by the water on our way in on our long bus journey the day before. Sure enough, the green spots and the waterfront were just as beautiful as imagined and the view you got of the city was magic. It was worth the walk in the heat, sweat melting the makeup off my face and making my hair limp.
That night we went to the sky high The One Eighty restaurant, on the 51st floor off Bloor Street. We planned it to perfection by arriving at 18:00 and then getting to see the view in the sunlight, as the sun went down and then in the dark with the city lit up. We overheard others at the restaurant saying they had paid to go up the CN Tower and the view wasn’t half as good (especially as you can’t see the CN Tower) and a friend of mine had said this was a way better option – she was right. We had a table outside on the balcony – it was a little nippy, but a beautiful evening and sunset. We got very snap happy while we scoffed down our pizzas and wine.
We got ourselves up and ready for a mini-adventure on day three to Niagara Falls. We decided to grab coffee and breakfast before heading to the bus station – bad mistake. Although I did get to try my first Tim Hortons coffee which everyone in Canada RAVES about. And hello, I now know why. It’s sooooooooo good. I thought I could taste a small hint of cinnamon but I don’t know if that was just the brainwashing belief that everything Canadian has maple/cinnamon flavours. If you have the chance, try it – it’s the only coffee I drank for the rest of our Canada trip and it was so good and so cheap!
So we get to the bus station, after my orgasmic moment with Mr Horton to find that the bus we were planning to take was completely booked. So we then had to kill an hour waiting for the next bus. Not the end of the world, but also not ideal.
Anywho, an hour later we’re on the bus heading to Niagara. It was nice to sit in the air-con and watch the countryside go by. When we hit Niagara we had to take another bus to get us to the Falls, but it was all very easy. The Falls themselves are stunning – the moving water and the force that it flows at is fascinating.
After spending some time (a couple of hours walking up and down) enjoying the falls and taking thousands of videos and photos we went into Niagara town to grab a bite before we had to catch our bus back. The town is wacky. It’s a lot like Blackpool or how I imagine Las Vegas.
I was somewhat confused by this because everyone kept telling me that there’s NOTHING in Niagara except the Falls. Well, what about this huge amusement park area? There were rides, haunted houses, bars, casinos, wax museums, people mingling about. I know there’s nothing fancy, or maybe nothing intellectually stimulating – but HELLO, RIDES. We didn’t do any rides. Fairground rides freak me out. But I had to set the record straight – there is stuff going on in Niagara, it’s not a desolate town like I had been lead to believe.
By time we got back to Toronto, after my snooze on the bus, it was late so we headed back to our apartment to pack up our stuff, for our next stop in New York. We were both a little sad we’d not added another day or two to Toronto, as we both instantly fell in love with the city and the people. But onto New York and day four, which also brought about my close(r) encounter with Prince Harry…