Sunday, February 9, 2014

#Travel // Buildings, Boats & Beer in Toronto

After many glorious days exploring the countryside along the Great Lakes, our road trip led us back into civilization, starting with Toronto.  The highway bringing us into the city became busier and the stations started playing copious amounts of Metric's new song, much to my delight. We arrived late, with just enough time to watch the sunset over the skyline and to grab some ethnic food at a fancy mall's food court. The perks of being back in a city!

Like with the majority of this trip, we had no idea what we were going to do the morning we woke up in Toronto. This was a city I was actually really excited to see, but no idea why. I've met cool people from here and I love the band Metric, so that alone should make it a city to see right? Well, we started walking around, looking at buildings and asking "what are we doing" about every ten minutes. 

Along with Torsten's admiration with all things transportation, he loves his harbors. Naturally, we found ourselves in front of the ferry gates, debating if we should hop on the next boat over to Toronto Island. It was already getting close to noon, but being early autumn, we still had plenty of day light to work with, meaning a few hours running around the island couldn't hurt!

So there we were, barely a few hours back into a city and already leaving it to explore somewhere less inhabited. Majority of the attractions on the island were closed, even with a fairly large crowd joining us on the ferry. It was easy to see we arrived too late in the year to really experience the full vibe of the island, but getting to see some cute animals at the small petting zoo and amazing views of the city skyline was enough to please us. 

Back in the city, we walked along the wacky walkways that lined the waterfront, checking out the fun looking buildings and attractions we wouldn't be able to afford on this trip. Though the sun was bright, there was a chilling wind that put us in the hunt for a local watering hole with Canadian beer on tap.

Our hunt led us to a local joint that was better than what we were expecting, Amsterdam Brewhouse. We were planning on just finding a small pub for a Canadian beer we never heard us, but a brew house was even better, more expensive, but better. Being right on the water, it had a gorgeous view, but also the prices that go along with harbor views.

We settled with a beer each, planning on getting more fancy food-court ethnic food later in the evening. The hour we lazied away here (service was a little slow, trust me, it doesn't take us a hour to drink a glass) was nice break from our "roughing it" days in the van. It felt good to be back among the chatter of other human beings with a nice, cold beer in hand! 

After our beer tasting, we went more into the touristy part of the city where all the major attractions that are typical of most cities are located. The only ones we really considered was this rail museum and the sky tower. Unfortunately we arrived too late for the museum, and the tower was more than we were wanting to spend to see a city we barely knew. When we lived in Sydney, we went up the sky tower there, loving to see all our favorite parts of the city from above. But when it's somewhere we barely know, it just wouldn't live up to our previous experience.

We happened to walk past the stadium as a Toronto Maple Leafs' game was about to start, making a slight detour through part of the stadium mandatory. As much as we wanted to join the crowds, we weren't nearly enough ice hockey fans to dish-out the couple hundred dollars to see a game. We debated going to see the game at a local bar, but there was some driving I had to do that night. We were also pretty excited for getting more our our fancy mall food court meal, can you tell we were happy to eat something other than sandwiches?

Around dusk we approached the Nathan Phillips Square , with all the most stunning buildings surrounding. We were bummed we were missing out on the ice rink that pops up in winter. There were a few art installations there were interesting and fun to play around with, including this large-scale bicycle frame piece. Never thought spinning wheels of a hundred bikes would be that much fun! 

They next day, as we were leaving the city and en route to Niagara Falls, we came across this old, large engine room that is now a museum. Somehow we accidentally found ourselves with the paid tour group (that we didn't pay for) and were lucky enough to see this huge engine in motion. We left as soon as we realized we were crashing and continued to play with a few industrial art pieces in the lobby. 

Considering our minimal time and money for the day spent in Toronto, I'd say our trip to the city was pretty good. I'd still like to go back one day for a weekend and see some of the other attractions, but we still had a lot to look forward to and were coming close to our most anticipated destination, Niagara Falls! 
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