Monday, 22 October 2012

Toronto, so different…

Thursday 18 October

Being guests at a B&B we don’t want to get up too late, so the alarm is set for 7.30am.  While Frank has his shower I quickly download the photos onto the laptop.  Next is time for breakfast, which is fit for a King!  Janet and Bruce, having experienced many B&B situations themselves, have put out a hotel quality breakfast: French toast with real maple syrup, sausages, poached egg, toast, muffins, cereal, fresh fruit, coffee, juice, etc.

We still have a lot of talking to do, so it isn’t until 9.30am that we get into the car.  The nearest station with good connections is roughly an hour away, at Appelby.  The terrific hosts they are, Bruce and Janet provide us with directions and a map printed out from the computer and…… we still manage to get lost!  A split in the road and a wrong decision lead us onto a toll road, for which we don’t have a transponder, so we make sure we get off that one quick smart.  At first it is quite difficult to get back on the right track, because the print-out isn’t detailed enough.  We stop at a petrol station where I buy a map.  I ask the attendant if he can tell us where we are on the map.  Yes he can!  He points at a spot and tells me we’re at Burlington.  Yes, thanks, I knew that too! Big help.

Back to square one.  After another good look I know at least into which direction we have to go, so we set off to the SW and finally we come to an intersection where I recognise one of the street names.  We follow the directions on the print-out in opposite order and arrive at the train station.  From there on it is plain sailing.  We buy tickets, get on the train and alight at Union Station in Toronto at about 12pm.

We walk into the city, but honestly, we are not impressed.  There is a lot of building going on, so there is scaffolding everywhere and also plenty of road works.  No historic buildings of note and the few coffee shops we come across have no seating.  We enter a huge shopping centre, but nothing new there either.  Seen one, seen them all…..  

The town hall - the only old building we came across in the city centre

After a while we’ve had enough and want to give our backs a little rest.  After having picked up some information and a city map at a tourism office we find a small restaurant where we ask if it is okay to just order a cup of coffee.  That’s fine, so we sit down and study the map.  We notice an area called old town Toronto and an historic distillery district, so we go for a proper walk instead of the strolling through all those city streets.  We finally get to a more interesting part of town with parks and older buildings and the old distillery is a pleasure to walk through.  It’s somewhat like The Rocks in Sydney whit lots of little shops and galleries.  

Sometime later, on the way back to the train station, we also pass a covered market place and have a look inside.  I take of my jacket, because it has become quite warm in the sun.  Well, I could have saved myself the trouble.  We don’t spend more then ten minutes in the hall and when we come out at the other side I don’t know how quick to get my jacket back on!  Dark clouds are blowing in over the city, the sun has all but disappeared and before we get to the train station the wind picks up and it starts to rain.  By then it is 4pm and about time to catch the train back.  Since there are lots of shops and little restaurants underground at the train station we have an early dinner: sushi for me and subs for Frank.

We don’t mind leaving Toronto and are glad to see Appelby where we pick up the car.  It’s no pleasure driving to Beamsville either, because it’s peak hour, the rain is coming down by the bucket loads and a huge accident has happened on the highway.  Luckily we are going the opposite direction.

The night is spent again with Bruce and Janet, who, like the others before, have lots of stories to tell and it is 12am before we know it. 

And Toronto?  Not a city we will be visiting again in a hurry.  Even Brisbane, which has been considered a provincial town for a long time, has more to offer than Toronto.  A waste of time?  No, not completely, as we enjoyed the last bit in the old town area.

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