Hello there travellers! Today I will take you through my experiences in Canada, the North American country stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north and home to the famous and gorgeous Niagara Falls. My trip to Canada, mainly Toronto and Quebec, was very enriching and one of the most joyous trips I ever had. I flew from Bangalore and went via Paris (a 4 hour stop over at CDG). It was one heck of a tiring 22-hour long journey and it took me some time to get over jet lag but once I got settled in I had a ball!
CN Tower – Toronto
Touchdown Toronto!!! A big city that looks so much like New York architecturally speaking, same grid pattern skyscrapers and streets but fewer people, of course. I was staying with my aunt and her two daughters in the province of Ontario.
After resting for a day, they planned my first trip to the CN tower which is a Canadian icon and one of the top tourist attractions in Toronto, 553.3 metres high, 150 floors and holding the world’s tallest building record from 1975 to 2007 and world’s tallest tower till 2009!
In 1995 it was declared one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It has 2 million visitors annually and offers great views of Toronto and Lake Ontario. On the observation deck, it has a solid glass floor section (very scary while you are looking down from there) where you will see lots of kids standing as they love the view.
Lake Ontario and Toronto Islands
After taking in the magnificent view, I took a ferry near CN tower, which took us across Lake Ontario to Toronto islands. It was a delight being there as it had so many offerings. A nice big theme park with lots of different rides for kids, kayaking on the lake, beaches for swimming and one can even hire private motor boats and enjoy a ride around just with friends and family.
A fun fact about Lake Ontario is that it is one of the five great lakes of North America (18,960 square kilometres), more like a sea called a lake!
[Read more: Are you an island person? Read about the various islands in the world you can add to your list]
Toronto Eaton Centre
Next, we went to the Toronto Eaton Centre which is a huge mall with restaurants, clothiers and a glass ceiling. A place for all those who are mall crawlers (because I definitely am one)! We had a quick lunch over there. However, I did not spend much time there as nearby was a major Hudson’s Bay outlet which had heaps of branded clothes, jewellery, shoes, perfume… you name it you got it! It is known as the bay by the locals.
Kensington Market – Downtown Toronto
In downtown Toronto, Kensington Market is also worth visiting. Some call it the hippie market as you can buy and smoke weed there which is now legal in Canada! There are lots of bars, coffee shops and restaurants and even sidewalk cafes here where you can spend lots of time chatting with your friends or sit alone and watch the crown passing and write articles/blogs if you like. There are amazing Mimosas to drink as well.
Inexpensive clothes? You got it all covered in the shops over there. All around you can see people eating, drinking, and having a good time. There is an old car with murals painted on it in the street as well. Since 2006 this market has been declared a National Historic Site of Canada.
Toronto and Quebec – The Bombardier Plane Experience
I also got a chance to fly from Toronto to Quebec in a Bombardier Plane (not a jet, but a turboprop plane)! It was my first time flying in a propeller plane and it was kind of scary! But the flight was ok (phew). We saw aerial views of the St. Lawrence River and Quebec as we landed. It was like a different country after Anglicized Toronto.
I felt like I was in France! All signs in French, people speaking in French…the works! The older buildings are typically French. It’s a very hilly town so get on your sneakers and be ready to hike on those roads and enjoy its beautiful walks up steep hills! There were so many tourists and it was mid-summer so everyone was enjoying the weather. We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant on a hillside near our lodgings. The menu was all in French!!!
Saint Lawrence River
I also got to see The Grand Chateau Frontenac Hotel on the banks of the St. Lawrence River is opulent and luxurious. It’s a hotel in a castle near the old Fort. A funicular takes you down the hill to the lower town and it is fun walking through the streets in the hustle and bustle. The street musicians performing and entertaining people are a delight to watch. A real French Experience. Then we took the Ferry across the Saint Lawrence River and explored that part of town a little.
All in all my trip to Canada – Toronto and Quebec – was a lot of fun and I plan to make another trip as I just couldn’t have enough of it in the first go!