Toronto is arguably Canada’s most famous city and after hearing rave reviews I was eager to make my own mind up. The CN Tower was the only icon in Toronto that I had previously heard of and therefore it was top of my to do list however in hind sight it shouldn’t have been. I am not saying that there isn’t an amazing view because there is, I just felt I couldn’t appreciate it. When I went to the top of the Shard in London this Spring I loved it. That was because I easily recognised what I was looking at. With the CN Tower it was great but within 5 minutes I had felt like I had gotten everything out of the experience that I could as I just could not relate with what I saw. Even the weekend before I found the views over Montreal from Mont Royal and the Olympic park spectacular but I feel they may not have been as so if I was looking out to grey skies like in Toronto. On a clear day you can sometimes see all the way across Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls but my luck wasn’t in. The glass floor at the top is fun too to stand over. However it would be far more impressive if it was larger as it was constantly covered in tourists (including me!).
Now wanting to experience more of the actual city I headed to St Lawrence Market.
You’ve found the hidden gem of Toronto
These were the words of a very chatty Canadian outside the market. My guidebook recommended peameal bacon at Carousel Bakery which I had to try. Not to downplay it but it is basically like a bacon butty but admittedly better. They fill it with so much meat, and its meat, not fat like you get in a butty. This meant it wasn’t dripping in grease either. I have to pick off the fat in a normal bacon roll so this was perfect for me. It was yummy but in my opinion a bit expensive for what it was. However I completely recommend the mustard rolls. I cannot remember the name of the stall but they created long, thin, warm pastries which I think had some cheese in too, that tasted of mustard. They were to die for, plus I had never tried anything like it (unlike the peameal). The market was great, with all kinds of food stalls with the odd tacky tourist shop in between. It was absolutely heaving but a lovely place to wander about and I felt I was experiencing the more real side of Toronto. Wish I could have stayed in Toronto longer as you could sense excitement. That evening in Toronto, the Maple Leafs played Ottawa Senators. Throughout the day more and more Maple Leaf Jerseys emerged all heading towards the stadium. It was going to be a huge game. Wish I could have seen it, especially because it was against Ottawa. Unfortunately I had to make do with watching the game on TV that evening.
The motel in Niagara looked exactly like you see in films which was pretty cool. Although it was just as dodgy as some of the ones in films too with the lock broken off the door! The weather remained pretty miserable till the Sunday but at least it wasn’t raining. Walking down to the Falls you could already hear them roar. I got a glimpse of the American Falls first and soon saw the more impressive Canadian side. I know its misty normally but I don’t think the cloudy day helped much either. In all honestly they looked smaller than I thought. I don’t know whether on a clearer day they looked even more impressive or whether all the pictures I have seen are at very good angles.
Going on the Maid of the Mist however, certainly was impressive. Kitted out in their famous poncho we piled aboard the boat and headed into the mist. The boat firstly goes right up close to the American Falls where you can see the walkway where you get the opportunity to get incredibly close (would love to go down there next time I go!). You then make your way deeper and deeper into the Canadian Falls, where my previous comment became invalid. Niagara Falls is very impressive. When you’re in their shadow, feeling the spray (and that is putting it lightly) it is breathtaking.
When back on land, I walked up to the top of the Falls. It was phenomenal, the sheer volume of water cascading over the edge every second was unfathomable. I understand the water cycle but I just thought ‘it’s got to run out at some point!’ I loved looking down into the Falls and seeing the tiny Maid of the Mist Boat, made me realise quite how tall they are!
Had been very disappointed at the lack of souvenirs that I had been buying so in my desperate state I found a brilliant bargain jumper for $10 that I actually liked. There is a slight issue in that it is for 14-16 year olds but I think I can pull it off..
Niagara Falls would have undoubtedly been better in clearer weather however I was still able to appreciate this stunning natural wonder of the world. I just hope that I will be able to return in the future to see them in all their glory!