Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 27 - Toronto - Morning city Tour

After a decent 11 hours asleep I was feeling so much better. The beds were at least comfortable while the facilities like bathroom weren’t really fantastic but still no internet.
The Toronto Wall on the history of the city Mural 
I got ready with my vegemite in hand so I could head straight off to Shari’s as soon as we finished the city tour. I decided to check my email before heading down to the bus so I headed off to the business centre and there was an email from Shari…  Cancelling … Tragically she had lost a family member.  I was so very sad for her loss as well as the fact we would no longer get to meet.
Old and New Toronto City 
I was so sad.  I really wanted to meet this wonderful person and this was one of the primary reasons for me coming to Toronto…  So I am hoping next time. 
Crystal Cathedral in the Toronto Dominion Centre 
So I let Christina know that I wouldn’t be taking off on my own this afternoon. I was now at a loss on what do to with my afternoon as I hadn’t really researched Toronto that much considering that I knew that I wouldn’t be able to spend any real time in the city because I was going to driving a 1 hour west of the city to meet with my wonderful FB friend.
Crystal Cathedral in the Toronto Dominion Centre
Christina suggested I join the others in the CN tower excursion..  but first I had to cancel the hire car.  Needed to get the number from the front desk and she was so rude, it was almost like I was pulling teeth. Luckily I had my Canadian mobile or I would have been I trouble asking to use a phone.  They ended up giving me the wrong number. 
The Gold Paned Royal Bank  Plaza 
I am bit over this rude service it is like the 3rd time I had been spoken to like that at this hotel.  It has a really bad rating on Trip advisor which I understand why now. Looks good on the outside but underneath… with the slow elevators, no wireless, 3 very slow computers in the business centre and the bathroom not cleaned properly and then the bad service.
Union Station Toronto shadowed by CN Tower 
Got it all sorted and headed out to the bus.  I said my usual good morning to steve and he responded with … “it is a good morning now that I have seen you”  Awww you ole smoothy was my reply and I said I would pay that one and got a high five. It was the first time I really had seen him that animated and it was kind of fun.  I had been missing the flirt from my life and here it was in southern charm with a drawl J
Fairmont Royal York
I actually had breakfast this morning because there was a Tim Hortons next to the hotel so one hot chocolate and orange poppyseed muffin (only time I ever saw these overseas) later I was set to go.
Fairmont Royal York
We picked up our city guide and first up I noticed he looked very similar to the guide that we had in Ottawa and he seemed really knowledgeable on the mic. So much better than most of them so far. 
One of the Theatres in the Cultural Precinct 
We drove around the streets and got to know Toronto. We stopped at this wall that told the history of Toronto as told through the eyes of guy who was about 20.  Can’t quite remember the story on that one, But the mural was simply amazing with the detail and expressions. 
City Hall Plaza with the old City Hall 
As we drove past most of the residential areas we got a run down on the pretty town called Toronto. With over 25 different languages spoken in the GTA while still maintaining a lot of the British heritage, it is a city of diverse cultures.  The city limits population is around 2.5 million with the Greater Toronto Area population at 5.5 million with the overall population of Canada at 34 million so it gives you a idea on how big Toronto really is.   
the Metropolis Mural 
All of the Canadian banks HQ are in Toronto with major satellite offices in Montreal and Vancouver. In the GTA there are 2500 public parks and gardens.  It is a massive hockey town… like crazy hockey town. The Toronto maple leaves are the major hockey team and also the most successful financially but yet haven’t won the Stanley cup since 1967.
the Metropolis Mural
Our first stop was at the Toronto Dominion centre which has an awesome steel structure built into the building with the facade of the first bank in the Toronto still built into it. We also headed off to the underground city.
Diorama of the GTA 
The underground city aka the PATH connects all the shopping precincts with the CBD and the subway network. It is made up of 28kms of shopping and transport stops. It is pretty massive but they need to help get around the city when it is snowing because it is so cold in the city during the winter. 
Beautiful Toronto Sunshine over city Plaza 
We then made our way through the cultural precinct with many theatres and you realize how culturally diverse Toronto is in this area. Many of the Broadway shows are being shown here and with shows like Wicked just finishing it brings in some big name shows. We made our way to the City Hall area which has normally a massive fountain but it was under renovation and it was overlooked by the old city hall.
City Hall - Eye of the city 
The current city hall was made of a central lower level complex and then two semi-circle buildings to represent the eye of the government.
Casa Loma 
Inside was the metropolis of the city built from nails as the the centre point of the main entry in the foyer of the building.  With also a large diorama of the GTA which was really well done. It was also morning tea break with a toilet stop thrown in so perfect time for a hot chocolate and piece of fruit with a yummy crossiant..  mmmmmm yummmyyy
Chinatown Toronto
After we finished in here we headed back for the last part of the tour. I was beginning to feel a bit weary by this stage there was a lot of information to take in and my bad nights sleep kept on catching up on me despite the 11 hour sleep. 
Toronto Fashion District 
We headed out back Kensington Market area, Fashion district and Chinatown past the cat on the chair the huge thimbles. We drove to Casa Loma which a castle in the middle of the city. It was built from 1911 -1914 by George Pellett. It is a majestic paradise in the city.
CN Towers at the Rogers Centre 
As we headed back to the harbour area we went past the Rogers centre where we got to see the bronze statues of the hockey fans. These guys are definitely big hockey nuts!!!!  Although I would have loved to have gone to one game. 
Hockey Fans at the Rogers Centre 
We finished at the harbour region and we could wait the 2 hours for the bus or go off to explore while the others went on a harbour tour.  I voted for the exploring …  

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