Toronto – Day 2

August 25, 2019

Sunday I rode the street car downtown and made a variety of side trips.  Rather than getting off in the middle of town I rode it as far west as I could.  This gave me a chance to see a part of town that I hadn’t seen the day before as well as part of the waterfront (Toronto is situated along Lake Ontario) to see if perhaps I’d want to spend more time there later in the day.  I made note of the locations of a few things I wanted to take pictures of and got off the street car a few times as I rode back downtown.

One of the places I spent some time at was a large plaza with a reflecting pond and a huge Toronto sign (no A holes here…).


Every time I rode the street car downtown I passed right by this ornate municipal building, Old City Hall:





The preceding photos were all of the front of the building which faced the main street through town.  The following photos were taken of the right side of the building.




Next I went inside Eaton Centre, a multi-story indoor shopping mall located about a block away from Old City Hall.  I only went in to use the bathroom (in Canada they call them washrooms) and to find some free wifi.  While there I took notice of yet another occurrence of a phenomenon which I have seen in shopping centers in various places.  This was the scene at the Apple Store:


Elsewhere in the same complex (and it wasn’t even listed on the Directory) was the Microsoft Store:


Pretty sad, especially when you consider that most of the people in the second photo work there.

In the same “feast or famine” vain, when I was down near Union Station on Sunday I noticed that all the rental bicycles were safely in their little storage slots:


That photo was taken around 1245pm.  Later in the afternoon, at around 645pm, this was the scene at a similar rental bicycle site next to the University of Toronto:


I had walked up north of the main downtown area to check out some of the many museums in that part of town to scope out the exteriors for possible photos on Monday.  I wanted to see how the various buildings were situated so I could determine the best time of day to take the photos.  I had seen a photo of this next object online a few weeks before getting to Toronto and since I was roughly in the neighborhood I decided to go see it for myself.

“Condo Man” has created a bit of a buzz in town, with a debate raging as to whether it is art or advertising.  It is in front of a building being converted to condominiums which is also home to the construction company doing the work.  The larger-than-life man is holding an office tower.


I couldn’t find any verbiage promoting anything and may not have even taken notice of it if I hadn’t read about it online.

One of the museums I had walked up to this part of town to see was evidently hosting some kind of after-hours gala as there was a large crowd of “pretty people” gathered outside the entrance:



Just up the street from the museum (which you’ll see more of in my Day 3 post) is the University of Toronto – St. George campus and there was a nice view of the city skyline as I looked out over their football field:


As I walked back down to Queen Street to catch the street car back to my Airbnb I had this view of the CN Tower, reflecting the late afternoon sun:


Toronto – Day 1

August 24, 2019

Although I don’t have many pictures to show for it, I was quite surprised to learn that at the end of the day Saturday I had walked more on my first full day in Toronto than I had on my first full day in Québec.  There are two reasons for that – first, I needed to get a new SD card for my digital camera and while I had kept my eye out for a Staples or Office Depot store between Gananoque and Toronto there were none without going well out of my way.  Once in Toronto I determined that there was both a Staples and a Walmart in the same building not far from where I was staying.  I lingered in that part of town until Walmart opened at 9am so I didn’t get any significant sightseeing done until after that purchase was completed.  The second reason I didn’t take as many photos was that I hadn’t been to Toronto for 30 years and needed to get the “lay of the land” again.

Toronto covers a much larger area than Québec City and pre-trip research had indicated that the cheapest and most efficient way to get around was by using public transportation.  For $13/day I could get a Day Pass which allowed me to ride buses, street cars and the subway system as much as I wanted.  I left my car parked at my Airbnb for the three full days I was in town and walked to the closest street car stop, only a few blocks away.  From there I could easily go just about anywhere in the city and not have to worry about traffic or parking.  I would ride a route and just observe the various things to see, making notes of where I wanted to get off to take photos when I came back.  I would then walk to another nearby venue or to a nearby stop to catch a ride to another part of the city.  So much of the first day was spent riding and walking to various parts of the city and forming a game plan for the next two days.

Enough talk – here are my photos from Day One:

One of my first stops downtown was the St. Lawrence Farmers Market which was on my short-list.  PEI has mussels and Québec has poutine.  Toronto is known for it’s Peameal Bacon sandwich and I went right to the creator, the Carousel Bakery in that market.


Peameal bacon is unsmoked Canadian bacon, and this place puts LOTS of it, with mustard, on a fresh Kaiser roll.  It was yummy!

Now that I was downtown I walked around for a while before exploring other parts of the city.  As I headed towards Union Station, the main train station and a major surface transportation hub, I saw this huge sculpture on the side of an office building:


A short distance from Union Station was the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame:




And it’s hard to go anywhere in Toronto without seeing the iconic CN Tower:




Near the base of the tower is a stadium which is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team:


As I walked to another part of town I noticed that the concrete barriers sometimes used to deflect vehicular traffic from pedestrians and folks on bicycles had an artistic touch:



This is one of the oldest Performing Arts venues in the city:


Embedded in the sidewalk out front are the names and signatures of many famous Canadian performers:




And speaking of John Candy, not far from the theater is the Second City comedy club:


After walking around town I worked my way back to where I was staying to regroup before taking the streetcar back downtown and the subway north a few blocks to another small take-out restaurant where I ordered one of the sandwiches they are known for and took it to a nearby park to eat and enjoy the evening.

As I headed back home I stopped to get a photo of a traffic signal box which I had seen at a trolley stop which had been painted (all four sides) by a local artist:


When I got home I learned that even with riding public transportation much of the day I had also walked over 25,600 steps, compared with 23,800 my first day in Québec.  Sunday I would walk over 28,000 and Monday “only” 21,800.



1,000 Islands – Smartphone Pics

August 23, 2019

As I mentioned in previous posts, with an hour to go of my 2 1/2 hour boat ride on the St. Lawrence River (near it’s starting point at the northeast end of Lake Ontario) my digital camera informed me that the SD card on which pictures are stored was full.  I started taking pictures with my smartphone, although in reviewing them I see that it was pretty much just more of the same things I had seen earlier in the trip.

I knew I couldn’t zoom in on targets like I can with the digital camera so I spent more time observing my surroundings and talking with a couple which had been standing near where I was positioned on the boat.  They take at least one of these boat rides every year and had been telling me lots of stories and bits of trivia about what we were seeing.  That was very helpful as we were outside at the front of the ship and with the wind, we couldn’t hear the play-by-play which was given by the crew via loudspeakers in the interior portions of the boat.

For example, I learned that the bridge from the island with the house to the other island at this private residence shows the dividing line between Canada (on the left) and the United States (on the right).  The owner can rightfully claim owning property in both countries and can fly the respective national flag on each.  Another perk – they probably don’t need a passport or have to wait in line to travel between them.


We had a little excitement during the last hour of our trip, too.  Shortly after the digital stopped working I nudged the woman standing next to me, pointed, and said “I think one of us needs to change course pretty soon,” not referring to her and I but to our boat and the boat which was approaching and was crossing right in front of us.  Our boat was traveling lower left to upper right in the photo below:


As far as I could tell, our ship never changed course and the approaching tour boat passed very closely, probably closer than it should have.  Maybe they do this every trip to thrill the paying customers but I would think there are rules against such things….



And one other thing I noticed as I paid more attention to my surroundings – there were more clouds forming in the sky than had been present when we started our cruise and there was quite a bit more wind.  As we approached some of the larger islands (with trees which helped block the wind) there were areas where the water was incredibly calm right next to areas where the wind was creating lots of waves.



We finally made it back to our starting point in Gananoque.  Once back on land I continued driving west towards Toronto.  I got on Highway 401 until I passed the town of Kingston, then went south to a small scenic road which kept me out near the water as I approached Prince Edward County, a large body of land which appears to be an island on the map but is actually a peninsula (technically called a headland).  I needed to take a ferry to cross between Adolphustown and Glenora but didn’t need to take a major bridge or ferry to get to the town of Trenton at the northwest end of the county.

Once in Trenton I still had quite a ways to go to make it to my destination before nightfall so I hopped back on Highway 401 and completed my drive to Toronto.