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…).

IMG_20190825_110406540

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

IMG_20190825_111527950_HDR

IMG_20190825_111541862_HDR

IMG_20190825_111625578_HDR

IMG_20190825_111759496

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.

IMG_20190825_111629914_HDR

IMG_20190825_111856194

IMG_20190825_112205686_HDR

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:

IMG_20190825_112605592_HDR

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

IMG_20190825_120756083

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:

IMG_20190825_124246389

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:

IMG_20190825_185818520

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.

IMG_20190825_180823363_HDR

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:

IMG_20190825_184124600_HDR

IMG_20190825_184227280_HDR

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:

IMG_20190825_185100469_HDR

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:

DSCN2422a

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.

IMG_20190824_104233453

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:

IMG_20190824_110018424_HDR

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

DSCN2361

DSCN2363

IMG_20190824_110737698_HDR

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

DSCN2355

DSCN2360

IMG_20190824_123352995

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

IMG_20190824_123302172

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:

IMG_20190824_101929630_HDR

IMG_20190824_130741736_HDR

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

IMG_20190824_132413427

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

IMG_20190824_125526101

IMG_20190824_125520256

IMG_20190824_125606269

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

IMG_20190824_131054845_HDR

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:

IMG_20190824_194958127_HDR

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.

IMG_20190823_130306525

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:

IMG_20190823_130407489

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….

IMG_20190823_130420359

IMG_20190823_130427629

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.

IMG_20190823_132509889

IMG_20190823_132516043

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.

 

1,000 Islands – Digital – Post 1 of 4

August 23, 2019

Friday, as I traveled between Ottawa and Toronto, I stopped to take a boat tour of this portion of the St. Lawrence River, part of which is actually a Canadian National Park (a real Canadian National Park…).   These were taken with my digital camera during the first hour and a half of a 2 1/2 hour boat ride, after which I was informed by my camera that the SD card on which the photos are stored was FULL (after being put into service only 3 weeks previously!).  For the final hour I took photos with my smartphone and will post those photos (not as many) in another set of posts.

My boat trip started and ended in Gananoque, (pronounced gannon-AQUA) Canada, on the right side of the map below.

IMG_20191009_131150573

Many of the tour boats operate from the New York side of the river but my pre-trip research indicated that the boat company I used was the best.  We basically made a huge counter-clockwise loop – heading west towards Toronto, turning left towards New York State and left again to go back east near the US mainland and eventually turning around again and returning to Gananoque on the Canadian side of the river.  We spent part of the time in Canadian waters and part is US waters.  As you may have guessed, the area is called 1,000 Islands because there are LOTS of islands, some quite large, some only big enough to build a small house on (and I mean that quite literally, as you will see) and some not even big enough for a house, except maybe a plastic Barbie house.

These photos are posted in the order in which they were taken and continue over the next 3 posts.

DSCN1528

DSCN1541

The photo below is of a ship similar to, but slightly smaller than, the ship I was on.  If some of these photos look familiar it is because a few were posted in a “real-time” post the day after I took this ride in a post titled “The best $29 (USD) I ever spent”, a teaser post to give a brief overview of what I had done during part of my day.

DSCN1555

The photo below is of the first of many houses I saw built on small islands.

DSCN1581

DSCN1599

DSCN1653

DSCN1657

DSCN1672

DSCN1714

One of the pros of the house shown above – the leaves probably just float away rather than needing to be raked.  One of the cons – you’d better have curtains on your windows if you want any privacy…..

DSCN1721

The photo below is the view we had much of the time – navigating between the larger islands.  I had snagged an outside bench seat in the front of our ship and was able to take most of these photos by standing and holding my camera up above the people on my deck.  Fortunately I have a viewing screen which tilts downward so I can see what my camera “sees”.

DSCN1751

 

1,000 Islands – Digital – Post 2 of 4

August 23, 2019

Friday, as I traveled between Ottawa and Toronto, I stopped to take a boat tour of this portion of the St. Lawrence River, part of which is actually a Canadian National Park (a real National Park…).   These were taken with my digital camera during the first hour and a half of a 2 1/2 hour boat ride, after which I was informed by my camera that the SD card on which the photos are stored was FULL (after being put into service only 3 weeks previously!).  For the final hour I took photos with my smartphone and will post those photos (not as many) in the next set of posts.

These are posted in the order in which they were taken.

DSCN1801

DSCN1819

Same house and island, from another angle:

DSCN1847

We would eventually go under the bridge in the distance before circling around and passing under it again on our way back to where we started.  The bridge you see connects US Interstate Highway 81 in New York State to Canada.

DSCN1879

The houses in the photo below are in New York State, on the US mainland.  Subsequent photos continue to show houses located on small islands.

DSCN1859

DSCN1862

DSCN1889

DSCN1924

DSCN1952

And here’s the hot setup… a deck built out over top of your boats (to protect them from the sun and elements).

DSCN2007

We snuck up on the folks in this small powerboat…

DSCN2058

Once they realized we were approaching the captain hit the throttle.

DSCN2067

1,000 Islands – Digital – Post 3 of 4

August 23, 2019

Friday, as I traveled between Ottawa and Toronto, I stopped to take a boat tour of this portion of the St. Lawrence River, part of which is actually a Canadian National Park (a real National Park…).   These were taken with my digital camera during the first hour and a half of a 2 1/2 hour boat ride, after which I was informed by my camera that the SD card on which the photos are stored was FULL (after being put into service only 3 weeks previously!).  For the final hour I took photos with my smartphone and will post those photos (not as many) in the next set of posts.

These are posted in the order in which they were taken.

The photo below is of a small waterfront house with a For Sale sign in front of it.  I have blanked out the name and phone number of the realtor as I doubt they would split the commission with me if a blog reader buys the house.

DSCN2082

I looked up the property (a month and a half after I took the photo) and as of the date of this post, it is still available.  2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, curiously a one story 891 sq. ft. house on a 871 sq. ft. lot!  I guess the dock isn’t living space, nor is the boat “garage”.  Asking price?  $299,900 USD (it’s in New York State if that affects your possible consideration).

Here is another private home, presumable NOT for sale.

DSCN2159

And here is the first look at Boldt Castle, located on a private island on the New York side of the St. Lawrence River.  Our boat made a lap around the island so you will see several photos from various angles.  FYI – Boldt Castle is the BIG one in the background….

DSCN2165

The photo below is of the Boldt Yacht House, located on another nearby island.  You’ll see another photo of it in the next post (4 of 4).

 

DSCN2178

DSCN2196

DSCN2205

DSCN2208

DSCN2212

The 2 photos below are of the Power House, one of the most photographed items on the tour and a popular spot for wedding photos.

DSCN2216a

DSCN2224a

 

 

1,000 Islands – Digital – Post 4 of 4

August 23, 2019

Friday, as I traveled between Ottawa and Toronto, I stopped to take a boat tour of this portion of the St. Lawrence River, part of which is actually a Canadian National Park (a real National Park…).   These were taken with my digital camera during the first hour and a half of a 2 1/2 hour boat ride, after which I was informed by my camera that the SD card on which the photos are stored was FULL (after being put into service only 3 weeks previously!).  For the final hour I took photos with my smartphone and will post those photos (not as many) in the next set of posts.

These are posted in the order in which they were taken.

We saw two large cargo ships in the distance.  The red one is traveling west, towards me,  and the yellow one is traveling east, towards the Atlantic Ocean.  You’ll see more photos of these ships later in this post.

DSCN2227a

These are more photos of Boldt Castle, in a private island on the New York side of the St. Lawrence River.  One can take a boat tour which includes a stop on the island, and with an opportunity to visit the castle, but I did not take that tour.

DSCN2249

DSCN2250

The photo below is of the Yacht House, part of the Boldt complex but located on another nearby island.

DSCN2259

DSCN2270

DSCN2274

DSCN2310

This is another small house located on it’s own little island.

DSCN2313

To help put the size in perspective to it’s surroundings, here is a photo showing some of the other people on my boat taking photos of the house in the distance.

DSCN2315

DSCN2345

And to put the size of the red cargo ship in perspective, here is a photo showing it full frame as seen from the boat I was on and near a small island.

DSCN2346