Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Vacation Day 4--Toronto!

Our plan was to do Toronto on Monday, so, uh, we did Toronto on Monday.  Sick of big breakfasts, we went to the little grocery store across the street and picked up some danishes and drank the milk I had the foresight to bring from home.  In need of coffee (and not really wanting to go through the effort of brewing it in the house and then having to clean it), I went to a little coffee shop down the street for some.

We breezed across the border this time, which allowed the border agent to ask us more questions (though at least she did it with a smile; I still think the second agent we met the other day was a word that rhymes with stick).

Driving in
M was excited about going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.  I initially found it on the Disney Family Fun website, where it was listed as great to do with toddlers and school aged kids (apparently I read that wrong, as it now says good for preteens and teens--oops), so I figured I'd be entertained too.  Fortunately, M and A really enjoyed the museum, but unfortunately, E and I were sort of bored.  Don't get me wrong, it was super cool to see all the memorabilia and learn about some of the stories (this one in particular was super interesting to me), but for me, I think I'd have preferred to do something else on the list.

Patrick Roy in the same case as Bernie Parent of the Flyers?  They knew I was coming.

By the time we finished with the museum, it was time for lunch.  We checked out this place called Marche, which is right outside the hall of fame's exit.  It was a really cool cafeteria style restaurant, but it took the idea of a cafeteria and combined it with a market--food was fresh and fairly healthful, not to mention delicious.  Prices were reasonable and portions were HUGE.  Why exactly do we not have any of these in the US?

After lunch, we headed to our third Hard Rock Cafe.  Because we did not get data on our cell phones, we took the Tom Tom with us.  Our Tom Tom is notorious for not behaving, so it is of no surprise that we trekked up and down Bay Street three or four times trying to figure out where we were supposed to be going (should this happen to you, look at the directions; they'll be right, though the GPS may not know exactly where you are).

When A saw me snapping pictures on the drive in with the P&S, he wanted to take some too.  Instead, I told him he could take a picture of the very first Canadian flag he saw when we got out of the car.  Since we parked in a deck below the Hockey Hall of Fame, the first one he saw was after lunch, on said trek up and down Bay Street.

I thought the blend of architecture was amazing.  Here's an example of the very modern architecture, but there's lots of examples of some very old stuff in the city too (old, of course, being subjective; I believe they were from the mid 19th century).
We noticed that, in Toronto, people smoke a lot more than we are used to.  The European influence on their culture was really apparent to me in terms of style and also in the smoking.  I found this so interesting.

As I said, we trekked a lot on the way to and from our three destinations.  We got to see some interesting things, like this sculpture, Immigrant Family.  Of course, A wanted to have his picture taken.

I noticed several street signs like this one on our walk around town; I don't know if it was promotion for the movie or something else, but it sure was neato.  (Yes, I just said neato.  I didn't say nifty, which came to mind as an alternative).

From the Hard Rock, we headed to the CN Tower.  After waiting in quite a line to pay, we were told there was a 40 minute wait.  No problem, we said.  An hour and 45 minutes later, when we got to the elevator to go up, we were two very tired parents from chasing and entertaining two very bored little boys.
There's construction all over at the base of the CN Tower; they are building an aquarium for future visitors.

We only saw one Mountie on our trip; he was nice enough to take a photo with the boyos.
Waiting in line is boring; looking out a window at weeds is exciting, especially when you're parents have said you'll be seeing cool stuff out of windows.

I am not a nearly skilled enough photographer to make this work, but that's our feet on the glass floor of the CN Tower.  My leg is at 6 o'clock, M is to my left, E's two feet are at noon, and A's foot is between E's foot and mine.

I had a mixed review of the Tower.  I really wasn't all that impressed, probably because I was so put off by the long long line but really, while it was cool, it was expensive and not all that impressive.  The elevator ride (super fast up something like 150 floors) was cool, and the boys enjoyed looking out the windows and the floor window!  I had a minor panic attack when we reached the top, totally expecting a Tower of Terror elevator moment (yes, I realize I was not strapped in and that I was not at an amusement park, but I almost screamed as I waited a second for the drop).

In short, we had a great time (though frustrating with the lack of directions) in Toronto, but one day is definitely not enough time.  I am bummed we didn't make it to the Royal Ontario Museum or the Ontario Science Centre, not only because I would have enjoyed it, but also because I know the kids would have as well and they might not enjoy it as much at an older age.  M was also disappointed we didn't make it to a ball game (crossing a field off our list of baseball field visiting); I vetoed the idea because there was so little time to explore the city and so many things we wanted to do.  So, next time we go to Toronto, we'll need to go for TWO days and see everything we want to see!

Surprisingly, not sleeping boys photo from this day.  What was I thinking????

One more day, and it's a travel day....