Thursday, June 03, 2010

Toronto: Day #2

Adam and I had only planned to go to two different places while in Toronto. The rest we were just going to "wing it". We had planned to go to the CN Tower and the Toronto Zoo. We thought Josh would really enjoy all the animals at the zoo. We left our hotel early, paid for parking, and drove off to find somewhere to eat breakfast before heading to the zoo. Hotel breakfast was just too expensive. We have this handy GPS, but let me reiterate lesson #1: Do not rely on a GPS when looking for a restaurant. The restaurant we were looking for was nonexistent but thankfully just around the corner was a hopeful looking place. The George Street Diner was just the spot for breakfast. It was small and quaint and reminded me of someplace from the 50's. There were maybe 6-7 booths and a counter lined with bar stools. The cook was cooking right behind the counter and the place was filled with patrons except for two stools at the counter. We stood awkwardly at the door for a few seconds before a thin, black man with a heavy accent started waving us in and calling us to come in, sit down, and relax. We weren't sure what to make of it because he was sitting at the counter next to the two empty stools, but Josh didn't hesitate as long as we did. He went right up to the man with the accent, climbed up onto the stool and sat there as is they had been friends for a long time. I would've been nervous, except that we were right there... Adam and I eventually decided that we'd go sit down with Josh and the very friendly guy at the counter proceeded to tell us how he was a sailor and had traveled the world, but Canada was the most beautiful country he'd ever seen. Then he bid us farewell, picked up his coffee and was gone. He was the most colorful character we met while in Toronto... literally. :) Anyway, our breakfast there was delicious enough to recommend the place to anyone who is going to or lives in Toronto. Don't you think it's cute too?

On to the Zoo... Sunday was a good day for free parking. Twice actually. Toronto has free parking from 9am to 1pm on Sunday mornings, so we parked for free at breakfast time. AND we found a spot to park for free at the Toronto Zoo too! We had to walk a bit farther, but it was well worth the $10 savings. While the zoo was fun, we weren't sure if we really loved it. The grounds were sprawled out over 700 acres and there were over 1,000 animals. There were miles of paths and even a mini water park at the Kidzoo. One has to ride the Zoo mobile to even see half of the animals and I think it was well worth spending the extra money on the Zoo mobile passes. It was a hot, sunny day and we had forgotten to bring sunscreen. A kind family let us use some of their sunscreen for Josh, who is so pale that he was sure to be a lobster by the end of the day, had it not been for their kindness. Though I am pretty sure I turned into a lobster instead... Being at such a large, expansive zoo made Adam and I appreciate our smaller city zoo. We may not have every animal possible in our zoo, but it's compact size makes it good for walking with smaller children and you don't feel like you're missing out on half of the exhibits. We have decided that we should take Josh to The Seneca Park Zoo sometime this summer and then he could actually see the monkeys.

The last thing we managed to see before dusk settled upon us was the Eaton Centre, where we once again paid for parking. The Eaton Centre is a large, multi-leveled shopping "centre", right it the middle of Toronto. Adam thought maybe he'd buy some sunglasses, but seeing as he is still wearing mine, I guess he didn't find any to suit him... The mall really was just that. A really big mall. With a three-story H & M inside...

Just two more things about our trip home. We booked out of the hotel, only to find out that the parking rate and more than doubled over-night when the weekend turned into the weekday. Adam nearly blew a sprocket when he was charged $26 for using the parking lot over night. Lesson #2: Next time we go to a big city, get acquainted with the public transportation system. Or ride a bike. And I nearly blew a sprocket when we waited an hour and a half in line to get back over the border, when I knew we could've crossed at Fort Erie with little to no wait. But all in all, it was a very fun weekend. We should travel again sometime.


Priscilla said...

It sounds fun. Jamie and I went there 18 years ago this month...and haven't been back since. I'd like to go again though. The little diner IS cute.

Sound like you learned some good tips about traveling that you can use in the future.

Martha said...

I like the diner too, and the story that goes along with it.

What struck me most about Toronto is the number of pedestrians who walked out in front of cars. I have to wonder how many people are hit by cars every year?

We had a personal tour guide on our trip to Toronto. She showed us where Grandpa Pelley used to live and all kinds of great stuff, but that was 17 years ago and I don't remember much except that we went around a corner and spilled Dad's giant coke all over the van. Oops.

Rachel said...

We've never been to Toronto, which is sad because we were given a free stay at a bed and breakfast (for a wedding gift) that Uncle Dave's aunt owns there. That was almost 19 years ago, and I'm sure it has expired by now. We haven't seen that aunt in years.
It sounds like you had a great time.