I arrived on the Greyhound bus in Toronto at about 10pm on Monday, and walked to the backpackers hostel in the city centre. Once booked in I made my bed quietly in the dark, there were already two people asleep in my room, and then went downstairs for a quick beer.
The next morning I got up, leaving my two room-mates still sleeping, and I met up with Jordan, who had contacted me through the website, and had offered to show me around Toronto. I checked out of the hostel, and threw my bags into the back of Jordan’s pick-up, and we were off for a quick drive around downtown Toronto.
The city reminds me very much of Australian cities, not too built up, and fairly relaxed, and the people seem very friendly. After some lunch we headed for the CN Tower, which dominates the city skyline. At the main observation deck, I was fascinated by the glass floor sections. To be able to stand on a clear floor and look straight down is very unnerving.
We went higher to the SkyPod, which is the highest man-made viewing platform in the world, at 447m (1,465ft) above the ground. The view is awesome. It was amazing to watch a plane heading directly towards the tower below us, and then turn and land on the runway by the shore.
After decending from the tower, we went for a quick Steam Whistle, a local beer brewed in an old railway turning shed almost right below the CN Tower, which Jordan reckons is the best beer in the world.
We then picked up Jordan’s girlfriend, Rachel, and headed for Niagara Falls, around an hour’s drive from Toronto, and arrived there after dark. I was absolutely amazed to find that the town of Niagara Falls is something like I imagine a mini Las Vegas to be. There are huge hotels, nightclubs, entertainments and attractions, and two big casinos.
When I thought about what I had expected, I had imagined the edge of the falls would be forested, with a scenic drive through the trees leading to a big carpark and visitor centre. Jordan and Rachel were very amused by my expectations, and at my surprise at the modern reality.
We went for dinner first, and then headed for the falls. The falls themselves are floodlit at night, and look pretty large, but it is hard to get any sort of perspective in the dark, although the noise gives some impression of the power of the falls.
After a bit of a flutter in the casino we booked into a motel for the night, and went back out for a few more beers, and eventually got to bed at around 2am. Really not quite what I had expected of a visit to Niagara Falls, but great fun all the same!
In the morning we went back down to the falls to have a look in daylight, and when I actually saw them I was awe-struck. They really are quite something to see, and it is possible to walk right by the edge of the horseshoe section of the falls, and watch the water cascade over the edge right beside you. Very impressive indeed.
Eventually we headed back for Toronto, and Jordan and rachel dropped me off at the backpackers again. A big thanks to you both for the fantastic Toronto introduction, and the Niagara trip, great fun!