Time to take out the suitcase, pick out my jetsetter clothes and brush up on the local customs as I will venture out into the Great White North. I know, not as exotic as my month long trip through Spain, Morocco and South Africa, but it’s a county I haven’t been to and it’s a great, easy last minute road trip.
There’s no particular reason why I haven’t been to Canada. It’s not like I’m a conscious objector to their freewheeling free health care and polite nature. I’ve always been like, “Eventually, I’ll get there.” It’s kind of like that big city attraction that’s always there and eventually you’ll find time to visit like the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building. Well, now’s the time for Toronto. Same with Mexico, I’ll eventually get there by jumping that wall
Toronto is North America’s 4th largest city with 2.6 million residents and one of the most diverse populations in the world. You’ll find every ethnicity represented. It’s been in the news recently where the city has welcomed in Syrian refugees. As far as I can tell, they’re doing pretty well for themselves.
As for Canada as a whole, like Belgium, there have some inoffensive stereotypes — hockey, maple syrup, poutine, moose, niceness, Tim Horton donuts, comedy and “Eh? Hoser.” Currently, its most famous resident is Drake, which I’m sure I’ll see walking around town. You know, he started from the bottom now he’s here.
For the four nights I’ll be there, there are plenty of attractions that I’ll check out. Like…
- The iconic CN Tower, but I’ll pass on the sky walk where you can walk along the edge while in a harness. I did it in Macau, it was fun, but a one time thing.
- The Hockey Hall of Fame where you can recreate the experience of getting your whole body slammed against the boards.
- Art Gallery of Ontario — Last year, I visited Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Now, his other major art museum project is in his hometown.
- Royal Ontario Museum — The city’s most popular museum is their science and culture center.
- The Distillery Historic District — You know me I like my booze, but this area is mostly a shopping and dining area. Nevertheless, I hope there’s an actual distillery in the Distillery District.
- St. Lawrence Market — I’m loading up on maple syrup. Back up my MINI and loading that golden stuff up.
While I don’t expect a major cultural divide, I’m curious if I’ll find Toronto to be an international destination. I don’t expect it to be a pleasant and easy to navigate. Went the AirBnB route for accommodation since this is a last minute trip. Bonus: no rain this week and temperatures in the 60s.
About hour seven into my drive, I’ll arrive at Niagara Falls, which I’ve never been as well. I expect it to be a tourist hell.
In any event, it’s a great way to honor the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Many of the parks are free, as discovered when I visited the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Check my Instagram for fun photos.
It will be a game day decision whether I’ll take one of those dopey Maid of the Mist boat tours. It will be during the week so it won’t be as populated, but it depends on my mood after the long drive and if I’m willing to cough up $20 to get wet. Heck, if I’m paying $20 to get wet there better be cuddling afterwards. Thank you, I’ll here all week
If anything, I can see where Superman saved that kid in Superman II.
On the way back, I’ll take a slight detour into Buffalo. It will be chicken wings, Teddy Roosevelt and Frank Lloyd Wright.
There are two places to get the iconic wings — the inventor The Anchor Bar and it’s longtime rival Duff’s. I wont take time to see if Buffalo Wild Wings is any different in Buffalo. I plan on hitting up both because why the eff not? Wings aren’t that filling to begin with.
Continuing on the National Park vibe, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site is where TR took the oath of office after McKinley’s assassination. I love all things Roosevelt and early 20th Century history, so this will be a big thrill for me.
Finally, Darwin D. Martin House was designed by Frank Floyd Wright and built from 1903-1905. It’s going through a restoration, but it will still be open … I hope. This and Falling Water are the two most popular FLW sites in the Northeast.
There you have it. I have a lot of driving in front of me. It will be the first time driving in another country. I’ve driven 7+ before to Maine, but this should be slightly longer. I shall plan accordingly and post along the way.