Weeks 33-34 (21st Sept-9th Oct) – Toronto

After Algonquin, we spent our final few weeks in Canada in Toronto, where Peb had lived for 3 months before. Toronto is one of those cities that looks immediately impressive as you approach it—a distinctive skyline with the CN tower rising out of the haze. We headed straight to the Blue Jays vs. Red Sox game in the impressive Rogers Arena, which amusingly looks like half a baseball. Even in the upper tier, there isn’t a bad seat in the house! Sadly, the Jays lost, but it was exciting for my first MLB game nonetheless.

The following day, we continued the sports theme and went to the Maple Leafs pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators in the Air Canada Centre, a converted art deco postal sorting office, now a very cool venue. Not knowing much about ice hockey, we enjoyed the spectacle of it all—the songs blasted over the tannoy mid-play and the obligatory punch-ups. We were also happy to see the Maple Leafs win!

A few days later, we met Faye for the Blue Jays vs. Yankees game. We sat on a pillar as our seats weren’t together, and the atmosphere at the game was electric! After a tense start with 6 innings of no scores, Peb’s favourite player, Martin, broke the deadlock, scoring a home run too. We went on to win 4-0 and the stadium almost erupted!

For our few weeks in Toronto, it felt like we lived there. We managed to get a free gym pass to work out (well, Peb worked out while I lazed in the steam room), and stayed at a Husky where it seemed more than a few people were living in their cars. We went to the cinema a few times, found our favourite local food places, and spent most days in “the office”.

As well as my editing, Peb started writing articles for a supplements website and I started writing articles for a travel website. With more Starbucks per person than anywhere else in the world, plus free Wi-Fi, an abundance of plug sockets, and free refills with rewards cards, it wasn’t just us. The green mermaid is chock full of people on laptops, having business meetings, or surrounded by piles of books. Amusingly, some people seem to think it’s a library and don’t even buy a drink.

We also spent time in the city, navigated the underground city entirely via the PATH (28km of underground malls), had a wonderful hot chocolate from a chocolatier in the pretty Distillery Historic District, saw Casa Loma (their only castle, a mere 100 years old), and relaxed at Woodbine Beach on the incomprehensibly big Lake Ontario. We visited the areas Peb used to live, and Peb got mobbed for his muffin by a resident black squirrel.

Of course, we went up the iconic CN tower. As well as the obviously great views of the city and lake, there’s a breezy outdoor sky terrace and a knee-trembling glass floor. Although the sign said the glass could hold up 14 hippos, it was disconcerting nonetheless—especially with some people jumping on it!

On game days, we watched the Blue Jays in Boston Pizza, and the NFL season had started so we watched simultaneous Panthers and Blue Jays games. We went to our final Jays game, the penultimate home game of the season, against the Rays, which we won 10-8. We also got given a practice ball and got it autographed by Colabello.

Our luck with autographs didn’t end there. I may not have mentioned, but we’ve developed a bit of a comic book obsession while travelling. We were happy to discover Toronto’s Silver Snail has a coffee shop in it, and were happened to meet the Snail’s owner, who gave us a free 1st edition Captain Canuck comic as we’re English. Not only did the store help to publish the comic, but by chance the comic’s artist came in to the store just at that moment and signed it for us!

With our time in Canada almost up, we caught up with our buddy Faye, who we met in Vancouver and had seen across the entire country. She was flying home and we were heading to America, so we had a farewell dinner in Wahlburgers, the restaurant of the famous Wahlburgs. One thing that’s been really nice about our travels is that we’ve made some new friends.

We spent our final scorching day after 3 wonderful months in Canada at Niagara Falls, the force and beauty of which is indescribable. The spray off it is so immense that we got drenched even before we’d done the “Journey behind the falls”, which took us to a viewing platform behind and underneath the falls—incredible! We saw a couple of garter snakes coiled up together beneath the falls, some shower. We had a final dinner in Boston Pizza on Clinton Hill, a Disney-looking town of bright lights and big signs, and watched the Blue Jays’ first playoff game. Then we had a final beavertail watching the falls lit up at night, starting, of course, with the red-white-red of Canada.


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