Toronto, capital of Ontario
We spent two days in Toronto where we were able to wander around the different neighborhoods of this huge city. I (Madeleine) had never set foot in a big North American city, it was very impressive.
We first went to the Distillery District. It is an old distillery and its warehouses converted into boutiques, cafes and restaurants, art galleries, etc.
Close to the financial district, we stopped for lunch at Saint-Lawrence Market. It is an European style market with cheese stalls, butchers…
In our Lonely Planet guide, we read that there was a sort of tropical garden in Toronto, in the middle of town. Very curious, we went to see and there… Surprise!
The garden was gone, and the area was under construction…
To end our first day, we went to Chinatown as we were looking for ingredients to make a curry. We also strolled around Kensington market. It is not a market as we think of it, but an authentic and multi-ethnic district which offers bookstores, cafés and thrift shops.
The islands of Toronto
For our second day in Toronto, we needed to get out of the city. With the advice of our CouchSurfing host, we went for a walk on the islands of Toronto.
The Toronto Islands surfaced in Lake Ontario in 1858 after a hurricane. There are 15 islands and they are located 1.6 km from downtown Toronto.
In winter, only one ferry is operational, if Lake Ontario is not frozen. It takes you to Ward Island. The trip costs $8 (excl. taxes) for a round trip and lasts about 15 minutes.
On Ward Island, vehicles are not allowed to circulate. The streets are wide like a sidewalk. About 700 people live year-round on this little piece of land. It has only one shop, a café, open only in summer. There is a primary school and a private club for recreation. To own a house on the island, you have to inherit a family member’s house. If there is no succession, the house is given in a raffle, to a lucky winner on a waiting list. To be registered on this list, you have to pay $25 each year.
It is from these islands that you can have the best views on the enormous city of Toronto.
Before going to Toronto, we went to see the Niagara Falls. Pierre-Adrien had already had the chance to go there when he did a school exchange with an American student from Buffalo.
Without much surprise, the Niagara Falls are what they are. Impressive, noisy and wet. 🙂
Fortunately, we were there one day when there were not too many people and we were able to enjoy it without being pushed by hordes of tourists in groups.
We will let the pictures speak for us, as we do not have much to say.
Hiking in Niagara
After admiring the falls and walking near these, we drove by car following the course of the Niagara River. 8 km from the falls is the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. This small park offers many hiking trails that go to the bottom of the gorge at the foot of the Niagara.
We saw many lying trees that had been nibbled at the base, probably beavers.