Aug 30, 2010

Visit Wonderful Toronto

Toronto is a great city. There are excellent museums and great places to eat. Dining out in such a multi-ethnic city is fun. The first night we had dinner at the Sultan’s Tent where dining areas are set up like tents with filmy curtains separating one area for another – and there was a belly dancer. We learned that belly dancing was not entertainment designed for men but for women. In many parts of the world it was used to show women how to strengthen and roll their abdominal muscles in preparation for childbirth. Throughout much of history men were not even allowed to watch.

The food was excellent. One of the appetizers called B’stila was so delicious it could have been served as a dessert. It is a classic Moroccan pastry stuffed with chicken, eggs, almonds, caramelized onions and saffron sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Yummy.

There is so much to do that three days wasn’t nearly long enough. We like city bus tours because it provides a nice overview. We stayed at the InterContinental Hotel on Bloor Street and the Gray Line hop-on bus stopped out front.

Down the street from the InterContinental is the Bata Shoe Museum. I like one-topic museums. Shoes are a reflection of the times and culture. On display showed the tiny shoes worn by females who had bound feet.

“On a Pedestal,” one of the special exhibits, features Renaissance Chopines which are basically platform shoes considered one of the most extreme forms of footwear ever worn in the Western world. Beautiful fabrics of the 1400s were so expensive that to show off one’s wealth women wanted their dresses to be as long as possible so they wore platform shoes to add inches to their dresses. The tallest chopines come from Venice with some measuring near 20 inches in height. Amazing what we do to be fashionable.

The CN Tower, one of the world’s tallest towers, is Toronto’s icon. In 1995, the 1,815.4 foot-CN Tower was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The views from the platforms are truly spectacular but it is the glass floor that gets the most attention. Even though the floor can support 14 large hippos many people are afraid to walk on it and some get queasy looking 1,122 feet straight down. But is it fun to stand on it and to watch other people’s reaction. They have never lost anyone so not to worry.

We also took a Hippo Tour, which entered the water at the harbor giving us some amazing views of the CN Tower, the city, and the islands of Toronto. Great fun.