Aug 14, 2018

Visiting Toronto

Visit a foreign county this fall – Canada.  Toronto is only four hours
or so from central New York. Take the southern route one way and the northern route the other. Do it while the ferry from Cape Vincent is operational. The ferry stops on Oct. 17 this year. 

Nothing is simple any more. 
To return to the United States from Canada by land you need one of the following: passport, enhanced driver’s license, or NEXUS trusted traveler program card.  If you are traveling with a minor or a foreign visitor then it is best to check with the state department as rules get even more complicated.

I love Toronto with its diverse population and myriad of things to do.   I especially like their Broadway productions because they are less expensive and just as good. The best place to start learning about the city is at the CN Tower. The view from the LookOut is spectacular due to the floor-to-ceiling panoramic wall of windows and the glass floor. Looking for a dare devil experience? Try the Edge Walk or for a more sublime experience dine at the revolving restaurant. 

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the largest museums in North American and the largest in Canada. It is a museum of art, world culture and natural history so it can be a day of learning for the whole family. There is a café for lunch and, of course, a gift shop.  I have found that museums have some really unique gifts, especially for children – think Christmas shopping. If you suffer from arachnophobia you may be able to squelch your fear by touring their current exhibit on spiders.  The museum offers free ROMWalks, a walking tour exploring the diverse aspect of Toronto. 

Toronto has its own castle – Castle Loma. Get the feeling you are in Europe.  The excesses incorporated into the Gothic Revival hilltop 98-room castle bankrupted the owner who is known for bringing electric lights to Toronto. The electric company he founded was the main source of his income but his wealth declined rapidly when it became publically owned; that along with excesses like $250,000 to put the names of his horses on their stable in 18-caret gold. That was in 1911 dollars when the average income was $520 and a new car sold for about $750.

One of the most unique places in Toronto is the Bata Shoe Museum.  Even if you have no interest in shoes you will find is interesting as it traces the history of shoes through the years and variations made my different cultures and occupations. They have more than 12,000 shoes in the museum which is shaped like a shoe box. Toronto has a beach… most people doen’t realize that but on the Toronto Islands there is Hanlan’s Beach and Centreville Amusement park.  The
island community is the largest urban car-free community. Access to the island is by ferry or water taxi. 

There is so much to do it will take several trips. Shoppers will love Eaton Center and St. Lawrence Market. Visit one of
the several art museums and galleries. At Ripley’s Aquarium you can pet a sting ray or have a sleepover with the sharks. Take in a game or event at one of Toronto’s eight stadiums and arenas. As always the best get acquainted tour is on the Hop-on Hop-off bus but there are several free walking tours of various neighborhoods.