Toronto's cityscape is full of interesting architecture, both historic and modern.
Walking around might perhaps be the best way to see all this at a leisurely pace if you have a map, a list of what to see, a good sense of direction, and time to spare, but I was lacking in the last element.
I didn't have a bicycle with me (the only bicycles I saw were too high for me, anyway) and my friend commented that drivers in Toronto, unlike in mainland China, are not as sensitive to the presence of cyclists and thus cycling isn't as easy even when there's substantially less human and vehicular traffic compared to mainland China. Being comfortably driven around by my friend was a life-saver which I'm really grateful for. I didn't have to worry about where to go, where to park etc. Only problem was that my digital camera isn't good enough to take good photos from a moving vehicle, especially at night, so I had to give up on taking photos.
The photos I have taken are mainly of the immediate area around Canadiana Backpackers, before sunrise; or enroute from St.Andrew's subway stop to the hostel, at night. This area is the entertainment/arts district and that explains the interesting facades and vibrant display of nightlife. Toronto is much less polluted than mainland China and sunrise colours were a refreshing, beautiful pink. A few of the photos (eg of Eaton Centre) were taken on Dundas Square, while I was waiting outside Hard Rock Cafe.
Toronto’s waterfront – one of...
Toronto’s waterfront – one of North America’s largest recreational waterfronts – provides a scenic backdrop for many popular and entertaining attractions including Harbourfront, Ontario Place, SkyDome, the CN Tower, and the Toronto Islands. It’s also the setting of many big events including the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival, Caribana, Winterfest and the Canadian National Exhibition.
Downtown Toronto offers museums and art galleries galore including The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) , Canada’s largest museum and one of the top 10 in the world; the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Canada’s oldest art gallery and home to more than 15,000 paintings; and the Ontario Science Centre, which entertains and educates 800,000 visitors a year.
At the northeast end of the city, Canada’s largest zoo, the Toronto Zoo, features more than 5,000 animals in their natural environment. Just north of the City, Canada’s largest theme park, Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, features more than 160 attractions and 50 rides in a thrilling environment.
Day or night - always something going on! Spending 10 minutes in Toronto before flying to Chicago. I had to run fom one plane to the other, also worth noting that I was the only passenger they were waiting for...everyone had already boarded the plane. haha.
Caribana- 3rd Largest Mardi Gras in the World
Caribana starts in mid July and ends the first saturday of August with a day long parade. You will have difficulty getting a place to stay in Toronto during this period.
The parade is the big event . It starts around 11:00 am in the CNE grounds and proceeds west along Lakeshore Boulevard.
At the start line the bands and each of their dance groups perfrom a five minute presentation in front of the media/judge centre. After all dance gropus complete their presentation they re-group and proceed to Lakshoire Bvld.
That precess breaks up the flow and the bands become sepatated by about 15 minutes.
After which it is not really a parade but more like a street party that moves down the road. Another way to define the event is to say that the parade , bands on trailer trucks surrounded by revellers in colourful garb , plow into the crowd lining the street and hopefully make it to the end of the parade .
Close to 800,000 attend the street party.
The best place to sit ( on bleachers ) is at the start line in the CNE. $25 admittance.
All groups have to present somthing to the judges at the start line pavillion. Sitting east of the start line you get to see the colourful groups all lined up and getting pumped up for their presentation . At the start line you see the performences. There is no problem movng between areas.
For a first timer one should go to a viewing area in the SW corner of the CNE grounds on the north side of Lakeshore Boulevard. There is an admission fee ( $ 12 adult) but you can sit on a grassy knoll and it is probably the best place to view the parade .
Bring an umbrella it rained last year in 2005. Also bring a hat , sunscreen , sun glasses ,etc. August 2007.
Perfect weather with a breeze which made the very colourful flags a real sight.
Cliques in Toronto
Toronto is very compartimentalized. Chinatown, Koreatown, Croatiatown, Little Italy, a Portuguese area, Ethiopian, Indian... anything you can think of. This situation directly reflects in the amazing variety of foods you can eat.
For now I will post this photo from May, 2006, where I am struck by finding a Croatian bank across the street from a very good Indian restaurant.
One of the greenest cities in North America
There are 6.5million trees in Toronto, give or take a few. This provides a soothing green canopy in the heat of summer. If only more cities were like this, especially in Japan. In Kyoto for example trees are immediatelly cut down to stumps or totally removed as soon as they begin to provide any shade - they drop too many leaves and interfere with construction. Toronto felt like a green heaven by contrast!