If days one and two hadn’t done enough to get me to fall in love with Toronto, days three and four certainly did. Just as jam packed (if not more) than the days before, we were exhausted at the end of it all but so, so thankful that we didn’t skip out on anything.
The morning of our third day was not actually spent in Toronto, but on the way to Niagara Falls. Even though we knew it would take out of our precious time in the city, the opportunity to see Niagara Falls when we were so close was not something that we wanted to pass up.
After an hour and a half in the car (incredibly short compared to the nine and a half hours we had done just two days before) we arrived, parked, and got our first breathtaking view of the falls.
After being blown away by the beauty of the rumbling falls and the mist rising up in the air, we were given a reality check. Wanting to get up close and personal with it all, we knew we wanted to take a Hornblower Cruise. But, like the major dummies that we are, we forgot to buy them online. And, of course, the line was ridiculously long.
Thankfully, even though the line was ridiculously long, it didn’t actually last as long as it looked. Before we knew it we were handed our seriously fabulous red ponchos and shepherded onto the boat.
From our spot on the boat, we were taken past the American and Bridal Veil Falls and were immediately thankful for our flimsy ponchos as we were sprayed with mist. Little did we know, that spray of mist was the least of our worries. We figured this out soon enough, though, as the boat approached Horseshoe Falls. Whoops and hollers echoed through the air as we were bombarded with water. My glasses were rendered entirely useless within a few seconds, but the experience was still easily one of the most amazing ones in my life.
We heard our stomachs rumbling as we shuffled off the boat and decided to listen. In no mood to pay exorbitant prices for bad food, we turned to our trusty friend Yelp. We ended up at an amazing bar and grill off the beaten, kitschy, tourist track where we filled our bellies with delicious burgers and wings.
Back to Toronto
After our late lunch it was time to head back to Toronto. Our only real plan for the rest of the day was to head up the CN Tower at sunset. So once we got back to the city we still had some time to kill. Thanks to some quick research done in the car, we ended up at Roundhouse Park just at the base of the tower. Home of the former railway lands and the current Toronto Railway Museum, Roundhouse Park was full of old trains. It was more than enough fun to just walk around and take a look at all of them. With the backdrop of the modern city behind the vintage trains, it also provided for some excellent photography opportunities.
Sunset in the north in summertime is ridiculously late. So we still had some time to kill after we got our fill of trains but before we went up the CN Tower. We made a short move from Roundhouse Park to directly outside of the tower. There, we sat on one of the benches and did one of my favourite things to do while traveling: people watch. We saw about a million adorable dogs, people dressed to the nines for their dinner reservations at the 360 Restaurant, and a little girl take about an hour to eat a slice of pizza because she was just way too busy chasing pigeons away.
The CN Tower
Finally, the time arrived for us to take the ridiculously fast journey up to the top of the CN Tower. When we walked out of the elevator and over to the windows, we were predictably blown away by the views of the city that were sprawling out before us. Unfortunately, the windows were super glare-y and not that great for photography. I think I still managed to get a few good shots in, though.
On the lower level of the observation decks, we found the famous glass floor. I tried not to poop my pants. There was also an even-less-good-for-photos mesh fence (at least of the skyline. I kind of really like the photo of me looking out across the city).
Our final day in Toronto started out with a trip to Casa Loma, Toronto’s famous castle.
Of course, what’s important to note about this castle is that it is not actually a royal castle. In fact, it’s actually the home of a regular old civilian. He just had a little bit too much money to spend. Funnily enough, though, he died bankrupt thanks to spending too much money on his house.
Going in knowing this, we were ready to have our minds blown – and blown away they were.
The lavishness of the house was absolutely ridiculous. All of that seemed to fade away a little bit, though, as we entered the dank wooden staircase of the Scottish Tower and began our ascent up. We were given a little break in a middle thanks to a huge line. But once we got up to the top we were heartily rewarded with amazing views of the skyline and the top of the castle.
After a short lunch in Casa Loma’s surprisingly delicious and reasonably priced cafe, we headed down to the ferry docks for an afternoon on the Toronto Islands. We caught a ferry to Ward’s Island, which is smaller and less popular than the middle Centre Island. So we were able to have plenty of room to breathe on the short ride across the water.
Once we were off the boat we decided to wander around a little bit to get our bearings. We ended up on Ward’s Beach, where we popped a squat and people watched for a while. Once there, we decided that it was way too cold to even change into our swimsuits, let alone swim. So we just watched as those braver than us ventured into the water.
We got walking again after a short while and made our way around the Ward’s Island boardwalk. I, of course, had to stop for pictures every once and a while. But mostly, we just enjoyed how peaceful it all way compared to the hectic-ness of the days before.
Throughout our time on the islands we found plenty of boats and beautiful skyline views. But there were also all sorts of little surprises you wouldn’t find unless you took the time to look a little bit more closely.
After dinner, we headed back to the mainland with hopes of a visit to the aquarium. Unfortunately, our dreams were dashed when we walked up to find that it was closed for a private event. Holding back our tears, we decided to do what we do best. So we sat around and people watched for a little while longer. Finally, we headed back home in time to catch the Game of Thrones finale. Important.