On top of the world and the bottom of the ocean

My feet have utterly given up on me.

Toronto, at least the areas I explored today, is blessedly flat.

I put 20 kilometres on ye olde feet today. Before dinner I had to hobble back to the hostel and put moleskin, along with socks and sneakers instead of my sandals, just to make it through the rest of the day.

A reflection of the CN Tower.
A reflection of the CN Tower.

Tomorrow will be a “learn to use the subway” day, I think, to save some walking.

I have never been to Toronto before. For some reason I didn’t bother when I was living in Montreal, opting instead to go to New York, Ottawa and Quebec City while I was there. Which is why some of those cities will be getting some short shrift on this trip.

Which is why I have dedicated four nights and 3.5 days to Toronto.

Queen's Park.
Queen’s Park and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Today, in brief: I walked a huge chunk of Yonge Street, wandered by Queen’s Park (the Ontario legislature), checked out much of the University of Toronto campus, spent four hours in the Royal Ontario Museum, wandered Chinatown and Kensington Market, went up the CN Tower and then headed to the thing a few different people recommended: the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

Yonge and Dundas.
Yonge and Dundas.

The university campus was very cool. Their architecture is much prettier than SFU’s Burnaby Mountain campus. I made sure to walk along Philosopher’s Walk because, you know, I’m a giant fan of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry series and the university campus and that walk are part of it.

Falling in love with the University of Toronto's gorgeous buildings.
Falling in love with the University of Toronto’s gorgeous buildings.

The Royal Ontario Museum actually drove me to the point where I had to heartily skim. There is so much stuff. Dinosaurs! Ancient art! So much history! It also had a travelling exhibition of artifacts from Pompeii, which was both interesting and heartbreaking in turns.

The top details of a bell displayed in the China gallery at the ROM.
The top details of a bell displayed in the China gallery at the ROM.

I did wander several blocks of Chinatown and Kensington to get a sense of the places. Cool vibes. Apparently I wasn’t in a shopping mood, though, which is probably for the best.

I did go up the CN Tower, because why not go whole hog on this thing? Great views. The glass floor is trippy. It’s no longer the tallest building in the world, but your ears still pop as you go up and down the elevators (which also have glass panels in their floors).

The view from the top.
The view from the top.

The aquarium was, as people had promised, very neat. Much of it involves being surrounded on both sides and above a giant tank filled with sharks and other marine animals. It was pretty wild.

A new way to check out an aquarium.
A new way to check out an aquarium.

I bought a CityPass for Toronto, which is my admission fees to five different attractions (including the museum and CN Tower). So far it has been worth the money – I’m definitely seeing savings if I go to the other three, which I plan to (zoo, Casa Loma and the science centre).

I’ve also got myself a ticket for Kinky Boots on Thursday night! Huzzah!

6 thoughts on “On top of the world and the bottom of the ocean”

  1. Some random interesting Toronto things

    – The Ontario College of Art and Design’s “Sharp Pavilion” is really cool if you like crosswords. Don’t miss it when you walk down Queen Street. Also, not sure if you like random electronic gadgets and labware but Active Surplus on Queen St. is really cool for those who do.

    – Hope you managed to see the mineral collection at the ROM!

    – Have you read “In the Skin of a Lion”? R.C. Harris Filtration Plant is one of my favorite buildings in Toronto. Can’t really get inside, but I love the exterior.

    – There’s BakkaPhoenix the science fiction bookstore if you’re into that. I went recently and somehow it’s much smaller than I remember it being.

    – I forget, do you eat hot dogs? After all the places I’ve lived in and visited, the street meat in Toronto is still my favorite. Huge sausages slathered in heaps of vegetable toppings.

    Your trip sounds amazing. Best wishes for blisters to begone!

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