Tourists, Tours & Tanks

Day 2 in Toronto

After a long first day of walking, we had a more leisurely morning and had a stroll to the supermarket, which despite being only 2 miles felt so much longer! We bought the essentials – bagels, crisps & milk (and a few more things obviously). We then thought it would be a great idea to trek all the way across the city, in the heat, and up hills to Casa Loma – one of Canada’s ‘stately homes’. Sir Henry Mill Pellatt had loads of money so decided to build a massive mansion with swimming pool, gym, various suites and a network of tunnels to enable the guy to get under the main road to access his stables as he wasn’t allowed to own the road. It was an alright place, I think we are spoilt in England with our numerous beautiful stately homes, so this one didn’t come anywhere near the English standard. Probably didn’t help that Sir Henry Mill Pellatt ran out money and had to leave his mansion which was nowhere near finished! The outside of the house is very pretty, intricately designed with some cute little gardens and a water feature; however, this also meant fighting for the best picture spot. It was literally tourist city outside where people were completely oblivious to others who were trying to a take a photo! This one woman spent about 15 minutes taking the same photo of varying angles, orientations, and panoramic, completely ignorant of all the others trying to take one simple photo so they could leave! I won’t lie, it was pretty annoying.

Anyway, once our visit had concluded we hopped on the bus back to the big city to enjoy a boat trip to the Toronto Islands. Our guide was a welsh guy, who didn’t really sound welsh at all, but who had adopted the Canadian way of saying Toronto (Toronno), which sounded bizarre when all other words were said in a distinctive English accent. He gave us a brief overview of the history of the islands where there used to live a man who had a large amount of alcohol which at the time was banned. The guy had managed to create a way of hiding the alcohol from the police by putting it in barrels and weighing it down with bags of salt and then by the time the police had gone, the salt had dissolved and barrels would float to the top of the water (clever eh?). On one of the islands there is the Billy Bishop Airport which only allows propeller propelled planes before 11pm so as not to disturb those living along the edge of the city. Many people (apart from Canadians) are blissfully unaware that many films and TV series that claim to be set in NYC or some other American city are actually filmed in Toronto because it’s so much cheaper (e.g. Suits, Friends, Suicide Squad). There are also some condos in the city that you could see from the boat which were called Kings landing which had no relevance to the Game of Thrones other than the name.

After our nice little trip on the boat, which had some great tunes over the speaker system, we walked to Ripley’s Aquarium, not forgetting our first experience of Tim Horton’s where I bought a chocolate creamy chill – it was bliss! On our way, we saw even more dogs than the day before, SO MANY DOGS, which made me want one even more than I already do, oh and some black squirrels! We got to the Aquarium at about 7pm and ended up staying there til 11pm! It was incredible, THE best aquarium I have been to by far, so many different colourful fish, sharks, stingrays and more. We caught the end of the stingray show where a diver was brave enough to jump into the tank with them and got the opportunity of petting crabs, stingrays, sharks & some form of shrimp which eats the dead skin off your hand (YUK)! By the time we’d got back, we had walked another 10 miles (21,463 steps) so about time for some much-needed food and sleep!

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