Hotels, Hospitals & Honey

Day 5 in Toronto

Our final day in Toronto was probably the busiest we’d seen the city since we’d arrived, there seemed to be more people every day and the subway was properly packed like a London tube. We started by going to the city hall to get our social insurance numbers so that we could apply to work once we arrived in Banff and I was complimented on my name by the lady helping us. We decided to take full advantage of our city sightseeing bus tickets and did the full 2-hour tour of the whole City, passing through the entertainment, distillery and discovery districts. Unfortunately, we bumped into the same Italian couple who were on our tour to Niagara the day before and who stood on the top of the open top bus taking photos, completely unaware that he hit my head about 10 times with his elbow.

We learnt about where the British royal family stay when they come to Toronto and how they have a choice of whichever rooms they want in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. There is also the penthouse, which costs anyone else $1,000 per night to stay and they have to sign a waiver to say they are happy to vacate the penthouse if a member of the British Royal Family comes to stay. When any president of Canada is in Toronto they stay in the International Plaza Hotel in the only room with a balcony and the whole floor above and below them is cordoned off for other people.

On route, we also played some hospital Ping-Pong, as there were about 4/5 hospitals in a row on the same street. The Mount Sinai Hospital was set up by a group of Jewish women as they were discriminated against back in the day and wanted somewhere for Jewish doctors to be able to work. The hospital caters for a wide range of patients due to the 45 or so languages that are spoken by staff and if they can’t speak your language they will go out of their way to find someone who does as they believe that language shouldn’t be a barrier to healthcare (pretty awesome I think)! There was also the Sick Kids Hospital which makes children’s experience as fun as it can be whilst they are in hospital. They have the window cleaners dress up so that kids can see their favourite superheroes fly past their windows as well as having a deal with Pixar so that any new films are first premiered at the hospital cinema before anywhere else in the world (also pretty awesome)!

It was then time to go and pick up the hire car from Hertz in downtown Toronto ready for our big road trip. They guy at the desk didn’t say very much, but was pretty grumpy and un-friendly as all the online reviews had mentioned. We were then surprised when we were charged more than we had expected but they guy wasn’t overly helpful in explaining to us why this was the case. Anyway, we walked to pick up our car and were told to mark on a tiny little outline of the car any scratches/dents etc on the car previous to our hire so that we weren’t charged for any of it. Considering the car was a 2016 model, it had a crazy number of scratches on it already which were probably only from driving around Toronto which is just silly! Tim did a great job of driving on the wrong side of the road and car as well as navigating his way through Toronto traffic and got us safely to the house to pack the car. Our host was kind enough to give us some tips on driving in Canada before we left, for example, the laws of undertaking and that it’s not illegal, if you’re first at a junction then you have right of way and that you can turn right on any red light providing it isn’t signposted otherwise and giving way to pedestrians crossing.

The last part of the day was spent driving out of Toronto, or at least trying to get out of Toronto with ALL of the cars and trucks at rush hour. We made our way to Elmira, Ontario eventually arriving at some friends of the family to spend the night. It was a lovely little town with pretty houses surrounded by fields and we enjoyed a yummy dinner, learnt a thing or two about bee-keeping and even tried some recently collected honey ahead of a great night’s sleep.

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