Part 2 Canada: a little bit of Toronto if you please
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Canada 2 Toronto
A short +- 4 h flight from Calgary later we arrived in Toronto. 3 trainstops and just 15 minutes of walking from the trainstation, we arrived at our Airbnb.
Honestly, at first we were a bit worried. The outside looked like a rather worn down city house with the faintest readable lettering on the door: “ the secret restaurant”. But, oh boy, on the inside there was a whole world of its own. Going up some plain stairs, we came in small corridor, decorated with trinkets: stones, sticks, artsy trinkets. Through the corridor we came into an large open room with a kitchen, bureau and sitting area. Everywhere you could spot art, books, elements of nature, decorative artifacts and furniture, standing, hanging and laying around. A view that immediately stimulates every creative mind.
It also remineded us of Haythim’s aunt “tante Jol” ,she would probably feel right at home in this house and with our host.
Outside on the roof sat our host Sarah with her friend (and roomie) Poppy. We were welcomed warmly and shown around the house.
To say our host is an amazing, cozy and friendly person would still be an understatement. You know sometimes you meet someone and it’s just so hard to describe them to other people? Sarah is just like that. She’s one of those people that words fail to captivate.
Even our bedroom was just so creative and cozy. A woven carpet against the wall, empty wooden frameworks, A chart of star constellations, branches, stones, a turquoise dressing with flowers in a vase (in which a note: “happy honeymoon!”), two towels, a tray with wineglasses and a bottle of red wine and books that looked like a relaxing read. Just check out the pictures!
But enough about our awesome Airbnb. We set down our bags down and went looking for food (our flight apperently didn’t offer food if you did not pay up extra...).
A good tip from our host and short walk (6mins) took us to a restaurant called Kinton ramen. A genuine Japanese Ramen-ya. Though all the fastfood: shawarma, burgers, pizzas and so on looked quite appealing, they did not feel quite Canadian, or healthy. Ramen it was!!! (not that that is typically canadian but we just fancied ramen)
The next day, fully rested, we stretched our legs and took a long walk down Queen street.
Where to start ? Queen street is ... umm, an explosion of diversity and creativity.
Diners of every culture, small and big shops were you can find everything. You’re looking for a shop specialised in socks? Or maybe one for hats? Shoes? Geological stones? Tea? .... You get the idea.
It was the same for the people we saw. Al ages, sizes, styles ,... mingled into one street.
Our goal was Trinity bellwoods park but we didn’t make it. There was too much to see and to do!
We did find a supermarket were we bought some groceries. Packing your own lunch is very advisable if you want to lower your costs.
We also recommend visiting the Chrystal Museam (aka the Royal Ontario Museum), if like us you go ‘OMG Dinosaurs!!!!!’And of course if you like other things like art, minerals and gems, animals in general, etc. We were extra lucky. There was an extra exhibition « It’s Alive! ». It’s a collection of Kirk Hammett’s horror posters and props... Horror/ Nerdgasm. All. The. Way. Let me tell you if I were rich, you’d probably see « Ninke’s collection of horror posters and props » written all over town. So in a nuttshell, we had a total blast.
Another experience which was completely different from Belgium was going to the movies. We went to cinemex to see the new spiderman movie (Far from home), and realised that going to the movies in Belgium, is for us.... kind of a ripoff. You pay a little more but, here can enjoy the picture VIP style... meaning: leather comfortable armchairs, with a table attached (that spins), a menu card so you can order! food/drinks, a much better screen and sound, and all this in a hall for 100 people tops. You can drink a cider, or eat a burger, or Japanese, or or or. So relaxing and so much fun!!!! (Thank you extra leg space and recliner seats).
We realised that night that we would have to pick and choose our activities very carefully in Toronto. There is something to do, eat or drink behind every corner. It deserves it’s nickname New york of Canada. Anyway, we still needed to figure out how to get to Quebec, do some writing, do laundry and other stuff we’d been postponing. Also it’s fun to just hang at your airbnb once in a while to get to know the people there and enjoying the vibes there. Give yourself a breather.
Our next activity was perhaps the most touristic of our whole journey in Canada: seeing the Niagara falls. It’s something we think you should just do. If you visit Toronto you go see the falls. So as said, we took a two hour bus, and got off near the falls. Even with children, there’s soooo much to do over in the vicinity besides taking gorgeous pics of the horseshoe falls( canadian side). There’s butterfly gardens, botanical garden, bird cage, casino’s, shops and a funfair street! We walked towards the falls for half an hour, and just when we thought the weather couldn’t get any hotter, we were greeted by a nice shower of the Horseshoe falls. The brute force with which the water crashes into the water below, really makes for a big wet mist. Though seeing it, we couldn’t quite grasp the idea of all that water and power right in front of us. A must see for sure!! Of course we couldn’t stand there for hours because there was so much left to see. I really had my mind set on the funfair with the variety of horror houses, mirror houses and odditoria. A colorful and lively bunch of buildings. Like a never ending carnival. Parents coming here with kids are sure to either lose or keep their kids occupied for a couple of decades! We joined in for the challenge and went in the « Nightmares: Fear Factory » haunted house. A haunted house that already scared away 9 people that very day, and 159 764 people up until today!! We survived, no sweats. It was mainly dark and with jumpscares, and of course the occasional touch on the shoulder... Not like our real life adventure of Resident Evil in the Universal Studios theme park in Japan. With live actors coming after ya and all. (Nearly shat my pants that day in ten colours...). Thus concluded a succesful day!!
We still managed to squeeze a last activity in our schedule, though it was a relaxed activity. We visited the Art Gallery of Toronto, a real must for all who love art, from contemporary to classic. There were also collections of old European, Canadian and Indigenous art. It was nice to brush up on some history and learn a couple of new things with it. I thought I had an idea about the hardships of the indigenous people, but was really corrected on the spot. The art created to express what they’ve been through, is something I really recommend to go see.
And, finally! I was able to cross something (rather someone) from my bucket list. We actually were able to enjoy one of the works of Japan’s great Yayoi Kusama: the Mirror Room. A room that is basically all mirrors. Walls and ceiling mirrors and mirror-balls. In the middle of the room, a collumn filled with mirrors you could look in to see another univers of infinite mirrors.Another less known name I want to leave behind is Kazuo Nakamura. A contemporary artist, who paints with color and forms that really spark the imagination.
Packing up at Dalhousie street, we felt heartache, for we had the news that the building we stayed at was going to be demolished to put another skyscraper on. To realise how fleeting things can be. It makes you treasure the moments more, but nonetheless hurt when they’re over.
Next « etappe » Quebec!