Not long ago I wrote about being a “Hometown Tourist” and I think that this will be something I’m going to keep circling back to from time to time. I know that I won’t always get 5 months off to go explore the wide world like I’ve been able to this year, so to get my fix for travel when I may not be able to jet off I’ll continue to explore the areas I overlook because it’s just ‘home’. Plus, that means that I’ll be ready to give the best tips or play tour guide to friends that come to visit Calgary!
But today I’m writing on a riff of that, home country rather than home town. The same level of comfort and familiarity but spread across a much larger area. More to love!
Canada is BIG. That little line I have drawn on the map from Calgary to Toronto is a 4 hour flight, or as I discovered while I was playing with Google Maps, a 34 hour drive. Plenty of time for our patriotic coffee!
When I arrived in Toronto I took the UP express train direct from the airport to Union Station downtown and enjoyed wandering around this vibrant city for a few hours. I’ve been to Toronto several times before, but this is the first time I’ve been able to slowly and aimlessly explore a few neighbourhoods as a tourist.
Later in the evening Erin arrived, and that’s the other best thing about hometown/home country travelling – I know people here!! (side note, Erin’s graced the pages of this blog before…you can find that in More from New York)
We happened to be in the city the same time as Nuit Blanche was happening. I’d never heard of this before so I’ll go with the assumption that maybe you haven’t either. According to their website the Toronto Nuit Blanche is a “free, annual, city-wide celebration of contemporary art…from sunset to sunrise.” Roads were blocked off and transformed to pedestrian thoroughfares, museums and galleries open all night and art installations enchanting downtown. How great is it to be able to safely walk around a city after dark?! The streets were buzzing with energy, everyone happy and thrilled with one more chance to be out before it gets too frosty.
Bright and sunny the next day (notice I didn’t say early…. we spent all night walking around enjoying the art life!) and after loading up on coffees and brunch we were ready to fall into all the tourist traps Toronto has to offer. First up: The CN Tower.
The CN Tower is pretty tall, standing at 553 metres or 1815 feet high, and apparently until 2007 was the world’s tallest freestanding structure. If you want to challenge your fear of heights from a cozy safe space, come up here and walk across the glass floor, or really ramp up your adrenalin and try out the Edgewalk where you are literally walking along the top edge outside with only a harness to keep you alive. I’m sure it’s fun….
Steps away from the base of the tower there’s the old rail yard, and the Steamwhistle Brewery beckoning us over for a tour. We couldn’t say no to that!
One tiny little taste of Toronto down, much more to go my next time through this city!