I arrived in Toronto on the 16th September, extremely tired and highly doubtful of my own mental capacities. I appeared to have taken myself off thousands of miles from home and the people I love just to wander around some buildings I could fairly easily see on tv or the internet. Why was I doing such a thing? Couldn't I just go home?
It took a few days for me to utterly settle into my trip and, make no mistake about it, I still miss my family and friends beyond belief. My first few days were spent wandering around, getting myself used to where I was and what there was to do.
Actually, only my second day was spent as such...part way through the afternoon my camera gave up the ghost and would no longer display the screen or take a photo. I remained incredibly calm, this I put down to the constant stream of electronics failing me in one way or another since I was 13. I got myself back to the hostel and wifi and googled my problem and found out that this was not a problem that would correct itself, nor could it be repaired at a camera shop nearby, it was going to need to go off to Canon. Problem here being that I would not be in the same place for them to send it back to me if it was repaired, or in the same place to receive are placement if it could not be.
To confirm my google findings I walked for an hour to find what was apparently a fantastic camera repair place, discovering there that they would take a week to tell me if it could be repaired and how much that would be, before keeping it for perhaps another 6, time I did not have. I found this out over the course of maybe a minute and a half and then promptly set off back the way I came, with more than a slight grumble to myself.
Luckily for me when I conveyed my woes to my family they decided to be the BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD EVER, like I didn't already know it, and sent me money from the lot of them as an early Christmas and many birthdays present to buy a new camera. Have I mentioned my family are the greatest on earth? Cause they are. On Earth, nay, solar system, pfft, universe, ha, MULTIVERSE.
With a lovely new, lighter, smaller, better camera in my hand, and my faithful 1000d packed up in bubble wrap in my bag, I was ready to hit the streets of Torontoa and document all of it. As my luck turned around, a girl who had been in my dorm at the hostel gave me her ticket to the hop on hop off bus tour - it lasted for three days and she was leaving after two. This was not something I would have bought for myself, something I had already dismissed in fact. It was $40, and whilst it did provide a form of transport, I was more than happy to walk. Being given it however was fantastic, it was nice to have the chance to get a view of the city and get some bearings.
This is Toronto's flat iron building, there's a more famous one in New York, but this one is 10 years older. It was also the first skyscraper in Toronto, at seven floors, people were scared to go up there as they thought their weight combined with the wind at such heights was surely are cope for disaster. Here is stands now, surrounded by humongoid structures, things that disappeared into the mist a few days later when rain appeared.
The tour was fun, and part of me wants to recommend it to you, but it is very expensive. If you are likely to go somewhere and want to use it as your transport between various sights over a few days, then maybe it will be better off in the long run. If you are travelling like me and unlikely to pay to go into most attractions, then maybe it's. It for you. Interesting though, I was particularly amused by the guides pointing out the castle, a source of immense pride, which is 99 years old! Crikey.
A couple of days later I went on a tour of the Toronto Islands with the hostel. I had planned to do this by myself as I like being able to set my own place and stay as long as I like somewhere, particularly where there is water, I could stare for years at water. Luckily I was convinced by another girl in my dorm, Laura, to go along with her and I'm very glad I did.
My mind cannot accept that this is a lake. If I was in Dover I'd be able to see France on a day like this. That Lake Ontario is small in comparison to the others is furtherly bizarre.
The day before I left I went on another tour with the hostel (including Laura and a new addition Lisa) to the Steam Whistle Brewery. This is something I would definitely recommend to visitors to Toronto, with the hostel I paid $8 otherwise it would have been $10, still not much for what was an enjoyable and sample heavy tour. We arrived and (after a little confusion) were given our first samples, see below. After going upstairs tosctart the tour and donning our headphones so listen to the guide talk through a mic, we were each given a bottle of beer to drink as we walked round. After finishing the tour, we were given another sample size as below, and as we waited for the other people on our tour downstairs the staff gave us another cheeky sample. Go, it's a fun tour, the beer is nice and included is a little bottle opener, which I am in love with because it is green.
That evening a lot of those on the tour congregated in the hostel bar. Much much fun was had, much beer, and unfortunately a little wine. I was not very happy with myself the next morning as I collected my things and got onto the coach to Niagara.
I loved Toronto, and am admittedly slightly jealous of the wonderful people I met there who get to stay there and work. Only slightly. I mean, they have to work, and I don't, win!
Next stop, Niagara.