Toronto

This is a big ol’ city. The city proper has 2.6 million people and 240 square miles with 5.5 million people and 2,700 square miles in the metro area. When we went up in the CN Tower today, we could see a number of nearby skylines. When I asked a friendly tower employee up on the lookout about it, she told me that all those areas used to be independent cities but in 1998 were absorbed by Toronto. This was my second time up in the CN Tower. Mom, Dad, Amy, and I drove up to Toronto for a few days in 1987 when I was 15. I remember riding a subway for the first time on that trip and going on a boat ride, the MS Chi-cheemaun, on Owen Sound. I must have written that boat name on post cards (Post cards! How quaint!) to friends which is how I remember it.
The view from the 18th story of our 48-story apartment building is of Lake Ontario, the perpetual traffic jam on the Gardiner Expressway, and the small airport (not the one we flew into) on the Toronto Islands. This is an expensive city, too. It cost $140 for the three of us to go up in the tower today. The HST (harmonized sales tax) here is 13%!
Yesterday we took the short ferry ride to Centre Island (part of the Toronto Islands) where we spent most of the afternoon at Centreville Amusement Park which we really liked. The weather was perfect, and the island is so pretty. There are no cars on the islands, other than emergency vehicles, and it’s just a 5-minute walk from the ferry to the park. Charlie said in his up-and-down, excited voice, “I don’t know where to look first!”
We’ve also been to a Blue Jays game (They beat the Red Sox and are doing well in the AL East this year.) and went out on a schooner at sunset.
Since the city is so spread out, grocery shopping can be a lengthy affair. There’s a grocery across the street from us, but the selection is limited. The nearest Whole Foods is 2.5 miles away, so we walk one way and take the subway the other way. We plan to go to the Ontario Science Centre next week but will probably take a cab since the eight-mile trip each way requires three buses or trains.
Sunday we’ll take a Via Rail (like Amtrak) train to Niagara Falls where we’ll spend the night and return to Toronto Monday evening. We’ll meet up on the New York side with my friend Jen and her husband Dave. I met Jen, a Buffalo native, when we both volunteered at the Denver Ronald McDonald House twelve years ago.

View of another schooner from our schooner on Lake Ontario

View of another schooner from our schooner on Lake Ontario

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Rogers Centre (Rogers is a wireless carrier in Canada.  It's the same company the Vancouver arena was named for where the kids went to the Queen concert.), formerly Sky Dome, where we watched the Blue Jays play the Red Sox

Rogers Centre (Rogers is a wireless carrier in Canada. It’s the same company the Vancouver arena was named for where the kids went to the Queen concert.), formerly Sky Dome, where we watched the Blue Jays play the Red Sox

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The CN Tower is right next to the baseball stadium.  As we watched the game, we could also watch the tower change colors (as night came on and the tower was lit up) and watch people who were strapped on to the tower do the Edge Walk.

The CN Tower is right next to the baseball stadium. As we watched the game, we could also watch the tower change colors (as night came on and the tower was lit up) and watch people who were strapped on to the tower do the Edge Walk.

Centreville Amusement Park

Centreville Amusement Park

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Laurel and Charlie rode most of the rides without me so I didn't have to buy as many tickets.  Laurel said the ferris wheel was scary since it moved fast and swayed, and she felt like they were going to fall out.

Laurel and Charlie rode most of the rides without me so I didn’t have to buy as many tickets. Laurel said the ferris wheel was scary since it moved fast and swayed, and she felt like they were going to fall out.

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Charlie loved this ride and kept trying to sit back down when the ride was over so he could go again.

Charlie loved this ride and kept trying to sit back down when the ride was over so he could go again.

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This sign inspired Laurel to sing "Oh, Canada!"

This sign inspired Laurel to sing “Oh, Canada!”

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View from CN Tower

View from CN Tower

Standing on the very-busy glass floor segment at the CN Tower

Standing on the very-busy glass floor segment at the CN Tower

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