Before I begin, I would like to state that I’m from the U.S. and am very accustomed to the imperial system. So using the metric system is foreign to me, and has been fun learning, as it will prepare me for future adventures!
Toronto is Canada’s largest city with a population now of almost 5.6 million.
The Greater Toronto area boasts over 6,050,000 residents.
Did you know that the CN Tower is the tallest structure in the western hemisphere? I’ve seen the Willis Tower when visiting Chicago and knew I was visiting one of the tallest buildings in the world, but I didn’t realize that the CN Tower is actually taller (though it’s considered a free standing structure, not a building). I didn’t know this until after I had arrived back in Ohio to start this article, but when I saw it I said to myself “That has got to be the tallest thing I’ve ever seen”, so to my surprise I was right! If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that I have a thing for massive building structures (I dream of the day I arrive in Dubai). So it may not be much of a surprise that I fell in love with the CN Tower. It was the tallest free standing structure in the world until 2007.
I drove to Toronto, which is roughly 5 hours from Cleveland, OH and arrived to the city right after a small rain storm had finished, so everything was pretty hazy and getting dark, I had arrived at around 7:30pm. I didn’t get the really good views until the following day. Though I did snap off a couple pictures of the city from a roof top, the picture quality isn’t the best though (I need to find a good night time camera).
The first thing I learned is that gasoline in Canada is referred to as petroleum, which is completely fine, however, the confusion comes (as someone from the United States) when it’s time to figure out how much to get. 120.19 per litre…. Can be confusing if you’re from the US and you’re very accustomed to gallons and U.S. dollars. Though, this is one of the things I love about traveling; learning! After I figured this out, I continued on into downtown Toronto. Every US citizen who visits Toronto apparently says this: “Toronto is MUCH bigger than I expected”, and this was completely true for me as well, this city truly is huge! And if you head north towards Younge & Sheppard, the city will seem like it goes on forever, though it does eventually end and then you turn around to see the city from the opposite view! Also, I expected to see a lot of Tim Hortons, but to my surprise there are more Starbucks here than anywhere else I’ve ever been.
of university educations, than in any other country in the world.”
I came across a place called Aroma: Espresso Bar, I can’t turn down anything involving coffee, so I checked it out. The menu was very health based and while I enjoy healthy foods, the menu wasn’t overly appealing to me. There was one thing that caught my attention. Being a fan of good fish, I ordered up the Salmon Sandwich that came with smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, and cream cheese on whole wheat bread. It was pretty good, I’ve never had cream cheese on a sandwich before, but it wasn’t too bad. My favorite still belongs to “The Jim’ at Fresh Thymes in Wilmington, DE which you can read about HERE. As you can see, I actually didn’t get coffee, instead I got a rather tasty Iced Berry Tea Lemonade.
I wandered over towards the city market (which happens to be the top rated market in world if I’m not mistaken) completely by accident not realizing it. This happened because I an awesome looking building and wanted to get closer for a good shot. On my way I discovered an outside bizarre of local restaurants serving food. I wasn’t incredibly hungry, but thirsty from biking all over the city. So after weighing my options I landing on Wanna Banana! I love just about anything mixed with banana, so it wasn’t too difficult. I got the Blueberry Chia which was great, if you ever come across this place I recommend it, as it’s very natural tasting and pretty filling. Next time I think I’ll try the Honey & Cinnamon or Coffee Boost.
I stopped into a couple grocery stores as well to see how different the shopping options are. Bagged milk is certainly something I’ve never seen before, but most items were pretty much the same as in the U.S. There were a few offbeat things though like this humorously named breakfast cereal:
If you feel like wandering through some street food markets, you’ll want to check out the famous Kensington Market area. Vendors are out selling their food weekend mornings (not sure about weekdays) and this area is also littered with bars and cafe’s. One of the corner cafe’s caught my eye; Dolce, which they seem to be famous for their Italian coffee. Of course while I was there the heat was a bit much and since I was trying to keep cool, I went for an Italian soda instead which is served with these unique ice cubes which are in a sphere/bowl shape.
I wandered the streets of Kensington Market pretty late into the night and the place does get a little shady. You’ll notice a lot more graffiti and the alley ways are a bit more foreboding. Not that I have a problem with graffiti, a lot of times I find it pretty entertaining and well done. A lot of the bars light up though, and you’ll find that one part of ta street will be lit up and alive compared to the part where the street vendors setup shop during the day. You may also come across some forms of art you’ve never seen before, like a car that has been taken over by plants…
“Over 30% of Toronto residents speak a language other than English and French. Just ride the subways and that fact will hit home. Dual language street signs can be found in Little Italy, Little Portugal and Chinatown.”