170923 Toronto

We will be treated to stunning views from Toronto’s CN Tower today. Not afraid of heights? Then step out onto the glass floor and outdoor observation area.

Toronto sure is a bustling city. Within the Greater Toronto area, there are around 9 million inhabitants spread around the Lake Ontario, but just 3 million in the city itself. There are many skyscrapers nearby our Fairmont Hotel which has been the residence for many famous people from Royalty, Leaders of Nations, and celebrities of all walks of life.

After breakfast, our first stop is to go up the iconic, free standing CN Tower. After our tour director purchases tickets we are whisked up the 553 metre “pencil” tower to view the city and beyond. There are two sections for the 2 million visitors that come to experience what was the highest human structure for over 32 years. The pod, as it is named, contains two levels of viewing platforms and a revolving restaurant. We walked and lay on a section of glass that allows direct viewing to the ground. For many, that is an experience ‘never to be’.

The streets are very busy with cars and pedestrians. From the Fairmont Royal York, we can easily walk to the Canada Centre (home of ice hockey) the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, and Toronto’s main railway station. Pedestrian traffic is busy and hazardous itself. We are in the main business district. The city blocks are all connected via pedestrian subways with over 30km of walkways. This is to keep people out of the very cold winters they have; hardly noticeable in the 30 degree unseasonal heat we are having this week. A drive around the city in our coach is interesting as we visit the museum section of the city, the parklands, and education centres.

Our afternoon and evening are free. We had heard that there is a vegan restaurant nearby but due to the business district being ‘closed’ on weekends, a 20 minute walk was necessary to find one. We shared two dishes of tasty food, the first of which was consumed before I remembered to photograph it. We did our daily walk after lunch and rested watching the activities on Lake Ontario.

I’m sure Scenic Tours did not know that the city was going to be so busy at the time of our visit, but it was. There were Baseball games on both Friday and Saturday with the New York Mets as well as the Opening of the Invictus Games for our Wounded Warriors of recent wars. At least 550 competitors from 17 countries are slated to compete in 12 sports, including track and field, swimming and, in a first for the Invictus Games, golf. The games will be coming to Sydney in 2018, so get ready to volunteer or do something to be involved somehow as athletes with war injuries overcome their both seen and unseen injuries.

Prince Harry is here to open the games that he formulated just a few years ago on his way back from his own service in Afghanistan. We managed to see his hand waving out through the top of the car window as he left our hotel for the Rogers Centre. We could have purchased tickets to the ceremony at $200 each, but decided to watch from the room instead.

Tomorrow, we head off to Niagara Falls.