Friday, February 8, 2008

Welcome to Toronto, Canada

A shout out to Jodi at bloomingwriter for coming up with the "Where in the Gardening World Are You?" challenge. What a fun idea. I can't wait to visit all your cities. But first please visit mine.

Welcome to Toronto, Canada, located on the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario, one of North America's five Great Lakes. The city skyline is unmistakeable. It is dominated by the C.N. Tower which soars 555 metres (or 1,822 feet) above the streets below. Visitors can ride up to the top and stand on a glass-bottomed floor (not for the faint of heart).

The tower is famous but so are our streetcars. The 501 car along Queen St. West was recently named the number one trolley car ride in the world by National Geographics "Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Trips."

Hop off the streetcar along Queen West to check out the funkiest art and shopping district in the city. You can spend a whole day popping into galleries, tasting coffee and food from around the world, and finding all sorts of rare books, fantastic antiques and one-of-a-kind crafts. Pause for a minute to snap a picture of the famous graffiti tree.

Mosey along a little further west and you'll find the world-famous CityTV truck. It bursts out of the wall of the building at the corner of Queen and John and is a must see for tourist. People pause here every few minutes to take a picture. One of the most famous Toronto catchphrases is: "CityTV Everywhere." (Sadly due to company mergers/takeovers the truck has had a makeover and is no longer technically a CityTV truck. But it will always be that for me and many of my fellow Torontonians.)

Did you know Toronto has an island? Several in fact. Ride the ferry to Centre Island for a day a Centreville with the kids. Young and old alike will love the old time feel of this amusement park. If peace and quiet are what you're after why not try the nude beach at Hanlan's point? Take a stroll past the houseboats on Olympic Island. The cottage-style homes on Ward's Island will make you want to run away to the Toronto Islands forever.

Nature lovers will feel right at home in Toronto. High Park is Toronto's answer to Central Park in New York. It spans 398 acres in the city's west end including gardens, Grenadier Pond for fishing, a small zoo, historic Colborne Lodge, and lots of hiking and biking trails. At the very western edge of the park, a fantastic marshland restoration is underway.

A summer in T.O. wouldn't be complete without the Canadian National Exhibition. The C.N.E. is the tradiitonal end of summer blast that gives everyone an excuse to pig out on Tiny Tom's Donuts, the teeniest, tiniest, tastiest donuts in the world. The rock 'n roll soundtrack of the midway will have crying out for more. The Ex, as we call, it is one of the largest annual fairs in the world.

Toronto's no slouch in winter either. Every year hundreds of thousands of people line the streets for the annual Santa Claus Parade. Millions more around the world watch the event on tv. It started in 1905 and has grown into one of the biggest parade events in all of North America. And while skating elves on a parade float are more likely to win the Stanley Cup than Toronto's beloved Maple Leafs, this city is the best hockey town in the world.

Toronto is also one of the most multicultural cities on the planet. At any given moment in time, this city is alive with culture. Pick a place on a world map, any place, and you'll find someone from there living in Toronto. This is one of the city's greatest strengths. Little India, Greektown, Little Italy, Little Korea. You name it, Toronto's got it. Consequently, the eats are really good in T.O.

Now because this is a garden blog, I would be remiss not the mention that Toronto is home to beautiful gardens. The gate is always open in my back yard for anyone who wishes to pop in.

Thanks for visiting Toronto. Please come again.


jodi said...

Very, very nicely done! Toronto ISN'T my favourite place because it's too large with too many people, but while I was on the board of PWAC, I got to visit at least twice a year, and became fond of Chinatown, and of course the Royal York, where I usually stayed. You have hit the highlights beautifully. Funny about that glass ceiling--there was NO WAY I could stand on it. I put one foot on, took a photo, and snatched it back off again. The Toronto Botanical Gardens are interesting, (I visited there in late September on a press trip two falls ago) and I certainly enjoyed the cultural aspects--plus I do really, really like your public transit. Never was on a subway until 2004! I don't get out much...;-)
I don't sleep much, either, which is why I was sitting here reading when your comment arrived. So again, well done!

Owin & Irena said...

thanks jodi this was fun.

Crafty Gardener said...

We lived in Toronto many years ago, in fact it was my home when my family first immigrated to Canada. The city has grown so much over the years. I loved looking at your photos and having a trip down memory lane. Even though Toronto is only about 3 hours to the west of me, it is a place I rarely visit anymore.

Pam/Digging said...

This was a fun tour. I knew nothing about Toronto, but now I do. Looks like a very nice city.

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Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Toronto is one of my favorite cities. Being 1.5 hours away (2 hours with traffic!) we get up there often.

We have friends that live three blocks from High Park. We've been through it many times and love it - especially the castle playground (we have a nine-year-old).

Nice tour - thanks!

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Connie said...

Wonderful photos and description of your city!
Cities are such great places to visit, but I love coming home to the country. ;-)

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Lisa at Greenbow said...

Of course I have heard of Toronto but I didn't know a thing about it before I read your post. It appears to be a really interesting city. Your garden looks lovely in the picture too.

guild-rez said...

I live in Guildwood- East Toronto and write in two blogs Guildwood and
cheers Gisela

Nancy J. Bond said...

My S/O lived in TO for 27 years and I have been there just once. It is a beautiful city, as cities go, and your photos show its lively and colorful side. Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your home with us!

Christa said...

I visited beautiful Toronto many years ago and went up in the C.N. Tower while I was there. Thanks for bringing back the memory -- and thanks for the great tour!