Tag Archives: Toronto

WHEN OLD MEETS NEW

IMG_2317 I had looked forward to our visit to Fort York, imagining an 18th Century fortification in an area of green on the outskirts of Toronto. Maybe it was the broiling 90 degree temperatures or the fact our taxi IMG_2318had to drop us in an underpass that took the glow from my mood, but sadly Fort York was nothing like I had imagined. A modern visitor center a long walk from the barracks and other remaining buildings put a pall on our mood as we sweltered in the heat. But worse was the lack of information on each of the buildings, the fact that we’d never been told we could take an audio tour, and the high rise condos and two major highways which encircle the site like Godzilla snaring the unwary. It was a short visit.FullSizeRender_1

After a stopover at the studio of photographer Janusz Wrobel, whose photographs of water are internationally acclaimed, we stopped for lunch at a little ‘English Tea Room’ in the village of Dundas. The Olde Worlde charm soon paled into insignificance as we waited fifty minutes for a simple salad and quiche lunch, and the meter ticked away by our parked car. Tea was plunked down in front of us to steep while we waited for the ice to be bought and brought, causing the tea to be so tannin-heavy it proved virtually undrinkable. There were no apologies for the wait as the hostess sashayed around us, only 2 other tables occupied. This is the first time I’ve ever left a restaurant without leaving a tip.

IMG_2341We are in Niagara Falls at the moment, on the Canadian side. I read once that it was the commercialization of Niagara that partially encouraged President Grant to make Yellowstone a National Park. If it was commercialized in 1872, with people going over the falls in barrels, you can only imagine what it’s like now. No longer the place where runaway couples hoped to elope, it’s a gambling mecca, and as neon as Vegas. I’m hoping the view and the walks will recompense.FullSizeRender

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PAMPERING

IMG_2305 We are in Toronto, city on a lake, city of gleaming buildings, city of multi-national immigrants. We have driven out of peace and quiet and a white population, into a rainbow of humanity and a cacophony of sound, numerous dialects and varied cuisines. While I always prefer country life, it’s good to feel the exuberance of a city on occasion, get charged and, on a trip, get pampered.

Arriving at a city hotel is not like arriving at a motel or b and b. A doorman IMG_2306awaits, along with a valet to park your car. All thoughts of schlepping your bags—as we did yesterday, up a flight of steps to a second story motel room—vanish as a cart is wheeled out and our bags collected. The slight kafuffle at check-in because our room was not ready was soon forgotten with an apologetic offer of free breakfasts for our stay.IMG_2302 And then there’s the magical opening of the door to the room, discovering an expanse of space in which all our luggage gets dispersed and we collapse after the day’s drive. While some of the accouterments are generic—the coffee machine, the robes, the safe—I spot some new ones like spray starch for ironing. The bathroom has all the old toiletries of yore, now often reduced as hotels follow airlines in the nickel and dime business. But this, in our sixth week of travel, is heaven.

I wonder if there’ll be chocolates when we get back from dinner.IMG_2310