An actress, a chef, and a social worker drive to Toronto… No, we actually really did! Recently I was talking to a friend about my vacation. She observed that our vacationing group was very unique. I suppose that is an interesting combination of individuals. Whenever we are together an adventure ensues. This past weekend we actually explored an art gallery within our own hometown (David Barnett Art Gallery) and ended up spending three hours exploring every inch of the mansion and it’s art. The owner, David, gave us the grand tour. We discussed everything from how to hang pictures without nails to how to exterminate bugs from an art sculpture. Needless to say whenever we are together it is a new experience! I could not have picked a better pair of people to go visit a new country with.
We visited London, Ontario; Toronto; and Niagara Falls (in the States and Canada). For under $500.00 a person we were able to vacation in Toronto. The drive from Milwaukee to Toronto was only around 10 hours and it was a great time to catch up on the latest happenings. We made a pit stop in London, Ontario where we explored the downtown and discovered almost everything closes around 6 p.m. in London. The conclusion of our day was at a sleek Air BnB condo in the suburbs of Toronto. This became the place we fondly referred to as “home” for the duration of our stay.
Our first day had to be devoted to Niagara Falls. Our pastor suggested we go during the week to avoid all of the weekend tourists. He was absolutely right and we found there was plenty of space during this time. Perhaps our biggest disappointment was seeing that only a street was really devoted to Niagara in Canada. Our spirits immediately lifted when we crossed the border into New York and discovered a beautiful state park built around Niagara Falls. DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT IF YOU VISIT NIAGARA SO YOU CAN SEE THE BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN CANADA AND EXPLORE THE PARK IN NEW YORK. Also, buy gas while you are in New York. The prices for gas in Canada was atrocious.
Thankfully we spent the rest of our vacation within the city of Toronto so we were able to navigate our gas to only buying one tank! One of the best investments we made was a CityPass. For around 87 Canadian dollars we were able to visit a number of Toronto Tourist attractions. Ripley’s Aquarium of Toronto, the CN Tower, Casa Loma, and the Royal Museum of Ontario were our attractions of choice. Casa Loma was my favorite with it’s sprawling rooms, secret tunnels, and beautiful ballroom. The view from the CN Tower was incredible. If you are exceptionally brave, you can step onto the glass and view the tiny cars and crowds below.
Another exceptionally unique area of Toronto is the Path. It is the world’s largest underground mall as well as Toronto’s best kept secret. Our first warning came when we were in Chinatown and when we asked for directions the local said she had no clue how to find the entrance to the path. It turns out there are many little signs that guide you. However, they are very hard to find. We ended up exploring an underground mall after all the shops were closed. It felt like we were in the apocalypse a little bit… We did end up going back during the day and found a bustling area of people. BRING A PAPER MAP OR YOU WILL SPEND HOURS TRYING TO FIND THE RIGHT TUNNELS TO GET IN AND OUT OF THE PATH. I, personally, felt a little like we were on the Amazing Race so I enjoyed the exploration. However, if you are on a time crunch, bring that map.
Our visit to my second foreign country was exciting, adventurous, and unique. Every bit of it was enjoyable – from the late mornings sipping coffee and eating eggs together to the evenings researching fun facts of Toronto. There is nothing quite like going on an adventure with friends – whether it be local or far away. A couple of side notes would be: Toronto is very eco-friendly (BE PREPARED TO SEARCH FOR PARKING AND BUY GROCERY BAGS), St. James Cathedral in Toronto is a beautiful place for a Sunday morning service (the pastor is super friendly and all the parishioners will tell you the amazing history of the church – including how the Queen visited), and everything closes EARLY (please let us know if you find places open at night and have people inside). This is what happens when an actress, a chef, and a social worker explore Toronto together:)