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Published: January 21st 2015
Top 25 bakery in the world, offering their famous ice cream cookie sandwiches.
Home of Drake and Jim Carrey... that's the extent of a good description of Toronto. This ain't your picturesque Venice or exotic Bora Bora, and if you're looking for an unforgettable getaway, head in the opposite direction. It may be Canada's most populous city and economic capital, as well as one of the world's most liveable cities, but tourism is not this town's forte. Additionally, being Vancouver's ugly sister isn't easy, which is why Toronto bridges the gap by offering a bustling nightlife and great diversity, earning it the nickname, "City of Neighborhoods," whereby 49 percent of its residents are non-Canadians. Kristina and I had a five-hour layover during our flight home from Istanbul, which was sufficient time to scramble into the city and visit the downtown area.
We exchanged money at the airport (our first mistake) for an arm and leg, then purchased tokens at 3 Canadian dollars apiece (our second mistake) to ride the public transit from Pearson International into town. The ideal situation would have been to exchange money in advance, but our impromptu decision to visit the city prevented us from doing so. Furthermore, the best deal would have been to buy a "Family Day Pass"
View from the waterfront featuring the CN Tower.
for only 11 dollars, which covers 2 adults and 4 youths for unlimited rides all day on streetcars, subway, and buses, with free transfers. Instead, our tokens were only valid for a one-way trip into town, which required us to take the 192 bus to the Kipling Station, then a transfer to the green metro line eastbound towards Ossington Station; total travel time from the airport to Ossington was 40 minutes.
The destination was Bakerbots (205 Delaware Ave), the last of our "Top 25 Bakeries in the World" tour that took us from Conditorei Schober in Zurich, to Hafiz Mustafa in Istanbul, to Cafe Savoy in Prague, to Demel in Vienna. This quaint little shop on the corner of Little Italy offers a selection of ice cream sandwiched between a cookie. Kristina and I ordered the cinnamon toast ice cream on an everything cookie for 4 Canadian dollars. We revealed to the cashier our sole reason for going into Toronto was to visit this bakery in the middle of what felt like an aging and decrepit college town, which spurred enough sympathy that he offered us a free red velvet cupcake. After we enjoyed a flaky cupcake and deliciously moist ice cream cookie, we continued further into the city to see the "sights".
So we hopped back onto the metro and took the green line eastward to Spadina, hoping to transfer to the yellow line heading south towards Union. Unfortunately, the transfer at Spadina requires a long walk, so the best option is to disembark and switch lines at the next stop, St.George. Once we arrived at Union after 10 minutes, we proceeded along the Skywalk to make our way south towards the CN Tower, which has become the hallmark of this city. We exited the Skywalk, passing the BlueJay's Stadium to head towards the waterfront. For a populous town of almost 3 million, this place was surprisingly dead. The only souls rustling were the ones at the nearby skating rink, which is stereotypically appropriate for Canada. After a single photo and quick stroll by the chilly waterfront, we returned to the airport as fans were rushing in the opposite direction to attend the Jays game that night.
Our friends swear Toronto is an awesome time, especially its nightlife, and newspapers claim it is a young and hip town. Maybe we visited the wrong part of Toronto, or maybe we arrived on the wrong night, but whatever the reason, 5 hours were more than enough to squeeze everything out of this forsaken place. If it weren't for a layover, it is doubtful we would have ever stepped foot here, but a tasty ice cream cookie was enough incentive for us to trek into town, and for that alone, we were content.
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