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Published: November 3rd 2015
After dropping Ebba off at the bus for the airport (just the odd 3.5hrs before her flight!) we headed to Boston bus station for our overnighter to Niagara. At the station we met an 85 year old chap who started telling us his life story which included seeing Einstein walking across his road! We got a surprising amount of sleep on the bus and even managed to sail through Canadian customs (U.S. should take note). We arrived at 7:30am and walked the mile and a half from the bus station to Downtown Niagara. En route we got our first real siting of the impressive falls. The sheer amount of water and spray coming off the falls was made even more impressive by the wind that was swirling around the place – I'll come back to the wind later.
None of the boat tours were open this early so we decided to check out Downtown. Luckily, we had been prepared by a number of people how cheesy the actual town is. It was full of a load of “tourist attractions” – basically Blackpool on steroids – big steroids.
So we headed for an Ihop restaurant for breakfast. We were greeted
by Gordon, our waiter. He was brilliant – basically telling us not to order loads of things as the portions were massive and advising us to share something saving us a small fortune too! He also gave us free coffees and we enjoyed his very random stories he was telling!
After a massive breakfast we headed for the boat tour – Maid of the Mist but from the Canadian side. So we paid our money, got our sexy bright red ponchos and waited for the next boat. Once the boat came in the people running the tours told us to back off as apparently the wind was causing too much water to come over the falls and subsequently would flood the boarding area. We assumed this would be a temporary delay but later were told it may take up to 4 hours for it so subside. This was a bit gutting as we didn’t have enough time in Niagara for this. However, a couple of hours later we saw that the loading area for the boats was under a good few feet of water (they at least did refund us). So we spent the couple hours that we had
remaining in Niagara by walking right up to the side of Horseshoe Falls which was incredible (although I got the willies), crossing back into the U.S. over the Rainbow Bridge and then coming back to catch the bus to Toronto.
We stayed near Kensington Market in Toronto on the advice of Mr Firth – and it was an ace recommendation. Surrounded by hipsters, nice cafés and restaurants and “vintage” stores (posh second hand shops mainly). There was a great view of the city from the roof of our hostel and the breakfast was immense.
Our first full day we pottered around Kensington Market, seeing lots of funky street art and amazing fancy dress shops, then headed Downtown where we walked to the Air Canada Centre (home of the Maple Leafs) and the Rogers Centre (home of the Blue Jays baseball team). We noticed a couple of people going into the stadium so followed suit. Turned out there was some college football going on in there. Luckily I charmed the security guard and she allowed us to go properly in and see the stadium without paying! We found out she had family in Cornwall!
That evening we headed
to see the Toronto Marlies – the feeder team for the more well-known Maple Leafs. There were still 3,500 people watching and the standard seemed pretty good. The Mighty Marlies won 6-1 but we were a little disappointed that our now favourite ice hockey player, Sparksie the goal keeper for the Marlies, didn't get man of the match in spite of the number of immense saves he made (38 in total according to the statistics after the match).
The next day was Halloween. For the day we headed to Toronto Island Park. A bit of an odd place (had a sort of commune on it) and was a little underwhelming but we got some good views back towards Downtown across the water and had a nice walk around the beaches on the other side. We also headed to St Lawrence Market where Vicks smashed a massive GF crepe. The choice of food was amazing in a really cool old building. In the evening we headed to a Halloween street party on Church Street – we found an awesome Indian restaurant and then headed for the party. The costumes were amazing – some people had gone to massive effort and
were more than happy to pose with passers-by for photos. Our favourite costumes were the full cast of Mad Max, The Muppets and all the characters from Mario Kart!
Our final day in Toronto was mainly spent in the biggest shopping centre ever called the Eaton Centre . Here we managed to experience Tim Horton's coffee, a recommendation from some people we met on Maui. Nicer than Starbucks and a lot cheaper! Only issue was finding it in the humungous food court. Finally we headed for bus station for yet another overnighter to Chicago. The bus station was complete mayhem - it made public transport in the UK look stunning! All the buses were late, it was packed and no one knew what was going on!
Overall Toronto was cool - pretty hipster, really friendly people and reasonable on the wallet too. We were really happy that we went to see some ice hockey even if it wasn't the main team as the standard was so good! Now back for our final few days in the States before quite literally heading South for the Winter!
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