First of all... I apologize to those of you who read me on a regular basis for not doing my usual Monday post, but the truth is that I was was in New York all this week and not able to log into my blog. Plus ever since I was MADE to upgrade to Beta Blogger (or Blogger 2 as they are calling it now,) I have had trouble even posting on many of your blogs. Many of your comments where made (turned to) as anonymous after I made the upgrade as well. (A fact that stilll irritates me!) But... it is still FREE, so I guess I shouldn't really complain.
I actually took this shot of the skyline of Toronto from a place called Toronto Islands. The islands are actually out in Lake Ontario. Only a 10-minute ferry ride from the foot of Yonge Street, the Toronto islands offer a panoramic view of the city skyline. Centre Island offers miles of parkland with beaches, barbecues and picnic tables, boat rentals, bicycle paths, a children's farm and even an amusement park.
Visitors to the Toronto Islands can enjoy their lakeside charm while still having the Toronto skyline in sight. Although the peninsula and surrounding sand-bars were first surveyed in 1792 by Lieutenant Bouchette of the British Navy, they were well-known by native people, who considered them a place of leisure and relaxation.
The main peninsula became known to European settlers as the "Island of Hiawatha". D.W. Smith's Gazetteer recorded in 1813 that "the long beach or peninsula, which affords a most delightful ride, is considered so healthy by the Indians that they resort to it whenever indisposed". Many Indian encampments were located between the peninsula's base and the Don River. The sand-bars were also important to birds and other wildlife. During migration periods vast numbers of birds frequently stopped at the sand-bars and marshlands of the Don River and Ashbridge's Bay.
Toronto, itself is on the north shore of Lake Ontario, is the largest of Canada's vibrant urban centers. It is the hub of the nation's commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural life, and is the capital of the Province of Ontario. People have lived here since shortly after the last ice age, although the urban community only dates to 1793 when British colonial officials founded the 'Town of York' on what then was the Upper Canadian frontier. That backwoods village grew to become the 'City of Toronto' in 1834, and through its subsequent evolution and expansion Toronto has emerged as one of the most livable and multicultural urban places in the world today.
The city was actually one of the cleanest large cities we have ever visited. There were so many exciting things to do there, that there was not time enough to do them all. We went to a Blue-Jay's game, and watched as they rolled back the roof on the Dome (which in itself was really neat to watch). We also took that trip on a ferry out to Toronto Island, where they have a small amusement park, (which kept us busy for a while). Speaking of amusement parks... we also went to what is called Toronto's Wonderland. It was a huge amusement park outside of the city. Paramount's Canada's Wonderland was much like a Disneyland / Disneyworld, but the rides were more like those to be found in Magic Mountain (in other words) lots of fast and exhilarating thrill rides and not really designed for the timid. It was a very well maintained park not unlike the Disney Parks.
On another day, we spent the day shopping around in what was the largest department store I had ever been in. It was called Eaton's. The Eaton Centre, is a multi-leveled, glass-roofed galleria comprising more than 320 shops and restaurants, 17 cinemas, and a 400-room Marriott hotel. Built in 1979, the Eaton Centre boasts almost $750 of sales per square foot of retail space - the highest in North America - and is the number one tourist attraction in Toronto with one million visitors a week.
Modeled after the Galleria in Milan, Italy, the Eaton Centre was among the first major downtown shopping centres constructed in North America. This could actually be a blog post in and of itself. Other things that you can do in the the downtown area are: entertaining attractions including Harbourfront, Ontario Place, Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, (which I got some great shots of the city from) and the Toronto Islands. It's also the setting of many big events including the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival, Caribana, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Canadian National Exhibition and WinterCity. Downtown Toronto offers museums and art galleries galore including The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) , Canada's largest museum and one of the top 10 in the world; the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Canada's oldest art gallery and home to more than 15,000 paintings; and the Ontario Science Centre, which entertains and educates 800,000 visitors a year.
At the northeast end of the city, Canada's largest zoo, the Toronto Zoo, features more than 5,000 animals in their natural environment. We also spent a day going through the Casa Loma Castle in Toronto. This mediæval castle sits on a hill with a breathtaking view of the city and its truly magnificent gardens. A guided tour helped in our exploration of this majestic castle complete with secret passages, towers, an 800-ft. tunnel and stables. The castle also had as one of its most classic home decor items, the first elevator in North America. They called it Otis One, and according to our tour guide was the first one that was built by the now famous Otis Elevator company. (This place could be a post by itself someday)."I am going away with him to an unknown country where I shall have no past and no name, and where I shall be born again with a new face and an untried heart."