Thursday, February 22, 2018

Grand tour downtown Toronto Canada 2018

After a morning GO station ride with my host-friend, I entered Toronto downtown via Union station. Looking up at the CN Tower I felt like I had reached Mount Everest basecamp. I deferred taking the CN pic for later in the evening. Kahan jayega ? /Where will it go ?

Here is the skywalk towards CN Towers.

And the CN Tower peeping through the skylit cover on this skywalk. I have to say I was speechless walking here.

And here at the CN Tower Info center. I did not choose to go to observatory tower because it would 50 bucks and I have seen the Obeservatory tower views in, let me see Chicago Willis & Hancock towers, SanAntonio and where not and also because I had been up CN Towers 12 years back. So I don't regret not doing it this time.

 CN Tower peaking in between TD North Tower on Kings Street.

Now the Underground system of paths between the buildings, each block packed with shops and food courts is just fascinating. Its endless. But also its unaffordable. Seems very pricy after shopping in USA & India. The retail taxes are so much, it also worth another item you could shop.

Running Room ? Here ? Wow. And I thought it was MN local.

Hudson Bay - oldest retail in Canada. Again not somewhere I would buy anything. Stuff on sale were like $163 after 60% discount !

CF Eaton Mall. Those Goose installations.
 Yonge Street at Dundas

Yonge-Dundass square

Underground level at CF Eaton Mall on Yonge & Dundass junction.

I saw the CN Towers when I got off at Union Station. It was a clear but cloudy morning. So I said, ah I will click a good pick when I am back here to go back home. And when I did return here in the evening, it was pouring Snowflakes. So I don't have a clear direct pic of CN Towers from this visit.

View of CN Tower at Union Street

Grand station at Union and this was my goodbye to Toronto downtown. And Thanks for the cherished memories was 12 years back and helping create new ones.
Grand station at Union
Till this morning, a trip to Toronto downtown and all I was excited was to use the TTC.
But soon I got to know the commuting trials of living in a Toronto suburb. Its not all super-smooth TTC alone. It's usually a car-drive to the park & ride of GO station. Go train from Mississauga to Toronto downtown. Then TLC for within downtown transport or taxis. Between Airport and Toronto, its UP Express. And this is the daily commute of the urban office-goer. Makes me feel like I was living in halli in MN.
GO Train

Canada 2018 - Quebec, Mississagua, Niagara and Toronto.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Niagara - Canada 2018

From Mississagua my host-friends took me for a quick trip to Niagara.

Nothing has changed in Niagara in the last 12 years. I got the exact same view in the exact same weather in 2006. Casinos and museums lining up the village nearby is the same.

And it is exactly the same beautiful as I remember.

View of USA falls.

And the bridge between USA & Canada.

There was a Million lights display on a side trail.

Next up Toronto downtown tour .

Canada 2018 - Quebec, Mississagua, Niagara and Toronto.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mississagua - Canada 2018

Tim Horton is the big deal in Canada. McD and others are small fish here.

Next stop after Quebec was Toronto. Was so excited to visit Toronto after exactly 12 years.
The city of very-many tall skyscrapers, city of subways, and underground Malls. But this time I got to see more. I got to see the suburb houses, specifically in Mississagua (what a tongue twister).

Before I hopped ahead, I have to share trails and tribulations of the day I spent in Toronto, before reaching Quebec . Of the flight cancellation at 10 am, which kept me handing dry till 9 in the even, when I got a confirmed flight to Quebec. And which is why I reached Quebec at 1am. Of the hours I spent chiding myself for ever thinking I travel less because I forget how tedious travel is. Of the day spent exploring every nook & corner of Toronto Pearson Airport, not knowing when it will be my time (to hop onto a flight). Ah, well that is all. I guess I dont have any more words for the pain of being a stranded traveler.

Mississagua has its own skyscraper filled downtown. I only visited Square One mall. Shopping is so expensive, for anything. The taxes are immense in retail. Buying a souvenir includes taxes that cost enough to buy another souvenir. Brand stores were same as in USA, but costs (feels) like 10 times more.

But the most mind-blowing positive news was that Composting is part of the urban culture. It was shocking in a good way. Especially after knowing that there is no recycling in Texas, its good to know there are not 2 but 3 categories in Toronto. There were multiple bins in the cities and the home garbage collection has separate systems as well. I feel so guilty about dumping large quantities of veggies wastes in thrash where they have no future. Totally reminded me of Bangalore, where veggie waste was collected for composting on a local scale or use to feed the farm animals. Watching it in Toronto was so heartening, that maybe it will make its way into all USA states. I know USA as such has fertile soil everywhere, but composting cannot hurt. I know its on at private home levels.

Swami Narayan temple on the way to Brampton.

Gurudwara in Brampton. The entire stretch of strip mall around it, maybe 50 shops in it, where all desi owned.

Next up - Niagara and Toronto downtown tour.

Canada 2018 - Quebec, Mississagua, Niagara and Toronto.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Quebec - Canada 2018

I got a chance to visit Quebec all by myself, this Jan-Feb. I was here exactly 12 years back. It was a bus tour with a night hop here at that time. So I did not catch the names well and not many pics, those being primitive times. This time I stayed there for 3 days and browsed all spots.

To quote Sharone in Monk (S8E10), "You never enjoy an adventure when you are in one.", which actually talks about me. So I decided to enjoy Canada while I was here.

So there was a snowstrom right on my travel day. Thanks to afternoon flight cancellation in Toronto, I arrived in Quebec at 1am. It was a Snow City. Cleanup crew was still removing piles of snow from the road, even at that time of night.

Quebec streets were flooded with snow just like MN were when I left. Quebec house owners all seem to have a great hack/jugaad to save their cars from being coated with snow or ice the next morning. They all had tents on cars outside garage. Again not a good pic from a moving Uber at 1am.

I did step out next day. First impression - French, everywhere. All signs were French first and then English. Its a revelation to see English get relegated to 2nd status for a change. I even got to see Murdoch Mysteries in French on the TV cable.

Fairmount Le Chateau Fronteau
Fort . Magnifique indeed !
There are many Hotels around it, one of which I stayed in. They are all old style Hogwarts-ish but smaller scale. The fort meanwhile is huge and wondrous.

By the Fort is Terrasse Dufferin, overlooking the River St Lawrence.

Snow sculptures were everywhere. And this particular is some sort of mascot, which I haven't found/googled about.

Place d'Armes Square
I was as touristy as I could be to join other tourist hordes landing here in tour buses.

Quaint streets lined around buildings straight out of a Euro-fairytale. People walked around and I could overhear only French. Euro style music blared from most restaurants. And most had really exotic menus. While I looked for some standard issue Chicken-Pasta, every dish was in exotic meats (venison, duck) and almost no veggies. That's when I felt maybe I was really in the Tundra.

Quebec Parliament Building is at a walkable distance.

They had just wrapped up some Carnivale closeby. There were remnants of Glasslides and Ice platforms which were being dismantled.

With so much snow around, loads of restaurants had ice-sculptures underway.

Only visit to Downtown Quebec was during Uber ride to airport. Here there were more mordern office buildings compared to the Old Quebec.

On my way to Toronto, here is the arieal view of snowy Quebec.

Next stop, Mississagua and Niagara and then to Toronto.
Canada 2018 - Quebec, Mississagua, Niagara and Toronto.