What to do in the Greater Toronto Area.
First things first, this is obviously not a comprehensive list!! 🙂 In fact it’s just a couple things we managed to fit in. The Greater Toronto Area or GTA as it’s affectionately known covers what is really quite a vast area. When you ask a Canadian where they are from, if they aren’t actually from downtown Toronto area, but a neighbouring town, they will say they are from the GTA, as they don’t expect people to know the smaller towns they actually come from.
One such town is Burlington, it happens to be Thera’s hometown and is actually a really lovely place on the edge of Lake Ontario – the downtown area of Burlington, is a highly sought after area to live. We were lucky enough to stay in a house not 5 minutes walk away from the waterfront, which is a lovely place to spend some time just walking the promenade or sitting watching life on and around the lake. There’s even a track that runs all the way to Hamilton that is a good run or cycle if you have the time and the inclination!
We also found a great restaurant that Thera could actually eat at. For those of you that are gluten, dairy, soy intolerant and vegetarian, there’s a place for you at 399 John Street, downtown Burlington – it’s called KindFood Kitchen – one of the only places where Thera could pretty much order from the menu! And for those of you with a sweet tooth, you can get your fix from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe – gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly.
One thing you also miss living in Dubai, is the local shop that actually is staffed by someone with a passion for the goods they stock. We definitely found this at the Village Cigar Company & Barbershop – we were in Canada primarily to attend a wedding so a couple of celebratory cigars were sought. It was just so refreshing to have someone actually talk you through the various options on offer, not try and push the most expensive one on you and actually have a genuine interest and passion for his goods. Anyone living in Dubai will understand this, everyone else will probably think that I am just a bit nuts!
Go to a wedding in Jordan
No I’m not getting all confused with my countries. There is a lovely little place between Niagara on the Lake and Burlington called Jordan. Thera’s brother Michael and his now wife Heather, were having their wedding at the Cave Springs vineyard and then the reception at Inn On the Twenty in Jordan. Amazing location for a wedding. We were literally sat out in the middle of the vineyard for the short ceremony. The day before we had been freezing our bits off on the golf course, but as you can see from the picture, on the day, blue sky, sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. A perfect day for a perfect wedding. The reception was great fun. The first time I have met any of Thera’s family and in one go, met nearly all of them! Warm, friendly, welcoming and good fun. As I knew they would be 🙂
We also got to stay in a lovely old house just down the road. Great deck out the back, where I made my office for a couple hours one day. And no visit to Jordan would be complete without a trip to the local diner for breakfast, Butterballs. Looking at some of the reviews, there are some pretty unhappy diners, but we had breakfast there a couple times and loved it. I say give it a go and find out for yourself 🙂
Visit Niagara Falls
A cliché perhaps, but you have to do it. When I lived in Canada I went 4 or 5 times when people came to visit, but it really is an awe inspiring site. We didn’t do the Maid of the Mist or go behind the falls, as we have both done this before, but just standing there watching the flow of water over the escarpment, listening to the sounds and feeling the spray was quite an experience once again.
It’s definitely worth including in your visit no two ways about it – you can plan ahead of time too by clicking here – Niagara Falls Visitor Centre. (I’m English so I spell centre like this – correctly!)
As no trip to Jordan is complete without a visit to Butterballs for breakfast. No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without taking a walk up the main street, which looks like Blackpool to me, and then popping into Hooters for a beer and some wings, before heading back down to see the Falls by night. A beautiful site and worth waiting around for, especially in Hooters.
Spend a couple days in Downtown Toronto
I love downtown Toronto, when I lived in the area, it always felt safe and clean with a relaxed vibe about it. There’s a tad more construction going on at the moment, but even as a bustling city, it doesn’t feel as impersonal as a London or New York. I really enjoy just wondering the streets in Toronto. We walked passed the Hockey Hall of Fame, up to Eaton Centre, down Bremner Street to Hoops, before the game at the Rogers Centre (Skydome) The Esplanade is cool new development where we managed to get a steak at The Keg for old times sake. Living in Mississauga back in 1998 we had a Keg across the street from the apartment. There were many meals had in there, but more late night beers when we couldn’t sleep. Walking past the window having trudged across the road in pyjamas and a ski jacket, by the time we got to the bar, there was usually a couple of Corona’s waiting. Even if it was 1am! We rounded off our last night in Toronto on the Esplanade at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club – a random place inside, kind of a mix match of a bar and a merry go round! Odd to say the least, but good wings and beverages. Very much enjoyed our quick stop and trip down memory lane. I still maintain, even more so after this trip, that Canada is the kind of place I could move to after Dubai – watch this space eh?