I recently went to Toronto as part of a travel blogging conference. I hadn't been before and made the most of my minimal free time. I thought the best way to show you the Toronto I saw was via photo essay. (Read about the Toronto Distillery District Segway/food tour here).
This was the view from the downtown Billy Bishop airport, during the ferry ride to the mainland. The skyline was gorgeous from any view.
We shared the conference center with a bodybuilding conference and a Yu-Gi-Oh conference. It was not hard to tell who belonged at which! This is Julie Lockhart, who won second place in her class at Toronto's OPA (Ontario Physique Association) Provincial Championships.She'll compete next in the Canadian nationals. She has 4 kids (!!!) and is 36 years old. She begins her training regimen four months before a competition, eating no dairy or fruit, and a high protein diet.
And because I had to follow this up with something slightly less healthy, I thought I'd comment on the beer! This truck was parked in front of country's hockey temple (below) - presumably someone was having a party later!
I love how the hockey hall of fame is in a grand, old building - in downtown Toronto.
The CN Tower is recognizable throughout the city. I didn't have a chance to go up, nor do the Edgewalk around the exterior, while connected with cables to the building. I think the tower rotunda looks like it should go up and down the shaft. The outside changes colors each night.
Famed architect Frank Gehry is a native Torontonian (is that a correct term?) - and he did a lot of work on the Art Gallery of Ontario. We walked this spiraling staircase, which goes much higher than you can see here. In fact we were so tired climbing it (several flights) we had to get out! My favorite exhibits in the gallery (which is really a museum) were the ones by Janet Cardiff. In an exhibit called 40 Part Motet, she up speakers around the Henry Moore gallery, blasting a chorale composition. It was quite moving.
She and collaborator George Bures Miller set up seven rooms of sound and video (which is where we ended up when we escaped the staircase) which were experiential rooms. One was titled Opera, and there was 20 minutes of loud, wild applause coming from speakers around the room, with a small shack set up with old opera records. It felt like we were on stage. The Killing Machine (you had to press a button to start it and then move away) was quite eerie and scary.
Toronto has a bike share program, and I passed by many rental areas in Toronto. You can borrow a bike for free for 30 minutes. Or rent for a day for $5.
I really liked Canada's colorful postal boxes.
The St. Lawrence Market is a fabulous indoor marketplace, selling fresh produce, cheese, seafood, steaks, food-to-go (or eat there), pastries, and other goodies. Here are some samples:
I picked out some herring in wine sauce, a tart and fruit cup for my breakfast. A strange selection, but quite tasty.
The Toronto Harbourfront has some kids activities including little boats, summer arts, and a building with a museum, store, food and theater. You can take boat cruises from there. Interesting, they also have a big crafting space in the building, where artisans graduating from college can do a year (or summer) of fellowship type work to hone their craft and network in space provided by the government. Here you can see a glass furnace. They also hold art classes for people like us.
Okay, a little naughty picture above. I passed by the Condom Shack on Queen Street, on my way back from the Art Gallery Ontario. The bunnies were kind of shocking, but I couldn't resist taking a picture of them.
Toronto has a great Chinatown, which I walked through. I really liked this statue outside a Chinese restaurant.
The markets had all kinds of fruit and dried things (mushrooms, fish, shrimp...). Just off Chinatown was Kensington Market, a street with lots of vintage stores.
Between Kensington Market and Chinatown (which may have been part of Koreatown) I stumbled across this functioning synagogue, The Minsk. I peeked inside. Toronto has a strong Jewish history and I saw a lot of observant Jews at the airport going back and forth between Newark and Toronto.
I'll end with a night time shot of the Toronto skyline - you can see the CN Tower in green (I also saw it in red and purple different nights).