Travel will always be something I want to do. In this case, Leah bought it up in passing and this is something I look forward to as soon as the border opens up. Leah has been to Toronto before but for some reason or another I so what to see that city. (Poor Leah.) She did say that she wanted to visit the PNW (Pacific Northwest.) So as is the way when she and I travel, we talked about hitting up both places in 2 separate trips. The world is our oyster and all that.
Leah and I have traveled together for hockey with the Black Girl Hockey Club. (If you haven’t read that post, please be sure to do so. Some of the most fun I have ever had.) I remember being in Pittsburgh earlier this year and Leah saying to me “We have to see a hockey game in Canada. You know, something that neither of our teams is in. Because we don’t need that type of stress.” She was right. (Don’t tell her that. She will be unbearable.) I am not sure that I would have had Canada on my list at all but the possibilities (Niagara Falls) are endless. Now of course, Leah and I do not care what hockey games we take in. I will leave that to Leah. She’s good at that. We have not yet decided how long we are going to be there. I say a week… maybe 2… Just kidding Leah hahaha.
I wonder if Leah will allow me to drag her around Toronto. (She is usually pretty pliable if I supply her with enough coffee.) But I wonder how long she will allow me to drag her all over Toronto. As I do… I have a list.
- Niagara Falls – (From Toronto: Niagara Falls Day Tour with Boat Cruise) Travel along the scenic Niagara Parkway, stopping at the Floral Clock, Whirlpool Spanish Aero Car, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and a local winery. Get up close to the Horseshoe Falls on a Hornblower boat cruise “Voyage to the Falls”.
- Gaze at the Stanley Cup – I mean it is a no brainer. The Hockey Hall of Fame is a museum that is dedicated to the history of hockey. It is also displays the Stanley Cup, which sits in its Great Hall. The Hockey Hall of Fame consists of 15 exhibits that display trophies and other hockey memorabilia. There is also a 125-seat 3D theatre that shows documentary films.
- Visit animals/ Toronto Zoo – I love animals. I have a soft spot for zoos. Leah will understand. The Toronto Zoo is a world-class zoo that happens to be one of the best in North America. It features both indoor and outdoor displays and is divided into several different zones. Most people find it impossible to explore the entire zoo in one visit, as it is massive and has so much to see. There are over 5,000 animals living here in their natural environment. I still think Leah and I could do it.
- Stare at marine life – Did I mention that I loved animals…? I love a good aquarium. Toronto is home to one of three aquariums that is owned by Ripley Entertainment. The downtown Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada exhibits around 13,500 exotic marine life in its 5.7 million gallons of water. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is separated into nine galleries, all of which feature a specific area or species. The Rainbow Reef is one of the more popular ones, probably because of its interactive dive show.
- Surround yourself with history – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the best museums in North America and the best place in Toronto to engulf in history. Plus, it is easy to find, as there is a metro stopped named Museum. The ROM has a collection of over six million artifacts, many of which are displayed in its 40 separate galleries. Some galleries are based on natural history, while others are from around the world. In addition to having art and artifacts, the museum also has an extensive collection of dinosaur bones, minerals, and fine arts and design items, particularly from the Art Deco period. It also has a kids’ learning zone and a shop.
- Shop for Delicious Foods at St. Lawrence Market – The city’s largest market is a definite must-do on any trip to Toronto and was even voted best food market in the world by National Geographic. The South Market is home to over 120 specialty food vendors selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods, to prepared foods, dairy, meat, and seafood. Saturdays in the summer you’ll find a bustling farmers’ market at the North Building.
- Stroll Through Allan Gardens Conservatory – The conservatory is open 365 days of the year and always free to enter. Some highlights include the two tropical houses filled with a variety of orchids, bromeliads and begonia and the Palm House filled with a variety of palms, bananas, and tropical vines.
- Head to the Toronto Islands – Escape the city via ferry with a trip to the Toronto Islands. Whether you bring your bike (which you can take on the ferry) and explore on two wheels, relax by the water, hang out on the beach, have a picnic, or take the family to Centreville on Centre Island to check out the rides, there’s always something fun to do.
- Visit Casa Loma – There’s a castle right in the middle of Toronto. The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is one of the city’s most unique attractions and houses decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful five-acre estate gardens. There are usually events here throughout the year both at the castle and on the castle grounds.
- Try EdgeWalk – This adventure is the first of its kind in North America and has you doing a hands-free walk around the main pod of the tower, 116 stories above the ground. (https://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/plan-your-visit/attractions/edgewalk/edgewalk-overview.html)
- Take in the Views From the CN Tower – High-speed elevators whisk visitors to the top in just 58 seconds.
So I mentioned above that one of the legs of our trip was going to be the PNW. More specifically Vancouver. I can just imagine how much fun this is going to be. Vancouver is apparently Canada’s ethnically diverse cities. it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theater and music scenes. Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life. What’s not to like? I have to get there.
So as I do, I have made a list of the great things Leah and I could (will be) doing. We have to figure out what to squeeze in around the hockey game we go to. I am super excited just thinking about it.
- Cycle Around Stanley Park – Vancouver’s Stanley Park managed to elbow out the likes of New York’s Central Park, the Luxeumbourg Gardens in Paris and Chicago’s Millennium Park to be named the World’s Best Park by Trip Advisor.
- Dim Sum in China Town – Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the oldest in Canada and the largest. Perched on the edge of the Downtown Financial District and Gastown, Chinatown offers up an array of funky shops, inexpensive markets, and of course, the best Dim Sum restaurants in town. Sunday is the busiest day for Dim Sum, but also the best with multi-generational families sitting down and chatting about the week’s events.
- Find Your Zen – Chinatown is home to one of Canada’s most impressive Chinese gardens, Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Constructed with wholly traditional methods (by hand), the site mimics complex gardens found on the Mainland with courtyards, meandering brooks, impeccably sculpted vegetation, all in keeping with the Confucian and Buddhist tradition.
- Hike in Lynn Canyon – Vancouver has two suspension bridges, both equally spectacular, but one is always crowded with tourists and costly, and the other is frequented more by locals and free! Complete with trails, popular swimming holes, breathtaking waterfalls of course, a hair-raising suspension bridge, 50 meters up in the canopy makes this a must do, no matter how short your visit.
- Wander Van Dusen Botanical Gardens – The great thing about this paradise in the city is you can visit it all year round. In the warmer months, pack a picnic, take a stroll down Laburnum Walk, and find a find a shady spot to enjoy the fragrant garden. The garden takes you on a tour of the world’s eco system, all in one place.
- Sea-to-Sky Gondola – one of Vancouver’s newest and most exciting attractions. Vancouver is all about spectacular views, and the 100 meter long Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge provides 360 degree views of all the Squamish region has to offer. From rugged mountains above to the vibrant turquoise fjord below, I am sure I will get an excellent picture.
- Visit Whytecliff Park – Whytecliff Park has short walking trails, a beautiful beach, an island to explore (depending on the tide), and exceptional scuba diving in the area.
- Visit Shannon Falls – It is really all about the views. I will definitely be camera ready. Just south of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway is Shannon Falls Provincial Park. A small park, adjacent to the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, it is home of the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. I better bring all of my sneakers.
- Visit Brandywine Falls – Brandywine Falls is an iconic landmark along the Sea to Sky Highway, located in Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. It is located just 20 minutes south of Whistler and 30 minutes north of Squamish. To reach the waterfall, it is a quick and easy hike on flat terrain. From the parking lot, you can reach the viewing platform, overlooking the spectacular 70 m waterfall, in about 15 minutes.
- Visit Whistler! – Whistler is a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, that’s home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the area offers snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping at the Olympic Park, a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The hub of Whistler is a compact, chalet-style pedestrian village at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
- Catch a Sunset in English Bay – Vancouver’s West End neighborhood is one of the most unique in Canada. It’s the most densely populated urban neighborhood in the country, and because of its adjacent location to Stanley Park and with the popularity of the seawall, it’s a highly transitional neighborhood.
- Get Folksy on the Sunshine Coast – Vancouver is amazing, but if you are lucky enough to have some extra time on your hands, there is a plethora of day trips that are bucketlist worthy. A forty-minute ferry ride will take you to the Sunshine Coast, Canada’s best kept secret, and one that we’re telling you so you can experience a coastal oasis.
- Ski, Snowboard or Play in the Snow– I am always down for a winter trip. Vancouver may be a temperate climate, but in the winter months, the North Shore mountains transform into a snow-capped wonderland. With three excellent mountains all within a 15 minutes drive from the downtown core, and a free shuttle to one of them, Vancouver is your perfect place for a winter holiday.
- Find a Local Event in the Georgia Strait– From hyper local community center talent shows, to blockbuster movies, ballets and headlining super-bands, any event at any time will be listed in here. Check out some jazz at a local club, check out a comedy show on Granville Island, or get dolled up for a charity event at the Vancouver Convention Center, whatever your flavor.
- Hike the Grouse Grind – Nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Staircase”, this is no Sunday stroll. Located on Vancouver’s North Shore, at the foot of its namesake (Grouse Mountain), the Grind as it’s affectionately known, takes hikers some 850m up through the alpine. Once you reach the top, a panoramic chalet awaits with ice cold drinks and sweeping views of the city. And once you’ve recovered, save those wobbly legs from further torture and enjoy a scenic ride down the mountain on the Grouse Gondola.
- Take a Drive up the Sea-to-Sky Highway – Rated as one of the most the beautiful drives in the world, the Sea-to-Sky corridor takes visitors on a 1.5 hour long journey, from the heart of downtown Vancouver to the world class ski town of Whistler. With waterfalls, jaw-dropping vistas, a stunning cultural center and a suspension bridge along the way, you’ll want to pack a lunch, your camera and gas up the rental car, because this journey is one you won’t want to miss.
Well that is all I have for now. I am not sure Leah even approves of these this. But I am sure she will have a comment later. Can you tell that this is the trip I am looking forward to the most?