Toronto has loads of condos, dozens of construction sites and high density living….and while there are a few cultural sites, the vibe is very down beat. Disappointingly the streets are in need of some good rain to freshen them up and a good cleanup of garbage. The homeless are highly visible and the small number of green spaces is noticeable.
The harbourside was a bright spot though. It is easy to see why locals like to get down to the waterside of Lake Ontario – the rest of the city is lacking energy. Prices for housing are very high, and even the historic Fairmont and ritzier shopping locations look a little weary.
However, we enjoyed learning about the Disney-styled castle Casa Loma and the impact the Depression had on the wealthy pioneers of Toronto’s industrialisation. We saw lots of the sporting venues and the various architectural styles distinctly east coast. Hollywood film makers get tax relief for using T as a film location, so it is often used to depict New York in movies….and the giveaway to look for is the streetcar (tram) lines on the roads.
45 minutes cruising the waters was a very pleasant diversion, and showed how traditional industry has been integrated in to the shoreline skyscape; how the many islands are protecting the birdlife and how the sculptures and eating areas are attracting tourists and locals alike to the harbourside….though 3 million dollars for a sundial that doesn’t work seemed to sum up the city for us…trying hard, but just not quite making it.
However we were pleasantly surprised by the St Lawrence markets…….loads of cheese varieties, fruits, meats, seafoods and wines and tempting cooked tidbits. The image below is taken at the extensive markets from the upper storey inside the Toronto history exhibit….which was simple, clear and thought provoking!
As an Aussie, I have learned little of Canadian history, so this was a good opportunity to do so. The 10 key points summing up the diversity of Canadian population were enlightening, and pointed to many similar issues in our own national story.
Tomorrow we head to the Museum which will no doubt throw more light on the Toronto tale. The afternoon sees us jump on a local bus express to Hamilton about an hour and a half away to visit Murray’s cousin, and to see whether Ontario outside Toronto can change our impressions.
Would love to hear from others about their Toronto experiences.