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Musings on my trip to Toronto and Niagara

Musings on my trip to Toronto and Niagara

May 17th, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Musings on my trip to Toronto and Niagara

I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake. Many thanks to hdm and other Fodorites who helped to make the trip such a success.

Here are some random musings -

Priceline comes through again. Really enjoyed my stay at the Renaissance at the Toronto airport for about 60 dollars via Priceline. (REALLY enjoyed the Westin Harbour Castle for the rest of the trip - love those Heavenly beds!)

If you have a bit of extra time, get a rental car and go see something! Only 32 Canadian dollars total for a day's rental - and access to NF and NOTL.

Why is Tim Horton's everywhere? Even in Home Depot? And why does Tim Horton's put cucumber slices in an egg salad wrap?

What the heck are tea cakes? Oh. Sweet biscuits as we would call them at home.

When did Boston become famous for pizza? Could not believe how many Boston Pizzas I saw in my first hours in Canada! Boston? Pizza?

What a great idea to have headlights on during the day! I didn't realize it was the norm until I looked back in the rear view mirror and saw all the headlights.

What a great idea to have the blue signs on the highway announcing upcoming exits for farmer markets, farms, potteries and wineries! Why isn't there any signage for farmers markets, etc. "at home"?

Why would I be so excited to see a COWS again!?! I had no idea I would be - but I was. I happened by just as the NOTL store was opening up. Why isn't a chocolate milkshake a normal breakfast/ brunch food?

What could be better than driving along the Niagara Parkway from NOTL to the Falls on a sunny spring day? Okay, trading my rental car for the Mini-Cooper convertible in front of me would improve things a bit, but what a beautiful drive!

When did a 4 door sedan with leather seats become a "compact" car? Yes, it was a Ford Focus but it was very nice and spacious. Not the compact car of rental days of yore.

Why does it take me most of the day to learn the said rental car has a sunroof?

Why don't gas stations accept American cards at the pump? Problems with stolen cards I was told, but was stress-inducing when I was racing the clock to return the car.

Who knew how beautiful the countryside would be? Not me! Getting off the QEW and driving into NOTL was just beautiful. It reminded me a bit of the Skagit Valley and LaConner area north of Seattle. Vineyards instead of tulips, but so beautiful.

Why did I plan my extra day to be a Sunday and few wineries were open? Why didn't I plan two days to explore the area? I will next time!

How often does one come to a four way stop in beautiful countryside and see a mom and daughter on horseback waiting for their turn?

Where is Queenston Pottery? Turned around at York Road and stalked the horseback riders a bit. Passed them again and then turned around. Slowed down, smiled and said "photo op!". All four posed - humans and equines!

How is it the Canandians do such a better job with parks and gardens and roadside amenities? The parks surrounding Niagara Falls were gorgeous - lush green grass and beautiful flowers. Everyone out enjoying the parks and the sunshine.

How did I not know how amazing the Falls really would be? I went because I was near. I was amazed at the Falls.

Anyone who DOESN'T take a trip on the Maid of the Mist should not go to the Falls. To be in the midst of the Horsehoe Falls and feel the power of the water.... Amazing.

Aren't IMAX films wonderful? I've never disappointed. I loved the recreation of the first woman to go over the falls in a barrel - a 68 year old schoolteacher!

Why did I not double back when I realized I had the wrong shoes on as I left home? By the end of the day, my feet were killing me!

How polite for the Canadians to announce the upcoming tourist section. I took a picture of the sign - Entering Clifton Hill (Tourist Area).

What would Queen Victoria think of Victoria Avenue?

What could be a better souvenir than Crocs for aching feet? In bright Canadian red, of course!

What could be a better way to end the afternoon than afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales hotel. Well, the Prince of Wales tea with an assortment of Canadian cheeses. So good. I didn't touch the sweets. They packed them up for me, but the box was still unopened when I left days later.

Where can you meet an absolutely delightful new friend in Toronto - before you ever arrive? In Fodorville, of course! Thanks hdm for your help and your visit! (Report in the Lounge)

What cities have the cleanest cabs I've ever been in? Toronto, so far.

What the most multiculturally diverse city on the continent? Toronto. And, I enjoyed every minute in the city (although I worked for most of it).

What took me so long to return to Toronto (20 years) and when can I go back!?!? TBD
starrsville is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Can I surmise that you had a good time??

The Falls really are spectacular aren't they? Did you become mesmorized at all while watching them? Apparently, it's a common thing and many people who get rescued before going down the falls don't know why they jumped in - they just felt the draw of the water...

If you enjoyed the history of the Falls, check out "In the Mad Water" and "Journey to the Brink of Doom" by T.W. Kriner. Lots of facts and stories about the people, animals, and "other" that have gone over the falls.
toedtoes is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Starrsville, I was thinking about you today and wondering how your trip was to our neck of the woods.
I'm glad to hear you had a good time. And I'm glad to hear Priceline , once again came through. I love it.

I'll attempt to answer some of your questions....

Tim Horton's is such a Canadian thing. Everyone loves it... well, almost everyone... I'm actually tired of their coffee...

Boston Pizza was actually started by someone from Alberta ( I believe) and has absolutely nothing to do with Boston. They liked the name...

Headlights on during the day are law. THey come on automatically on our cars. It is a good idea isn't it? Makes cars so much more noticable.

I believe the blue signs on the highway are paid for by the owners of such places.

Isn't the whole Niagara area beautiful? I never tire of it and take many guests there.
I get a little peeved when people on travel forums tell others to forget the falls and to just visit NOTL. They are always saying the Falls is too touristy.. Well, maybe, but would you have missed it? I don't think so. IT's touristy because it's so awesome.
I'm so glad you loved it.

Just some answers.....

Come back again!

kodi is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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I will, kodi! I will. It was a delightful trip - and I can't wait to return.
starrsville is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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AH HA. I am going to PEI and Nova Scotia in July and lucy tells me I will have no difficulty finding COWS...which means chocolate milkshakes for breakfast (or brekkie). Thanks for the fun report and the tip!
cmcfong is online now  
May 17th, 2007, 05:30 PM
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My COWS tshirts from previous Canadian visits are well worn and showing the telltale age around the collars. I was ridiculously happy to find a new COWS and bought two new COWS shirts!
starrsville is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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I bought the Gardening Cow shirt and one from Niagara Falls.


cmcfong, check out the Anne and PEI summer shirt.
starrsville is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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"Common Cow enjoying the sweet smell of success"
"Common Cow + Barrel + Niagara Falls = Second Thoughts"

Love my Common Cow shirts (previous ones were bubble baths and tennis)
starrsville is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 03:16 AM
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Anne is hilarious, clearly a fashion must have.
cmcfong is online now  
May 18th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Starrsville - Ontario tourism should hire you!
SallyCanuck is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Thanks! I'm blushing.
A free return trip would work too!
starrsville is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Fun post, and glad you had a good time!

>>Could not believe how many Boston Pizzas I saw in my first hours in Canada!<<

Just be thankful you didn't encounter Howie Mandel.
Apres_Londee is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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Funny you should mention that... last time we stayed at the Sutton Place in TO... who should walk in to the front desk but Howie Mandel!?!... we made it a point not to bother him and family, but he noticed us noticing him and nodded...
garyt22 is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Great trip comments starrsville! So happy to hear you enjoyed your visit. Your little vignettes of Ontario life were lovely.
TobieT is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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What a great post. You made my day. We are flying to Toronto in 2 days and staying at the Westin Harbour Castle on Priceline for 2 nights. If the weather is good, planning on driving to Niagara. Now I am looking forward to it even more.
Another question: Why do drivers in Toronto never honk their horns? So unlike big cities in the US.
susan4 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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Why do drivers in Toronto never honk their horns?

Quite simply: It's considered impolite. If you do it though, we'll understand, and wave back... but likely with not all the fingers on the hand.
Ginto is offline  
Jan 9th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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bailey6325 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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topping for kodi -

"Why don't gas stations accept American cards at the pump? Problems with stolen cards I was told, but was stress-inducing when I was racing the clock to return the car."

starrs is offline  
Mar 6th, 2012, 11:26 PM
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yeah, it always be amazing to visiting Niagara falls, I'm also planning a trip to Niagara falls from Toronto but looking for comfortable limo or taxi service. would anyone suggest me suitable car service for my journey?
Calvinbarry is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Maid of the Mist voyages into the Niagara Falls spray are embroiled in both political and financial wrangling and the future is uncertain.
Tim Hortons is the national equivalent of the English pub, as much meeting place as refuelling stop. Serious philosophical debates can ensue when supporters of Tim's and Starbucks square off. Quebec, of course, offers its own alternatives. Horton was a journeyman hockey player who long ago fatally crashed his hot car after spending too much time in a real pub.
If you managed to drive the Queen Elizabeth Way from Toronto to Niagara Falls without spending part of your life jammed, you are truly a lucky traveller. It was the country's first freeway, named for the mother of the current Queen Elizabeth, and so busy that it can clog into a parking lot at any time of the day or night.
Glad you had such a good time.
Southam is offline  

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