This August I took a much-needed vacation to my mother’s homeland of Ontario, Canada. It had been eight full years since my last visit, so I took full advantage of this year’s visit with my new smartphone camera. We arrived in Toronto, spent three days there, and then spent two weeks at her cottage on Lake Jarvis, about two-and-a-half hours east of Toronto near her home town, a small hamlet called Madoc.
Girl, did I have fun.
I’ve separated my photo-shoot into several posts so that you can eat it all up in bite-sized chunks. This first instalment consists of my arrival in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, and the exciting days and nights I spent there. (Ottawa is the capital of Canada, which I did not get to visit during this trip, unfortunately.) Anyway, enjoy the photos!
As we arrived at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga (a large suburb of Toronto), I took this snapshot of downtown Toronto from the aeroplane:
Doesn’t Toronto have a beautiful little harbour, surrounded on one side by the lush, green Toronto Islands, and on the other by the tall skyscrapers of the downtown financial district?
This is the shot arriving by rental car into downtown Toronto on the Gardiner Espressway, which sadly runs along the waterfront but fortunately is being redeveloped on both sides by housing which takes advantage of the harbourfront location. Just look at the CN Tower rising majestically above it all. It almost looks like Dubai:
Toronto has its own little Times Square–it’s called Dundas Square, and it is situated at the junction of Yonge and Dundas Streets. It’s where everybody in the city gathers to eat, drink, shop, and have a generally good time:
Toronto has a very healthy and interesting mixture of old and new architecture. Notice the Second Empire-style houses on Yonge Street contrasted against the late-twentieth-century highrises in the background, which provide a good dose of density:
Here is Church Street, in the gay Church-Wellesley neighbourhood of northeast downtown. It is crammed with businesses inhabiting gorgeous nineteenth-century Second Empire-style Victorian townhouses:
There is a vibrant gay scene in the Church-Wellesley district, which is packed with clubs, bars, and restaurants. I couldn’t help but take this shot of a drag queen performing at Crew and Tangos on Church Street:
Toronto has a vast downtown shopping mall the likes of which I have never seen before. It is suburbia surrounded by downtown office highrises, and connected to the subway system, to boot. It is also the first place I had ever seen a woman wearing a full niqab. It is Eaton Centre:
A typical Toronto subway station. Basically just like New York (equally humid and stagnant until you get inside the refreshingly cool train car):
Here is a shot I took near the Royal York Fairmont Hotel, right across from Union Station (the transportation hub of the entire Toronto area). It isn’t exactly pretty, but it captures the view of your average bloke walking down the street toward the hotel doors:
However, after the bus drove by, I was able to take this far prettier shot of the fabled tower which Rhea Perlman notoriously immortalized in the film Canadian Bacon using a substance I can only call an amalgam of hot wax and fresh semen:
So there you have it! Part One of my August trip to Toronto and Ontario, Canada. Although the pictures alone may not have betrayed it, Toronto is a phenomenally multicultural city with people from all walks of life and all skin colours speaking all languages imaginable in relative harmony, which makes me proud to be Canadian, even if through my mother. I will be posting further photos of my trip to Ontario in forthcoming blog entries. I hope you will watch, and enjoy!