Tuesday, October 12, 2021

[TORONTO] New York Junior


It didn’t help that almost everyone I talked to referred to Toronto as mini–New York. I mean, I love New York because of its international vibe and Broadway. Sans Broadway, though, will I just be disappointed if it’s going to be New York Junior? Apparently not. Apparently, the big city boy in me still reigns supreme. As I headed out of Union Station and looked around to see the deluge of skyscrapers all around me, I thought Toronto and I would get along quite well. And so, we did.


Or perhaps I’m just easily impressed by urban jungles made of concrete and glass. I don’t know. I always complain about the big city life and how busy everything all is, but every time I get out and choose to live the quiet and peaceful life, I just end up missing the organized chaos of the big city even more. I guess that’s why I easily felt at home in Toronto despite the very highly urbanized setup. I don’t need it to be different from any other big metropolis, I just need it to be the same.


And so do not expect any new information in this particular blog entry for this will all be a Toronto skyline appreciation thread, a collection of photos of high-rise buildings that give the city its identity. As Megabus was entering the city, that tower has already been stalking us from the background as we rounded every corner. It’s called CN Tower, apparently, an observation tower with a restaurant and EdgeWalk for those with an adventurous side. My adventurous side has been sedated by my sleepy and tired self for a long time now, so I didn’t even bother approaching that tower. Taking photos from afar already sufficed.


What followed were more buildings made of glass, amusingly reflecting all the buildings around them as if you were in some kind of mirror maze. The grid system made downtown easier to navigate, and with tourist maps at almost every block, it wasn’t hard to select which particular attraction you’ll like to visit next. Since I was famished, exhausted, and operating on a reverse body clock due to work, I decided to have a big lunch at Kellys Landing right across Union Station before venturing out to my Airbnb place at Trinity-Bellwoods.


More sightseeing came the next day starting at the two city halls: the new one with the name TORONTO emblazoned right next to the fountain, which I believe becomes an ice-skating rink during winter; as well as the old one right across the street which is of a more traditional architectural style. There’s your selfie spot right there. Choose from either city hall and you won’t be disappointed, although the new one has the city label right there as extra info for your photo.


Malling came next after my perpetual search for rice which took me to the food court of Eaton Center. Shopping was not on the itinerary, however, so I got out of there as soon as my stomach was full. Old Toronto was just at the corner with a cathedral and a marketplace that took me just a few minutes to check out. I guess I just enjoyed the view more outside as well as the bipolar weather. The sun was shining brightly but the breeze was cold. It was a never-ending game of putting on the jacket just to take it off again.


Harbourfront was last on my itinerary, but I had to cut it short because I wasn’t that impressed, at least compared to Victoria’s and Québec’s. Nonetheless, Toronto has no shortage of bayfront chill spots where you can just relax and watch people. You can also hop on a ferry for a cruise visiting Toronto’s islands. I was surprised that Toronto City Airport is actually on one of those islands just right next to downtown! It beats going all the way to Mississauga to catch a flight out of Toronto Pearson, but then again, the journey only takes 25 minutes on the UP Express.


Overall, I was impressed with Toronto and it surprised me more than anyone that it zoomed right to the top of my Top Canadian Cities list, easily overtaking Montréal and Vancouver. Should I decide to move to Canada, Toronto will give those other two cities some legit competition as to where to relocate, to be honest.

[TORONTO] New York Junior

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