Travel

The village of 35 Million Souls And Counting: Canada

 Deeds are not accomplished in a few days, or in a few hours.

A century is only a spoke in the wheel of everlasting time.

– Louis Riel

Men climb aboard their wooden boats and sail across the sea. They strain their eyes towards the horizon in search of land without a flag. Their boots weigh through salt until they reach soil again. Their greedy eyes are wide to the endless possibilities but they are ready for the reality. Nothing is given freely to those who seek to take it. A struggle will come over them in waves of screaming defiance and leave bloody stains in history. A repetitious act that will last for eternity. We are a curious and adventurous species that cannot help exploring what surrounds our vessels. But the question is, should we?

 

I have met a lot of people through work, college, university and randomly through this maze that is life. Some are happy where they are and some are not. Some see opportunity and run right at it. Some take their time and slowly walk towards it. Most have no idea what they want out of life and chase down every experience until they find one that fits. For me I am somewhere inside those lines, trying to keep my balance but on occasion, I stumble. I understood why people find change scary and why they shy away from an opportunity. I feel the same fear that eats away at their stomach and the doubt that screams in their ears until it is all they can hear. For me, it was always a choice between letting my fear take over and continuing to be unhappy or taking one step at a time towards the edge and diving head first. I almost always chose the latter.  If it doesn’t work out well you tried and that’s all we can ever do.

Why Canada?

I never really looked at Canada as the top of my list of places to visit but I thought why not. Question answered, blog post done… Jokes! I decided to visit Canada because I had some family and a friend or two that live there so I thought, I’m travelling, I should go say hi, it would be rude not to.

 I arrived at the airport and took the locals directions (aka Irish friend who has been living there for a year, so he qualifies as a local right?) to my his flat. His directions weren’t too bad, I only got a little lost but as I had been travelling for over a month by then, being lost was a  familiar place to be in. I took a very overpriced train (avoid if you can and get the subway) into the city (here’s where I got lost)  and made my way to his building. During the day Daniel was working so I spent most of my time exploring alone with the map he gave me (Thanks, Daniel!). The city was big but not intimidating. It had a quirkiness about it. I really enjoyed getting to know it.

Something I noticed on my travels is that it seems unless you have a giant 3-dimensional sign to remind you where you are, your nowhere!

Toronto is full of old historic buildings. If you have any interest in seeing some I walked by these ones at 340 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G5, Canada. I really like the contrast between these houses and the other structures around. They look like they are from another time but they still don’t feel out of place. 

I was too distracted by this guy’s dapper suit to actually see what he was selling.  If you meet him in Toronto please check the contents of his box and report back.

On Daniels day off he took me on a stroll around the city and we stopped off at St James Park to take a break from the concrete jungle and of course to take some snaps of the flowers.

You can’t see in this photo but there are people dangling their tiny ant-like bodies over the edge of the CN Tower.  Apparently, it’s all the rage to abseil off the side high buildings, that is if you’re into that sort of thing (I am not).

The Gooderham is a beautiful red brick building on Wellington street. It is a Flatiron building which basically means it’s a triangularly shaped skyscraper.  Anyone else envisioning themselves drinking tea and looking out from the window on the top floor? No, just me then…

My first experience of a China town was in Canada. I have never been to China so for now, this is a close as I have ever gotten to see what their culture is like. It was like walking over a border into another country except that people could speak English. The markets were full of fruit I had never heard of let alone seen before and the food places were pretty cheap.

The graffiti here was detailed and pretty cool. Especially this one. I am not an expert on Chinese symbolism so if anyone can tell me the story behind this image I would appreciate it. I came up with my own stories but there probably not correct…

Kensington Market is a multicultural area full of food and clothing and character. It is such a lively place that I would definitely recommend you visit. It reminds me a little of Christiania in Copenhagen.  The market has the same vibes oozing from every brick and makes a nice change to the silver steel of the skyscrapers all around.

St Lawrence market is an indoor market on 93 Front street. It is a big open space with fresh fish, meat, wine cheese, you name it. As I was continuing my travels light I didn’t buy anything but I did enjoy just walking around and taking it all in (not to mention the cheese tasters)

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t super keen on the Lobsters been kept in tiny tanks with their claws tied together with blue elastics. I felt sorry for them, that their lives are in this tiny prison until they are sentenced to death by a happy customer with a boiling pot waiting at home. Might be one of the many reasons I became a vegetarian.


On one of many beautiful sunny days in Toronto, I took the ferry to one of the islands.  Here you will find one of the best views of the whole city. It was worth the trip just for that alone.

If the view doesn’t tempt you to visit the Island the Llamas will…

All the Fishies

I queued up and bought my ticket to enter Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and pretended that I was a mermaid swimming under the sea with all the fishies. As aquariums go this one wasn’t half bad. It had a lot of different species and gave interesting information about each and every one. It even had an education centre for kids.

From underneath these guys looked like they had smiling faces and from above the seemed curious. The flapped about and weren’t afraid to investigate the people who could reach over the barrier to touch them (I was not one as my short arms could not reach). I don#t really know much about rays so what looked like excitement to me could have been panic and the search for an escape. Or am being too dramatic?

The Jellyfish were the most mesmerising creatures in the whole aquarium. Their tanks lit up and changed colour which in turn affect the colour of the Jellyfish. It really was beautiful. A lava lamp of jelly creatures.

Culture, Volcano’s and Penis Decorations

The only museum I went to in Toronto was the Royal Ontario Museum. The building was huge and it took me over two hours to get through the whole place. It has so many different cultures histories and so many interesting, sculptures, clothing, furniture, tapestries and jewellery.  It was overwhelming and impossible to remember every detail. So I guess you will just have to go see it for yourself.

Something that I found really interesting was that in certain cultures people were buried in coffins that represented their trade/career. Yes, that is a fish coffin below… I myself would prefer to be cremated but that is mostly because of a totally irrational fear of waking up in the coffin and also more rationally because I prefer the new age idea of becoming a tree instead.

Who doesn’t love dinos and hear the theme tune to Jurassic park in their head when they see a T-rex, I know it’s not just me!

When I visited the museum a  Pompeii exhibit was on display. It was fascinating to see what these people were like through their possessions and paintings. But is was also ominous and slightly uncomfortable to see the last moments of these people through body casts of the imprints that they left behind in the soil.

Warning! I will Use Offensive Words Here

But on a lighter note, they had unusual taste in decor and a large fascination with the male genitalia. Basically, they were the first to take dick pics (or at least paint them).

 

That was my trip to Toronto. It went so quickly but I really liked the city and I will be visiting it again soon.

 

Toronto wasn’t the only place I visited in Canada. I also visited London Ontario which is close by to visit my two friends I met in Edinburgh and to visit Niagara Falls. As London Ontario was more of a social visit I won’t be writing about my time there but I will be writing about the Falls. If your interested in reading my take on the famous waterfall keep posted, I will be back soon 🙂

 

Bye for now!

Jess x

 

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