City Explorations: Toronto, Canada

Day 1

Adam and I's first full day in Toronto was centered around going to the Bluejays vs. Nationals baseball game. The game wasn't scheduled to start until 3:00 pm so we had time to visit the top of the CN Tower and do some exploring prior to first pitch. The tickets to the CN Tower were relatively cheap and the views of the sprawling Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario were really cool.

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After we descended back to ground level it was time for us to grab a cold beverage. We stopped in Steam Whistle Brewing across from the CN Tower to sample Canada's "Premium Pilsner." After a couple of beers, and some interesting conversation with a Canadian arms dealer, it was time to head to the game.

I've been to quite a few Major League Baseball stadiums in my lifetime and I was really impressed with the Rogers Centre. The facility itself was immaculate, there were a ton of food and drink options to chose from, and the overall atmosphere was awesome. I'd love to see a playoff baseball game in Toronto sometime.

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On our walk home from the game went to Smoke's Poutinerie for our first taste of Canada's famous poutine. With a menu dedicated exclusively to poutine you can't go wrong with anything. I got the Chili Cheese Bacon and Adam had the Triple Pork. Is poutine the healthiest thing to eat? Probably not. But after a long day of drinking and baseball it was exactly what we needed.

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When we finished eating Adam and I walked to Nathan Phillips Square to catch a glimpse of the famous "Toronto" sign and ward off a potential poutine heart attack. Even though my favorite photos of the "Toronto" sign are the ones in the winter, I was still able to grab a cool Instagram shot for myself.

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Day 2

On our second day we took an impromptu trip to the Toronto Islands. The islands are located directly across from downtown Toronto and are just a 13 minute ferry ride across Lake Ontario. There are actually 15 islands total, but they're all connected with pathways and bridges.

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Adam and I caught a ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to Hanlan's Point. From there we walked almost the entire length of the islands, just over three miles, to Ward's Island. Along the way we stopped at a few beaches, enjoyed a dragon boat racing event, and soaked up the sights and sounds of a perfect Toronto afternoon.

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When we returned from the Islands we were able to catch a quick nap before we had dinner at the Keg Steakhouse + BarAt the time I thought it was a local Toronto steakhouse, but come to find out it's just an international chain... Don't get me wrong, It was still very good and with a favorable exchange rate Adam and I were able to eat like kings.

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Day 3

For our third and final day I booked a small group tour to Niagara Falls through TripAdvisor. I decided it was worth a little extra money to go with a smaller group in a nice passenger van. There are some cheaper tour options, but they involved riding on a coach bus with 50 other passengers and stopping at every tourist trap in Canada. Our tour included a Hornblower Cruise into the Horseshoe Falls, a drive down the Niagara Parkway, and a stop in a little town called Niagara-on-the-lake.

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The Hornblower Cruise was far and away my favorite part of the day. It doesn't look nearly as intense when you watch other boats go into the falls, but when you get in there it's like a war zone of water. Thanks to the poncho I didn't get completely soaked, but my feet were wet the rest of the day. I'd suggest wearing sandals if you plan on taking the cruise.

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Our tour guide John did a fantastic job. He was energetic, knowledgable, and open to suggestions from the group. I'm sure the guy has given this tour hundreds of times, but it seemed like he was just as excited as a first time visitor.

All-In-All

Adam and I had an awesome time in Toronto. We got to stay at a beautiful hotel, see all the major sights, and enjoy the mild Canadian summer. As a whole, I was very impressed with the city of Toronto and wouldn't hesitate to visit again. If you'd like to view all of the photos from our trip please click here.

Have you visited Toronto before? What's your favorite thing to see/do?