I was really looking forward to my first trip to Canada when I set off to catch my Air Transat flight, which very conveniently left from Gatwick direct to Toronto. After an excellent night’s sleep at the Comfort Suites, armed with our ‘Passport to Toronto Attractions’, we boarded the Gray Line Hop On-Hop Off sightseeing bus. The stops were interesting and informative and included the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Zoo, Science Centre, Museum and Royal Botanical Gardens. We ‘hopped off’ at the Eaton Centre which has over 300 shops and was only a short walk back to the hotel.
This evening we were dining at the world famous CN Tower, which is the world’s tallest free-standing building. We were really surprised when our transportation arrived, as it was a Hippo! This Hippo is a bus that floats, and after driving some of the way by road it nipped into the Harbour for a quick cruise! Having arrived in style we were whisked to the top of the tower in the glass fronted lift that runs up on the outside. We enjoyed a fabulous meal in the revolving 360-degree restaurant with breathtaking views over the city and Lake Ontario. We had a walk on the glass floor and a trip up to the Skypod, the highest point, neither of which are for the faint hearted!
After another day of sightseeing in Toronto we left to visit the most famous falls in the world… Niagara! On the way we stopped at Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful ‘old world’ town. However, we didn’t have time to submerge ourselves in its charm as we were going to be submerged in its lake instead! After donning jumpers, wet suits and sou’westers we boarded the Whirlpool Jet Boat and set off across the river to the whirlpools. The boat skimmed across the water then dipped in and out of the rapids and I was soaked to the skin as the first wave of emerald green water crashed over our heads… totally exhilarating!
Just ten minutes from here we reached our destination: Niagara Falls. The Falls, Niagara and the American Falls, are a truly magnificent sight, and the sound of the roaring water cascading down is tremendous. There are some ‘must do’s’ in Niagara and I think I did them all! First of all we walked to Table Rock for photo opportunities, then donned plastic ponchos to observe the thundering power of the falls from behind and below at ‘Journey Behind the Falls’. Finally we took the unforgettable boat ride to the base of the falls on the world famous Maid of the Mist. Although you are cloaked by the mist and spray, the power of the torrent of water ahead fills your every sense. A short ride back along the Parkway we boarded a helicopter and flew over the top of the falls to enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the whole region from the ultimate vantage point. Our visit would not have been complete without a stop at the wineries in the area. There are over 45 wineries here. We toured and tasted the Reif Estate winery. Mmmm!
As I sat back on the flight to Gatwick, I mused on these last few days, the vibrant city of Toronto nestling on the shore of huge Lake Ontario, the magnificent Niagara Falls and the vast wine growing regions surrounding it… I loved it all!