In the UK it was a bank holiday Monday, meaning if I was back home I wouldn’t be working – but here in Canada my friend wasn’t so lucky and had to work this day so I had the day free to explore Toronto by myself. My stomach was still a little unsettled from the effects of dehydration from towards the tail-end of the Mexico trip.
By the afternoon I decided to take the subway to downtown and got off at Union Station so I could take the skywalk to the CN Tower. The reason for me visiting there first was so I could see if they did a “Sun and Stars” ticket similar to what the Rockefeller Center did in New York. Sadly it turned out they didn’t so I carried on, passed the Roger’s Stadium on my way to Fort York.
The walk from the Roger’s Stadium to Fort York wasn’t too bad, and it turned out my sense of direction wasn’t as bad as it often is. The historic site of Fort York was first created in 1797 as a way of defending some land that was deemed suitable for settlement due to it’s natural harbour and relative distance from the United States. This was garrisoned by both British Army and later by Canadian militia forces. The original buildings here were destroyed in the Battle of York in 1812 when the British destroyed the garrison as they abandoned it. In much later years, after ownership transferred to the City of Toronto, it was used by the military during the First and Second World Wars.
The entrance to Fort York is a modern building where the windows are designed to resemble a fort – at the time I visited it there was also an exhibition there about recent warfare. The entire site consists of several buildings which each served a different purpose – barracks, mess hall, armoury, and magazine. At the time I was there the majority of the buildings were open and could walk around the majority of them. What was also surprising was that I seemed to be the only one looking around!
Once I’d finished looking around I bought some crisps and a drink from the gift shop and then started my walk back to downtown Toronto. From there I then started to walk along Yonge Street and looked around some of their shops before eventually meeting up with my friend when he finished work (he works on Yonge Street). We then continued walking north before taking a bizarre path across a residential area before eventually reaching Casa Loma.
My only reason for wanting to see Casa Loma was that I thought from pictures I’d seen that the exterior looked good and would be worth a photograph. The exterior Gothic style makes it look like it’s trying to appear older than it is, but with it being just over 100 years old it probably is one of the oldest residences in Toronto.
Over the next few days I split my day between working remotely and getting in a little bit of tourism. On the Tuesday we went to the Roger’s Stadium to watch a baseball game – the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox. When we got to the stadium there was an issue with my camera to start with. As I’d got my 150-500mm lens attached it meant that without a press pass I wasn’t going to be allowed to use it. My only option was to let them lock it up and to collect it after the game.
When we got to the place they lock up valuables the manager there decided that as we were sitting up in section 535 that it’d be okay for me to keep my camera with me as long as I kept it out of people’s way. As it turned out we were pretty much the only people sitting up in that section as the majority were further down – closer to the action.
The game started with the Canadian and American national anthems being sung live, and then the game began. I didn’t really know much about baseball, and to be honest I still don’t. I watched as two teams I’d not seen before took it in turns to try and score points – something that they didn’t do for a number of innings. After a few of these passed I decided as I’d not eaten I’d get a hotdog, crisps and a drink – it seemed like the right thing to do at a ball game. As the scores finally started to increase both teams managed to keep it fairly even.
From what I understand at the end of 9 innings they’d then continue on with extra innings until a winner could be determined – something which can last for hours. My hope was that there’d be a victory after 9 innings, but it wasn’t looking good for the Blue Jays – the White Sox at the end of their last innings were ahead and it seemed it was all over.
Eventually it got to the last ball for the last batter. There were runners on each of the bases ready to go if he could hit it – they just needed to score 1 to get level, or 2 to win. Amazingly he hit a home run propelling the team to victory and ending the game in the 9 innings. It was an ending you don’t often see in baseball and I was quite fortunate to see a home team win like that the first time I’ve been to see a game.
The following evening was a walk around High Park and to the waterfront – this was to give me a good idea of routes for running. Sure enough, the following day once I’d finished some remote working I went for a run and took a very similar path to get in a 5K. It was hard work in the sun, but after only having run once in the two weeks whilst in Mexico I felt I needed to run at least once in Canada as well – normally I’d run 4 times a week.
In the evening after the run we went to see the CN Tower. We arrived at the tower around dusk, having stopped by Subway for a sandwich along the way. As my friend had been up the tower before the intention was to go up at night, but by going up around dusk it meant we could get photos whilst there was still some light in the sky also.
One thing we didn’t know about the CN Tower was that it is one of the few attractions where the advertised price doesn’t include tax – something which is common when shopping, but something I’d not seen before for entry fees. Fortunately they weren’t too bothered about me having a sub and some cookies with me as we went through security which meant that after our first round of photographs at the top I was able to sit and eat my dinner.
As the sun got lower and lower we took more photographs so we’d have landscape shots of the skyline with different levels of light. I also took the opportunity to experiment with different types of shot, but found some were tricky due to the light reflections off the glass of the window. Once the sun had fully set and the last light had left the sky we took our final shots and then headed back.
For the final evening I cooked a meal for myself, and then went to see a Disney movie called “Tomorrowland” at the IMAX cinema. I’d never been to an IMAX before so it was a nice experience to see a film in such high quality.