Craig Collins' Portfolio R. Craig Collins > Web Page Design > Portfolio > Toronto

Summer 2006, Toronto © R. Craig Collins, 2005/6

Prologue: here was the dilemma: the need to get out of town, but also, to go someplace new. After scouring a map, it became apparent that this was going to be a challenge, given the time available... nothing interesting and new within 1000 miles as the crow flies!

Visited cites in the US map
So, now we know we will have some long driving days, because we couldn't commit more than two days to get there... so, what could we do? First thought was Yellowstone, but everything was booked, and it probably would be too crowded. Fall might be a better time to visit, anyway. Thought about Salt Lake City, but Park City would also probably be nicer in Fall or Winter, and it might more logically fit within the drive to Yellowstone.

So we started looking into Toronto, and what we could do on the way there, and back. It looked good, if we had the stomach for a few long days, and the heat wave across the northeast... so you know we were off and running!

July 13
We left the house about 5:00 am, looking at an 18 hour drive to Cincinnati. The logic was to be able to visit two places on the way, and still make it to Toronto by dinner time the second day. The girls had the DVD player, books, and magazines, so off we went. We stopped for a snack in Texarkana, and had lunch of sandwiches and cheeses at the Flying Saucer in Little Rock, by the Riverfront park. We got hammered by I-40 construction in Memphis, loosing more than an hour trying to snake single file behind a long line of semis, so we started falling way behind. We stopped in the Brick Church Pike area of north Nashville for dinner, and had gyros and burgers before crossing into Kentucky... and hit a closed Interstate! The area was under construction, and a semi had overturned blocking both lanes. We detoured into Franklin, then up 31W to Bowling Green, then back to I-65. It took almost 3 hours to go about 16 miles. Needless to say we got to our La Quinta hotel in North Cincinnati VERY late.

July 14
After breakfast, we headed into Cleveland. There was an Arts festival downtown, as well as tall ships in the harbor, so the place was busy, and lunch at Hornblowers Barge (yes, it is a floating restaurant) and Grill took about 2 hours, but the view of the tall ships, the USS COD submarine, and the I M Pei designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was great, and the fish and chips were okay.

Hornblower's and the USS Cod

Tall ships in Cleveland Harbor Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

We got the the Hall about 3:00, and really enjoyed the displays, and the movies... especially the one with all of the inductees. We of course hit the souvenir shop, and stayed until they closed at 6:00pm.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Just after getting on I-90 outside of Cleveland, we again hit massive construction, so we opted for dinner at a Bob Evan's in Erie, PA. We got into Niagara Falls New York about 10:00, but the Whirlpool bridge (the one right next to our Hampton Inn) was closed, so we had to drive down to the Rainbow bridge, and cross into Canada after the fireworks and falls illumination were already over. The room was a Niagara Falls trip... there was even a heart shaped spa tub in the middle of the suite!

July 15th
After breakfast, we caught a shuttle down to the Rainbow bridge, and walked from there to Table Rock... getting great views of the parks, Skylon Tower, the American Falls, and the spectacular Horseshoe falls.

Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls Hot air balloon over Niagara Falls, NY
Skylon Tower , Canadian side

Hot Air balloon over Niagara Falls, New York
Double Decker Busses Girls in front of the Horseshoe falls
Double Decker Tour Busses, Canadian side

The girls in front of the Horseshoe falls
In front of the American Falls In front of the American Falls
In front of the American Falls

In front of the American Falls
Panorama of both Falls
Composite view of the falls

Water crashing over the falls Skylon tower and parks
The water crashing over the Horseshoe
Movie of Plume, Movie of Water Rush
(Movies are Real Player © rv. format... right click the title and choose to save the file on your computer; open your Real Player © and open the file... also, there are Flash movie versions at the bottom of this page)

Another view of the park on the walk back

We explored some of the souvenir shops, including the Hershey shop.
At the Hershey store
After lunch at the Food court of the Casino, we jumped the shuttle back to the hotel, and inspected a little shop near the White Water boardwalk, and then drove down to the Aerocar, over the Whirlpool.

Whitewater near the whirlpool Over the whirlpool
Whitewater rapids abound near the Whirlpool

Over the Whirlpool
On the Aerocar The Aerocar, overlooking the Whirlpool
On the Aerocar The Aerocar, overlooking the Whirlpool

About 3:00, we stopped at Souvenir City, and then headed to Toronto, circling Lake Ontario, arriving about 5:30. We checked into the Comfort Suites at Jarvis and Dundas. The car got parked about a block away, and we headed down Dundas street to Dundas Square, very much the Times Square of Toronto. A block away from the Canon Theatre, where we had tickets to the Opening Night of Spamalot, the Square has the huge Eaton Centre, the closest subway station, circus acts and buskers, shopping stalls, and seemingly every skyscraper building running ads and news on massive jumbotron TVs. We briefly explored the underground tunnels that connect all the major buildings, called the PATH, then we grabbed dinner at the Good View Chinese restaurant. From there, we stopped at the Handy Market, and got dessert to take back to the hotel.

The view from our hotel room

The Canon Theatre, home to Spamalot
The Eaton Centre, with Jumbotron TVs

Shopping stalls and public spray fountains
Good View Chinese Restaurant

Handy Market, for cookies and milk

Diane and Dad took a swim about 9:00, and we all watched some fun Canadian TV with our cookies and milk.

July 16
After breakfast, we were picked up by Grayline for our city and harbor tours. Patrick took us by the Distillery District, China Town, the hospital district, the University, down the Financial District of Bay Street, through Yorkville, and past the CN Tower and Rogers (Skydome) Center to the Queen's Quay, where we boarded the Oriel for a harbor and Islands tour. After lunch at Tim Horton's (soup, sandwiches, and donuts), we walked to the CN tower. From there, we watched part of a Blue Jays game through the glass floor, and got some great views of the city, and harbor.

The Distillery District entrance The Distillery District
The Distillery District entrance

The Distillery District
Our tour boat View of Rogers Center and the CN tower
Our tour boat

View of Rogers Center and the CN tower
Views from CN tower Views from CN tower
Views from CN tower

Views from CN tower
Views from CN tower Ballgame view from CN tower
Views from CN tower

Ball game view from CN tower
Diane walking on the glass floor CN Tower
Diane walking on the glass floor
Movie (Opens with Real Player)
CN Tower

We had to wait an hour for the next Grayline bus (the one we were supposed to ride was early, and we missed it), but got back to Dundas Square about 4:30. We picked up our tickets for Spamalot, and had Pizza Pizza for dinner. After freshening up, we got back to the Canon Theatre and had wonderful seats. Yes, there were four rows from the top, but in the center, and very comfortable. Spamalot was hysterical, and we all nearly went crazy when Eric Idle walked on stage to take a bow.

A quick stop at the Handy Mart, and we wrapped up the day with cookies and milk at the hotel.

July 17
After breakfast, we walked down to Dundas Square, and bought 4 daily subway/bus passes, boarded a west bound bus, and headed out to Chinatown and Kensington Market for some shopping. We then took the subway/bus out to the Beaches area, ate at the Boardwalk pub, took the discovery walk on the boardwalk, and headed back to the hotel.

Chinese pillars in front of the CN tower To Kensington Market
Chinese pillars in front of the CN tower

To Kensington Market
The ecclectic shops of Kensington Market The ecclectic shops of Kensington Market
The eclectic shops of Kensington Market

On the Beaches
Diane loves beaches The boardwalk
Diane loves beaches

The boardwalk
Discovery Walk Discovery Walk
Discovery Walk Discovery Walk

After trying to eat dinner at the Pickle Barrel in Eaton Center (we were ignored and abused), we headed to the Atrium on Bay, got food from the Croissant Garden (grown ups) and McDonalds (girls).

Eaton Center
Eaton Center

After some last minute shopping on Bay street, we rode a bus back to Queens Quay, and walked the Harbor Front before grabbing a bus back to Dundas square.

Harbor Front

A quick stop at Handy Market, and we feasted once again on cookies and milk while packing.

July 18
After breakfast, we grabbed the car, and almost made it back to the QEW hi way without too much trouble, and bypassed Niagara's crowded bridge to cross at Ft. Erie. We stopped for lunch at a Perkins in Ashland, Ohio, before getting snarled in traffic just above Cincinnati. (Why does it always go from 3 or 4 lanes to ONE lane near a state line? And why can't traffic keep going, once we all get in that one lane?)

Traffic was also a little thick in Cincinnati, so we had dinner just north at a Skyline Chile... we all had a chile three way, which is spaghetti, chile, and cheese. Famous place, famous dish... not so good :(

Traffic had us running way behind again, so we arrive in Nashville too late to do any site seeing... just crashed at the Days Inn downtown for the night.

July 19
After the poorest breakfast of the trip, we headed out, and took loop 240 AROUND Memphis to avoid that known issue, and had lunch at the Dixie Cafe just south of Little Rock (after the scenic route to GET to the Dixie Cafe!) Got tied up in Texarkana of all places, but still made it to the Steak and Shake for dinner in Rockwall, near the big lake East of Dallas. I needed to stop by Cedar Valley College, and after waiting unexpectedly to finish that business, we thought we were home free... until we discovered they had shut down I-35 just south of Dallas. That detour seemed an appropriate end to the driving, but the actual trip it self was fantastic, and memories of the very neat city of Toronto made it all worth while!
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Flash Movies

Niagara Falls Mist

Water rushing over the Niagara Falls

Diane jumping on the glass floor in the CN Tower