So I already mentioned that my father won the Bronze Medal at the Pan Am Games, which gave me the best reason to go and explore Toronto, a Canadian city I had never been to before.
As I mentioned, I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and checked into my hotel in Barrie, about an hour north of Toronto. Thursday was going to be my day of lonesome exploring since my dad was busy all day and both my mother and brother bailed on the trip.
Yes. That’s right, they bailed. First my brother couldn’t go, so it was going to just be my mom and I. An unexpected work trip to Chicago meant that my mom had to miss the trip as well. So yes, a day of lonesome exploring was in store for me.
After looking up the times of the GO train (Toronto’s metro train that brings commuters into the city), and realizing that the last train departed for Toronto at 720am, I went to bed and set an early alarm. I woke up the next morning and immediately drove to the nearest Tim Hortons where I picked up a Bagel BELT and a double-double, and, with both of these in hand, made my way to the train station. After an hour and 45 minute train ride, we arrived in Union Station in Toronto and immediately I was in full on city mode. I had looked up the addresses to a few of the places I wanted to go, and after orienting myself to the map I looked at online the night before, I headed towards my first stop: the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I got there 10 minutes before opening and walked around for a bit before walking up and buying my ticket. The exhibits that were on display were amazing, and it was so cool to see all of the old school gear from the 30s and 40s that the players wore. They had an all time great Montreal Canadiens locker room, and I probably stood there just looking at pictures for a solid 10 minutes.
After walking around a bit, I found my way to the trophy room, and seeing the Stanley Cup after walking up the stairs was pretty damn cool. We could walk right up next to the trophy and take a closer look at all of the names, and being able to see Gretzky, Richard, Beliveau, all engraved and up close was pretty cool. After a photo op, it was time to move on and see the rest of the exhibits.
After about an hour and a half, it was time to move on to my next destination, Hudson’s Bay where I needed to buy the official Team Canada gear I would wear the following day during the competition. I found the perfect shirt, a hat, some bracelets, and mittens, and after I made my purchases, I walked over to the Team Canada house to check-in and receive my credentials for the weekend. I hung out for a while, relaxed in the AC, and then decided it was time to walk over to my next and final destination, the CN Tower. When I got to the base of the tower, I noticed the Pan Am torch, and of course stopped to take a few pictures before buying my tickets to the top.
The CN Tower is definitely taller than the Space Needle in Seattle, but the view at the top is drastically different. Yes, when you get to the top of the CN Tower, you can see for miles, I even saw the Buffalo skyline from across Lake Ontario, but everything else is flat. When you’re at the top of the Space Needle (and it’s a clearer day), you have beautiful mountain ranges to look at in the distance. It’s a different part of the continent, and it’s beautiful in its own way.
I was aiming to take the 645pm train back to Barrie, so after having dinner at a restaurant called the “Loose Moose”, I headed back to Team Canada house to relax before making my way back to Union Station.
As I sat on the train on the way home I had no idea what would be in store for me the following day, I just kept thinking about the cool things that I had just done, and the good nights sleep I was about to get. Even though I would’ve loved to have someone to share the exploring with, going at it alone is equally fun because I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. With more planning and preparation, I probably could have crammed more awesome stuff into my day, but I don’t regret not doing exactly what I did on Thursday, July 16th.