Toronto is one of the world's greatest cities. With a population of 2.8 million, the fourth largest in North America, it's perhaps the world's most global city, with 50 percent of the population born outside of Canada. You'll hear 130 languages and dialects spoken here. It's always a fantastic place to people watch and visit.
For this visit Ellen and I took an early morning GO Transit bus from Niagara Falls to Union Station. The 81-passenger Double-decker bus travelled to Burlington where we transferred to a GO train and arrived at Union Station about two and a half hours later relaxed and ready for exploring. The round trip for the two of us was under $60.00.
For this trip we picked the towering 47-floor Delta Hotel for one night. It opened in November of last year and is in the heart of everything.
You can expect to pay about $300.00 a night plus tax. It's next to the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Ripley's Aquarium, around a ten minute walk from Union Station. It was a great choice. There were impressive views from our 15th floor room as we looked out across Lake Ontario, at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the continuously busy Gardiner Expressway, and massively differently shaped and colourful high rise condominiums (some with roof-top gardens) that pierced the skyline.
We had made reservations a few weeks before we arrived and were pleasantly surprised the Blue Jays were playing the Kansas City Royals the evening of our arrival. You could feel the excitement outside our hotel with thousands of fans arriving early for the late afternoon game.
We opted to start out our day by visiting the nearby Ripley's Aquarium of Canada billed as Canada's largest indoor Aquarium. We were amazed and impressed with the large range of sea creatures. Walking along a moving sidewalk in a glass enclosed tunnel with sting rays and sharks swimming above you and beside you was intense. Adult tickets are $38.00 and seniors $34.00, children $20.00.
When we visit any large city we like to take a local bus tour at the beginning of our trip to let us know what interests us. The City sightseeing Toronto open air double deck tour was just what we were looking for. Once you pay, Adults $38.00, seniors and students $34.50 you can get on and off any of the four buses that travel a two hour loop that make 20 stops throughout the city. There's even a stop at the waterfront where you can enjoy a narrated tour aboard a cruise ship of the harbour for no additional price. The ticket is valid for three consecutive days. We stepped off and on a number of times and on each bus we were entertained and informed by excellent guides who really knew their stuff. Take this tour you won't go wrong.
For lunch we sat out on the heated patio of Jack Astor's on the corner of Front Street and University Avenue. Life was everywhere. Service was fast, staff polite and the price fair.
It was back on the bus to return to the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum that we had passed earlier. This museum is first class all the way. It's filled with art, world culture and natural history. Until January 3, the museum features an exhibit titled, Pompeii the Shadow of the Volcano. History buffs can spend most of the day here. Tickets start at $17.00.
We went back on the bus to make a stop at the Eaton's Centre on Yonge Street where we spent the morning admiring a wide range of merchandise. We even managed to spend a few dollars on Christmas gifts.
The highlight of this day was taking in a matinee at the Royal Alexander Theatre of Kinky Boots. Folks, all the TV ads you see about this show are bang on. Kinky Boots is a high energy musical that will amaze you. The theatre built in 1907 in the style of a 19th century British theatre is a stunning piece of architecture with charm that other theatres do not. Our seats 10 rows from the front cost $50.00 each.
There is much more to see in this exciting city which is stuffed with plenty of options of other things to do. We were hooked and are already making plans for a return visit.
Toronto Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
Discover Toronto's Holiday Magic | Tourism Toronto
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.