Our Toronto Story
Back in January 2012 we sailed on Celebrity's Century from Auckland, NZ to Sydney, AU. We had a superb Cruise Critic roll call that included two guys that have become great friends in the intervening years. First, we got to host them here in Seattle in the summer of 2012 and then they invited us to their place and to get to know their city–Toronto.
To be upfront, we had no clue what to expect from Toronto but after three days we can tell you that we loved it. And we loved our hosts who drove us on two full days of touring, wined us, dined us and just gave us the best experience ever.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon after a two-flight trip that took us from Seattle through Minneapolis on to Toronto. Tim met us at the airport and told us that Perry was at home making us a Thanksgiving feast. We took a quick trip through downtown to their home in The Beaches neighborhood in eastern Toronto. It is an older neighborhood with wonderful homes in cozy neighborhoods with its own village downtown area.
After arriving at Tim & Perry's amazing home (see my pics on the next page) we sat down for drinks and appies in the backyard. It was really special to have come from Seattle where it had been raining for the past week. The dinner was as advertised—AMAZING! Smoked turkey from their Big Green Egg, a super soup, stuffing and pumpkin pie with chai ice cream. That and some great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (totally appropriate considering that we had met them the first time in Auckland) made for an amazing evening.
The next morning (Sunday) we were up and ready for a tour of Toronto. I wish I could tell you everywhere we went but if you asked me to retrace our drive, I would have no clue. I can tell you that we saw Riverdale Farm, the Toronto Necropolis, lunch at Le Papillon (a wonderful Quebecois restaurant downtown) followed by walking and driving around the rest of the downtown city. We saw some great art installations, some beautiful buildings, a superb photo exhibit put on by Canon cameras and so much more. Even with all the great things we saw (see our photos), we were both impressed most by all the different neighborhoods that make up greater Toronto. We would love to go back and see them all close up. One other thing that didn't mar our fun and experience was the weather. After having drinks outdoors on Saturday, Sunday was nothing but pouring rain. So much that we were blamed for bringing the rain with us from Seattle. We finished the day back at Tim and Perry's with (by our request) Thanksgiving leftovers. Yummy times two!
As much rain as we had on Sunday, Monday (which was Thanksgiving in Canada) dawned bright and beautiful. The air was crystal clear and after a quick breakfast we were off to Niagara to see the falls. When we were planning this trip, my best buddy Bob (who grew up in the Toronto area) had suggested that we see the falls. I was ambivalent about it but we were following Tim and Perry's lead and we were glad we did. It was a beautiful day and Niagara Falls exceeded my every expectation.
We spent about two hours at the falls taking tons of pictures before we headed out to lunch at the Peller Winery just outside the village of Niagara on the Lake. A beautiful place with wonderful food and wine. (See the pics.) The weather made the day perfect but we would have enjoyed it either way. After our lunch and some wine tasting we headed back to Toronto and Tim and Perry's for a slow-cooker dinner that Perry had started before we left. He told us he didn't use a recipe and if that's the case, he is a wizard in the kitchen. The pork loin he put together was delicious. Really, really good!
The next morning was work day for our wonderful hosts and they were off to work at 6:30 or so, leaving Kathleen and I to back up a truck and clean them out. Kidding! I left when they did to walk The Beaches neighborhood and take pictures on the shore of Lake Ontario (which paid off big time) then we grabbed a taxi and headed to Billy Bishop Airport (not the big airport in Toronto but a tiny airport on an island, right downtown) for our flight to Chicago. We were traveling on a wonderful local airline—Porter Air. They fly small planes to and from small airports but they believe in old fashioned service. We actually got lunch and free wine or beer in a four-seat wide airplane. I would fly them again in a minute.
Keep reading about our trip to Chicago by clicking here.