- Ascend the tallest building in the Western hemisphere for stunning views
- Sample some of Toronto’s finest beer
- Take a relaxing walk along Lake Ontario
- Fit in just one more Poutine at the best sports bar in the country (world?)
We’re not going to try to compete with yesterday’s natural phenomenon – Niagara Falls.
Instead, today we’ll explore Toronto at a leisurely pace, checking out some of the major sights and exploring some of the lesser known secrets of this great city.
To begin the day, our local guide Christine is taking us to one of the most instantly recognisable, and most visible, landmarks in the city of Toronto – the CN Tower.
Way, Way Up in the Sky
It’s surprising to learn that it was Canada, and specifically, Toronto, that for the thirty-one years between 1976 and 2007 held the record for having the tallest free-standing structure in the world. We tend to think of Canadians as amiable and unassuming, and not given to flights of ego-boosting displays of stacking concrete towards the sun, but there you go.
The CN Tower, at 553 metres (taller if it is a sunny day) is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and topped by just 5 other buildings in the world. It absolutely towers over the Toronto skyline and on a sunny day you can even see New York from the observation deck.
The tower is so tall that helicopters were called in to add the top components, but built so accurately that it’s vertical alignment varies less than 30mm across the height of the structure.
The futuristic lifts rush us up the open sides of the structure, and watching the ground whizz away from us is a ride worthy of a theme park. We just hope they don’t suddenly disengage and drop us back down.
Up in the observation deck, the view is absolutely astounding. We’re so high up it almost feels like we could begin to see the curvature of the Earth (in reality, we’d need to travel up another 30,000 feet or so). The landmarks of Toronto are easy to pick out, and it’s even possible to watch planes take off from a nearby airport.
Another astounding feature of the CN Tower is the see through floor. If you’re brave enough to stand on the glass, you’ll be able to see out the bottom of the observation deck. Take a close look at the photograph just below – that’s a view straight through the floor, all 550 metres of cold thin air to the ground below.
With panoramic views in all directions, you could easily spend the morning wandering around to take in the vast field of view the CN Tower affords at this height.
This panoramic photo gives a sense for the perspective that the CN Tower gives from it’s observation deck – it is hard to believe that a man-made structure can allow you to be so high up, without needing wings.
For the braver travellers amongst us, you might want to take up Christine’s challenge of completing an EdgeWalk (we didn’t – yes, we’re scared. Ok?).
This adventure (shudder) activity takes you out into the open air for a long, terrifying walk around the edge of the CN Tower, attached to the building by not much more than a rope. Your kind of thing? Watch the video below to see what it’s like. Us – we’re just going to enjoy a coffee and try not to think about how high up we are.
“It’s got what in it?”, we ask, as Christine brings out the plates.
“Curd cheese, hey – it’s great! Come on, try it – it’s Poutine! You have to!”
Canada’s national dish is an addictive combination of fries, gravy, and the slightly weird addition of curd cheese. It sounds less enticing than it actually is, and when you combine it with locally brewed craft beer, like we did at the Mill Street brewery, you’ll find yourself reevaluating the use of curd in everyday cuisine.
The hot, salty, savoury mouthfuls go down much faster than is credible, especially the chipotle variety (although this may be considered blasphemy). Offset by a palette-cleansing clean Pale Ale, we’re convinced.
Poutine is awesome – why is it only in Canada?
Walk the Lake Ontario path
Poutine is awesome but after a bowl of it (alright alright – two bowls. Plus some ribs) there is a definite need for a walk to assist our good digestive health.
A short drive takes us to the edge of Lake Ontario. One of the five Great Lakes, and the 14th largest in the world, it’s primary source is the Niagara River and it partially separates the United States and Canada.
Today the air is chill but the freshness of the air, and the sight of waterbirds skimming the lake’s edges, help us overcome the impending food coma and to relish the outdoors, even in a large city like Toronto. We won’t have time on this trip to make it to some of Canada’s true wilderness, but the long distance that Lake Ontario runs out to the horizon holds the promise of more exploration to come in our future.
The World’s Best Sports Bar?
In Australia, the people pride themselves on being sports mad. We’re sorry to break it to our Aussie friends, but the Canadians woop them three times over in that respect.
Just look at the size of this television. Just look at it.
This is just one of two hundred High Definition Televisions at the Real Sports Bar in Toronto. The TV you see above is 39 feet across. The atmosphere when the Maple Leafs are playing is incredible, and just about the only thing that could get us to tear our eyes away from the screen are the incredible buffalo wings and pints of Molsen that keep arriving at our table with alarming regularity.
One of the beating hearts of sports fans in this sports mad country, you have to go see a game at the Real Sports bar if you’re in Toronto. You won’t know what it means to be obsessed with sport until you do.
So short, so brief – we must move on to other daily destinations but what else could we see in Toronto?
Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page.