Go To : March 09 – April 09 trip

It’s almost impossible to write about a city when you’ve been there only for 2 months and that too not in a row. Nevertheless here’s an attempt. These are excerpts from my visit to Toronto, Canada in summers of 08 and late winters of 08-09.

Oh, by the way I’m Anupam – coincidentally the admin for inspiredspirits.net :)

Aug 08 – Sep 08

I landed on 10th August with a couple of friends from work. The first thing which struck me was the pleasant silence outside the otherwise busy Pearson Airport. Be it the big engines revving or simply the wind – it seemed so distant yet clear – I could hear the whole city murmur – Something which is completely different when one is in India or UK.

The cabbie who took us to our hotel at Church street turned out to be a friendly north Indian – only too happy to speak his heart away in Punjabi & Hindi (with a Canadian accent though! ). Lol – from Indian politics to bollywood movies to the state of the economy – he had the updates which made me feel guilty.

At the hotel we had a complete suite to ourselves – on the 22nd floor with a balcony overseeing lake Ontario and downtown Toronto – I felt at home instantly. Damn hungry after having my last proper meal many hours ago and a complete kitchenette at our disposal, I put a pot to boil my favorite soup – only to realise (again ! ) that I was not in India – the fumes from the soup set off the smoke alarm. The “warden” at the front desk was prompt to call us and add to our panic. Well in a day or two I finally learnt how to cook without calling the fire men.

Summers in Toronto are beautiful – sunny but not hot, windy but not humid – actually it was more like spring for us. We took to the streets and explored most of the places on foot. Toronto has it’s share of Victorian architecture – the legislature. It reminded me of my days spent in Scotland to some extent. Eaton Center in the evenings (specially Saturday evenings) seemed more like CP in Delhi with people coming out on the streets, stage shows where you have a band playing or some dancers from some part of the world performing almost daily. A bloke playing touch-me-not, Some local folks playing the drums (even on upturned buckets ! ), an evid painter painting his thoughts on the pavement… creativity and talent at its best.

Well it was not all fun and frolic – after spending evenings on the streets, it was back to the hotel and back to work ! No complaints though :)

Few days in the city and I was already missing India. Presto – you have a mini India in Gerrad Street – right in the heart of the city – One can find find all the Indian delicacies, food, books, clothes, bollywood movies & songs and even people (!!) in almost the same way you would have seen in Delhi or Bombay, but ummm ya with a touch of Canada. It’s just like Lajpat Nagar in Delhi but with a twist.

The subway and street cars in the city make it so convinient for anyone to just go anywhere. With a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) map in our hands it was difficult to get lost. One weekend we decided to head for the Wood bine beach – what a lazy morning it was – we splashed around in the water, walked bare foot on the warm sand and then just slept for a couple of hours in the sun. I felt like I was asleep forever till the folks kicked me awake to head to our next stop – the Toronto Zoo..
YES !! we went to the zoo also.. honestly unlike humans, the animals in India and Canada look and behave more or so alike. Nothing much to find different here.

Our trip to the Centre Island via ferry was memorable as well. The CN tower with rest of the city looks so beautiful from across the island – it’s difficult to describe in words – see the left most snap below, you’ll know what I mean. We rented bicycles to have a quick tour of the whole island – only to realise those bikes did not have any hand brakes !! God knows why but to stop these contraptions one had to paddle backwards ! And that’s exactly what I forgot and crashed right into a fence. Thank God for the fence else I would have been paddling in deep water.

Exhausted we took a nap and spent some time on the beach before going back to the hotel.

That was more or less ‘the summer experience’ in Toronto. Though we did go to Niagara falls – that’s covered in my second trip write up :)

March 09 – April 09

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