Across Canada – Chicago, IL to Toronto, ON
After Chicago I drove to Cleveland, Ohio to see Martin – another school friend who I haven’t seen for many years. Martin moved to the US on a soccer (football) scholarship after we finished school ten years ago and didn’t come back! It was great to catch up with him and to meet his fiancé Molly.
Martin was in the process of moving apartments so I gave him a hand by loading up the van and driving some things to his new place (there is nothing Albert can’t do!) We also had a bit of a wander around downtown Cleveland – I went to the barber (one of my treats while on the road) and we went for some fantastic subs at Dave’s Cosmic Subs.
After leaving Cleveland I made a pit stop in Buffalo because I wanted to have some Buffalo Wings from where they were invented. I didn’t go to the exact place they were created but instead went to a bar which I was reliably informed had the best wings in town. They were indeed delicious and I sat at the bar with a pint eating them whilst chatting to the locals.
Making my way back into Canada I went to see Niagara Falls, after all no trip to Canada would be complete without it. For a long time when I was younger Niagara Falls was the only thing I knew about Canada and for good reason. I have seen some waterfalls in my time but this was something else! I took the Maid of the Mist which takes you right into the falls. Being in the middle of Horseshoe Falls was really impressive, the other tourists on the boat were screaming and running around like lunatics. I decided to go without the blue poncho – I needed a shower.
The town itself is my idea of a hell hole – extremely touristy and tacky so after my ride into the falls I returned to the van at a fast clip (ten minutes walk to the free parking spot I had found – i’m all about the small wins!) and made my leave. In… amazing falls… and out. Done!
Getting to, parking at and navigating around Toronto airport was a bit of a nightmare but seeing Jim stroll into arrivals (wearing a rather nice leather jacket… which was quickly removed and not to be worn again!) was well worth it. I had booked us a rather nice hotel right in the heart of Toronto a a bit of a treat for both of us which meant we were right in the mix.
Our time in Toronto was a nice combination of taking it easy in the daytime recovering from jet lag (and life in the van) before hitting the town in the evenings. We took the Steam Whistle brewery tour which was a the perfect combination of interesting and beer fuelled fun before going to a Blue Jays game. This was my second baseball game and Jim’s first and to be honest we found it a little dull. The first two innings were exciting with some points being scored but the rest of the game was completely uneventful.
Next we head to Algonquin Provincial Park for some countryside/camping/bonfire/lake swimming relaxation time. Which is my way of introducing Jim to Canada.