Yes I know..A mere day wouldn’t have done justice to a city like Toronto. There’s so much to see and do in this flamboyant metropolis that a stay less than 72 hrs is just not done. I was helpless though. Toronto was the last minute addition in my itinerary of North America. The non refundable New York-New Delhi ticket was already done by the time I decided to squeeze in Toronto for a day.
So instead of crying over what I may miss in the city, I decided to look at the positives and hoped to take as much memories as possible. The idea was to get a feel of the city, the vibrance for which it is known for.
So let’s see how I managed to do it…
11am-1pm : CN Tower
Where else?? CN tower is to Toronto, what the Empire State building is to New York. It is the symbol of Canada and the centrepiece of Toronto’s skyline. Standing at 553m (1815 ft), it is the third tallest tower in the world, and remains the third tallest structure in the western hemisphere.
The views were stunning indeed. The vistas of Lake Ontario caressing the city and that of Toronto’s financial district more than made up for the ride up in the skies. A great place to have a bird’s eye view of the city. I was relishing the experience of standing above the city I had taken so many pains to visit, and the one that I had almost missed……
The glass floor was a hair rising experience. I had heard a lot about it, and was looking forward to experience it firsthand. Jumping on a glass floor at a height of more than a 1000ft, well, I don’t think I need to explain it any further..
The Sky edge walk(world’s highest, full circle, hands free walk) was another stunt I wanted to lay my hands on. Alas, it was closed that day..
Nearest Subway – Union Station
2pm – 4pm : Yonge St / Dundas Sq / Eaton Centre
I was sensing my pulse racing the moment I stepped out of the Dundas station. This is Toronto’s downtown, and remains the epicentre of all of the city’s happenings. A short walk from the subway led me into the Eaton Centre. I’m not that much into shopping malls, and more so when the time is dwindling so fast. But I had heard so much about the Eaton Centre that a visit was always on the cards. After all, in terms of the number of visitors, this is Toronto’s most popular tourist attraction, with close to a million visitors per week!!
I was certainly awe struck by the mall’s grandeur. The ‘Flight Stop’, which is the work of artist Michael Snow, is one of the most prominent sights of the mall. It is a group of fibreglass Canadian geese hanging from the mall’s ceiling.
The clock was ticking fast. So I made an exit, and here I was, at another of Toronto’s landmarks, the Yonge street The Street (86kms long), connecting Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe, is one of the longest in the world. The stretch where I was present, called the Downtown Yonge Shopping and Entertainment District, is the main commercial hub of the city with landmarks such as Eaton Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Yonge-Dundas square is Toronto’s Times Square, the centre of the action. The place was buzzing with energy and exuberance. It seemed that all the roads lead to this point of the city. There was a rock show going on, which made me totally get into the groove, and for a moment, forget about my biggest worry at that point of time. (You guessed it right, the ever ticking clock)…
5pm – 6pm : Spadina / University / Kings Street
Now that I had experienced Toronto in all of its aplomb, I wanted to experience its untouristy side. I darted towards the Dundas subway to catch a Spadina bound train on Line 1 (Yonge-University). It is at Spadina TTC subway station that I came across the lovely Toronto streetcars. I moved in for the ‘510 Spadina’, a route that would be taking me through the University area.
It was really a marvellous decision to explore this part of the city. And the streetcar ride took the experience to an entirely new level. A tram like medium crisscrossing through the beautiful architectures of the Toronto University, the setting was truly European.
I got down at the St Andrew’s station and decided to have a stroll on the King’s Street, which is Toronto’s major commercial thoroughfare. Walking through some of the city’s major landmarks such as Toronto Stock Exchange, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Scotia Plaza among many, I came across St Lawrence Market in the old town district.
Named as the world’s best food market by the National Geographic in 2012, it is still untouched with the tourists. Couldn’t go inside as the market closes by 5.
Late evening : Sunset Harbour cruise on Lake Ontario
I kept moving on searching for the perfect setting to end my day.. The walk went in the best possible direction, as it ended in the Toronto famous harbour front. I took a 15 min long ferry ride to get to the Toronto island.
What a beautiful n serene place it was. I could hear the breeze flow, see the leaves move, watch the ducks play and experience the sight of the famous Toronto skyline gradually lighting up as the sun went down.
It was the perfect spot to re-live the day I spent in this city. The people, the places and most importantly, the emotions. I had two options. Either to crib on the limited time I had at my disposal, or to smile at the fact that I at least saw the city in its full glory and the experienced the marvels it threw at each step and at every new corner.
I went for the second option………...
****Special thanks to Mr Pushkar Mishra, who works at the Rogers Centre, to have taken out time and made the entire journey possible. Without his short cuts and the subway knowledge, 24hrs wouldn’t have been good enough…….