Toronto

Toronto
Toronto, Canada

Toronto, Canada

A funny thing happened. I travelled today, switched countries, and didn’t have even a moment’s sense of ‘can’t be *****’ before travelling. Maybe because the journey was in the evening, allowing for a relaxed start, wander round the city in the sun and a gentle meander to the airport, but it’s unusual for me. Toronto was immediately relaxing when I reached it on Saturday.

A line of low buildings on a street, with market stalls
Kensington market.

I had little planned beyond a bit of shopping, but took myself down to the waterfront, which was glorious in the sun. Did I mention I was relaxed? That and a bit giddy at how sweet everything is. Every day should have a little problem, so today’s is: mild sunburn having been caught on a cold but sunny day yesterday at the falls. And I forgot to put any cream on today! But it is very mild.

CN tower from the waterfront
CN tower from the waterfront.

Getting to walk along the waterfront was a bit fiddly, in that there is plenty of work going on down there, sometimes blocking the way, so I had some to-ing and fro-ing. Again, if that’s the worst of my problems, I’m doing okay. Toronto’s taller buildings, and the CN tower especially, looked out on the waterfront, the sun glinted off them and the water and all was well with the world. Thai for lunch, shopped and made it to Black Toe Running in time to catch Rejean at work. He was there at the beginning of my year, in Ethiopia, and at the near end, here. He suffered from the curse of Ethiopia, too, and hasn’t got back to speed since, but still hopes to join the ranks of proper elite Canadian marathoners this week. The shop’s a goodun, too, if you’re passing – 95 Bathurst, run by some very good runners who also give some coaching and run 4 weekly sessions for runners of different standards. From them I learned that it has been a harsh winter, as evidenced by the piles of snow and iced over water despite the sun and positive temperatures I’ve seen.

Old city hall
Old city hall.

All that left was heading to the airport, which is simple enough via metro and change to the ‘Airport rocket’ bus which heads up Jetliner road, though without seeming rocket propelled. Pay your metro fare and then pick up a transfer ticket when through the barriers, total cost $3. I was in the queue nearly 3 hours before takeoff but the fact that there was a-fairly long-queue shows how seriously Canadians take the instruction to be there that far in advance of an international flight. Security was simple, which may account for the fact that once in Iceland the first order to duty is to queue and go through proper, European security. ‘Why must I go through security again?’ is the question answered on signs in the queue. To paraphrase “because North America doesn’t adhere to the same standards as the EC”, which is a fancy way to phrase your two fingers (just one, really, if you’re coming to their level). It seems odd after all the debate and furore around the (USA’s) TSA and their standards and way of enforcing security that it isn’t deemed up to our standards. And odder still that they can’t agree a common area and save us the queue.

Huge University of Toronto sign
University.

Still, that was it for queueing – the passport man waved me through, and my bag was on the carousel. I’d booked a 5-in-1, including tours and transfers, and was on the bus and hyper by 7. Which saved me the £70 I later learnt a taxi ride would cost; poor roommate Scott. Taxis are rarely the right option from an airport, even if sometimes the bus option feels like an airline’s credit card policy – we have to offer one that’s cheap for you to use, but it won’t be the most convenient.

Another view of the CN tower, from a different street
It is visible from all over the place.

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