Oh Canada

Albert and I went to our annual family vacation on Coldwater Lake in Michigan for hot fun in the summertime. It was a blast and I got to play with parents, aunts, old neighbors, sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and a GREAT nephew. Surprisingly, we all survived. Albert and I only had to escape to Canada once.

We borrowed dad’s giant old Lincoln and floated the seven hour drive up to Toronto. There was absolutely nothing to see on the trip, so I was excited to see the beautiful spiraling buildings in the distance (above). We later learned she is nicknamed Marilyn, for her curves. The buildings were brand new and gorgeous, but there was nothing else around, and we were close to our final destination according to Mapquest. There were a bunch of dark dumpy 70’s buildings and I couldn’t see the lake, so I was getting worried about our hotel choice. Albert was already looking at me wide-eyed and I could read his mind, “What are we going to do here for three nights?”

We got to the address for The Bond Place, a contemporary hotel in the heart of Toronto, and it was a Korean nail salon and a cell phone store. Well, shit. I opted for the cell phone side because I thought I could communicate better with the Indian men. I walked up, introduced myself, and asked the man if he had heard of the Bond Place hotel or if he could call their number on one of his many phones. He then informed me that we weren’t in Toronto at all. We were 25 minutes away in Mississauga. Oh thank God!

The store owners were nice as can be. It turns out that one of the guys used to live in Hollywood and has family that owns a 7-Eleven in NoHo. They got on Google an re-mapped us to Toronto. We continued to the lake and found that our place was indeed in a prime location, Times Square light. They had live music and a green festival all weekend long, which was cool.

We walked and explored for days, in what feels like Chicago, but off. LIke the money all looks very similar and the people all look like us, but they’re actually Canadians and they don’t have dollar bills.

There’s a lot of huge old buildings juxtaposed with very modern designs.¬†Toronto also has the biggest, most beautiful grocery store I have ever seen. It’s called Loblaws and used to be an old figure skating arena called Maple Leaf Gardens. I want to live there.

I have never seen so much construction going on a in a city in my life. There’s a huge crane on nearly every block, and the shoreline is being quickly developed with massive condo towers. We got rained on when we were shopping on Queen Street, but ended up hiding in a jazz and blues club called Rex with some beers and a band, which was perfect.

We also went to the top of the CN tower for great views of what was the tallest building in the world in the 70’s and 80’s. The glass elevator is scary as hell, and Albert couldn’t even step on the glass floor section at the top. They said it held at least a dozen hippos, but we wanted to know how many Americans.

Speaking of fat, I had my first taste of the Canadian dish called poutine, which sounds dirty but is delicious. I had ordered a duck taco appetizer and the waiter told me that it wasn’t a very big portion. I told him not to worry because I was getting the poutine (french fries with cheese curd and gravy) and some giant draft beers. He just looked at me and said, “You’ll be fine.” I’m clearly a health nut on vacation.

We spent three nights of fun on the town and then headed to Niagara falls. We hiked to the wall at edge of the water, which is amazing and dangerously close. We also enjoyed a beautiful lunch with views of the cascading falls.

To see pictures from Toronto click the link below:


To see pictures from Niagara Falls click the link below: