Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oh, Canada! A Great Trip...

It’s very quiet around here, this next-to-last day of July, and it seems rather odd that I’m wearing a sweatshirt as I write this from my little outpost in Michigan, but you’ll hear no complaints from this corner. Beats high temps and humidity anytime! To say the very least, we became just a bit spoiled these last several days.

One week ago this morning, we were on the road to Toronto, Canada, where we would meet up with twenty good friends from Illinois, as well as a Canadian couple, and spend a very delightful week seeing and doing various things in the very beautiful surroundings, and the weather was simply incredible! No humidity, no high temps, no drastic storms of any kind (just a bit of rain on Saturday that caused me to get wet up top on the sightseeing bus!)…sort of that “Chamber of Commerce” weather.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey Hall of Fame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wife and I got a head start, driving straight through to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, a place I’ve anticipated visiting for many years, and I wasn’t disappointed. Reaching the place wasn’t very difficult, even though I’d never been in the city previously, let alone knowing nothing of the streets and thoroughfares. 

Thanks to OnStar, we navigated around and about the various traffic tie-ups and found the beautiful, old bank building which houses the Hall of Fame on the corner of Yonge and Front streets. And what a special time to visit this shrine to all things hockey, especially since the Chicago Blackhawks recently captured the beloved Stanley Cup. To say the least, it was special for this Blackhawks fan.

That evening, we met up with the group at our hotel in Grimsby, Ontario—out in the Canadian wine country—and from that point on, a wonderful week ensued. One day found us enjoying a boat tour of the Hamilton Harbour, the next a drive down the Wine Route and lunch at the Vineland Winery, overlooking endless grape orchards and Lake Ontario as a scenic backdrop.

On Friday, we made the short drive to the spectacular Niagara Falls and became soaked out on the famous Maid of the Mist boat tour right up close to the raging falls themselves. Even having been to Niagara a few times previously, I still was taken by the sheer awesomeness of them. From there, we headed up a very scenic drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful Victorian-style town complete with plenty of shops for those so inclined and outdoor cafes where one could enjoy a cold Canadian brew (as I was so inclined!). We returned to the hotel in Grimsby through more of the scenic, bucolic countryside.

Saturday morning we packed up, checked out, and made our way for two days  in Toronto, where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express—Downtown. I loved that I could park our car in the underground parking garage below the hotel and not have to worry about it or have to drive about the city. Instead, we did the hop-on, hop-off Sightseeing Bus tour the two days we were there and were able to walk to restaurants each evening. And we enjoyed some wonderful meals at the Hot Shop, Casey’s, and Jack Astor’s, as well as a delicious lunch at the Amsterdam Brew House, alongside the lake,  Sunday afternoon before embarking on a lake cruise out and around the Toronto Islands. After that, a few of us finished the day with another bus ride “up top” around the two-hour loop taking in the high points of the city. With weather such as we had, it couldn’t have been better!

Toronto Skyline
Toronto Skyline (Photo credit: Bobolink)
And then Monday morning rolled around, and Carolyn and I needed to leave the others and make our way back to the good, old U.S.A. and the cottage here in Michigan, where another glorious day has awakened!

Yes, a sweatshirt is necessary, but the blue sky and the bright morning sun holds all kinds of promises for this Tuesday. Kind of reminds me of Canada, eh?…MLA

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