There are not many alternatives to drive to Toronto other than the highway, actually no other road at all until Parry Sound. We found our way to Toronto coming from the North, around Lake Simcoe, catching a bit of traffic. We had a warm welcome from Lu and Bila, who are living here for a few years already. Both of them travelling the mountains from the young years throughout the college, we had a few encounters before they emigrated to Canada. We reached their home right before the Labor Day extended weekend, and they invited us to join them camping in the Sandbanks Provincial Park. It wasn’t hard to convince us, as we’ve been on the road the whole time and a bit of organized camping was more of a relaxation.
So we’ve been there and had a lot of fun, bathing in the wavy water of Lake Ontario, climbing the huge sand dunes created on the shore. At the same time we experienced the polite way of camping… hundreds of families gathered in small campsites, with no (too) loud music or people running all over your place. And I personally have to thank them for grilling “mici” and later in Toronto sharing some “ciorba de perisoare” with us – traditional Romanian dishes, besides hosting us for almost a week.
As we are driving from the US, every region is a bit different than the other. We slowly got bored with the same type of cities we experienced in US. City after city with people rushing to and from work, honking around, among big buildings, crowded streets and noisy environments. We went through a change of natural environment from the U.P. onward, and we expected to return to the same crowded type of city in Toronto. Instead, we found a city a bit more relaxed, with more polite people in traffic and less noise. Of course, the streets were crowded at times, and the same business/commercial feeling was in the air. We were told that Toronto grew bigger by incorporating more and more of the neighboring villages, and that indeed shows as you walk from one former ‘village center’ to another. However, they somehow failed to incorporate the parks in the city. There are very few stretches of green areas, or grass, or trees. It feels like a New York without the Central Park.
While in the city we passed by the most expensive places to visit, like Casa Loma (worth seeing even from the outside, as it has a nice view of the city from its hill) and the Royal Ontario Museum (a futuristic facade, placed in the corner of the university campus, claiming to be one of the biggest museum in North America). We also enjoyed the walks through chinatown and the hipster town south from it, or the graffiti all around the buildings. Rush Lane is famous for its murals, but it looks like they all have a similar style. Here are some pictures to judge for yourself:
We left Toronto not after visiting the Niagara Falls and we are heading towards Montreal and Quebec City before returning to the US.