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My trip to Toronto

One of the reasons that I truly love my profession, is the insane amounts of traveling I do as well as the destinations that are miraculously assigned to me.  I am in awe that many people save their whole lives to be able to travel to one or two really good trips a year, and in my case, it happens on a weekly or monthly basis.

I was unsure about my trip to Toronto, or that I would even like it there. At first I was glad to be completing my Canada collection (Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto).  Toronto has a big city feel but at a much more casual pace.  The people were extremely friendly and nice, the women are among the most beautiful that I have ever laid eyes on and the winters are enough to keep me very content where I am living.

[caption id="attachment_1555" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="CN Tower at night"][/caption]

Toronto could be compared to the likes of Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong, all bottled up into one nice and tidy little package.  The Canadian dollar (CAD) is higher in value than the US Dollar.  At the time of writing this article it was about 1.02 CAD to 1 USD.  The economy (in downtown) seems to be doing very well.  Real Estate is at a prime and there are very few buildings with empty space in them.  In talking to the locals they say the unemployment is at about 9% which has been steady for the past 5 years.  When i was in Vancouver 10 years ago, the USD was 1.20 to CAD 1.00 and unemployment was about the same.

[caption id="attachment_1556" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Toronto city view"][/caption]

I decided to stay a bit longer than usual on this trip as I wanted to sight see in Toronto.  I booked a late flight back on friday night so i could walk around and see the city.  I knew I wouldn't have a whole lot of time to spread my wings, so I decided to check out the waterfront and the CN tower, as both were very close to my hotel.  I walked about 3 blocks from my hotel and ended up at the waterfront, very close to Lake Ontario.  One thing i really love about Toronto is that on every other corner, you can find a bike to rent.  That is when I met her, her name was Bixi and she wasn't as pretty as the others but she had a good set of wheels on her.  I gave my cc to the machine and agreed to have her back in 24 hours, but really all I needed was 1.   I eased into her as I was not sure what she was capable of, but she had three speeds and said she would go anywhere.  I played with all her gears and found the speed right in the middle was perfect.  At first I headed east as far as I could go and then turned around to head west.  Toronto has a great biking running trail along the water.  I only took it for a few miles before I had to turn around and head back.  There are lots of parks and places to just enjoy nature along the trail.  Before long, Bixi and I had to say goodbye.  I was thankful for her service and what I was able to see of the Toronto area.

[caption id="attachment_1557" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="my girl-Bixi"][/caption]

Upon arriving back to the hotel, I finished packing my things and headed down to the concierge and asked about the CN Tower. I was greeted by a very friendly bellman who took my bags and gave me a claim check and then I was off.  Im not really into touristy things that much.  I enjoy the history of the touristy things more so, such as when construction started, how long it took to build, and facts about how many people visit as well as the numerical relevance of the tourist item to the rest of the world (e.g how tall something is compared to other things, is it the largest of its kind, e.t.c).  The elevator ride up took 58 seconds and by the time I got to the viewing deck, I was hungry so I stopped at the restaurant and had lunch.  It was very peaceful and relaxing eating and seeing Toronto from above.  After lunch, I headed up to the skypod which is the tallest observation deck in the world.  It was a pretty cool view, but unfortunately it was cloudy and visibility was decreased.

[caption id="attachment_1558" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Toronto up high"][/caption]

After finishing my time at the CN Tower, I headed back to my hotel, where I claimed my bags and headed down to get my car.  I was greeted by a doorman who then introduced me to my driver, Abhas.  He was a very nice man from Pakistan who had been living with his wife in Toronto for 11 years.  He drove me by the Blue Jay Dome, where they were going to be holding awards for Bollywood that night.  Apparently the whole city was buzzing because of this event.  People had come from all over the world to see this event.  One lady was camping outside the barracks a full day early.  Abhas and I had pleasant conversation all the way to the airport.  He shared interesting facts about the city, his life and the weather.  He had a way of bringing a smile to your face.   When I hopped in the car, I asked if he took credit cards, and with a smile that bordered on being facetious, he said, "Why not?"

[caption id="attachment_1559" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Abhas-my driver"][/caption]

There was a little bit of traffic, but Abhas got me to the airport by 5:00 pm.  My flight wasn't until almost 8 so I was actually okay on time.  We said our goodbyes and he gave me his card and said to call him anytime if I needed transportation when in Toronto.  I made my way inside where I was greeted by a very pleasant Delta gate agent who informed me that I wouldn't be able to make my connection in Minneapolis.  She booked me on a direct flight on Air Canada back to LAX.  It could have been "Lost in Translation" or just a complete miscommunication, but 2 hours in customs lines, two terminals and 30 minutes in a security line later, I was ready to board my flight.

[caption id="attachment_1560" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Air Canada Entertainment center"][/caption]

In all it was a fantastic trip.  Air Canada has fantastic service and comfortable seats.  My seat had a large TV screen and a charging outlet for both USB and 110.  I arrived in LA earlier than scheduled and my bag was the fourth off the belt at baggage claim so in all it was a great day.  I know many of you don't have the luxury or time to travel, but if you do, get off your asses and go see the world.  Toronto is checked off as one of the great cities in my adventure in life.

Until next time.


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