Sunday, March 14, 2010

Canada: Toronto, Haliburton Highlands

College and Ossington, near Little Italy. That's how I tell a local where I live, Toronto is all about the intersections. Dundas and Young, Bloor and Bathurst, Concord and our Driveway, all the big ones. We moved to Toronto about 9 months ago to make our fortunes and to experience a hard winter. We found a nice studio basement apartment and jobs relatively quickly but are yet to go to an (ice) hockey game. Toronto has been fun, and the winter surprisingly mild (or maybe we are just tougher than we thought). We have discovered some neat things here and had some fun exploring the city, and also getting away to Montreal, and around the States.

Our street with a little bit of snow

Looking towards downtown from China Town

Toronto Raptors game. I was going to be a fan, until I went to one game where they just didn't want to win.. it was embarrassing.
 One of the highlights for me was getting away to Cottage Country (the Haliburton Highlands) and getting some snow shoeing and dog sledding done. Everyone in Toronto always talks about their Cottage, or that they are off to Cottage Country, and as far as I know, Cottage Country is everything in Ontario north of Toronto... I am not sure how the locals feel about that, but it is pretty. There are no mountains though, and I usually associate pretty nature with mountains, but the rocks, lakes and trees made up for it. Dog sledding was by far the most awesome part. Those dogs can pull! And they love it too which was nice. We got to drive the sleds, yelling commands at the dogs and everything.

Our Siberian Husky Team. 5 dogs: Cosmo, Angel, Governor, Dragon and Firefly.

One of the lead dogs, I think his name is Cosmo.

I'm standing on a lake! Next to an Ice Road!

So now that Steph and I have quit our jobs I can tell you what we are doing next... if I knew. We are for sure leaving Toronto by the end of April and heading to the States (Florida and Oregon) to see the family then we hope to head to Europe and see what adventures we can find. I am sure once we are adventuring and not just living somewhere then this blog will be a little more up to date.


PS What! A post on Toronto without a picture of the CN Tower, Ice Skating or a TTC Street Car! Well, I don't actually have any awesome photos of those thing. But here is a nice show of Queen St.

Queen St looking West past the old Town Hall

USA: DC, Philidelphia, Boston

So the plan was to explore the NE of North America from Toronto much like I did Europe from London, on really cheap flights and speedy trains... unfortunately neither of those things exist here. BUT rental cars are dirt cheap! You can get a car for $12 a day sometimes. So we managed a few adventures down into the States. The first trip took us down through New York and Pennsylvania to Washington DC (9hr drive) for a couple of days and then to Philadelphia. DC is very awesome, all the sights you see on TV, heaps of flags, awesome free Smithsonian Museums (we only got time to see one, the Air and Space museum), excellent happy hour specials and a feeling that something important is happening behind every door.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, I wouldn't try and paint that roof.
Now for some lazy writing... bullet points! Highlights of the trips included:
  • Dunkin donuts
  • Learning new words like Turn Pike
  • Being close to history: driving near Gettysburg, being where they signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • Visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Philadelphia Cheese Steaks... man, they are good!
  • Bostons almost European feel, mostly due to narrow streets.
  • Having a pint of Sam Adams in the original Cheers pub. The beer was expensive for America, but what I would consider a cheap pint in Toronto.
  • Really good hot, fresh Apple Pie in a small town somewhere in upstate New York.
  • Getting another 6 month US tourist visa at the border by a really nice immigration officer.
  • NZ Drivers licence not being acceptable ID
  • Driving through Massachusetts.. its just a freeway going through trees... pretty trees... but similar trees.
  • Understanding direction from Google about how to go around a round about..  the third right = turn left.
  • Canadian Consulate in DC... they need some pointers from the US Immigration guy in Buffalo (see highlights above)
  • Only going for a long weekend.
Seen as no one reads this, they just scan the photos, here are some more.

Me, the White House and one of my favourite T-shirts that I had to retire.

Capitol Hill - you can almost see the lack of progress on Health Care...

An ACTUAL Apollo capsule. Air and Space Museum
One Liberty Bell... Philadelphia.
That's about it really. I don't really have any photos of Philadelphia or Boston. Mostly as we were just hanging out, not doing the exploring thing. They were some good trips though. The plan was to get to New York City too, but that didn't happen... not this time at least.