A Quick Guide To Visiting Toronto And Vancouver
This is just not the title of the country’s national anthem but it is also what visitors say when they are in that vibrant country.
As in “Oh Canada, this is such a fun and lively place!”
One of the elements that makes it such a great destination is the fact that the people are so friendly. This is not just some tourism board slogan; it’s true. In fact, the word Toronto means “gathering place.”
Canadians are quick to welcome visitors with their friendly “eh” saying and encouraging people to” take a walkabout.” There was even a movie made about how friendly the natives are, Canadian Bacon.
And with all that hospitality available in person, you can bet you it is also prevalent with the new online casinos from that country.
With all that friendliness in such a vast territory, it may be difficult to know where to start to explore. Here is a look at two bookend destinations in Canada, Toronto in the east and Vancouver in the west.
Yes, the “gathering place.” This is Canada’s most vibrant city, the Canadian equivalent of New York City in the USA.
Like New York, when you walk down the streets you can just feel the energy of the city. You know there’s something happening somewhere close to you, whether it is people gathering for an outdoor festival, a play in the Theater District or going to one of its many restaurants or bars or nightclubs.
Visitors should spend most of their time in the downtown area. That is where the biggest cluster of restaurants, fun bars and nightclubs are located. King Street has a row of cafes and the Theater District, as well as the Canadian Walk of Fame on the sidewalks similar to the stars in Los Angeles along Hollywood Blvd. Queen Street has a bit of a funky vibe, including a truck that has “crashed” into the side of the CITY TV building.
Younge Street is the city’s eclectic street where you can find pretty much anything you want. Dundas Square is the Times Square of Toronto and the college area is full of café-style restaurants that turn into fun bars at night; one of the most popular is a converted Victorian house, the multi-level Maison Pub.
Recommended activities in Toronto include hopping on the hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus, taking a ferry to the Toronto islands (catch the ferry downtown), touring the vast ROM museum which traces the entire history of mankind, going to the Ontario Place amusement park, heading to “the beaches” (yes, Toronto has a beach), and zipping up to the top of the CN Tower. Daredevils can actually “walk” along the outside of the glass windows at the top, 553.33m (1,815 feet, 5 inches) above the ground.
Sports fans can take pleasure in the fact that Toronto has three major-league franchises: The Maple Leafs in the NHL, the Raptors in the NBA and the Blue Jays in MLB. Toronto is also the home of the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is worth a visit if even you’re not a puck nut.
Toronto has excellent public transportation with street trollies and a subway, so there is no need to have a car.
Smaller and more “earthy,” than Toronto, Vancouver is Canada’s major West Coast city. It is known as a nature lover’s destination which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and for fresh seafood, especially salmon and Vancouver prawns.
As well as its proximity to the ski resort of Whistler (one hour up the scenic Skyway to the Sea Highway.)
There’s great shopping along Robson Street and a very popular food market on Granville Island. One recommended activity for sure is to kayak along False Creek. You can rent kayaks on Granville Island.
Granville Street, which cuts through downtown, is the city’s main street for nightlife, including the raucous live music venue The Roxy. There’s a more sophisticated scene a couple blocks away along Davie Street in a younger, hip area called Yaletown. The Gastown area (best to visit in the daytime) has a couple of Vancouver micro breweries.
For exercise, there’s the vast Stanley Park, with a 6-mile bicycling and running trail that runs right along the Pacific coast.
For sunsets, THE place is English Bay, where everyone goes for this almost-nightly ritual. Whenever the sun it out, anyway.
Like Toronto, you’ll be spending most of your time in the downtown area. Vancouver is a very walkable city and it also has an efficient skyway tram put in for the Olympics. You can take that from the airport, so there is no need for a car.
These two destinations will be enough to keep one busy for several days or a week. And it will be the friendliness of the people that will get you back again and again to visit other parts of this country.
Oh, Canada, indeed.