Hey! Whilst I'm away, I wanted to get the most out of Ed's writing so here is part two to his Canada trip! ----------------...

Back to Toronto


Whilst I'm away, I wanted to get the most out of Ed's writing so here is part two to his Canada trip!


Quebec to Ottawa

After three days in the beautiful Quebec, our journey continued, taking a second train to the capital of Canada - Ottawa. We only stayed here for a couple of nights so we couldn't see much but we visited the parliament building, as it was located close to our hotel. There was an outdoor concert by a Chinese youth orchestra playing, as a part of new Chinese-Canadian relations to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. After two cities being noticeably French, this was the first time we'd seen a more English/American side to the country. A lot more mainstream stores and restaurants rather than the local businesses that basically totally filled the part of Quebec we stayed in. I must have subconsciously noted prior to us arriving there that there were basically no familiar brand names or shops, so upon seeing them for the first time in a week, it was definitely a strange feeling. There was however a rather scenic canal walk that meandered through the city which we walked down for quite some way.

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Ottawa to Algonquin National Park

            We only stayed here for what was basically a little bit more than 24 hours before picking up a car to take us to our next destination - Algonquin National Park. I haven't learnt to drive yet so my mum drove but even I could tell how different the roads are over there. For starters - Canadians drive other side of the road to us Brits. There were also a couple of other weird traffic light things that took us a couple of tries to get used to. Anyway, after a few hours of driving and following a sat-nav that supposedly didn't really know where we were going, we arrived at our destination. A log-cabin camp called Arowhon Pines. The site itself sat on the edge of a small(ish) lake and in the middle of pretty dense coniferous woodland. There was no signal or Wi-Fi. They provided food and if you really wanted - a canoe/ boat if you fancied a paddle. You could even swim in the lake if you really wanted. This place was amazing. We stayed here for three nights. One of the non-aquatic activities this place provided was forest walks. The place was covered in them, which provided hours of fun for me and mum... except for the mosquitoes and horseflies. They were SO ANNOYING. Even after spraying myself with some decent bug repellent they still found the tiny spots where there appeared to be none. Even so, these trails were amazing and took us through some beautiful woodland and alongside 'Little Joe Lake', a quiet, tranquil, surprisingly expansive body of water. Each route was about 10km long and they all crossed paths at some point if you wanted to change them up - oh and all along the route there were coloured bits of tape so you couldn't get too lost and find your way back. The lodging was pretty basic but it was a really sweet three days away from the 'first world' life I suppose. Would totally love to go back in autumn (fall) to see all the red and yellow and orange leaves.

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Algonquin National Park to Toronto

            After we'd spent our time here, we had to take the car to our next and final destination - Toronto. We'd been in the country 10 days at this point but it was starting to feel like 30 days. With so much exploring and travelling in such a small amount of time, it really started to feel like we'd spent quite a long time here. So after a slightly easier and shorter car journey we arrived in Toronto. This is when the size difference compared to places back home really hit in. This was a huge place. Yet, surprisingly it was very homely in a weird way. There was a lot to explore - Chinatown, the St. Lawrence Market to list just two. There was even a place called "Graffiti Alley" on our complimentary map we acquired a the hotel. Upon seeing this place, it really made me appreciate street art. We'd seen some commissioned stuff in a couple of the other cities we'd visited and that had been really awesome, but this blew everything else out of the water. An entire back street, quite a long one too, covered from head to toe in street art. Of all kinds. By all sorts of artists and people from so many different cultures and countries. I suppose that also reflected the people of this city. There were so many different types of people living in Toronto, from everywhere across the world. The tourist half of these were mostly found in two places we visited. The first - the CN Tower. A colossal radio tower that used to be the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1976 (500+ metres tall) The queues to go up the elevator were rather extensive so we didn't bother.

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            However, the one touristy thing we did do was go to the world famous Niagara Falls on the Canadian-American border. This was a part of a day trip with a tour company. On said trip, we were picked up early in the morning to be driven out on a bus with 50 something others. We then were able to go out on a boat once we arrived to get up close and person to the falls. This place was amazing. Literally breathtaking. There were, without exaggerating, thousands of other people there. it was a tourist honey pot. Luckily to get on to the boats, we went through very little hassle at all and the experience itself was another unforgettable experience on a holiday of many. All they provided was a poncho as we all crowded onto this little two-story ferry that took us on a 30 minute tour of the Niagara Falls, even driving right up into the spray of the Horseshoe Falls. To really understand how it felt to be within this cloud of water-vapour, you have to go and do it yourself. Its rather unique and beautiful and makes one appreciate the true power of nature at its most fierce. After this we were taken to a local winery/ wine college where we were given the opportunity to taste some of the local alcohol. I am sure it must have been incredible as I remember none of it or the following bus drive back to the hotel (this may be a little lie).

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            It took us three days to explore the city, to see Chinatown and the CN Tower and the Niagara Falls. At the end of it, unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye. To Toronto... and to Canada. We'd spent two weeks in this beautiful, beautiful country. We'd got a small glimpse at what it was like in the Southern Cities that sit just north of New York. I'd been surprised at first how noticeably French this part of the country was, but at the end of it, I was in awe at how world-wide it was in fact. There are so many people there, from so many places and so many backgrounds and they're all just out there living their lives. They were all so friendly and laid back and happy to help. That's what of the most profound things I left with after this trip. 

It is truly a place I would love to live one day. Quebec or Montreal and Toronto - any of these places I would happily move to if I could. Maybe I will one day. In the meantime, I advise you visit if you can, and maybe you'll experience something close to what we did out there. 

Thank you Canada, for everything.

- Edmond

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