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Toronto Trip: Part 2

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Day 4

We planned a busy day: the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Royal Ontario Museum, and dinner at Eataly.

Our first stop was the Hockey Hall of Fame. DH played hockey growing up, but he’s been more of a soccer fan in recent years, which means that the kids don’t have much hockey knowledge, so our family runs the gamut in terms of familiarity with the sport. Overall, the HHF did a good job of meeting everyone where they were at.

The HHF has an app where you can choose a self-guided tour that focuses on your interests, be that a favorite team, international play or the women’s game. We downloaded it ahead of time, but when we got there, DH decided not to use it and instead had us go straight to the “cathedral,” which has plaques for all HHF inductees and all the trophies,


including, of course, the Stanley Cup!


Even without the app, we had no trouble finding Red Wings memorabilia. It also helped that the featured exhibit included Gordie Howe.


There were some interactive features as well. DH dusted off his skills for a shoot-out


and the kids were on SportsCentre--with Canadian spelling!


The only part that wasn’t a success for our group was the 3D movie, “Game Seven.” We thought it was going to show footage from famous Game Sevens throughout history, but it was a story about some guys playing in their own Game Seven. Despite the 3D effects, I struggled to stay awake.

After the HHF, we ate lunch and headed to the Royal Ontario Museum. Although City Pass holders must reserve a time in advance, you don’t need a specific time: you only have to choose a day. This was nice because we didn’t have to worry about arriving on time.

The ROM is pretty big. We spent over 2 hours there and didn’t see everything, and in some places we just cruised through. They do have a wide variety of artifacts ranging from dinosaurs


to gems


and cultural items.


By the time we finished the exhibits, we needed to sit down and hydrate. Unfortunately, the cafe on the first floor was closing even though the museum itself would be open for nearly another hour. We sat for a while and ate the granola bars I was carrying in my purse. Once we felt a bit more energized, we decided to walk towards Eataly but stop first at whatever cafe we spotted. The cafe at Eataly was the first thing we spotted. We got granitas and limonata and rested before exploring the market and getting dinner. We were tired by the time we got back, but we had done a lot.

Day 5

This was Canada Day. When we were planning this trip, I was aware of the holiday and had a very US mentality about it. I basically expected a Canadian-style July 4th with a big parade and fireworks. That wasn’t entirely accurate. A search of parades revealed that there was no parade downtown. There was one in a neighborhood called East York that looked like it wasn’t particularly big or particularly close to us. There was no central fireworks display, either. Instead, there were about 5 fireworks displays in different parts of the city. With a chance of rain predicted both during the parade and fireworks, we decided that we needed an alternate plan.

We did have one place left on the City Pass—Casa Loma—so we visited that.


The girls thought it was funny that there was a great hall like Hogwarts and spent much of the time thinking about which character they would find in each room. Of course, Neville and Professor Sprout would be in the Conservatory!


After Casa Loma, we were ready for lunch. Our idea was to get it at the St. Lawrence food market. This was the one place in our plan where I had not checked to see if the hours changed for Canada Day. I guess I thought that it would be open because it sold food. We got there to find that it was closed. Our Plan C was the Distillery District, which was open.

After lunch, we went to Eaton Centre (open but closing early in the day) to do some shopping.


Our town doesn’t have much of a mall, so this was a good opportunity.

After dinner and some packing, we found a CBC broadcast of Canada Day festivities from Ottowa and watched that. It ended up being an interesting cultural experience. We hadn’t heard of any of the musical acts, and the show had 2 emcees: one who spoke English and one who spoke French (when they spoke to each other, it was in English). Some of the songs were in French as well. At then very end, the English emcee asked if we were ready for fireworks. We were, and we were expecting something good from Canada’s capital! They showed some fireworks but went to the end credits about 3 minutes later. I guess fireworks aren’t as a big there as in the US? We also heard very few fireworks in the neighborhood, and they were done by 10:30. That was a welcome change from what we are used to!

Day 6

We finished our packing and headed home.


In all, it was a successful trip. Some things I learned:

1. Toronto in the summer is great! This was the first time I had ever visited outside of February/March. We had my favorite weather, with high temps in the 70s. Walking in the city was really pleasant. We didn’t have the chance to visit the waterfront, but that can be something for a future warm-weather visit.

2. We never had to exchange money. So many places—even parking—allowed card payment that we never needed to. The only time this sort of cramped our style was when we saw that a neighborhood ice cream place was cash only. We just got treats at the supermarket instead. It was kind of funny that we had told the girls about loonies and toonies but they never saw any.

3. City Pass is a good option for first-time visitors. If this trip had been just DH and me, we wouldn’t have used them because we had been to most of the places included. With the girls, though, we wanted them to see those sights. City Pass pays for itself if you visit the 3 most expensive attractions, or any group of 4 attractions. We went to all 5, so we came out ahead. The timing for the pass—9 days to see everything—was also leisurely enough for our pace.

Thanks for reading! I will follow up with reviews of where we stayed and ate.

Posted by amikulski 02:14 Archived in Canada Tagged children museums shopping castle hockey

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