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Brief visit to Toronto

This is a quick visit

Having driven in from Ottawa the night before we slept in till 11:00 am and then, given that we did not have much to do until we needed to be at the airport between 16:00 and 17:00 ( USA bound flight at 20:15), we decided to got for a drive into Toronto city centre. Our aim was to do a few small touristy things and to get some lunch.

Our Impressions

Toronto has changed a lot since the time I was here in 1983. However for all that change, the approaches to the city remind me of Melbourne (the one in Australia of course) – in particular the inner suburbs of Carlton, Fitzroy, Brunswick, Northcote or Coburg. This is in part due to the 2, 3 and 4 storey buildings with shops and businesses in the bottom, lining the streets along with a scatter of tall, brown and red  brick late 1950’s to early 1980’s  residential high-rise blocks inserted into gaps in the urban fabric. Most importantly, Toronto,  like Melbourne, has trams.  Trams which along with parked cars impeded our progress. Just like they would in Melbourne.

Discovery: Toronto Chinatown

The most welcome discovery was that quite by accident, we chose to drive into city centre along Dundas Street W, which appears to be one the major routes throuhg the Toronto Chinatown.

Toronto Grange Park and Art Gallery of Ontario:

We stopped on the edge of the Chinatown and visited the Grange Park and Grange House behind the Art Gallery of Ontario. The park and the house are a remenant of a the former palatial residential area for the the well-to-do citizens of York (Toronto), and as the plaques and information tablets tell us, Grange House was the last example of this type of palatial architecture left in the area. Behind and above the old manor we could see the metallic blue walls and the spiral staircases of the Art Gallery.

Grange House

Grange House

Art Gallery of Ontario - Staircase

Art Gallery of Ontario – Staircase

Art Gallery of Ontario from Grange Park

Art Gallery of Ontario from Grange Park


After a brief walk around the area we stopped for a quick lunch at a quiet restaurant on Dundas Street, and we amazed the Chinese proprietor by being able to eat with chopsticks. Why is it that a non-asian being able to eat with chopsticks is seen as a nice surprise?

After lunch we indulged in a bit of a walk though Chinatown and a got ourselves a good back massage to relax us before the 6 hour flight to San Francisco


Will need to explore that is available in Toronto and come back here with a more structured plan and more time to explore.


Transit Day – Ottawa to Toronto

Driving from Ottawa to Toronto


Our GPS was programmed with “avoid tolls”, and so it took from Ottawa towards Kingston, and then along the shore of the St Laurence river and Lake Ontario to Toronto.


Traffic was quite light until we got to Kingston and stopped for a lunch and stretch the legs break. From Kingston to Toronto, however, traffic was moving at 30 to 80 km/h, as more and more holidaymakers started to head home.

Travellers Tips

We neglected to check what public holidays, if any, our travel happened to coincide with. Lesson from this:

Always check dates of public/statutory holidays. Traffic will be much worse at the start and the end of these, so if like us, you get caught in the stream of people driving back home after a  long weekend, you will need to put up with a lot more traffic and a lot of frustrated and tired drivers who do not do ling distance driving often.