Monday, 16 August 2010

Canada Trip Day 10: Feeling the intensity of G20 Summit 2010 when looking for Toronto Sightseeing Bus

22 June 2010 - Toronto was busier than usual due to the G20 Summit which was held 26-27 June 2010 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, located near the CN Tower, one of the tallest towers in the world, and Canadian Broadcasting Centre. We were trying to find the stop for the sightseeing bus near CN Tower and decided to try ask one of the staff members at the CN Tower. The entire neighbourhood was heavily monitored by police officers. Security fences lined along the roads around CN Tower area, making it difficult to hail a cab or get to the bus stop. I did not take any pictures this time because I was worried about my photos (or perhaps, even my camera) being confiscated like it did when I took a photo of a Chinese militant in Tibet. Later on the sightseeing bus, I managed to grab a few photos of the security fences. We found a tourist information centre in the vicinity where the staff member gave us directions on where the stop have now shifted due to the security fences.

In our initial plan, we had wanted to travel to Edmonton first and have Toronto and Niagara Falls as our last two stops but our Toronto part of the trip would then coincide with the G20 Summit. I am glad that we eventually changed it because in the days to come, we had worried calls from friends in Edmonton, Vancouver and Surrey, informing us about the violence that broke out in Toronto during the G20 Summit, which we were oblivious about then.

We finally came by two representatives selling tickets to go on the sightseeing bus and was later guided to Union Station to catch the bus. Having just one full day in Toronto, we decided on visiting Casa Loma, Bata Shoe Museum and Canada Textile Museum while leaving enough time to go one complete lap of our tour route to view the other attractions and get some feel of Toronto City. It was later that I learned that the Royal Ontario Museum is also a great place to visit with its large collections of historical and cultural exhibits, which is a real pity for me to miss. I also felt a little disappointed not having enough time to go to the Museum of Inuit Art although I did come across some Inuit stone carvings at the Vancouver Art Gallery store.

We went on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus by ShopDineTour Toronto where we got to see many different neighbourhoods such as the Distillery Historic District, St Lawrence Market, the Entertainment District and the Financial District. Though Toronto has transformed into one of the most modern cities in the world, it still retains many of its historic red-brick Victorian buildings that dated back to the 18th century such as those in Distillery History District and St Lawrence Market. Whenever there is a history on distilleries, there has to be Irish involved and true enough, one of the earliest foreign settlers in Toronto (historically named York) are the Irish people. In these districts, the streets have Irish names, there is Little Trinity Church and many Irish families live in Corktown. Another interesting thing is the murals that are found on many wall buildings of history, culture, beliefs and morals around this part of the city. There are mural communities such as Mural Routes and Village of Islington where they run mural community building projects that help improve the streetscape of the city or sometimes to remove the graffitti. Both of these websites have amazing collection of murals.

Despite the heavy rain, we were happy to have seen a bit of Toronto. The sightseeing bus provided us with plastic ponchos so that solved the rain problem. We kept the ponchos and they proved to be handy in our later trip to Montreal as umbrellas are cumbersome to carry around.

Toronto Eaton Centre (Wikipedia)

Truck carrying a huge pipe

Tourist in a no-windows hop-on hop-off bus

City view from popping out of the sightseeing bus

CN Tower, one of the tallest towers in the world and Canada Life Building

Artsy buildings belonging to Ontario College of Art and Design (Wikipedia) which are located next to the Art Gallery of Ontario (Wikipedia) and CN Tower in the distance

Along Dundas Street W in front of Art Gallery of Ontario, there are a few art galleries and cafes

Village Idiot Pub right in front of Art Gallery of Ontario on Dundas W Street

St Patrick's Catholic Church in Toronto's Discovery District along McCaul Street

One of the buildings of Ontario College of Art and Design

Tour commentator was speaking as we pass Chapters (Wikipedia) and Imax Scotiabank Theare ($30-million complex formerly Paramount) building at Richmond Street

Graffitti or Mural, Crocodile Rock?

Roy Thomson Hall

Canadian Broadcast Centre with security fences spanning across the street

Looking through bus front window to see the G20 Summit police check point and security fences all around

We have mosques with gold-covered domes but wait till you see this! All of Royal Bank Plaza's glass windows are coloured with 2500 ounces of real gold!

Monument sculptures right in front of Roger Centre
Roger Centre (Wikipedia) is cool! It is a multi-purpose stadium, opened in 1989. It has a fully retractable roof that is powered with motors and it has a 300 over rooms hotel attached to it!

Here I was trying to capture the retractable roof  of Roger Centre from under a highway

Sun's glare and sky from the reflection of a building's windows

Popular Toronto attraction, the Hockey Hall of Fame (Wikipedia)

Narrow building near St Lawrence Market

St Lawrence Market

Nice apartment opposite St Lawrence Market

Murals on heritage of the First Nations in Historic Distillery District

Murals on the changing lifestyles in Toronto at the Historic Distillery District

Red-brick buildings of the Victorian era at the Historic Distillery District

Little Trinity Church at Corktown

Number markings on the road

King Edward Hotel (officially known as Le Meridien King Edward Hotel)

King Edward Hotel is a famous hotels where famous like The Beatles, Mark Twain, Elvis Presley and Ernest Hemingway and even Al Capone - if I heard this correctly from the commentator - have stayed. It has also been a film set for several movies.

Toronto Stock Exchange, the largest in Canada

The original Toronto Stock Exchange building is of historic value and cannot be demolished according to a law in Toronto, thus the stock exchange building is expanded around and over it.

Old City Hall

St Michael's Hospital

A bad picture of Massey Hall, is a performing arts theatre where famous people like Dalai Lama, Bob Dylan, KISS, U2, Pink and Pink Floyd have appeared. This is a heritage property with history that dates back to 1894 when it was completed.

Dinner at Korean Grill House

Drinks counter at the Korean Grill House

A set of side dishes which cost CAN$7.50 when Korean restaurants commonly served them as compliments.

Stir-fried Udon noodles

Beef Bibm Bap

Beef Ramen with beef soup base

Somewhere along Yonge Street, Toronto

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