Big city life
Always following the Trans Canada Highway we "work" our way west. Apart from lush forests there is not much to see. That is why we are targeting two large cities as an incentive to long driving days. We spend 1 day in Montreal and 2 days in Toronto. In between we enjoy the inviting shores and beaches of Lake Ontario.
In one day we can of course only see a fraction of the city, but still get an interesting insight. Montreal has two faces and not only because two languages are spoken. No, this is noticeable in many ways.
On the one hand, there is the old town (Vieux-Montréal), which radiates a little Parisian flair for us at first glance. Historical buildings, winding alleys, lovely cafés and street artists. You can clearly see the French influence. There is a lot of emphasis on good food with a glass of wine and people stroll comfortably through the streets. Right next to it is the Vieux-Port with a lively riverside promenade. Here we could park our car for 15 CAD (=11,25 CHF) for 24 hours and had an overnight stay directly in the centre.
Away from the old town, however, Montréal presents itself like many other American cities. Skyscrapers in the financial district, lots of traffic and people at every turn. The good restaurants will stay! The Ryu serves us for dinner the best sushi we have ever eaten with excellent wine. Before sunset, we head for the Mont Royal, a range of hills in the centre, from where we have a sensational view of the skyline and, by the way, also give the city its name.
Through a congested 7-lane highway we reach this megacity. Montréal seemed tiny, but no wonder with 2.6 million inhabitants. This puts Toronto in 5th place among the largest metropolises in North America. Nevertheless, we quickly find our way around and treat ourselves to a ticket to visit the CN Tower. This is quite a costly affair (60 CAD per person for the upper deck = 45 CHF), but thanks to the magnificent view it is still worth it. We are catapulted up to 446m by a glass elevator and are up in time for sunset. The only drawback is that we weren't the only ones with this idea and had to fight hard for a place on the window front.
The total height of the TV tower is 553m, which gave the CN Tower the title of the highest freestanding building in the world until 2007, when the Burj Khalifa defeated it.
We also visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, which has many exhibits from the most successful hockey players in the NHL. For real hockey fans certainly worth a visit, but we were easily overwhelmed by the wealth of information and objects and we soon saw the whole thing.
After a short stroll through Yonge Street (shopping street) and a delicious Italian 3-course menu for 23 CAD (=17,25 CHF), thanks to the current Summerlicious-Festival, we already have enough of the city. Somehow we lacked a certain charm or identity. Could this possibly be due to the fact that over 140 languages are spoken in Toronto and one encounters the most diverse cultures? And the traffic is just awful!