Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Highlights of my Vancouver trip

There are lots of places to visit in Vancouver. There are many places that we couldn't go because of time constraints. I would love to make a trip to the Canadian Rockies or a cruise to Alaska but these would take up too many days off the itinerary. We already took a few days for the trip to Niagara Falls on the other side of Canada and another weekend to Vancouver Island. We also joined a tour to whistler Mountain which took up two days. For the remaining days in Vancouver, we managed to see many nice places, too. The view of the Vancouver skyline itself is already so beautiful especially if you go during sunset when the rays of the setting sun are reflected when you look from Stanley Park.

Stanley Park

Lions Gate Bridge from Downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver.
One of the famous tourist attractions is the Capillano Suspension Bridge. I had earlier planned to go but we changed our plans because of the rainy weather and because many tourist complained about the price of the ticket. It would be a waste of money to pay so much to go there in the rain. So instead we took a sea bus ride to North Vancouver and caught a bus to Lynn Valley Canyon which also has a suspension bridge (much smaller one) but the entrance is free. There are nice scenic spots there, too.

The weather the following day was good and we went up to Grouse mountain. The entrance ticket which costs $40 plus includes a free shuttle from Canada Place. At the foothills, we took a ride on the gondola Skyride up to the peak. The ticket is inclusive of the ride and the shows at the peak.

Lumberjack Show

Birds in Motion Show

The University of British Columbia is also a nice place to visit

The Rose Garden at UBC.But the roses were not in bloom

Wreck Beach, a clothing optional beach

The Vancouver Lookout downtown is a place to see Vancouver from above.

From the Vancouver Lookout you can take a stroll to Canada Place, Gastown and Chinatown.

The Steam Clock in Gastown. This must be the most photographed place in Vancouver!

Gastown is named after this Gassy Jack

Sun Yat Sen Garden in Chinatown

One of the most popular places tourists go to in Vancouver is Granville Island Market

You can buy fresh sea food from the fishermen here.

Taking a ride on the False Creek ferry

Go Fish stall, recommended in the internet for nice sea-food burgers

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Visit to Toronto, Canada's largest city.

Toronto is among the world's top international tourist destinations, ranking at 40th place. However my visit to Toronto, which is halfway around the globe from Malaysia, is just as a stopover to Niagara Falls. Don't get me wrong, Toronto is a nice place to visit even though there aren't many must see destinations.
From Toronto Pearson Airport, getting to Downtown Toronto is cheap and easy as the transport system is very good. The Airport Rocket 192 is a public bus which takes you from the airport terminal to Kipling Station. From the station you can hop on to the Bloor-Danforth Line and continue to your destination using the extensive subway, buses and streetcar networks.
We were on our way back from Niagara Falls and our bus stopped at the Bay Street Coach Terminal. The terminal is linked to the Dundas Square through the shopping complex called the Atrium. After checking in at the nearby Bond Place Hotel near Dundas Square, we went for our late lunch at the Urban Eatery, a food court in Toronto Eaton Centre, the largest and busiest shopping centre in Toronto. 

The food court is very large and there is a lot of variety of food served. Even though it was 3 pm, the place was still so crowded and we had a hard time looking for a place to sit. We wanted to come back for dinner later at night but were shocked to learn later that the place was closed after a shooting incident which happened there at 6pm . Even the Dundas subway station was closed and we had to take a bus back to Dundas Square instead of taking the Subway. More about the shooting incident later.
For our visit, we only planned to go to St Lawrence Market, CN Tower and take a ferry ride to Toronto Islands. But as it was raining in the evening, we cancelled the ferry trip to the islands. There is supposed to be a nudist beach at Hanlan's Point on the islands but in this cold and wet weather  nobody will be going there, clothed or unclothed. So we changed our plans and just walked to the waterfront area after visiting St Lawrence Market and later took a cab to CN Tower.

St Lawrence Market

London? No Toronto!

The CN Tower

At the Toronto waterfront

Ferry to Toronto Islands

Lake Ontario and Toronto Islands in the background
The city's most prominent landmark is the CN Tower which once stood as the tallest free-standing land structure in the world until 2007 when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa of Dubai.

The view from CN Tower

Guess why they are on the floor? Trying to capture great shots on the glass floor of CN Tower!

Not for people with phobia of heights!

If you are brave enough you can try this walk along the edge! 

The instructor carefully supervising the "walk"

The towering CN Tower viewed from the base. See the person on the edge?
Later at night, we found out about the shooting incident.  We heard that a gunman opened fire in the crowded food court where we had our lunch 3 hours before. The incident killed one person and seven  people were injured in the pandemonium.

The place was cordoned off after the shooting incident

The news coverage of the shooting incident on TV

The Food court where the shooting incident happened .

Police explaining to the shoppers about the closure of Toronto Eaton Centre
Toronto, the largest city of Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario, is a city of high rises. Besides CN Tower and St Lawrence Market, the Nathan Philips Square is also a popular place among tourists.

Old Legislative Building

New Legislative Building

Nathan Philips Square

Having our lunch : All you can eat Dimsum & Japanese Buffet at the Atrium.