A recent visit to the famous Toronto city in Canada was one of a kind experience for us. The multi cultural city left us with ever lasting memories, some of which we were able to capture through our camera lens.
It was the first week of April, the weather was pretty cold there (even though Spring had officially started in Canada), but the warmth, the friendliness and the smiles of people was enough to keep us in good spirits. I really could never imagine so many different cultures, races, religions and nationalities of people living together, that too, in the most humble and beautiful way. I was really awestruck by the way people would happily help us out, without even knowing a bit about us. We had such experiences multiple times in the week long stay, with strangers guiding us whenever we were confused about the subway trains or streetcars (the light-rail system) or even the buses. People would really go out of the way to help us, especially with the directions.
We stayed at an Airbnb condominium located at Downtown Toronto, which was at eleventh floor and had really breathtaking views of the city. And also, the public transit (especially in Downtown Toronto) is amazing. They have Subway (underground trains), streetcars (light-rail running on the roads) and of course, the buses. The frequency of all the transit modes is great, making it easy for the tourists to explore some famous landmarks of the city.
If you plan to visit the city, do relish their famous dish, Poutine (we tried from the famous New York Fries) and also enjoy a hot cuppa from Tim Hortons. We just fell in love with their amazing concoction of regular coffee mixed with French Vanilla. Absolutely delicious and keeps you going for the day. The city literally survives on that cup!!
Our stay in the city was a short one, and out of the major tourist attractions, we could cover the following ones:
- Dundas square
- Eaton Center
- Union Square
- Casa Loma
- CN Tower
- Niagara Falls
But the visit to Casa Loma will always stay in my heart. Here is my experience of the architectural wonder.
Casa Loma is a Gothic style castle, built in 1911, by Sir Henry Pellatt, which costed about 3.5 million dollars and took 3 years to complete. After Sir Henry got bankrupt, the castle was converted into a museum and is now a major attraction in Toronto.
The castle looks straight out of a fairy tale.
My daughter was mesmerized to see a real princess castle and was awestruck with the way it looked from inside. There was a bridal photo shoot going on at a particular hall in the castle, and my daughter was convinced that the lady in the white bridal gown with the tiara on her head holding the long veil was the princess of the castle. It was funny to see her look at the bride in utter amazement for a long time through a window pane. It was hilarious but still very sweet.
The castle has an old Victorian look and feel. There are multiple bedrooms complete with the dressers and the beautiful reading nooks, along with the modern bathroom designs. The guest rooms boasted of sheer luxury with vintage furniture and artifacts.
Walking across the library was an experience in itself. It was really difficult to take your eyes off from the crystal chandeliers hanging down the ceiling, brightly lit up and adding grace to the plethora of books adorning the library hall.
The castle also has an underground attic, which is like a secret floor, where horse stables were built and vintage cars were displayed. Walking across the tight lanes in the attic was a scary but great experience.
Also if you don’t fear heights, there are some stairs which take you right to the top of the tower, which gives you some surreal views of the city. But remember, the stairs to the top are very narrow and not that easy to climb up and down, especially for the kids and old people.
The castle is home to a lot of scenes in many popular movies like, X-Men, Chicago, The Tuxedo and The Pacifier, to name a few. The shots in these movies are splendid and worth taking a note of. One of the floors displays the pictures of the famous movies shot in the castle. And there are videos played in repeat mode in the castle cafeteria, where one can relax and have great snacks, along with watching the famous scenes of the popular movies which have been shot in the castle.
The castle looks right out of fairy tale and there is no doubt about it. Do visit Casa Loma if in Toronto. It is worth the name and hype. Till then.