Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8 Toronto

The few somewhat gloomy photos I have for this day are linked here.

Toronto (1)Glen Rouge Campground is owned by the city of Toronto, located in a linear greenbelt parkway called Rouge Park,   dissected by the Rouge River.  The grounds are well maintained, with laundry facilities on site.  These consisted of two washers, one of them broken, and two dryers, one out of service.  With more than a week of laundry collected, I decided to try to find a laundromat where I could actually get the laundry completed in something less than a full day.  Mo decided to go with me so I wouldn’t have to wander off into the city alone, and we set out to find a laundry. 

The camp hostess suggested a place a few miles west toward town on Kingston Street, which sounded reasonable, but at the early morning rush hour, Kingston Street was backed up cars in all four lanes punctuated by stop lights.  The fresh, almost antiseptically clean suburbs gave way to seedier neighborhoods and crowded apartment buildings with varying degrees of window coverings that included aluminum foil. Maybe these are the kinds of neighborhoods that actually need laundromats, since most of the fancy townhomes near the area we left behind probably had their own in home laundry facilities. 

About $12.00 Canadian, and four loads later, we emerged with clean bedding and fresh clothes.  Watching all those folks doing laundry reminded me of the days when I did diapers for three babies in laundromats, too poor to own a washer that worked.  Life is good.  Now I only go to laundromats when I am traveling.

Toronto (2) Another supposed amenity of Glen Rouge Campground is the excellent security.  Last night it was severely lacking, however, and somewhere around 2am our next door neighbor hosted two cars full of drunken party goers. They entertained us with raucous conversation, loud music, singing, and falling down sounds until the last car pulled away around seven this morning. When we reported this to the camp hostess, she made some mumblings about security, and I got the impression that maybe the security personnel may have been part of the party. Our other neighbors are just fine, sweet and just conversational enough to be fun but not intrusive, and they love the cat and dog.  We will be leaving tomorrow morning, and I am hoping that the rowdy neighbor is too worn out from last night to keep us up again tonight.

With laundry handled, we took Abby to a doggie day care and once more took the train to town for another day of exploration.  Toronto has so many interesting offerings, but the Royal Ontario Museum called me most, with the exhibition “The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army” in residence, it was something I didn’t want to miss. The ROM, as it is affectionately known here in town, is just a little over a mile north of Union Station on University Street.  It was a great chance to walk more city streets and observe how the demographics and energy of the neighborhoods change throughout the city. 

Toronto_ROM (5) Queen’s Park is at the center of the University of Toronto campus, and has the most amazing collection of huge hardwoods, oaks, maples, and others, that I have ever seen.  In the dark shade of a dreary day, I found it impossible to capture the immensity of these trees in a photograph.  The main building of the University was as imposing as any castle I have seen anywhere, and the cosmopolitan atmosphere was impressive. 

Toronto_ROM (7)We finally found the ROM north of Queen’s Park and entered.  There was an extra fee to see the Terracotta Army, but it was well worth it. After complete immersion into Chinese history of two hundred B.C., we emerged into the rest of the museum.  Much like the Smithsonian, the sheer volume of the exhibits is overwhelming.  I decided that the only way to truly visit a museum of this stature would be slowly, a day at a time for each section.  Since we didn’t have that luxury, we wandered a bit aimlessly through the halls and rooms and stairwells.  Photos weren’t allowed, but mental images include a totem pole from British Columbia spanning all four stories of the building and a domed ceiling tiled with gold and inlay that was as intricate as any we saw in Turkey.

After all that walking and wandering, we were starving, so took advantage of what is known in Toronto as “street meat'”, the hot dog stand. Hot dog is a misnomer for what we ate today, with the juicy succulent meat sliced diagonally and roasted on an open flame right before our eyes.  The condiments included fancy colored peppers and a sweet corn relish among the usual goodies.  We sat on the steps of the ROM and watched people passing by while munching down the best hot dog I ever ate in my entire life.

Toronto_ROM (8) The Museum station of the TTC Subway was right there, and it was a quick, 4.00 jaunt to Union Station just in time to catch the express GOTRAIN to our home station at Rouge Hill.  After two days we were getting to be old hands at finding the stairs, hallways, and platforms of the transit system.

After picking up Abby from her caretakers, we desperately needed some internet time to handle business affairs, and finally found free wireless at the local coffee establishment called Second Cup.  Much like the Starbucks of the old days, they had great coffees, comfy chairs, a fireplace, and free wireless.  Time to catch up on banking and email, and try to get photos up and maybe a blog post or two at least!  By the time we left the place was full of interesting people, talking, computing, drinking and eating; definitely a hoppin’ place to be in the suburbs of Toronto on a Wednesday evening!

We plan to leave by 6 in the morning to drive to Niagara Falls and miss the worst of the Toronto traffic, so the alarm is set for 5.  The rain comes and goes, but it stopped long enough for us to get the bikes and the kayaks loaded up again and get things ready for an early departure tomorrow.