Jim & June's Odyssey 091108 - Toronto

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TORONTO Our travel friends from Hamilton (Ron & Marjory Carmichael) came for a long visit & supper. They'll meet up with us in Florida, later. On several occasions, we visited with June's cousin, Lorraine and Dave in Mississauga. Instead of flying back to Portland, Maine for the weekend, Tom decided to stay at his condo in Yorkville so we met him there. Upon arrival, the doorman takes your car keys and the vehicle disappears. That afternoon, we commenced a 9hr pub crawl and after gagging down slimy oysters, eating raw salmon, sushi and other weird delights - we (she) decided to spend the night in Toronto as well.

Places we Visited: Financial District - Home to 40 international banks, the tallest skyscrapers in Canada and the second largest stock exchange in North America, it also has the best restaurants with the best waiters, anywhere. They know everything about food preparation and wine selection. New City Hall - With its two curve shaped towers wrapping around a lower oval flattened copula building, this is the most visually appealing civic building we've ever seen, period. St. Lawrence Market - You could buy anything here! Lots of fresh produce, various types of cheese, baked goods, ready to eat food (submarine sandwiches sell for $1/inch), trinkets, house wares, etc. The place was packed with people and all your senses were assaulted with the sounds, colors, smells etc. Very interesting! The Canoe Club - Probably the most prestigious and exclusive club in Canada where you have to be a prominent financial figure just to gain entrance. Most patrons are "Traders" and everybody LOUDLY talks money, markets, insurance, mortgages or mergers. And it's pricy - drinks start at $8.50; meals start at $51.00. It cost us $32 for three drinks. N-e-x-t..... Biffs - We stopped in for a drink and tried our first ever raw oysters served with lemon, balsamic vinegar and grated horse radish. We had two helpings! Hemmingway's - An outdoor roof-top bar that is over crowed with techno yuppies where everybody is sipping wine and texting on Blackberry's. Sassafraz - An up-scale restaurant where Tom wined and dined us - dry martinis, shaken not stirred with two olives (just like 007), vintage wines and a superb dinner. Distillery District - An area in Old Toronto that was home to the largest distillery in the world (in the 1800's) that became really famous during prohibition when it's the liquor was shipped illegally into the US. Today, this historic section of cobblestone streets and alleys is closed to traffic but its brick buildings have been converted into small boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and bars. Every night, thousands of people "party-up" until 4am.

Things we Observed: Yorkville - An upscale shopping district with the fanciest and glitzy-est designer shopping name brands. With its splendid restaurants, picturesque gardens, rejuvenating spas and historic flare, it is the preferred hot-spot for actors and high profile visitors. The sightseeing walk was an eye-opener into glamour and lavish lifestyles. EVERYBODY in Toronto wear black coats. Cab rides cost about a $1 per block. Garbage!!!!! Everybody leaves their garbage bags (no bins, no cans) on the sidewalk. It's supposed to be picked up every night, but some places have 20 bags stacked up. You'd figure that they would set out the bags towards evening, but no, it's out there ALL DAY LONG. Shoppers/visitors have to navigate around them - it's ridiculous.

Things we Learned: The PATH system (located beneath the financial district) is the world's larges underground shopping concourse. Its complex 27km walkway links major hotels, banks, department stores, and numerous other businesses to vehicle parkades and a sophisticated subway system. The subway trains are a lot bigger and faster than expected - its 12 linked cars cover 4 blocks in 1 minute. Yonge Street is the longest in the world, extending from downtown Toronto to Barrie, Ont - a distance of 81 km. Whenever banks have executive level meetings, they make sure there are at least 3 of their lawyers present. This way, none of the issues being discussed can be publicized because of client/attorney privilege. The TD Canada Trust Bank has the largest collection of Inuit art in the world.

June's Comments: Tom's NEW office building is located on the corner of Bay & Front Streets. With its several setbacks and a high decorative tower, the TD building is the most distinctive of Toronto's tallest skyscrapers. Inside, the atrium is unbelievable! Its indoor metal arches are probably 50 meters high. His huge reception area is filled with couches, art, very sharp & jovial staff. There's even a large telescope. The 54th floor is full of meeting rooms. From his desk, he overlooks Lake Ontario, Toronto harbor, Union station, Toronto Islands, Air Canada Center, Rogers Center, the CN Tower and much of the financial district. It is amazing!

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Trip Start Nov 08, 2009
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Trip End Nov 08, 2009


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