Friday, August 26, 2005

Adventures in Toronto: Day One

Had a busy day this Thursday. Right now, I'm writing from the lovely apartment of Stephen, an online friend who's agreed to put up with me for the weekend, as we go to the Canadian National Expo, the third largest comic book show in North America. But that doesn't kick off until tomorrow.

Got up early. Took car service to Newark Airport. Checked in. Went through the "take your shoes off" crapola. The flight to Toronto was the shortest I've ever taken...about 90 minutes, probably less. The plane was less spacious than what I'd like. Also, they don't warn you about the low overhead when you get into the plane. I'm lucky I didn't get a big bump on my forehead. Didn't figure I was in Canadian aispac until we flew over Lake Ontario. It is a Great Lake...huge from the air, with little seacraft in there.

Also went through customs for the first time ever. It was painless...get on line, explain why you're in Toronto, explain about the online friend, etc. I go through this quickly...Stephen wasn't expecting me until later.

Since Stephen doesn't have a car, we went through a mass transit marathon...bus, train, train, train. Add to this a craploac of stairs, and I'm convinced the setup was created as a practical joke by locals for tourists.

After exploring the apartment and resting, we went to the CN Tower. I've been to the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower and the Hancock Building, but I never remembered that much afterwards. The Tower is the hightest point in North America. On the obsercation deck, it was a bit of a letdown. I mean, I was in the friggin' air earlier. You can see most of the city from there, from the Douglas Centre (formerly SkyDome...why change the name?) below to the lake beyond. One level lower, there was an open air viewing...and for some weird reason, things seemed a lot more real. The freaky part was standing on the glass floor. You look down, and you can see the ground waaaaaaaaaaaaay below. Sure, the glass is reinforced to hell, but the fear of immediate plummenting is still there.

Afterwards, we went around the Centre. The Blue Jays will be playing this weekend, but the times conflict with the con schedule. For now, I was satisfied with Stephen showing me "gargoyles"; funky statues of fans hanging from the building. After that, we ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. We were supposed to meet up with a few friends of his, but one of them has more drama on her than I can get into here, so we went back home.

So far, so good. Minimum, there's the Hockey Hall of Fame for tomorrow. I gotta consult the guidebooks I brought over...the con doesn't kick off until mid-afternoon, so I can get the tourist thing on before I slip into fanboy mode. I got a sketchbook that's almost full, a fistful of money with prime ministers and queens...I'm ready.


Stephen said...

"...a fistful of money with prime ministers and queens..."

Also ducks. Don't forget the ducks.

The ducks get angry when you forget them. Very angry. Then it all goes to hell.

Justin Cognito said...

But don't ever call them "loons." Then they peck your eyes out.

I've been to a bunch of places in Canada, but never Toronto. Enjoy the con!

Chris said...

Just searching around for blogs about the con and came across yours, welcome to the city.

BTW, it's 'Rogers Centre', not Douglas. Why change the name? Big corporate bucks unfourtunately. Our Ted Rogers is like your Ted Turner (both big cable vision guys).

Taking transit from the airport... that's very brave of you. A cab to downtown would cost you about $40, or the other thing that people do is to hitch a ride on one of the shuttles that goes to the major hotels, it's only $15 which is probably the amount you ended up paying for trains and buses. Something to think about for the return trip.