Friday, June 13, 2008

Hi friends! I'm back home after a fun-filled week in Toronto! We had a wonderful time and saw so many friends, tried so many restaurants and walked so many streets (I got a sunburn) that I actually didn't take too many photographs. I'll share some of the ones I did take, though.

Toronto is Canada's largest city. It's the capital city of the province of Ontario, not the capital of Canada, as many people believe. (Ottawa is the capital of the country.) Toronto has a population of over 7 million people and is considered to be a world-class city, on par with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as one of North America's most renowned.

If you've never been, please plan a trip. It's a vibrant, exciting city with such diversity and culture, and so much to do.

Defining the Toronto skyline, the CN Tower is Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon. At a height of 553.33m (1,815 ft., 5 inches), it is the World’s Tallest Building, a Wonder of the Modern World, an important telecommunications hub, the centre of tourism in Toronto and a first class dining and event centre; the 360 Restaurant revolves slowly with empowering views of the city.

Each year, approximately 2 million people visit to take in the breathtaking view. It was completed after 40 months of construction on June 26, 1976. It was built by Canadian National, a company that wanted to demonstrate the strength of Canadian industry by building a tower taller than any other in the world. Building the CN Tower was a vast and ambitious project that involved 1,537 workers who worked 24 hours a day.

We took a trip to the top. In the photos that I took (above) you'll notice how high it is. On the left, you can see the tower from below. On the right is a view of Toronto taken from the observation deck, 1,700 feet above sea level. Going up in the glass elevator is quite a ride!
The downtown core of Toronto is a hub of activity and commerce.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM, as it's known) was recently redesigned by German architect Daniel Libeskind. The original structure, which was built in the early 1900s, was expanded with an ultra-modern addition.

The ROM is home to numerous exhibits about culture, civilization and natural history. This Canadian totem pole stretches six floors.

Currently on exhibiton are a number of Asian artifacts, including these huge ceramic sculptures from China from the 1700's, depicting the guardians of Hell. Quite chilling!
Another section of the museum (my favourite) housed artifacts retrieved from the homes of English and French aristocrats throughout the ages. The objects above were designed as elaborate decorative adornements for the desks, pianos and tables of the English upper classes in the 1700s.

This gold-plated tea service from the early 1800s just shimmered and shined!

This is an ornately carved wall mount, framed in mahogany, that once hung in the parlour of a wealthy Englishman in the 1800s.

And everyone's favourite: Dinosaurs!

We took a day and went to Canada's largest amusement park - Wonderland! The entrance to the park features a long allee of fountains that leads you down to the rides and fairgrounds.

I went on several roller coasters (my favourite!) including this one, known as Top Gun. The newest addition to the park is North America's largest roller coaster: The Behemoth. It lived up to its name, let me tell you!

The Bata Shoe Museum is home to thousands and thousands of shoes, from the earliest known example (over 5,000 years old) to the latest models. The shoe above is a jewel-encrusted shoe once worn by Indian royalty. You'll also find shoes worn by Elvis Presley, Princess Diana, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Elton John and numerous other celebrities, musicians and dancers.

This is a well-worn pair of high-heel shoes made in Paris, dating back to the late 1700s.

Another pair made in Paris, by master couturier Coco Chanel. This pair is from the 1960s.

These early 'platform shoes' are Chinese and were designed for upper-class women in the 1800s. The higher the platform, the higher the status. The platforms also forced the women to walk carefully and precisely, a sign of discipline and gentility.

This is Nathan Phillips' Square - home to Toronto City Hall, shown behind the fountains. As we were walking through we passed a photo shoot in session. Strike a pose!

Toronto's Harbourfront is a restful, lovely place, right at the base of the towering skyscrapers of the city's core. Lake Ontario, one of the world's largest lakes, gave Toronto its early industrial strength as a major port. There are numerous restaurants and cafes along the boardwalk. We stopped at one of them for an early supper and some delicious martinis!

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