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Toronto "the meeting place" is the largest city in Canada, and a very cosmopolitan one at that. It has a much more relaxed and safer feel than most American cities. During summer it can be very warm and sunny, but the winter is when the climate really gets extreme, with freezing ice storms and weeks on end below zero degrees.

I spent only two nights here on my first visit, but I managed to fit in Niagara Falls, the Skydome, the Eaton Centre and the CN Tower. The tower was unfortunately shrouded in cloud for the whole weekend, when we had dinner at the top all I could see out the window was blurry lights from below. The food however was excellent!

Beautiful Toronto

The skyline of Toronto as seen from Toronto Island Park on a beautiful July day. This was my second visit, in 2010, and I took the ferry out to the islands specifically looking for a shot like this. On the left is the graceful CN Tower.

Downtown Toronto as seen from the Skypod of the CN Tower. This was once the highest obeservation deck in the world, but was surpassed in observation deck height during 2008 by the Shanghai World Financial Centre, then in 2009 by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Our host was having none of that, but I didn't bother trying to argue, they have to sell tickets after all.

Downtown Toronto from the CN Tower

Looking down from the Sky Pod

Looking down from the Skypod of the CN Tower to the main observation pod. During my first visit in 2000 it was so cloudy that there was no point in coming up this far. Even from the revolving restaurant all we could see was foggy gloom.

One of the most popular attractions at the CN Tower is the glass floor, not for those with vertigo! Other tourist spots across the USA have since been getting in on the act, including the erstwhile Sears Tower in Chicago, and the Grand Canyon, no less.

Looking through the glass floor

Looking up the CN Tower

Looking up the CN Tower from the base. I've been fascinated with this structure since I was about 5 years old. Can you tell?

The Rogers Centre is the home of the Toronto Bluejays baseball team, and once upon a time it was called the Skydome, owing to its sliding roof which can open to let in the sun or keep out the rain.

Rogers Centre, the erstwhile Skydome

Typical Canadian sports fans

Effigies of typical Canadian sports fans adorn the sides of the Rogers Centre.

Inside the Skydome, at my first ever baseball game. The Toronto Bluejays were soundly thrashed by Oakland Athletic 8-0, but the game itself fairly dragged on.

Take me out to the ball game…

I pity the fool!

But who should have been sitting watching the game - only Mr T! Every so often the jumbotron would find him and play the theme from the A-Team. He just sat there quietly and pitied the fools.

The Eaton Centre on Yonge Street in Toronto is one of the best shopping malls in Canada, and although not quite on the same scale as the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, it has a lot to offer. Like in Montreal, it is connected to various downtown offices and hotels (including the Royal York) with a rabbit warren of shopping strips.

Eaton Centre

Gold Royal Bank Plaza

This is a shot of some of Toronto's 1970s office buildings, including the Royal Bank Plaza, which is coloured using real gold dust embedded in the glass cladding.

The Royal York Hotel, owned by the Fairmont Chain, in turn once owned by Canadian Pacific (rivals to Canadian National, who built the CN Tower). It has scarily long old corridors and reminded me strangely of the Overlook Hotel from "The Shining" on the inside.

Royal York Hotel

Inside the Royal York

Inside the lobby of the Royal York Hotel, showcasing the 1930s style splendour. This was from my second trip ten years later in 2010.

Niagara Falls is not a sight to be missed. Although very impressive in itself, the falls are somewhat spoiled by the garish town of Niagara which sits right next door. Much nicer was the town of Niagara-On-The-Lake just down the road. The falls have been known to completely freeze over, and since the dams which power New York City were built, the flow of the whole river can be fully controlled. In 2011 there was news that they'd be opening it up to tightrope walkers again.

Niagara Falls

CN Tower and trees

A closing shot of the CN Tower amongst the trees. In my opinion every city should have an iconic structure, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Hong Kong has the Bank of China, Dubai has the Burj al Arab, and Toronto certainly has hers.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2001-2014