Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Family Trip : Toronto, ON, Canada

It took me about 3 hours and $130 (multiple entries) to get my visa from the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo. 8 years ago when I went into Canada the first time, we never needed the visa. A year after that (I think), the Canada changed their immigration law and required Malaysian passport holders to apply for a visa. The family (along with Wan Qi’s) crossed the US-Canadian border the day after graduation.

Being the designated driver and tour guide (and with the help of my brother’s navigation), I brought my family to Toronto for some sight seeing and food feasting. Toronto was SO MUCH FUN! I enjoyed the food there especially in Chinatown! There are so much yumminess in Toronto. I saw fresh exotic Asian fruits…..a rarity in US Chinatowns. Mangoesteen, Longkong, Dragon Fruit, among the few. Though some of those fruits are a lil on the pricey side,…it was ok to spend a little bit on them delicious fruits! =) Too bad, I can’t bring them over the border upon returning to the US. =(

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Upon reaching Toronto, Dim Sum was first on the itinerary. Two families celebrated Mother’s Day at Pearl Bright Seafood Restaurant. Review about this place will be on a separate post.

After some yummilicious Dim Sum, we stopped by Kensington Market which was just a few blocks up. I had envisioned an enclosed market with people elbow to elbow and street vendors pushing to sell their goods. This market (and looked like it had some residential homes in the area) was open air and more eclectic. There were hippy looking shops selling unique, rustic clothing …..Another parts of the market had fresh produce, cafe, tattoo parlor (i think)….etc.

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Next on the itinerary was Casa Loma; an European style castle nestled in Toronto, built in the early 1900. It was a work of art with the amount spent (at that time) to built this magnificent castle which was filled with elaborate carvings, filled with handsome furniture, incredible garden and more. Tour to this castle will set you back CAD$17 and in return you will get to walk to various part of this castle with the use of their audio guide. Parking at premises is at CAD$3 per hour up to CAD$9 max. 

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The rest of our Toronto trip was walking around downtown area for more FOOD. =). We stayed overnight at Courtyard Downtown Toronto (rooms are spacious and quite decent), which was quite a convenient location for food and shopping. It’s a 5-10 minutes walk to Eaton Center (bottom left) where more retail shopping are concentrated. I would probably not walk around the hotel later at night as some of the shops there looked a bit creepy to me. You never know what kind of people you would encounter late at night =P

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Before leaving Toronto for Niagara Falls, we drove by CN Tower for a quick photo opportunity. No one in the family had interest to pay over CAD$20 to ride the elevator up the CN Tower for a view of Toronto and vicinity…Hehe…


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