24 Hours in Toronto

Monday, March 5, 2012

The CN Tower in Toronto

Oh Canada! You tease you. How I wish I could’ve spent some substantial time here, but instead, my business trip dictated just over 24 hours in Toronto. My mission this time was to meet with major media to promote the upcoming new flight service on Porter Airlines between Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport and Washington Dulles Airport. Since my time was so limited here, I’ll just give you the highlights:

1) The CN Tower – This is the iconic visual of Toronto. You can’t help but be impressed that you’re staring at one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and the world’s tallest tower (as defined by the Guiness Book of World Records). Sure, it seems like every major metropolis has a tower like this these days. Heck, I showed you one in Frankfurt in my last post. And, having lived in Las Vegas, The Stratosphere Tower immediately comes to mind….as does Seattle’s Space Needle. But this one is just majestic and really compliments the skyline of the city (nevermind that I thought everyone was calling it the CNN Tower and I kept thinking that CNN Television News had one of its offices there! Good thing nobody heard me say that out loud).  I would’ve liked to have gone to the top to see the view or dine in the revolving 360 Restaurant. Next time! Here is my very favorite picture of the CN (one N) Tower, which I snapped in a hurry as I was entering a restaurant….

2) Porter Airlines – If you’re lucky enough to be one of the six U.S. cities where Porter flies, it’s definitely the way to travel to eastern Canada. Their business model reminds me a lot of Southwest Airlines – emphasizing the short-haul for really great bargain prices. But, after touring their office at Billy Bishop Airport, I walked away impressed by the fact that they treat every single passenger as if he or she was in first class. Take the Airport Lounge for example: it’s free and available to all departing passengers. You get free wireless internet access, free coffee, tea, soft drinks and snacks. You get work stations with iMac computers. And you get super comfy chairs in a modern, clean environment. Then, you board the flight and get all of the same amenities. They had me at NO MIDDLE SEAT. But, then they said COMPLIMENTARY WINE AND BEER on every flight and I was sold!

Visiting Porter Airlines

What’s so fun about driving to Porter Airline’s office? You actually get to drive your vehicle onto a ferry and be transported across water!

3) The chef’s table at Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square – It’s a hard life but somebody’s got to do it. The restaurant I was walking into when I shot that photo of the CN Tower, was at Hotel Le Germain. We went upstairs to a private chef’s table where we met with representatives from Porter Airlines and five notable local journalists and proceeded to have one of the best meals of the year. Chef Jay Tanuwidjaja personally served a multi-course wine-pairing menu which left us all speechless.

The chef’s table at Hotel Le Germain

4) The Rooster Coffee House on Broadview – I admit I drove past this charming little neighborhood coffee joint three times before I finally saw it. It blends in with all of the neighborhood homes and has just a modest little rooster symbol over the door. I was so glad to find it though because it is what a coffee house should be. It’s the kind of place that serves the coffee in real mugs and makes beautiful little designs on top of your coffee … sometimes too beautiful to drink. They also serve pastries and cookies and sandwiches. The back of the coffee shop has an area where you can play board games or read books. I was there to meet a journalist and she had chosen the location. I could see why. This place was cozy and obviously popular. It was full of people who apparently were just there to take in the atmosphere. I didn’t actually get a photo of this place. The closest thing I have is of an electric street car which passed in front of the coffee shop.

A cool electric street car

5) Driving the BEAST – On our second and final day in Toronto, I was on my own to drive around town for a series of individual media appointments. All I can say is thank God for GPS. It’s one thing to drive in an unfamiliar city. It’s another thing to drive in another country (hmmm…what are Canada’s driving laws?). It’s still quite another thing to drive in a huge Yukon, so large and beast-like that I had to hoist my 5-foot, 4-inch body into the thing by grasping a bar above the driver’s seat. Sure, I felt safe. Cars actually got the heck out of my way when I approached. But, I had no sense of how much space I needed to park, back-up, turn…you know….drive. I am proud that I survived the day with not a single scratch on that thing. Here’s Theresa, our VP of Tourism, standing next to THE BEAST. I think she is an inch or two shorter than me (and she fearlessly drove that thing like nobody’s business):

The Beast and Beastmaster

When I found out that Niagara Falls is only about one hour and 45 minutes away by car, I vowed to myself that one day I will return here. I’ll fly Porter Airlines, rent a beast, go to the top of the CN Tower and then drive to Niagara Falls. That is definitely a future blog post!

Toronto, Canada


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. janettesjournal
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 06:52:05

    Great post and love the photo of the CN tower 🙂


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