Thursday, October 29, 2015

Happy Halloween

The Lakeview Farms
The combination of a pumpkin patch and a miniature train intrigue me, it tickle my fancy. So, on an ominous Saturday morning, we headed six miles north and about nine miles west to see The Lakeview Farms. It was the first time for me to see a pumpkin patch, let alone you can ride a train and a sternwheeler for that matter. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

To Montreal with VIA

Union Station - Toronto
From Toronto to Montreal, we took the Canada Rail or in short VIA. The ride is smooth and on time. But to get around the Union station is a bit of a mess, I had to familiarize with the place a few days before we actually board the train just to make sure. One good advice that I received was look for the train number and do not look for the destination. Even the concierge gave up on explaining the available map.

Casa Loma

Casa Loma, Toronto
We were disappointed with Casa Loma, to begin with the sun is in the opposite side of the Casa (house) and taking a picture of the whole house is almost impossible, but if you want to take silhouette, then it is perfect. Secondly, there is no washroom other than inside the Casa, Pokie needs to use the facility but she has to pay an admission fee? Give me a break. The ticket is Can $24.00.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tang Ren Jie (Montreal Chinatown)

Tang Ren Jie - Montreal
This time, I tried to find my “long lost uncle” to no avail in Montreal-Chinatown, it turns out that his name is “Wai Ran Wei”, no wonder he is gone missing. This Chinatown is not as impressive like its counterpart in Toronto, but nonetheless it has two Chinatown Gates where in Toronto, it has none. Tang Ren Jie literally means “Tang People Road”, usually this term is used outside China. I hope you enjoy the tour with us, I will send you the summary links soon.

Croix du Mont-Royal

Croix du Mont-Royal
We are winding down on the tour of Montreal. We did not make it to the cross the first time we went to Mont-Royal. It is a good thing to have an extra day for the purpose of going to the places that we miss or to the places we like to re-visit such as the French bakery that Pokie loves so much. This time around, I was a bit smarter and get off on the second bus stop closer to the cemetery and walk to the Chalet then to the cross without the hiking the trail that we went the first time to the chalet.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"We ate our souvenirs"

Famous Poutine of Montreal
“We ate our souvenirs”, that’s our motto these days when we travel, especially when travel light except when we drive the Wanderlust. In the past, I have a habit of buying a mug every time we make a stop. Now, we have so many mugs we do not know what to do with them. In this website, we found so many wonderful foods and drinks and I like to share these with you, I hope you are not hungry at this time, a few of Toronto’s and many of Montreal’s. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Parc Olympique de Montreal

Parc Olympique de Montreal
Parc Olympique de Montreal, the landmark site of 1976 summer Olympic games. One of the greatest athletes that came out of this event was Bruce Jenner, or is it Catherine Jenner now? I am confused; let’s leave it at that. From our hotel we just take the Green line, since it is hard to hear in French what is the next stop is, I just count the stops – 9. We arrived at Station Viau. The site also is housing the highest incline funicular. We did not take the ride, just enjoy the site and walk around.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Parc du Mont-Royal

Parc du Mont-Royal
I heard that if you have not visited Mont-Royal, you have never been to Montreal. So we make it a point that we visited this park. The official name is Parc du Mont-Royal. From our hotel we took two buses to get here. I was too anxious to get out, so we made it to the east observation. It took a bit of a hike to reach Chalet du Mont-Royal, I lost count how many times I say “Excuse moi” to get the direction. At the end we made it, but we were too tired to see the cross, but we made it on our last full day a few days later, that website is coming up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vieux Montreal

Rue Saint-Paul, Vieux Montreal
This is Vieux Montreal or old Montreal; it is just around the corner of Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. We walked east from the basilica, but we are kind of disappointed with the place, one of the biggest reason is we have been to Vieux Quebec two years ago, which is a lot nicer and better. Nonetheless, this spot is a tourist destination of a “must see spot”, so here it is the best that I can capture the scenery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Montreal Metro - Rubber-tyred

Montreal Metro System
Getting around Montreal is not difficult at all; the key when taking the Metro (subway) is to know the final destination and the line color. When taking the bus, you need to have “Plan Des Reseaux” from STM (Montreal System Authority), it has every bus lines printed. When in doubt, just ask! My highlight, and I had been wanting to experience is the subway, because it is RUBBER-TYRED. Amazing, but I heard it costs more to operate, it has a higher acceleration and a shorter braking distance. This subway runs every five minutes, it seems forever compared with Toronto subway, which runs every two minutes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal before the crowd
Welcome to Montreal. This basilica is one of our highlights of Montreal. When we know the operating hours, we decided to come when the doors open. So, before 8:00 AM, we were there at the entrance, we also enough time to take the outside fa├žade, with one eye on the watch; we also keep looking at the basilica door. Because of the popularity of this church, an admission fee is charged at Can $5.00 per person, a small price to pay to be able to enjoy the beauty of the interior. It is truly magnificent.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Toronto - Chinatown

Spadina Avenue, Chinatown, Toronto
This should be the last on the series of websites about Toronto. Welcome to Chinatown, the land of a long lost uncle. At this place Pokie finally found him, his name is “Yu Hai Ding”. Got it! Toronto Chinatown is on a huge Spadina Avenue. I am sorry if I took the streetcar photograph one too many, but I can’t help it since this is part of Chinatown scenery. Next week, I will start sending you Montreal, the sites that we visited,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Commonwealth Lake Park

Commonwealth Lake Park
Sometimes we ignore places that are close by either by not knowing it or there will always time to visit soon mentality. This Commonwealth Lake Park falls into the first category. I never know it existed and it is only less than five miles from our house. When we got there this morning, the light rain has just stopped, giving me time to walk around the entire lake, which is just 0.8 mile long. Really, I was feeling like a kid in the candy store, snapping pictures left and right. I consider the lighting to be soft and perfect for such occasion. Come on, I will take you for a short walk.

Distillery District

Distillery District - I "Heart" You
Welcome to the Distillery District, this is an old brewery factory that turned into a hip place, sort of happening. It has many galleries and restaurants. We try to save our “feet” from walking too much, so we had been waiting and waiting for the bus that never came. Remember the Murphy Law says, as soon as we walked a block the bus came, so we boarded, but we had to get off in just one block due to street construction…we laughed so hard.

What do you know, just before we arrived at the district, the street corner was cordoned off due to the aftermath of a high speed chase, it took three police cars to stop this criminal. It was fresh news for that afternoon; the Toronto Star covers the incident. Read the story (I included the link), I took the picture from the opposite angle.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Yonge-Dundas Square, an urban jungle

SE corner of Yonge-Dundas Square
From the Farmers’ market, I will take you back to the “urban jungle” namely Yonge-Dundas Square. I believe this is an equivalent to the Times Square in New York City. Many “happenings” are in this square; it is also a “Hop-on-Hop-off” for some tourist buses. We then explore the “Urban Eatery”, here you can find from Falafel to sushi and in between. Pokie found a Mediterranean-eating-place that she likes a lot. From there we explore the underground shopping mall that stretches one long block from Dundas Satation to Queen Station – Eaton Centre. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

St. Jacobs Farmers' Market

It rained when we got there..
Back to Toronto, on our last day, my high school buddy and his wife took us to St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. OMG. Not only you can find the freshest fruits and vegetables, this place is a photographer’s paradise when it comes to the natural colours (Canadian spelling) contrast. Of course the weather decided that it needed to send off some Oregonians, so it rained when we got there. We also found fresh apple fritter, the line is long but it moves fast. Yummy…

Monday, October 12, 2015

My morning walk

My retirement bench
It was a foggy and misty morning, the clock says it was almost 10:00 A.M., so I decided to take my morning walk. The leaves are turning, it is a good opportunity to snap some pictures of the beginning of the fall season. With the camera around my neck I snap pictures as I was walking toward Walgreens to get Pokie’s prescription. I did not take the usual route, instead I walk around the pond and climb stairs and walked through the library which I thought it was open, I was given a one-way out.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Montreal as I see it.

My first impression of Montreal
There are still a few websites about Toronto, but I want to share this “Montreal” with you first since some of them are funny and hilarious, you can call HELL from this particular phone booth, and one driver managed to park his/her car on the sidewalk, my first impression of Montreal and some of the beauty that I found around the city.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Greater Toronto Transportation

Islington Subway Station
“Greater Toronto Area” is a very large metropolitan; I am dealing with at least two transportation authorities namely Mississauga (miway) and Toronto (ttc). Our home base is in Mississauga, so to accomplish the transportation need, I have to get GTA Weekly Pass, good from Monday through Sunday. One week pass is now at Can $61.00, a decent price to pay considering you can go anywhere for one week. We really got a full use of the pass during the week.

Monday, October 5, 2015

St. Lawrence Market

Front Entrance
This is the second full day in Toronto; I made an itinerary to see St. Lawrence then Distillery district later on in the afternoon. We like to go early and be home before 6:00 PM, just before dinnertime. St. Lawrence Market reminds me like Pike Market in Seattle. This market is meat and cheese lover paradise; we found Greek bagel and Vegan spicy tofu to take home for dinner.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Centre Island - Toronto skyline

Toronto skyline by Pokie Lie
The plan is to see two things in Toronto each day, but visiting Centre Island requires more than half a day. So in the afternoon we just visited Chinatown for refreshing bubble teas and to buy meals to take home. We were very lucky that the weather is cooperating with us, no clouds, and just plain blue skies throughout the day, although it was a bit hazy toward the afternoon hours.

CN Tower

CN Tower or Tour CN in French
This is the first day we are on our own. We took a bus, subway and walk to the CN Tower or Tour CN in French. CN Tower is located just went of the Union station and on the way there I was able to do some “train watching”, I have never seen so many trains in one place in my life, it is a treat for me indeed. Enjoy, I hope you are not afraid of the height.