Saturday, 25 September 2010

Canada 4 - Sky Train and a Bar with a View

September 2nd

Time to leave the cottage and Dianne and Dan.  They drove us to the railway station in Kitchener/Waterloo for our journey to Toronto.  It's always sad to say goodbye to friends, but I knew I'd be seeing them both again next year as we'd be back in Canada to see U2.

Considering the twin cities of Kitchener/Waterloo have a population of approximately 320,000 the railway station was tiny!  It was the size you would find in a very small town in the UK, but apparently train travel in Canada isn't a popular means of transport.  We were early so had a bit of time to wait, I noticed the timetable of trains running from this station - three trains heading west and three heading east per day.  Even with just six trains per day, ours was three quarters of an hour late!

The train was quite full, comfortable and, rather curiously, had blue sky and clouds painted onto the ceiling, The train took an hour and a half to cover the 60 miles to Toronto. 

We stepped out of Union Station into the hurly burly, skyscrapers and speed of city life, a bit of a shock after the peace of the cottage!  We knew our hotel, the Novotel Toronto Centre, was close to the station but decided to take a taxi anyway.  Luckily, even though it was only noon we were able to check into our room.  The hotel was lovely and our room modern and spacious. 

I contacted a friend of mine, Catherine, who lives in Toronto and she said she would meet us at the hotel later that afternoon.  In the meantime Glenys and I went to nearby St Lawrence's Market.  A market has been on this site since around 1820 - old for the New World.  It was a vibrant, bustling place, a mixture of stalls selling almost every food under the sun and other stalls selling all kinds of non-food merchandise.  A place of smells, noise, atmosphere.

View of Toronto from the Park Hyatt bar
Later we met up with Catherine and she took us on the subway to Yorkville, the posh area of the city.  And indeed it was a lovely area.  We went to the rooftop bar on the 18th floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel where we had a fantastic view of the city in all directions, definitely a bar with a view.  It was a pricey bar though, the wine was $15 for a small glass - though I must say it was a very good wine.  It was a very hot day again and there was no shade, but thankfully a few clouds covered the sun and the heat lessened a bit.  It is definitely worth a visit for the panorama of Toronto you get.  I'd love to go on a nightime one day, maybe next year!

Catherine was someone I got to know through our mutual U2 interest many years ago, but we'd never actually met until this day.  She was much as I expected, out-going, chatty, funny and good company.  It was really lovely to hook up with her after all this time and I hope we'll get together again next year.

We headed back to the hotel on the subway, said our goodbyes to Catherine and went back to our room for a while.  We were tired and couldn't be bothered to look far for a place to eat, so we went to the handiest, The Old Spaghetti Factory opposite the hotel.  It was what I'd call cheap and cheerful, full of Tiffany lamps, carousels and streetcars - we got a table in the latter.  The meal was good value, (Glenys noted that our three course meal for two with a glass of wine was the same price as the bill for the three glasses of wine at the Park Hyatt earlier LOL!) and okay for the price.  Then it was back across the road to our room and an early night - we had a long and busy day ahead of us tomorrow.


  1. Lovely remembrance, Sue!

    One thing: the chairs & tables at the Hyatt aren't plastic -they're a heavy metal! The chairs have little chair-pads on them and the tables are a thick metal-wire weave (so drinks stay level!).

    Glad you had such a good time. Hopefully see you next year! xo

  2. Thanks for your correction Catherine, funny how memory plays tricks on you! My excuse is that I am another year older now LOL!