Toronto: Our gateway to Canada

Wow, let me just brush aside some of these cobwebs. Oi, tumble weed! This isn’t some western ghost town, get outta here! Is this mouse poo?? Who said mice could move in here??

Ok ok I’m back! And I have good reasons for not having written in a while, most of which we’ll get to later, but for right now let’s talk about Canada. I went there. Yay!

I had a week of not much in between weeks of all the things so my sister and I ran off to the land of the maple leaf. It was a whirlwind week of budget travel which included nights slept on planes, buses, some guy’s couch, a hostel bed, an airport and a bus station (plus little naps where we could get them). Yes, it was exhausting. But, you know, CANADA!

We book-ended our stay in Toronto but, through the magic of editing, I’m going to squish these two days together into one post. What dark magic I wield!

With a layover in Newfoundland (where poutine was eaten and we rode the bus in a circle in an unsuccessful attempt to find the centre), we arrived in Toronto. It was a little crisp but perfect weather to explore with our rather cumbersome backpacks. Without much of an aim we wandered the streets of downtown.

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Everything was pumpkin spiced (I guess because Autumn?). NZ and France are really missing out when it comes to this trend!

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I bought some new shoes (probably not the brightest idea at the start of a walking-heavy holiday but they were cheap so meh).

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Speaking of buying things, one thing I don’t like about Canada is the tax! For the whole of the first day I kept thinking people were swindling me. Every time I bought something the cashier either gave me the wrong change or no change at all. WHAT?? After a while I realized that every time a price is marked it doesn’t include tax. So whenever you go to pay for something you have to remember that in fact you’ll be paying an extra 13%. Let me just say: I AM NOT A FAN OF THIS SYSTEM. Imagine if you go to a restaurant where you have to add 13% tax and then a 15% tip! (Yes, you have to tip there).

So after the Canadian government took all my money, we decided to get out of Downtown for a bit of a Scott Pilgrimage. We headed off to Casa Lomo, a castle up on a hill and one of the locations in the Scott Pilgrim comics/film.

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We also grabbed a bite at Pizza Pizza before winding our way through Chinatown and heading to a pretty cute craft beer place in the middle of the city. It’s called Barvolo which had a really decent selection and a super sweet little terrace.

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From there we jumped on a bus and tried to get some sleep on the drive up to Montreal.

***insert clever segue here***

At the other end of the trip we had a little more time in Toronto before heading off to the airport. With a week of walking and not much sleep behind us, we were keen to find a chill spot to hang out.

Having been recommended a microbrewery a little bit outside of the CBD, we headed there looking for tasty beers and a place to rest our weary feet. And although we had to wait about 20mins for a table, Bellwoods Brewery did not disappoint.

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With a really nice range of their own beer as well as a selection of local brews, we were spoiled for choice. One interesting thing about the craft beer scene in Canada is that, although like New Zealand it has a very heavy focus on IPAs and APAs, unlike NZ there was not a porter in sight. An interesting absence especially since we’re heading into a cooler season. But that wasn’t a problem as I was in the mood for something crisp and fresh as we munched on fries and cheese and bread.

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Toronto was a great way to start our trip, but by far the best was yet to come!

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2 thoughts on “Toronto: Our gateway to Canada”

  1. Bar Volo! Bellwoods! Now I want to go to Toronto…
    I suppose you must have just been a wee bit early for porter season – the dark beers are coming out in full force now.

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