Date : 26 May 2013
After going to bed at 9:15 local, that’s nearly 24 hours awake, I thought I’d have a particularly bad night’s sleep. I never usually sleep well on the first night in a new bed but the bed I have to confess was very comfortable and I slept like a log.
Unhappy this morning though as the SD card I used to take all my pictures yesterday has become corrupted so I’ve lost a lot of pictures. Rather frustrating as I was trying to back them up to my NAS as it corrupted itself. Annoyed.
The view from our perch on the 34th floor is unobscured by tower blocks and so we can see for miles to the north of Toronto with lake Ontario over on the right. Not quite as impressive as the views from our room in Chicago or for my hotel in Japan but at least it’s not a view into a dark and dingy alley that I’ve had in some places I’ve visited.
Wondering what to do for breakfast. I don’t need much after yesterday and we are eating at the 360 tonight and going to lunch with friends. There is a Starbucks across the road and an Artisan Bakery next door although we did pick up a couple of croissants last night.
Coffee machine is on. Noticed when firtling through the kitchen that there is a dishwasher, a washing machine and a drier hidden away. Could almost live here, well they do call it hotel and residences.
Went for a little walk at about 7 am in a loop north along King Street to St James cathedral snapping away trying to make up for yesterday. Grabbed the first Timmies of the trip. Just as bad as I remember. Turned south on St James Street and then cut back towards Downtown on Front Street and St Lawrence Market. Too early for most things to be open on a Sunday morning but we did stop at a Metro supermarket for some groceries. Good to see a good selection of teas. There were also a lot of people setting up for a car boot type-sale opposite the Market.
Dropped the shopping off and went to recce Union Station. Lots and lots of building works on Front Street and in the station itself. Glad we didn’t choose the Freemont Royal Oak to stay in/ It did take us a bit to find our way into the station and then into the Departure Hall. Very impressive space. Considering the Victorians in the UK built some very attractive an light stations, I’m surprised at how ‘heavy’ the building looms. Reminded me of St George’s Hall and the art galleries in Liverpool. Big, solid stone structures. Saw where the baggage drop was and the way to the business lounge so now know where to go.
We then followed the Skywalk back towards the CN Tower. After everything that we ate yesterday and the fact we’ll be having lunch and dinner today, we need to walk. Quite an interesting walk with some fantastic photography opportunities. One particular shot down a set of stairs to a glass domed walkway particularly pleasing.
Tried to make up for some of the lost photographs from yesterday although didn’t do the trains at Whistle Stop Brewery, will do that tomorrow.
Then back to the hotel to meet Nancy for lunch. Great to meet her and catch-up. Been far too long. Lunch at another Canadian institution: Swiss Chalet: really good food but much better company. Time with Nancy went far too quickly and she was soon dropping us back off at the hotel.
Our reservation at the 360 was for 7pm so we left in what we thought was plenty of time. Got to the base of the CN with 10 minutes to spare, but then we’d forgotten we actually had to get to the top. Luckily mentioning that we had reservations saw us to the front of the queues, much to some other visitors consternation. I did like the fact that one of the staff manning the security puffers loudly explained that as we had reservations we had to be there on time or not get a seat. The way he explained it really did sound like “well, they bothered to make reservations, did you?”. Went into smug mode.
There is airport style security at the base bit I suppose this would be a target. But this is Canada. Home of nice people, shy would anyone want to target Canada? Ho hum, way of this world.
We were given our reservation tickets and again ushered to the front of the queue for the lift to the restaurant. 58 seconds is all it takes at 15 mph to get to the restaurant. Glass floor in the lift showed the ground dropping away below us.
Quickly and efficiently shown to our table. I must say that it is a very strange sensation sitting on a moving platform. The restaurant floor rotates a full 360 degrees every hour. Very disconcerting for the first 15 minutes until ‘acclimatised’ to it.
The views are spectacular and, as it is the tallest structure in Toronto, everything else is below it. A much less built up city than Chicago so you can see more than atop the Sears or Hancock towers. Thankfully it was an awesomely clear evening with not a cloud in sight and so you could see right across Lake Ontario to ???. Watching planes landing below us was strange though.
Food was expensive but very, very good. Wifey had duck confit followed by Cornish chicken. I had calamari followed by steak and Yukon frites (yes chips) and asparagus with a cabernet jus. Really enjoyed it. Waiter was attentive and chirpy. I’d read some reviews that said that people said they felt rushed. I certainly didn’t. Have to admit that the starters were at the table seconds after ordering which did feel odd, but happy with service like that. I have waiting hours for starters. After that the courses came when they came and I did not feel any pressure to finish quickly. We had dessert, chocolate mousse tower for Wifey and cheese and walnut bread for me. The brandy steeped pear was lovely and accompanied the cheese perfectly. Coffee to finish.
Really good meal and stunning views to boot. Definitely a bucket list moment.
After coffee we wandered down to the observation deck where the sunset was drawing a big crowd. But the views did not compare with those from the restaurant. The wait for the lift down seemed to last forever. Wifey hit the souvenir shop in earnest. They have them in Canada a well it seems. She got very excited about pre-stamped postcards. Simple pleasures.
Slow stroll back to the hotel which we arrived at 10:30. Bedtime and tired.