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The Sweet Land of Maple Syrup・メイプルシロップの甘い国・枫叶糖浆的甜美之地

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

After visiting the Philippines, Canada became the commemorable 30th country in my endeavor to visit thirty counties before I turned 30. Toronto, located on the eastern side of Canada is known as the magical land of maple syrup and maple leaves. It was the first time I crossed a land border via car, so the whole experience was quite different from arriving at an airport. You can cross over at either the Rainbow Bridge, Peace Bridge, or Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. It is always a good idea to check the border wait times online. If you don't have an E-Z toll pass, you can still pay with either cash or credit card at a higher rate of 8 USD compared to half. It was amazing because the moment you lay eyes on Niagara Falls, the reality of how magnificent it is hits you. The closer to it you get, it almost seems like you're in the middle of a storm. Being able to visit this iconic landmark was definitely the highlight of my trip. You might imagine Toronto as being famous for Poutine, but it is a beautiful mixture of so many different cultures combined. Just while walking to my first stop, Kensington Market, I heard anything from English, Spanish, Japanese, Afrikaans, Vietnamese, German, Hindi, French, and Chinese spoken. The University of Toronto is also a big reason why so many students make up the population in the area. At Kensington Market, you can find boutique clothes shops, gelato shops, cafes, and small eateries. There are also many Caribbean, African, and South American specialty stores where one can stock up on specific groceries and spices. It was cool to see a lot of Japanese writing on windows. Perhaps the coolest aspect was how the shops were intertwined so that, for example, there was a Chinese restaurant next to McDonald's next to an Indian restaurant. The stores seemed to represent how accepting everyone is of each other’s differences rather than segregating based on cuisine. I feasted on dinner at a Hong Kong-style rice noodle roll specialty restaurant where I enjoyed iced milk tea, shrimp dim sum, beef, and pork rice noodle rolls (a roll made with big/wide flat noodles with a flavorful sauce on top). Since public transportation was not much faster than walking, I took the opportunity to walk around while I was in the city. However, if you do choose to use any public transportation that uses the PRESTO device, fares can now be paid with any contactless credit card. There are countless cool coffee shops around town, so it is definitely worth checking out the ones that appeal to you. I visited several different cafes, and it was fun trying ones that had unique flavors. The café culture in Toronto was infused with a lot of Japanese influence, so it almost felt a little like one of my homes. If you walk down to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the pier, you can hop on a ferry and head to Toronto Island Park. Centre Island is the main attraction to most visitors as it has more things to do. It's only about a 7-minute ride to the other side with the cost being a little over 6 USD for a roundtrip ferry ride. The air was so crisp and clear; a beautiful blue for as long as you could see. If you walk to the other side of the island, you will arrive at the Centre Island Pier and beach, which is beautiful and a nice place to simply stare into the beautiful ocean line. My next stop was the iconic CN (Canadian National) Tower, which is, to many, considered a landmark tourist location. To get to the observation deck at the CN Tower, it costs about 35 USD. I definitely recommend purchasing your ticket online for a certain time slot if you know what time you can get there as the ticket-purchasing line can get super long. Once you get to the observation desk, you will be a whopping 346 meters (1,136 feet) above ground. It is Canada’s National Tower and not only the tallest building in Canada but also the entire Western Hemisphere. Since I love cute bookstores, I stopped at the Indigo Bookstore before dinner at the Artful Dodger Pub. You don't want to miss trying their poutine and a local beer. I ended up getting poutine with some pulled pork and it was absolutely divine. The next morning, I headed out for a short adventure before it was time to head home. Out of the blue, a lady called out to me saying, “Happy Easter!” I had definitely thought she was an odd person upon seeing her, so I did not want to talk to her. Perhaps since I'm so guarded, especially when traveling alone that I sometimes forget to see humanity. It was a nice reminder that conversating and smiling at strangers sometimes makes the world a better place. Maybe we are all losing a part of our humanity when we forget to say hi to strangers who cross paths with us. St. Lawrence Market is the biggest market in Toronto and notable so, there was anywhere from fresh bread, meat, vegetables, sweets, and fish lining the numerous stalls. I made my way through the city visiting another coffee shop and finally having lunch at a yummy Taiwanese restaurant that had Luloufan and hot fruit tea. While sipping on my fruit tea, I was super content and had a smile on my face, not only because the waitress complimented my Chinese, but because I had made it to my 30th country.

Random thoughts:

If you do want to visit a lot of different places while visiting Toronto, the City Pass is a good option. I didn't end up getting it, but it will definitely save you a lot if you visit 3 or more tourist locations.

Put a colored band on your checked luggage to easily differentiate it from other suitcases that look similar. It is also easy to locate if it is lost because you have more details to give when describing what it looks like.

Bring a refillable water bottle with you so that you can refill it at airports and hotels. Pro tip: if your flight originates within the United States, you can go through security (TSA) with your water bottle filled only with ice, then add water to it once inside the terminal.














私はかわいい本屋さんが好きなので、Artful Dodger Pubでのディナーの前にIndigo Bookstoreに立ち寄りました。パブでは、プーティンと地ビールは必食であり、私はプルポークをのせたプーティンを食べ、本当に美味しかったです。

翌朝、私は帰る前にちょっとした冒険に出かけました。そして突然、一人の女性が 「ハッピー・イースター!」と声をかけてきたのです。私はその女性を見た時、少し変わった人だと思ったので、話しかけようとは思いませんでした。一人旅では特に警戒心が強いので、人情を見ることを忘れてしまう事があるのかもしれません。見知らぬ人と会話したり、微笑んだりすることで、世の中が良くなることもあるのだと、改めて実感しました。すれ違う見知らぬ人に挨拶をするのを忘れると、私たちは人間らしさの一部を失ってしまうのかもしれませんね。



もし、トロントを訪れている間に色んな場所を訪れたいのであれば、トロント CityPASSは良い選択肢です。私は結局購入しませんでしたが、3カ所以上の観光地を訪れる場合は、間違いなくお得になります。
















因为我喜欢可爱的书店,所以我在Artful Dodger酒吧吃晚饭前在Indigo书店停了下来。在这酒吧,你不会想错过尝试他们的poutine和当地啤酒。我点了有手撕猪肉的poutine,非常美味。

第二天早上,我在回家之前出门进行了一次短暂的冒险。忽然,一位女士叫住我说:"复活节快乐!" 我在看到她时认为她是个奇怪的人,所以我不想和她说话。也许是因为我的戒备心太强,尤其是在独自旅行时,有时会忘记看到人性。这是一个很好的提醒,对陌生人的交谈和微笑有时会使世界变得更好。也许当我们忘记对与我们擦肩而过的陌生人打招呼时,我们都在失去我们人性的一部分。