Toronto – Tip Toe to Toronto

So, I get up at 6am.

I’ve been lazy the last few days, and I need to catch up on blogging. I haven’t been going to bed with Bec in the evenings either because I’ve been blogging about the day, or I’m being a sped and generally staying up late.

For those who are single, this generally isn’t the done thing, just FYI. I said to her that I would go to bed with her and get up to blog instead of spending the evenings blogging. Everybody wins.

So I do that four a couple hours, and the morning seems to power on by. Aunty Jen comes down stairs and with that massive smile she embodies, asks “So what are you going to do today?!”

“Oh. I dunno ay” <– My go-to line when someone asks me what I am doing while on holiday.

“Well, the car is free for you to take if you’d like?”

I can’t remember whether it was Bec’s suggestion or hers, but nevertheless, Toronto it was. We decided that we would check out the other half of the city, as when we caught up with Ben, we kinda only explored one side of the city. Plus, there were a few spots we wanted to check out.

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The 401

Ok. So anyone who has lived in a city, and more so, has had to travel into the CBD for work on a regular or daily basis, will understand. There is usually that one or highway that nobody wants to take because it will induce a stroke to at least, but not limited to, 73% of the population. It will cause collisions, back up the whole city, make men cry and babies weep. In Toronto, that highway is called the 401.

I have experienced this a few times already. BUT! It wasn’t the congested traffic which was the issue that did the damage this time… It was the signage. Now, were not in the French part of Canada, so it wasn’t the wording of the signs. It was the colours. So, Drew and Jen have been super generous while having us at their place. There is no way that we want to abuse that at all. The last thing we want is to take their car through a tollway.

I would like to think that they would tell us if we passed through a toll, but I doubt it. So, we are happy to take the longer way around to avoid it. Now, in Melbourne and Sydney, the green signs above the roads are just a highway right? But! This is where is gets tricky, you don’t want to find yourself passing under a big blue sign, cos that means that city link or e-way are going to take the liberty of a couple bucks. Sometimes more than a couple bucks.

Naturally, those bucks are bucks that we could spend eating food we haven’t eaten before, so that’s my preference. So, we have loaded up the map of where we are going, but being that we don’t have data on our phones, we are just pulling into ol’ mate Tim Hortons, or Maccas and bludging their wifi to plot the next part of our route. We will then screen shot all the major points in the journey and then reference the map that is loaded up on the app, and the pictures we’ve saved of our journey.

We’re cruising along. Have had to slow down a couple times for traffic, but being that we left at 11am, were pretty much sweet. Haven’t really had any issues. We’re getting pretty close to Toronto, just cruising along the green-signed highway, when all of a sudden… There is this monstrous blue sign overhead.

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There is no warning.

No reason for it.

And as yet, no cameras to record our plate.

This is (kind of) a good sign.

I don’t wanna be driving into Toronto all on a Tollway, so I pack it in and take the next exit. After exiting, we see a Tim Hortons only a block away. I pull a really shady maneuverer and slip into the lane I need to be in. Bec hops into Tim’s to workout another way we can get to where we need to go.

I’m delighted to see that she’s already on her way back out after only a minute or so. I’m not delighted to find out that the reason she is on her way back is because this Tim’s doesnt have wifi. It has to be the only Tims in all of Canada that doesnt have wifi, and when we needed it most, Tim’s wasnt there to catch our fall.

We had faith in you Tim Horton.

The next 15 mins was followed by blind guesses as to where the next Tims might be. Being that there is 3,468 store locations, I didn’t think it was going to be that hard.

It was.

We find and pull into a shotty corner store Tim Hortons and we cant get the wifi going. This is a joke. We deliberate on this for probably 10 mins until we actually get the bloody thing working. We plot our route, and we are away again. The only issue is that the route leads us directly back onto the tollway that we didn’t want to be on. I cautiously follow Bec’s directions, and the highway that we jump back on is all green signs again.

Like… What is going on?

Just as we are at the turn to get back on the highway, we spy this chick(?) on a granny scooter, obviously with some form of disability nearly KO this guy and his kid. She fully doesn’t care and just keeps rolling. She’s got her energy drink with a straw in one hand, so she pulls over to have a swig, lights up and had a quick bash of the durry and hawks a massive lugey and spits it on the footpath and keeps rolling like the seasoned veteran she is. Bec and I cant believe our eyes. This is a sight to behold.

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Our specimen

Anyways….

I keep my eyes peeled for any overhead cameras, but nothing so far, as we cautiously make our way to the Brickworks. The scenery is stunning. There is this beautiful bridge that spans the valley, and we just end up following the signs to this old brick work factory. Its pretty much awesome.

They have taken this old building, and from what I can gather, they have turned it into a hub for education on sustainable and eco-friendly living. Its an amazing place to check out. I would recommend it. As per usual, the gift store there is awesome. They have got a leather wine holder which straps on under your bike. How dope is that? Canadians do gift shops really well.

We chill out, and eat the leftover pizza for lunch (and it is equally as delicious), we sit and eat and eavesdrop on a job interview happening next to us. Don’t judge us. You know you’ve done that too. And then, we are off to explore. We check out the old brick kilns, and man they are amazing. This huge massive shed just loaded with these bricks that they would just cook for around 36 hours (after they had pre-cooked them to they didn’t explode), and its all on these rollers and carts.

Some dude, who was called the grease man would have to walk on top of the furnaces and make sure everything was always lubed up. These are hot bloody furnaces, and he’s walking all over them. That is mental.

We just wander the grounds, and test the ponds to see how frozen they are. The answer is, not enough. There are a few little snowy paths that you can wander and explore around the place. They have blended old buildings with modern design and architecture so well, and it is a testament to beautiful environments everywhere. So we just kinda wander all through the grounds. It is a cool blend of tranquil gardens, community development hub, education centre and night market. Unfortunately, as dope as the markets looked, we didn’t get the chance to hang around, as we needed to head back home before the traffic got bad.

We drop into the cafe, and these guys look like they do an Ok. Coffee, so I step out and give them a try.

I do not regret it at all.

It is amazing.
Actually, the best coffee I have had in Canada yet. 10/10.

We head home, and I am watching the signage like a hawk. We cautiously pass through a few toll road signs, which I am a bit dubious about, but I cant see any cameras, so we just keep moving. It takes us FOREVER. There aren’t even any crashes. Its just stupidly bloody slow. Its the sort of slow that is so mind numbing that you start singing along with the top 40 (I’m sorry everyone) with the most variety in accents that you can imagine and create.

It’s the 401, Canada’s most hated road.

We finally get home, and we tell Drew and Jen about the whole highway signage saga over the succulent butter chicken that Bec whipped up.

Nobody had a good explanation for the signage. It doesn’t mean that its a tollway. I dunno, Canadians must have just got really tired of seeing green and felt like a bit of a change or something? It seriously has baffled me.

Turns out that we wasted a good hour or so for no reason at all. Haha. Next time, just risk it for the biscuit.

 

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

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