Toronto: The Good and the Bad

I was served a surprisingly good hot meal on the train from Ottawa to Toronto, which took four and a half hours, stopping at a few points along the track.

The CN Tower

We arrived at Union Station after 8pm and my hotel was 3 km away, so I took a taxi. When we pulled up next to the address I had given the driver, I was surprised to see it wasn’t a hotel at all but a house, surrounded by numerous other rundown houses. I had a code to key in the entry and a lockbox next to m room, which I was assigned through email. There was nobody to talk to about my discovery of another person’s hair covering the pillowcase on my bed. I looked at the bed sheets but they seemed clean so I turned the pillow over and went to sleep.

Mural near Allan Gardens

The next day I realized there was more hair in the bed, and also mucus! This was after I noticed the residential neighbourhood was full of numerous individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues, so much so that a person passed out in the middle of a garden or on the sidewalk next to their wheelchair was not even noticed by passing neighbours. So I went online and booked a room at the Sheraton in the financial district, very close to Union Station where I had to be early the next morning.

Allan Gardens

While waiting for my nice clean room to be available, I did some laundry (the one plus of the “hotel”), had a Tim Horton’s breakfast, and began exploring the city. It was very hot and foul smelling, with high humidity.

Old City Hall
Film set at Old City Hall

I was admiring the Old City Hall building when I noticed a bunch of protesters on the front lawn. I moved closer to see what was happening and saw two superheroes in capes addressing the crowd. It was only then I noticed the film crew, lights, and cameras everywhere among the front lawn. I’m not familiar with all the comic-based movies that are so popular right now but would be curious to know who they are. The man’s costume was white with a red cape and a gold or bronze medallion while the woman had silver or grey hair with an aqua body suit and dark blue leggings.

Nathan Phillips Square
Hockey Hall of Fame building

The two highlights of my stay in Toronto were: my room at the Sheraton! It was huge, with a king bed decked in down on the 32nd floor overlooking City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. And attending Come From Away at the Elgin Theatre. It was a wonderful bit of oral history brought to life, telling various perspectives of the aftermath of 9/11 with the US air space closed and numerous planes, totally well over 7,000 passengers, being redirected to Gander, Newfoundland. The town found is population temporarily doubled and pulled together to host their unexpected guests for five days.

Come From Away set at the Elgin Theatre

As we left the theatre, a rainstorm was underway. I walked the short distance to my nice hotel room and watched the lightning show from there, dry and warm.

View from the 32nd floor
Nathan Phillips Square at night

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