Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: OLA: Loving Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara, Ontario!

Monday, August 20, 2012

OLA: Loving Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara, Ontario!


Bill and Carol relaxing at Raymond and Marissa's penthouse balcony
with a view of the Toronto skyline...Highlight of our Ontario Visit1
There are four equally exciting faces to the province of Ontario: a government hub, a unique rural town, a modern metropolitan center, and a top tourist spot. It was an unforgettable week in this part of Canada.

Changing of the Guards at Parliament Hill every 10 AM
Ottawa, the Government Hub
the river view of the Parliament in Ottawa

I had not included Ottawa in our itinerary and Bill questioned that. So we decided to make a small diversion and spend a day there. And are we glad we did! Ottawa is the government hub of Canada. At Parliament Hill one can witness, every 10 AM, the colorful changing of the guards like they do at Buckingham Palace. The fine architecture and beauty of the government edifices on the hill give Canada the aura a well-governed country.

the Canada War Memorial in Ottawa
 Close to Parliament Hill is the Canada War Memorial, a fitting tribute to all war heroes, from WWI to the present. I commented to Bill, and he agreed, that the memorial is beautiful and perfectly sized…not gigantic nor puny, just right. At the back of Parliament Hill is the Canadian Centre for the Performing Arts, an iconic glass-accented building with the surprising spider sculpture at its back. And across the street stands the beautiful Basilique de Notre Dame.

Carol and her play spider...in front of the Canada Performing Arts Centre
Carol and the big mosquito
Lakefield, the Rural Town

We were camped at the Galvin Bay Resort in Lakefield, Ontario. Bill had fun at the Thursday Farmers’ Market, bringing home a huge round loaf of cornbread, a dozen excellent chocolate macaroons that didn’t last long, and a jar of chipotle hummus. Coming into town he spotted a house with three huge wooden mosquitoes fashioned out of tree branches and wood, promoting their tree services. And we were floored that, only about 20 miles from the campground and still at Peterborough County, is the highest lift lock in the world. We even chanced upon a cruise boat lifted up and brought down!

the highest lift lock in the world, lifting a river boat, in Lakefield, Ontario
the imposing Toronto City Hall
Toronto the Metropolitan Center

With a population of 2 million in the city proper and about 9 million in the SMSA, Toronto is Canada’s biggest city. It offers everything: St. Lawrence Market that almost equals Granville Market in Vancouver, the CN Tower, tallest tower in the world (featuring plexiglass for part of the flooring so one can see through to the far bottom), a public library that features a wading pool and waterfall inside, an ultra modern City Hall, the Hockey International Hall of Fame, an underground city, a Harborfront Centre with a nice boardwalk, and an expo of the 1927 Toronto World Fair together with the Muzik Garden.

Raymond's red BMW convertible, top down!!!
Carol caught in  hockey!
But the highlight of our stay was our visit with Raymond and Marissa Pineda, colleagues from the Institute of Advanced Computer Technology in Manila. He is a partner at Deloitte Consulting, in charge of the business analytics practice area. They now have downsized from an 8,000 square foot home to a 2,200 square foot penthouse on Yongge St. , the longest street in the world, right in the middle of the metropolis. They brought us to a great brunch at the Boiler Room of the dazzling  Distillery District.

Carol with the Star at Toronto's The Beaches
We also spent the lazy Sunday afternoon at The Beaches where an International Jazz Festival was being held. (By the way, Raymond drove us around with his red BMW convertible, top down!).  After this, we went to their penthouse for high tea, more of visiting, a game of squabble, and picture taking at their balcony where the view of the Toronto skyline is spectacular. We also met their children, Dennis and Angelique, talented and good-looking and respectful and affectionate to their parents. Raymond and Marissa, married for 27 years, are highly successful on both the personal and professional fronts.

at Raymond and Marissa's penthouse terrace with a view of the Toronto skyline!
view of the two falls from Prospect Point at the American side
Niagara, the Top Tourist Spot

But a visit to Ontario would not be complete without a stop at one of the world’s best natural attractions, the Niagara Falls. Bill had not seen the great falls. I had twice before, the last one being 15 years ago. So I had not seen the improvements made on the American side, especially Prospect Point that juts out for a spectacular view of the American and Horseshoe Falls together. Even a nice restaurant, the Top of the Falls, has been added to Therapin Point where a commanding view of Horseshoe Falls is available, except when the mist rising out of the thunder of falls is at its peak.

the American Falls from Therapin Point on the American side
Horseshoe Falls by day
But the view of Horseshoe Falls is still best at the Canadian side. At night a great light show on both falls kept Bill and I twiddling around with the camera and tripod settings for hours! Shopping for souvenirs is also great and we found so many nice bargains. Our hotel was also a bargain and the Filipina manager upgraded us to their best room (we came on slow days, Monday to Wednesday) which features the heart-shaped Jacuzzi inside a couple’s room. Too bad our stay didn’t coincide with our anniversary!

Horseshoe Falls by night
We were given the chance to experience the many faces of Ontario. And we feel very blessed. The only thing wrong, the only fly in the ointment?  We couldn’t find a ref magnet of Ontario for our collection! May I just say… the memory is forever etched in our hearts, anyway! So there!
love in a tub at our Niagara hotel