Canadian Niagara Falls and Toronto

Canada > Ontario

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01-03 June 2011

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We are going to Canada for 17 days, and our journey begins here, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL). At the designated gate C32 stands our transport to Hong Kong (HKG) — a Cathay Pacific B777-300, reg.  B-HNJ, operating as flight CX720.
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38,000ft over the South China Sea … ermmm … is that Rolls-Royce? <gulp>
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Typically HKG in summer — hot and hazy.
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One reason why HKG airport is one of the best to me.
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This is the puppy which will take us nonstop over the Arctic, to Toronto, today. Flight CX826, 15.5hrs, CX’s second longest flight, beaten only 30min by the flight to JFK. Reg. B-KPG, Boeing 777-367ER, 3 yrs old, and with GE engines.
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Dang, the friggin’ plane is not doing the polar route today! HKG-JFK two yrs ago, it was over the pole. Bad turbulence over Taiwan and south of the Aleutians. Overall nice pleasant flight, all 15hrs+ of it.
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We cross the International Date Line somewhere here, between Kamchatka and Alaska — at about 4am local time (midnight MY time). So we gain an extra day … I like!
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Deja vu … was on a similar plane to JFK just 2 years ago.
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Over western Canada. I always see this beautiful wavy cloud carpet whenever I reach Canada. Never fails to impress.
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Finals for Runway 23 at Toronto Pearson International Airport YYZ. Most welcoming sight after a 15hrs+ flight. I’m truly a landlubber.
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Indeed that’s Runway 23 @ Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
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Bye-bye, B-KPG @YYZ. Yeah, and thanks, it was not a bad feet-numbing flight.
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Uh-huh, Canada again? Vancouver was my last trip here, many years back. Only touched YYZ when flying from Vancouver to Boston once. Anyway, after painless immigration and customs, we are out in the warm summer evening in no time.
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Hamilton or bust! On the way ‘home’ finally, 60km south of Toronto, in a rental car. A beautiful warm evening fast drive along Lake Ontario. Love the French signage, though.
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It’s 1.15am, so good night from us at Hollywood St. North, Hamilton, ON.
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A beautiful morning today in Hamilton, Ontario. Low teens, blue sky, an excellent day for an outing. We have a Chrysler 200 Convertible for the day.
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Soon we are out of Hamilton, on the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) heading eastwards to the US border, with Lake Ontario to our left. The day gets warmer.
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Just 5 km more to our destination. :)
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We duly park our car, and find the way to the Welcome Centre.
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As I stroll to The Falls, what I initially thought were rappellers practising to summit Everest or something, turn out to be just grass-cutters.
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At the Welcome Centre, even the coke machines are star-struck!
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Past the Welcome Centre into the open, and I’m blasted with water-spray!
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This is the awesome Horseshoe Falls, 800m across. Canadians would like to call it Canadian Falls, but since this end is in Canada while the other in US, let’s stick to Horseshoe. Stand here and you’d be doused by the water-spray in no time.
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That’s US territory across the Niagara river, with the 800m-wide Horseshoe Falls to the right. On the left, the lesser American Falls, just 260m across. In the middle, the oddly-named Goat Island. In winter 2008, I was on the other side — it was friggin’ cold and full of snow.
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If you have nothing better to do, go get down close and personal with the Horseshoe. No problem, raincoat provided.
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American Falls, a wimp compared to Canadian Falls, oooppss, Horseshoe Falls, sorry.
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The Rainbow Bridge is a vital link between Canada and US – 290m long, built 1941 to replace a collapsed one. We could have sauntered over to the US but only I have a visa — how unfortunate since the stroll across would have been spectacular. Down below, the base to launch those little boats to challenge the falls.
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Our two kids decide to have a go at the falls, raincoats on. We wise people decide to have coffee on the warm dry terrace and watch the proceedings in comfort.
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That’s the view from our vantage point, looking south. American Falls left, Canadian/Horseshoe far right. Puny human boats in between.
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Across the river on the American side, below their falls, more suckers waiting to be drenched.
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Huge volumes of water take the leap.
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Crashing onto the rocks below with a continuous thundering roar.
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Back from the falls, thoroughly drenched but satisified, I suppose. Hope the cameras, lenses, & phones still work.
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A bit of history and ma’am brushes up her French. :)
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I prefer to do things the easy way and read the English translation.
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Juxtaposing tiny humans on Goat Island with the mighty Horseshoe Falls. A 7-year-old kid actually accidentally fell over, but survived the 50m fall.
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The 5MW nuclear reactor at McMaster University, one of Canada’s best. Controlled fission is so cool, that it’s hot.
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Their medical centre looks like a factory though. Reminds me of Aachen University Hospital in Germany which I visited in the late 80s — google its images to compare.
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Post-rush hour, and we have the whole upper deck to ourselves. It’s a one-hour ride from Hamilton to Union Station in downtown Toronto. Yes, we are doing Toronto today.
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The Toronto commuter train is comfy, looks good inside, handsome locomotive too, but the passenger coaches are quite ugly — look like boxcars transporting humans to a camp somewhere.
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In all my travels, this gets my award as the most beautiful train loo ever. I dare not even use it!
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Great Hall of Union Station, Canada’s busiest transportation hub. Opened 1927, it’s Canada’s largest and most opulent train station. I dunno, but to me nothing beats the European ones.
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Refurbished interior walkway at Toronto Dominion Centre in the financial district — quite well done, the steel structures.
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Above our heads, some really intricate structural engineering in action.

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Around the corridor, a couple of well-meaning cows.

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Dundas Square, the happening place in downtown Toronto. Looks like a poor cousin of Time Square in NYC to me. :)
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Rental bike station in downtown Toronto. With a credit card, you can self-hire one, and return it at another similar station at your destination.
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An ancient company indeed — the oldest in North America, one of the oldest in the world. Started life 1670 doing fur trading, now a retail chain. Talk about business re-engineering.
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From the financial district, I spot a Toronto icon — the CN Tower, completed 1976, 553m tall, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, only beaten by Burj Khalifa and the Canton Tower.

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The imposing modenist twin towers of the Toronto City Hall were completed in 1965. Dunno, but I’m not really a fan of bent buildings.

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Across the square, the venerable Old City Hall, completed 1899, looks dignified even when being swamped by ‘development’.

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That non-descript, red-brick building is actually Masjid Toronto in downtown. From inside you can discern pedestrians on the sidewalk and traffic through the frosted glass walls. Great if the khutbah bores you.
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“Sharpen the Mind. Elevate the Spirit”, cool slogan. Friday prayer is done is 3 shifts: 12.10pm, 1.10pm, 2.10pm. I think the main ground floor hall can accommodate about 250 ppl, another basement hall below slightly less. Let’s assume 500, which means the 3 shifts can do 1,500 faithfuls.
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> THE END

8 Responses to “Canadian Niagara Falls and Toronto”

  1. Yusoff says:

    Loved every pics. Thanks. Any loudspeakers for the mosque?

  2. zulaikha says:

    beautiful pics..

  3. naim says:

    Thanks, speakers just inside, outside none lah.

  4. naim says:

    Thanks, Zulaikha. But you must go to Queenstown NZ first. 🙂

  5. sue says:

    Was there some 20 odd years ago…. bestnyer

  6. naim says:

    Time to revisit, perhaps? 🙂

  7. sheela jayaraj says:

    Hi Dr naim,

    Got to know your wonderful travel blog from your dear wife who is my online stay at home mum grp buddy.

    Just wanted to say thanks for all this wonderful info & amazing pictures you so meticulously taken to share & inspire people like me.

    Looking forward to more of your wonderful travel stories.

    Thanks.

  8. naim says:

    Thanks, I have loads of pics+tales to tell … huge backlog. But pls do return, maybe there are new stories when I finally get some of them done.

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