Road Trip: Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Letchworth State Park

I just got back from an amazing trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Letchworth State Park. I’ll break it down day-by-day:

Day One

Saturday morning we left real early to make Toronto by lunchtime, which was had at the St. Lawrence Market.

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Some locals recommended having a Peameal Bacon sandwich from Carousel’s Bakery and a chicken sandwich from Churrasco’s, KILLER!! Seating is very limited in the crowded market on a weekend so I flipped some milk crates upside down and we sat outside and inhaled these delicacies.

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We left room for dessert. I saw a natas and had to have one after my sweet Montreal memories. This egg tart was as good as I had remembered.

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Montreal also introduced me to the wonders of chocolate croissants. The smell of Stonemill Bread had us salivating, and we grabbed fresh hot out of oven croissants and ate the heavenly morsels without remorse.

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We headed to Bluffers Park to view and hike about the intriguing Scarborough Bluffs.

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What a unique place. You have to pay by the hour at this park but it is worth it. Right off the bat we had a real interesting experience with nature. A mix between a squirrel and a chipmunk was making satanic noises and vibrating. It was chasing a real squirrel around the pines, and we got to watch the show for quite some time.

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Then it was time to hit the trails. The bluffs are made of sand and clay and they line the sandy beach of Lake Ontario.

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Although I was unable to catch a picture of it, we saw a Stoat!! It was very exciting.

Dinner was at Lucy Ethiopian Kitchen, and it was fantastic. I ordered the veggie and Jeff got beef and we loved scooping up every bite with injera.

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Day Two

After learning driving in the city is not so fun, we got a day pass for the TTC. On the weekend $11 for two adults gives you access to all public transportation, what an amazing deal! We used the street cars, buses, and subways to navigate through the city in a relaxing manner. Our first stop was to the harbor to catch the ferry to the Toronto Islands. The ferry is only $7 round trip and the ride is 15 minutes, and a pleasure just in itself.

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There are three main islands (that are all connected) to explore. Center Island is filled with people, especially those with children. There is cute little amusement park and a farm here. We walked to Hanlan’s Island to see the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.

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We made our way on foot (although you can rent bikes or canoes) to Ward’s island, the quieter side. On our way stopped by some sandy swimming beaches and took in the sights of Lake Ontario. We smelled the sunflowers.

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We made noises on a cycleatron.

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We crossed over to Snake Island and took in some beautiful views of the city.

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Our hike ended by the Ward’s Island ferry, and we enjoyed our scenic ride back into the city.

There is a power plant which was converted into an art gallery near by, which was something I had to take in, and it was free! The Power Plant had a great vibe outside, there were tents selling goods and a silent dance party going on. Some interesting art was strewn about out there. Inside was rather small and no photography was allowed, but I would say it is a cool place to check out and you can’t beat the price.

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It was nearing lunch so we headed to the Kensington Market, a whole different vibe from St. Lawrence.

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Here you will find lots of street art, vintage shops, and most importantly FOOD.

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Sanagan’s Meat Locker was recommended, I got a divine roast chicken sandwich and Jeff got a pulled pork sandwich and we devoured them. SO GOOD.

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Dessert was at Fika’s, which means coffee break in Swedish. I couldn’t deny another chocolate crossaint, and Jeff got a magic bar. I got their signature cardamom spiced latte which was perfectly not too sweet with fresh mint in it. Yummm, and the place was adorable.

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We headed out to High Park which was fantastic! It is a very diverse park with dense hiking trails,

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a lively zoo,

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gardens,

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and lakes.

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I spotted an egret, a great blue heron, and man beautiful wild flowers throughout the park.

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After a long day in the city we took the 501 street car all the way back to our hotel in the beaches (a lovely little suburb). It is the longest streetcar route in North America and it was a treat to ride in itself, almost like a tour of the city. We had dinner at Le Papillion which was French Canadian cuisine. I tried escargot for the first time it was great!

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Had a delicious crepe with bacon, cheese, apples, and maple syrup. So sweet, so savory, so good.

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We shared dessert which was out of this world. I don’t even know what it was but the guy described it as a big pancake and it was drenched in caramel maple syrup with ice cream. I have been dreaming about this.

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Day Three

After a wonderful time in Toronto it was time to start heading towards Niagara. We stopped in Hamilton to visit the HMCS Haida, a WWII Tribal Class Canadian Destroyer, the last of its kind. It was a self-guided tour and in beautiful condition.

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There is a great little hike down to a whirlpool 2 miles away from the falls. Here you have a view of the aero car above head.

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The hike itself takes you down (and back up) many stairs but along the way you see subtropical plants, and in my case a wood pecker, chipmunk, and tiny snake.

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Being a bird nerd I had to stop at the Bird Kingdom. This was an amazing tourist attraction! There are many different ways to get a discount such as purchasing your tickets online, using a coupon, or presenting a student ID. The facility had three floors on the first you can have an encounter with a bird, aka holding some sort of parrot for a minute. Lots of fun to walk around and look at or talk to the beautiful and exotic birds.

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There are reptiles too. I pet a nice boa constrictor, and Jeff pet a nice bearded dragon.

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There is a small area with nocturnal animals, and bat feedings at certain times. Another room has small birds flying about. The last floor is amazing. It is a huge beautiful area with tall windows and multiple floors and a waterfall you can walk behind.

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Here you will find many diverse happy birds flying about, and you can get real close to them. I was in my glory here!

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Viewing the falls was next on our list, and we took the Canadian cruise called the Hornblower to do so. It is a new boat and the tour is greatly executed. They go out every 15 minutes and you get a twenty minute ride getting REAL close to both the American and Canadian falls, and you get a snazzy complimentary poncho which you’re gonna be thankful for.

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Hopefully you will be lucky and see a rainbow, and a multitude of seagulls and cormorants like I did. What an awe-inspiring sight.

After a quick hop back over the border we stopped to enjoy dinner in Buffalo. Shango Bistro was a lovely Cajun joint. I enjoyed a blackened catfish po boy with some sweet potato fries. God bless America!!

Day Three

We stayed the night in Perry, NY right by Letchworth State Park. The park is known as ‘the grand canyon of the east’ and its Gorge Trail was spectacular. 

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In just a few miles you can view three truly amazing falls, the middle falls being the most magnificent.

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I saw a rainbow here as well!

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We saw many beautiful wildflowers and natural sights in the park such as a fox and a deer.

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Lunch on the way home was in Rochester at Tap and Mallet. This gastro pub has a great patio with a beautiful mural. We enjoyed French pressed coffee, a grilled cheese with tomato cheddar bisque, and a scotch ale crème brulee. What a sweet way to end an amazing trip!!

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http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=0519dada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

http://www.yelp.com/biz/lucy-ethiopian-kitchen-toronto

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=34e9dada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

http://www.thepowerplant.org/

http://www.kensington-market.ca/Default.asp?id=home&l=1

http://www.sanagansmeatlocker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fikakensington

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/on/haida/index.aspx

http://papillononfront.com/

http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/traveldestinations/canada/whirlpool-secret-niagara-falls-hiking-trail/

http://www.birdkingdom.ca/

http://www.niagaracruises.com/

http://www.shangobistro.com/

http://www.tapandmallet.com/

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