26 May 2009

Quick Update

I am no longer in Toronto. My return to Los Angeles today was miserable - partly due to a cut-rate purser on the United flight from Toronto to Chicago, and partly because of the knowledge that instead of flying from a hellhole to a sane place (often the case with my past United flights, especially when flying out of Amsterdam or Indianapolis), I was going the other way. California upheld Proposition 8 just as my flight (a 767 that was only half-refurbished) was descending over San Bernardino; it's definitely a far cry from the Province of Ontario, the first North American jurisdiction to legalize gay marriages.

I wasn't able to do my final blogging in Toronto due to my hotel Internet connection ($12/day) being cut a few hours early. While Pantages was a great hotel with a lot of personality, I'll certainly be looking elsewhere on my next Toronto visit. Instead of taking a cab to downtown ($120 roundtrip after tips), it'll make more sense to rent a car, book a cheaper business hotel (Hilton Garden Inn or similar, with free Internet) close to the airport (possibly the neighboring city of Mississauga), and park the rental car at a park-and-ride lot before taking the subway into downtown Toronto. With a car, I'll also get to other great places in the area - Niagara Falls and the Wine Country, London/Hamilton, and even Ottawa (it'd be a major stretch). Plus, even within Toronto, driving seemed to make some sense in most areas outside the downtown core.

Another idea: I will try renting a bike next time, due to Toronto's flat terrain and a large cyclist population. Nice to see miniskirted fashionista cyclists (just like Europe, never in the US) for a change!

My final Toronto day consisted of a visit to Casa Loma, a cruise of the harbour (and a one-hour visit of the islands), a quick tour of the Distillery District (whose gentrification is still ongoing and it's not great yet), and a return to Queen West - the farther west points of Queen West that are still eclectic and independent (rather than the older Queen West, east of Bathurst and closer to Yonge, that is now more corporate). I ended up doing some shopping at Eaton Centre - while I went in looking for a pair of dressy boots, I ended up with a very nice black mini instead (as my existing ones are showing signs of wear).

Photos and details coming soon - I have yet to get home (I've been at work since returning).