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I think it is a rite of passage for every family and/or couple that lives on the eastern seaboard to hop in the car and take a road trip up to the majestic Niagara Falls. I vaguely remember going as a child with my parents and sitting during our eight hour car ride as my dad told me about his family road trip with his parents and siblings when he was a kid. On our trip, we visited the American side where you can practically stand over the crest of the falls, and then we journeyed over the Rainbow bridge to be behind/beside the Horseshoe Falls.
A trip to the falls is a memorable thing but honestly it could get a bit boring if you don’t switch up the routine. So, when my boyfriend and I decided to take a road trip for our 2017 Labor Day weekend we chose to also take a visit to Toronto to round out our visit to our friendly, northern neighbor.
Taking a road trip is a special thing. It is a time when you can really connect with your loved ones and just leave the world behind or better yet, explore the world together. So, I thought we’d take it back to the days before Netflix on your cell and I made sure not to retreat into my own little tech bubble. Luckily, we have similar taste in music so it wasn’t too difficult. We stopped by Cracker Barrel for pancakes which is an absolute must on a road trip, and we quizzed each other on American trivia with Brain Quest. Honestly, it was one of my favorite road trips ever.
But, I digress.
Niagara Falls is marvelously majestic. I can’t explain the excitement rumbling through us as we saw mist floating up and out of the canyon. We struggled to drive through the tourist-filled streets and check into our hotel. Finally, we headed out with our Orlando theme park ponchos in hand and trekked our way over to the Journey Behind the Falls attraction. I remember as a kid being so mesmerized by watching the falls pour down ahead of me as I stood 150 feet below the turmoil above. Watching the same look on everyone’s faces including my boyfriend’s was part of the magic of the visit. We’re not often overwhelmed by the wonder of natural occurrences. But, when you’re faced with something so much bigger than yourself, it is hard not to be in awe.
After watching the falls from down below for about an hour or two, we finally headed back up above and made our way back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest for our trip to Toronto the next day.
After eight hours, an hour and a half in the car is a piece of cake! We were really curious to see what Toronto was all about, especially after hearing its comparisons to our hometown of New York City. After finding a great parking garage ($5 for 12 hours), we hoofed it on foot for the remainder of the day. Our first stop was to Graffiti Alley.
Toronto has blocks and blocks filled with amazing graffiti art. Some of it is pretty dark. Some of it is bright and cheery. Of course, I took photos with the hearts–if you know me, you know I love hearts. This wasn’t the typical graffiti you see on the side of the highway. After our impromptu photo shoot, we walked through Chinatown over to Kensington Market. Kensington Market is this great outdoor market filled with little shops and restaurants. After stuffing our faces with burgers and dessert waffles, we made our way over to the beautiful Harbourfront.
At the waterfront, we stumbled upon the 20th annual Hot & Spicy food festival. It was a really great experience. We got to hear this amazing blues band perform. We just sat on the grass in the sun and let the soulful music wash over us. When it was time for the music to end, we walked a couple more blocks to pick us up some Beaver Tails. Beaver Tails are a fried dough delicacy that are shaped into a beaver tail and topped with whatever spread you prefer from hazelnut to vanilla with oreo crumbs.
All in all, our trip to Canada was really special. We bonded, we ate, and we saw some magical sites. Road trips to (and in) Canada never seem to disappoint. So, if you’re in dire need to get away from it all and you don’t have much dough in your wallet or time on your hands, steer your glance up north. I promise, you’ll have a memorable visit that’ll stay with you for years to come.