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Our first few days as Canadian Permanent Residents were spent in the lovely city of Toronto. We decided to take this short detour before heading off to PEI so that we could do a bit of sightseeing as well as meet up with friends that we haven’t seen in so long.
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Toronto Airport. It was around three minutes away from the airport and they also had a free shuttle to and from the airport so it was perfect for us and our four pieces of luggage. Plus, the hotel had strong, free wifi and a complete buffet breakfast was also included. Definitely very good value for money.
Of course, the first order of business for sightseeing in Toronto was to go to the famous Niagara Falls. We decided to join a bus tour for the convenience of it, plus the other additional stops the tour made vs. just driving to Niagara only and back. After much research, we booked with Airlink Tours for their 9-hour Niagara Falls day tour for the following reasons:
- They pick you up and drop you off at your hotel (yes, even from an airport hotel)
- The Hornblower Cruise is included in the price
- No credit card payment is required at the time of booking. You can choose to pay by cash or card on the day of the tour.
We booked this tour online when we were still back in Manila and got a confirmation right away. We were told that our pick-up time on the day of the tour would be between 9:15-9:30 in the morning. Fast foward to June 18th, the bus arrived at exactly 9:30 am. We were the last ones to be picked up since the airport is between downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls, but were pleasantly surprised to see that the tour bus wasn’t full when we got on.
It took about an hour and a half drive to Niagara Falls. Our first stop was a helipad to drop off those who wanted to join the optional helicopter tour for an additional fee. The others (us included), were whisked away to the falls for the Hornblower Cruise.
Basically, the Hornblower Cruise is a boat that takes passengers as close as possible to the both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls. It’s really hard to imagine how much water comes down the falls, you really have to be there to understand how majestic it is.
We were absolutely drenched afterwards. Good thing everyone got a free poncho to at least block some of the water.
Afterwards, we had free time to ourselves for lunch. Just across the Falls is Clifton on the Hill, a strip lined with restaurants, stores, and random arcades. You can definitely feel that it was summer since the entire street was full of people enjoying the warm weather outdoors!
On the way back to Toronto, the bus stopped at this charming little town called Niagara-on-the-Lake, which had a main street full of quaint shops and historic buildings.
A couple of other interesting stops were made such as the smallest wedding chapel in the world, and a local winery where we got to taste some wine.
Before we knew it, we were back at the hotel. It was a tiring day, but it was definitely one of the best ways to spend our first day in Canada.
Our second (and final) full day in Toronto was both simple and hectic. Simple because we had planned to meet a couple of friends and hectic because both lived on opposite sides of Toronto.
We made it work though and at the end of the day, we were able to spend some much needed quality time with friends while also getting to see downtown Toronto, an emerging area called Markham and the Square One Mall in Mississauga.
Our flight to Charlottetown was at 8:00 AM, so we had to wake up pretty early to get to the airport. That and our first official day in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in our next post. 🙂
Moving to Canada will be a daunting task for anyone and If there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Alternatively, we’ve also set up Twitter and Instagram accounts, so we can also talk and get to know more about each other there.