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DiverseCity

The Tour Starts Here!

The Tour Starts Here!

I really like Canada.

It’s easy to see why people want to live here—heck, I could see myself living in Canada.

Friday I took advantage of the free tour of downtown Toronto offered by the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement District. I forget the name of my tour guide, but she confidently announced at the start of the tour that we were her first tour and, in fact, we were on the first tour ever. I doubt her on both counts—especially when at one point she let it slip that usually she discussed something at this point, but that we had already covered it.

As free tours go, it was adequate—that is to say, it covered the topic and I learned information that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned, but some of that information was of suspect value—like, for example, the fact that the Eaton Centre, in addition to being Toronto’s largest mall, is Toronto’s second most popular tourist attraction after the CN Tower.

Again the free tour, sponsored by the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement District, so the fact that the AMC movie theatres are incredibly comfortable and a great place to catch a movie in addition to eating a meal was mentioned.

We then ducked around the Yonge-Dundas Square (“Toronto’s Times Square”) and over to Bond Street—being cautioned that we were about to cross some areas that weren’t tourist friendly. “Tourist Friendly” is apparently code for chain coffee shops, electronic billboards, and no homeless people.

No Windows on City Hall

No Windows on City Hall

After pausing in front of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, we looked at a branch of the Bay Department Store, and then stopped at the Church of the Holy Trinity, which I diagnosed as being open to the public after our tour guide thought it was closed. Honestly, it’s a very nice church and well hidden in its space behind the Eaton Centre. It’s not a huge structure, but rather an intimate Anglican church.

From there it was a couple blocks to look at the front of a spa (the best one in town), and then back to our starting point.

I’d give it four stars out of a possible 5. The tour guide’s inexperience wasn’t a factor. She had a crib sheet and was able to answer the questions as they came up. The tour loses points because it’s a bit too commercial. The goal of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement District shouldn’t be to tell us about the Sears Store, but instead to engage us in the history and make us want to explore more.

Trinity Square

Trinity Square

Since my hotel is right in the neighborhood, I ended up walking back to my hotel, pausing to buy some post cards, and then stopping in a neighborhood restaurant for a late lunch.

All-in-all a nice midday pause.

Back to the grindstone.

5 comments to DiverseCity

  • I’m glad to hear you’re having an excellent adventure in Toronto, a city that I’ve only experienced through their airport.

  • Oh Adam, my father would have a few things to say to you:
    Ya get what you pay for
    and
    There is no such thing as a free lunch

  • @CQ: Thanks!

    @Snooker: Your father is correct–although the high school economics teachers in Colorado had that famous German word as its slogan: TANSTAAFL — which is close to your father’s second saying–There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

  • Just curious: did the tour guide point out the old neon sign from the now-defunct “Sam the Record Man” on Yonge? 🙂