By Dee Dixon
Hi, folks. I did it once again, over the Thanksgiving holiday. Explored a city I’d never been to, for four days. Toronto was my choice because it allowed me to set foot in Canada for the first time AND visit Niagara Falls, which is now off my bucket list. It was an intriguing experience.
When I visit a new city, I like to compare it the Queen City, subliminally, that is. I just sort of begin taking mental notes of some of the differences and commonalities, from my vantage point. I was left with the impression that Toronto is indeed much bigger (population 2.8 million), more modern and certainly more expensive than Charlotte – at least in the downtown area. My tour guide said a one-bedroom flat could easily rent for roughly $2,500 -$3,000 a month! Maybe that’s why, although Toronto is known for being one of the most multicultural cities in North America, I saw very few people of African descent downtown. Note: This is pure speculation on my part; however, if Charlotte keeps growing at the rapid rate it is now, it will soon catch up with Toronto. It’s hard to tell whether this is a good or bad thing, right?
I was totally shocked that it wasn’t that cold during my stay! After all, I gave careful thought and much consideration to staying warm and to how I was going to manage the new, big maxi coat I purchased from Burlington for my trip on the plane. Knowing the weather there in winter can drop below -25 C, I was totally prepared. But, as it turned out, it really didn’t get that cold at all. Rats! It was near 50 degrees some days! I was able only to wear my authentic Russian Cossack hat, purchased in Moscow ONCE when the weather was near freezing, just one time.
Anyhow…I did find Toronto’s underground city quite fascinating. I stayed at the Westin, and learned quickly to access office buildings, restaurants, drugstores, grocery stores and all kinds of retail and entertainment establishments by simply taking the escalator down to the “PATH,” which is what this hidden world is called. Get this: You could live your entire life in the PATH, never having to go outside for anything! And, you would never have to own a coat. BTW, 18 of Toronto’s 25 tallest buildings are connected to the PATH.
The view from my room was surreal at night, with all the fancy Christmas lights. I spent several hours just gazing out my window, people-watching. Since my goal was to explore, I did not spend all of my time underground, but learned to walk the streets of Toronto and breathe the air. After all, I was in search of being able to buy something at a REASONABLE price, which was hard to find underground. Everything was so expensive on the PATH! So, after getting lost several times on the streets, I found a store called Winners, a JM and Nordstrom. Thank goodness, I didn’t have to come home empty-handed.
My tour of the city took me to the CN Tower, the largest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere; the longest street in the world, Yonge Street; and the world’s first retractable-dome stadium, now known as the Rogers Center. Of course, we had to drive by Megan Markle’s former abode, since Toronto has bragging rights to having housed the soon-to-be royal. The pinnacle of my trip, however, was Niagara Falls – the second largest falls in the world. It was breathtaking. Imagine, about 12 million tourists visit these falls each year, and on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, Dee Dixon was there. Thank you, Lord.