After Pembroke, we headed to Deep River and spent the night there (more on that later). The following day, the weather was a little bit better, albeit chilly. We drove to Rapides-Des-Joachims, a small village located on an island in the middle of the Ottawa River.
Browsing: Traveling In Canada
To celebrate the last long week-end of the summer (Labour Day was today), we decided to take a short trip to rural Canada. We hit the road on Saturday morning and followed the bumpy Trans-Canada highway. Our first stop was in Pembroke, Ontario, 150 km from Ottawa.
After a few days in Toronto, we had decided to drive to Niagara Falls on January 1st. I was curious to see the falls in the winter. Because the weather had been relatively mild in Toronto, we had forgotten how cold it really was in the rest of Canada. An hour away from Toronto, it started to snow. In Niagara Falls, it was cold and windy and there were huge chunks if ice here and there in the water.
I will always remember the first time I came to Toronto.
It was in 2002, after our crazy long trip from Mexico to Brazil. I had never been to North America before and I wanted to see Canada, so I flew back to Toronto with Feng. It was February and I didn’t have any warm clothes after a few months in Latin America. The only jacket I had was a thin leather jacket I had bought in Argentina during the Peso crisis. Feng had warned me: it was going to be cold.
In Ottawa, we have the Rideau Canal. In Toronto, local polish their skating skills on Nathan Phillips Square, where the New Year celebrations took place.
Torontonians seemed to have a blast with friends and family as they were skating around the man-made ice rink that covers the square. I wanted to try it, but the queue at the skate rental was huge!
Dundas Square, located at the intersection of busy Yonge Street and Dundas street, is famous for hosting public events. This is one of the busiest intersection in Toronto. The square is surrounded on all sides by gigantic commercial billboards, which is fairly unique (and controversial) in Canada.
Past Chinatown, we ended up in another cute multicultural neighborhood: Kensington Market. The eclectic shops and cafés are stuck between Spadina and Little Italy. We spotted Latino, European, Middle-Eastern and North African small businesses and vintage stores in old Victorian houses.
Toronto’s Chinatown didn’t disappoint me. It was colorful, messy and it smelled of exotic and spicy food. I observed the people attending their daily business: biking around, shopping, cooking and chatting.
In Toronto, most of the party takes place downtown, in Nathan Phillips Square, at the corner of Queen and Bay. There is a small skate rink (small by Ottawa standards – remember, we have the 7.8 kilometers long Rideau Canal!) and skating seemed to be the number one activity.
Heart Of The Country / Where The Holy People Grow / Heart Of The Country / Smell The Grass In The Meadow…
On Saturday, we decided to follow the St Lawrence seaway and to drive from Ottawa to Gananoque, one of the gateway to the Thousand Islands. The Thousand Islands is an archipelago around the U.S — Canada border, in the St Lawrence river. The total number of islands is said to be 1,793 but some of them are barely rocks above water, while some are home to castles and resorts.
After Niagara Falls, we drove to Toronto to attend the R.E.M concert in the evening. We arrived early on a Sunday and it was hot and quiet.
To celebrate the first big heat wave in Canada this year (yes, get over it — I’m Canadian. Half of the year, I complain about the cold, and I complain about the heat the rest of time. We call it the windchill/ humidex complaint here), we decided to drive to Niagara Falls thought the USA.
I had landed in Toronto quite a few time since it’s Ontario’s big hub. The city was my first stop in Canada when we came from Brazil in 2002 and I went numerous time since then. However, I never really had the chance to explore it since I mostly went there during winter time. Oh, and I was broke, too. So I was looking forward to exploring the big city.