in Canada 1998.9.29 - 1998.10.12
Sep 30th - Toronto
The next morning we hit the road and went into town. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a hotel. Toronto must have been very overcrowded because many hotels were completely booked. Since we couldn't find a hotel which had a room free for both days, we had to stay at two different hotels. It was about half past twelve when we finally got our room for the first day and reserved the room for the next. At this point, we could finally start to explore Toronto.
First we walked to Skydome and the CN Tower. At the tower, we booked a table in the restaurant for the next evening. We went to the harbour and the shore of Lake Ontario. We walked up and down through the downtown and admired the skyscrapers. There are some older-style buildings interspersed amongst them. The result is that they look antique but in fact they are new. On the way to the Ontario provincial legislature at Queen's Park, we saw a squirrel - a black one and it wasn't scared. In the park in front of the parliament building we began to realize that this squirrel was nothing special - there were hundreds of squirrels running through the park and climbing the trees. And they didn't care about the tourists. Most of them were black but there were also brown and grey ones.
Just a minute atfer we crossed the college ground I found out that there was no film in my camera - aaargh. Lucky for me - I was able to re-photograph some of the pictures I had taken the next day.
The first thing we had to do in the morning was - change hotels :-(
Afterwards, we hit the streets again and continued to explore the city. We went to the lake shore again, and to the main shopping streets as well as two big malls. We visited the castle "Casa Loma" and wandered through some neighbourhoods like Chinatown, the Annex and Queen St. West. It was fascinating to see the environment of the city changing just a few meters away from downtown. No skyscrapers, just small coloured houses, totally different kinds of people and the atmosphere - as if you are in another world.
In the evening we had a dinner at the CN Tower. We took a ride on the sight-seeing elevator to an altitude of approximately 360 meters (the tower itself is about 550 meters in height, that makes it to the tallest building in the world), to reach the 360° rotating restaurant. This restaurant does a whole turn in one hour, so that you have an ever-changing view. Last but not least we had a great meal, which was the perfection of this wonderful, unforgetable evening. After dinner it was dark outside and we could admire the city lights of Toronto - fantastic.
- Toronto to Killarney
The 2nd of October was the first day of our round trip through Ontario. At 9 o'clock we picked up the rental car right in the center of downtown. At first we thought it might not be good idea to start driving right from the heart of the city but the straight streets and the symmetrical layout makes it very easy to find the right way, although there was heavy traffic. The best thing about it though, is that if you miss a turn, you just take the next one and drive along the parallel road.
Just 25km away we made our first stop - at Black Creek Pioneer Village. A living museum village of the time of the pioneers. During our walk through the streets we imagined the funniest thing about it very quickly. Each house has people in it who are related to it -like they are in the business (baker, cobbler ..), so that they can tell and show you everything about it. A further stop was at Parry Sound, this is a part of Georgian Bay with many tourist activities.
By late afternoon we finally arrived at Killarney Provincial Park but there was not enough time to do more than drive through because we still had 67km to go to reach Killarney Village and the road was very rough.
After we reached Killarney and checked in, we just took a short stroll through the village. Killarney looked like a ghost town because many shops and restaurants were already closed for the season.
- Killarney Provincial Park
Our first destination in the morning was Visitor Information in Killarney Provincial Park at George Lake. There we bought our day permits for the next two days and a map of the park. We also found some information about different short walks in the park.
We tried the first one immediately afterwards, the Cranberry Bog Trail. This trail is about 4 km long, starts near George Lake and shows you some of the finest landscapes in the park. On this trail we saw some nice lakes and lots of colored trees and a few squirrels, the animals we were going to see most in Canada.
After the trail we spent some time at George Lake and decided to go on a canoeing trip there the next day.
Another trail close to the Visitor Information Office is the Granite Ridge Trail, 2km which lead you to an outlook It is a bit more strenuous to climb up, but your reward is a fine overview of Georgian Bay and some nice views overlooking endless downs filled with colorful trees.
In the evening we walked along the Killarney Channel which connects Georgian Bay and Killarney Bay. In Killarney Bay we found a nice rock to sit on and watch the sunset.
- Killarney Provincial Park
The Outfitter opened at 9 o'clock, so we had a nice long breakfast and made our sandwiches for lunch. We arrived at the store at a quarter past nine - but - a note on the door said, " Today we open at half past nine".
After a little thinking, we decided to go into the park while we waited for the store to open. We drove to the Chikanishing Trail, and did this 3km walk which leads you to the shore of Georgian Bay. This trail is really great. On the way to the Bay you reach several great outlooks. You have to climb many rocks and after some time you reach the lakeshore. The way back is way easier and shorter, most parts are equipped with wooden plants to walk on.
After this hike, we finally got the paddles and the key for our canoe.
Just about lunch-time we put the canoe in the water and started our paddle-tour on George Lake. This Lake is very big, but it has many curves and edges, so you cannot see it while you stand at the shore. Now, as we paddle through the lake we can get a real idea of it's actual size. The landscape is very beautiful and we make a lot of stops on the shore to enjoy the peacefulness...
During this we once again see some squirrels.
Oct 5th - Killarney
Unfortunately, it is already time to leave the Killarney Provincial Park and head for our next planned destination - Algonquin Provincial Park. This park is very popular and famous for it's moose-watching opportunities.
Because we arrived at the West Gate very early we bought a Vehical Permit for the day and walked along some short trails. Whiskey Rapids Trail (2km) and Hardwood-Lookout Trail (1km). The leaves have mostly already fallen here and the colours of the Indian Summer nearly gone.
In the evening we took a short paddle from our Lodge on Hay Lake during the sunset.
Oct 6th - Algonquin
Today we planned on doing a full-day canoeing trip into the Algonquin Park. In the early morning we drove to the East Gate and bought a map. Equipped with the map and our sandwiches we took the canoe and paddled across Hay Lake. Unfortunately, it was very windy and we decided to turn around after a while because the water was very rough.
Instead of the canoe trip we walked along some trails in the park hoping to see some wildlife.
First we took Booth's Rock Trail (5km) which leads you to two small lakes and a wonderful overview above Rock Lake. We also walked along the Lookout-Trail (2km). On this trail you get - as the name says - to a lookout point, and the Spruce Bog Boardwalk (1,5km) through two small bogs and the Beaver Pond Trail (2km), which explores two beaver ponds. We saw some birds and some squirrels again.
Oct 7th - Algonquin
This was the only rainy day we had during our two weeks in Ontario therefore we did not do very much . We took a short walk near the lodge, where we got wet feet very quickly. On the way back we saw a very neat little chipmunk, it was sitting on a stone and looking at us. Then it stood up and observed us. Deciding that we were not dangerous it went back to eating the nut it was holding. Later we drove to Whitney and did some shopping.
Oct 8th - Algonquin
Because we had not yet seen a moose up to this point, we got up very, very early and made our way in the park before sunrise. The time between sunrise and two hours later is said to be the best time for wildlife-viewing...
We arrived at the park at the crack of dawn but were not able to see any moose all the way back to the lodge.
After breakfast we hit the road again and made our way to Ottawa, the next destination.
We arrived in Ottawa in the early afternoon, explored the city center on foot and did some sight-seeing. This town looks much more like a European village, than like a metropolitan area in North America. Many buildings are built like well-known European buildings. For example, there is a castle, parliament buildings with a belfry, which looks like Big Ben, and small cobbled streets...
Oct 9th - Ottawa
In the morning we took a stroll through the city of Ottawa and walked to Nepean Point, an outlook point, where you can see the city center and the whole area around the river. This river - the Ottawa River is the border between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. In Ottawa we saw as many squirrels as in Toronto, on each green there was a group of them.
Afterwards, we drove in the direction Niagara Falls. We didn't want to drive the whole route in one day, so we made an overnight stop in Peterborough. This was the nicest B&B during the entire trip - Armor Road Studio B&B. Very highly recommended!!!
Immediately next to the house is a nice biking / inline-skating trail, which leads to the city center. The rest are fields with small ways to a little hill with trees, very nice for a short walk. In front of the house is the river and they have a neat sign saying "Squirrel Crossing".
We decided to take a short walk to the forest, where we reached the shore of the river and saw some very nicely-colored trees - which still had all their leaves and could be admired in their full-colored beauty here.
In the evening we had dinner in the city.
Oct 10th - Peterborough
to Niagara Falls
It didn't take us very long to drive from Peterborough to Niagara. In St. Catharines, we took our first scheduled stop. At Port Dalhousie, situated at the shore of Lake Ontario - this old harbour village still remains like it was many years ago. You will find the oldest carousels in Canada there and the price is still the same: 5 cents.
From there you could "see" Toronto very, very, very small on the other side of the lake. Just a few kilometers to go to Niagara.
First we parked the car at the B&B and walked towards the sights. Of the course the first thing we saw were the American Falls from the Canadian side of the gorge. We then left Canada and entered USA via the bridge over the canyon. Here we had a close look at the American Falls, with a nice rainbow in the mist and then from above - at the observation tower. Also we saw a little piece of the Horseshoe Falls very close, but you can't imagine their form and power from the US side.
After an ice cream we re-entered Canada.
Oct 11th- Niagara
One whole day to explore Niagara Falls. First we went to the Table Rock House. From there you can have a close look at the Horseshoe Falls. We entered the "Journey behind the Falls" afterwards. You discover two "sights" from behind the falls - where you see nothing but huge amounts of water.. - and a platform beside at the feet of the falls, where you can sense their immensity and power.
Next we headed toward the Skylon Tower and caught a sight of the falls from high above. From here you have the best opportunity to see the horseshoe form of the falls.
Then it was time for the IMAX-Cinema with a movie about the falls and a display of Niagara Daredevils - risk-loving people who tried to show that they can master the falls. You'll find some of the barrels which people used to "swim" over the falls. Kayaks and boats from Daredevils who drove through the rapids and much more. After the movie about some history of the falls we visited the Table Rock House again to see the rainbow.
In the late evening, after dinner, we had a look at the light show, because every evening - when it is dark - the falls are illuminated with many colors.
Oct 12th - Niagara
Falls to Toronto and flight home
Today, we have to head back to the airport to catch our return flight to Germany.
On the way from Niagara to Toronto we made a short side trip and visited Niagara-on-the-Lake. We spent some time at the shore of Lake Ontario at the place where the Niagara River meets the lake.
Nevertheless, we reached the airport very early and still had some time to wait there.
Oct 13th - Return
We arrived in Frankfurt in the early morning.