The first weekend in June I attended TBEX, the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators, in Toronto, Canada. It was my first time to Toronto and I only had three days to explore this fantastic city. Soon after landing, I realized what a mistake it was to have such a short time. It is a fabulous city with plenty of attractions inside and outside of the city that could fill up an entire week with wonderful things to do.
Toronto is an easy flight from Minneapolis taking less than two hours flying time. The airport is relatively easy to navigate however you do have to allow some time for going through customs. I arrived Friday after lunch and had a few hours to spare before the conference began. The first trick I learned was to take the Toronto Airport Express bus instead of a cab to town. For over half the price (40 dollars Canadian roundtrip versus 100 dollars Canadian plus tip for a cab), you could ride in an air-conditioned bus with free Wifi and be dropped off directly outside your hotel.
I arrived at my hotel the Hilton Toronto, checked in and then met up with fellow blogger and Toronto-based writer Kirsten Doyle to get a quick tour of the city and bite to eat. There is something always magical about meeting an online blogging friend for the first time. I’ve known Kirsten through World Moms Blog where we both write and edit, for a little over two years. Kirsten is originally from South Africa and has lived in Toronto for years raising her two young sons. We hit it off right away and had a great afternoon.
With so little time, Kirsten opted to take me to the best site in town: Toronto’s CN Tower. Built by Canadian National (CN) Railway in 1974, the CN Tower held the title of the world’s largest free-standing tower measuring 553.33 m-high (1,815.4 ft) for 34 years until the building of Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower in 2010. Today, the CN Tower remains an important feature and symbol of Toronto’s booming skyline and attracts visitors from all over the world looking to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
Thanks to TBEX, I was able to use an attractions passport to allow me free entrance to the CN Towers. Depending on what you want to do and see, it can get pricey (for fees click here). However, if you are interested in getting the best view of a city than this is the place to go. You can ride up to different viewing platforms both inside and outside the tower. There is also a restaurant on top with a 365 degree view of Toronto.
For those fearless adventurists and extreme daredevils, you can pay up and experience the EdgeWalk “the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 5 ft/1.5 m wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod, 356m/1168ft (116 storeys) above the ground.” See www.cntower.ca for more information and a picture of the EdgeWalk.
I took one look at this picture of the EdgeWalk and decided it was not for me! But I’m sure there are plenty of people more than willing to take a walk on the wild side.
To get to the top, you have to take a very shaky elevator up. It was enough to make my stomach drop and I did my best to not think about the long cables pulling us up. Once you arrive and step out of the elevator, you are on top of the world. The views of the lake and city are spectacular.
If you aren’t too afraid of heights, there are some spectacular views looking down from the glass floors of the tower. You can even walk across it and look straight down for an intimidating glimpse of just how high up you truly are.
Kirsten and I finished our afternoon with an early dinner at one of Toronto’s many outdoor restaurants. Sadly I was too busy talking and enjoying my meal to take any photos! The weekend ended way to fast and before I knew it, it was time to go home. I just got a taste of vibrant, cultural Toronto, enough to tell me that I’ve got to go back. Plus I now have a new friend!