Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Science And Stairs And Squares

On the Saturday of our first weekend in Toronto, we met up with our friend, Mike, and his son, Will, to go to the Science Centre. After about half an hour, I realized, the Science Centre is MUCH better in small chunks as opposed to all at once. Unfortunately, a small chunk was not what we had planned for this day. Ooops.

We started out by looking through all the special telescopes above. They each gave us a different view of the sun. That was really cool!
We spent about four hours at the Science Centre discovering all sorts of different things, and the only way we could get the kids to leave, was to promise them that we'd go back sometime. As I said above, it really is better to discover it in small chunks.

On Sunday morning, Dave and I took our first Uber ride downtown where we had plans to climb the CN Tower. A couple of times a year, you can walk up it to raise money for charity. We were part of the World Wildlife Fund climb.
We weren't allowed to carry anything with us -- bummer :( -- so I don't have any pictures of us at the top. However, we walked up the 144 flights of stairs in a little over half an hour so we were pretty happy with that. What surprised both Dave and I was how tired out our lungs got. We had to take breaks to catch our breath. I expected my legs to be sore, but that was not the case.

Then we headed back to our friends to pick up Sam and Rachel and our stuff. The kids were really excited about eating a hot dog from a street vendor so we picked up hot dogs and ate at Yonge-Dundas Sqaure. It reminded me a bit of Times Square in New York and I'd love to explore here a bit more.
While we waited for our bus home, Sam and I read, and Rachel and Dave snuck up on us from the stairwell. It was very surprising!
And then we were finally home. It was a really fun, but incredibly exhausting weekend, and I was glad to sleep in my own bed again. But we had a really good time and can't wait to explore more of Toronto.

Disclaimer: What with our recent trips to Toronto and trying to finish up blogging about our trip last summer, I realize the blog seems a little travel focused right now. I promise you we do stay at home most of the time, and in the next few weeks, the blog will be a lot more focused on real life. The way things worked out, we ended up spending five out of nine days in Toronto and I am more than ready to just stay home for awhile now.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#tbt: We Had A "Superior" Time

One of the most unexpected treats of our trip home was our stop in Terrace Bay, Ontario. We basically stopped there because I wanted to dip my toes in Lake Superior, and there was a sign saying, "beach."
Terrace Bay was such a fun little place to stop. We definitely enjoyed getting our feet wet.
You can tell we all enjoyed the break from the car.
We had planned on making this a quick stop but then we discovered we could climb a lighthouse. Can you see Dave, Rachel, and Sam at the top?
We ended up eating lunch here and just enjoying a couple of hours in this cute, little town. I was just glad that no bears ended up visiting while we were eating. Yikes.

And to make this a legit #tbt, here's a picture of me in Lake Superior almost ten years ago, from when Dave and I moved from Waterloo to Edmonton, and drove out west. I look pretty much the same, right?! Hahahaha :)
August 2007

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Adventures In The Big City

A few years ago a friend of mine posted about a trip they did to Toronto using only public transit. Ever since then, I have been dreaming about doing the same thing. We were originally planning on doing this over March Break but then I got sick so we put it off until a couple of weekends ago.
We had to wake up at 5:30 to leave our house by 6:15. We walked to the train station and caught the GO Train into the city. The kids were total troopers this whole trip, especially on the early morning walk in the snow flurries (in April, thank you very much).
Once we got to Union Station, we needed Starbucks to recuperate. Rachel cracked me up with this very grown up pose.
Our friend works at Google so he let us store our luggage at his office for the day, and he invited us for lunch. It was really fun!
There is an indoor PATH which allows you to walk all over downtown Toronto while staying inside. We got lost a few times but it was much warmer than being outside so we didn't mind.
Sam wanted to spend his birthday money so we headed to the Eaton's Centre, a big shopping centre in downtown Toronto. I loved this "Canada" wall at Indigo. We also checked out the famous geese!
After lunch we walked to TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) to check out the digiPlaySpace. Our friends told us about this and we enjoyed it so much. It it twenty-three digital installations which we got to interact with. Sam, especially LOVED it.
This domino game was a lot of fun to play.
Rachel and I enjoyed petting a fox, as just one of the things we could "do" in this installation featuring some of Canada's National Parks.
Sam really enjoyed programming this computer...
... and we want to make drawbots (a wireless drawing robot) for the school science fair.
We all enjoyed trying to figure out this logic light board.
Sam really liked this interactive story.
And to be honest, so did I!
And we had (too much) fun flight painting with a flying ball of light.
Finally, Rachel and I had a lot of fun walking the red blue carpet in advance of the Smurfs premiere which was happening that night!
To end off our exciting day, we took the subway to our friends' house and got caught in the stink bomb attack. Thankfully, we were two stations away when it occurred, and so we ended up getting off the subway and walking for a bit to avoid the station where it actually happened (which was on our original route).

I will never forget being so crowded on the subway that all I could see of Rachel was her face looking up at me. The kids thought it was a great adventure, and Sam commented quite loudly, to the amusement of many around us, "I've never been on the subway when there's been a stink bomb before!" I hope it's an experience we never repeat.

So that was the exciting beginning to our adventures on public transit.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

#tbt: Still On The Road

This is another #tbt to our road trip this past summer. I'm going to take the next three Thursdays (or so), to write about our trip home. This post takes us from Saskatoon to Sault Ste Marie, ON (minus our stop in Terrace Bay, ON which gets its own post). This is a distance of about 2,200km (1,400 miles) so the fact that this post only has sixteen pictures is pretty good :)
First of all, we said good-bye to the beautiful flatness of Saskatchewan. The sky is so amazing when you can see such a huge expanse of it.
You know that I couldn't not stop at the World's Largest Coke Can. After a nine hour driving day, I was wishing it was real. Ha! This is in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. (If you want to follow our route, check out the map here.)
We stopped for the night in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I was really excited to meet my friend, Jodi, the next day. She and her wife, Alicia, invited us for brunch. We also got to meet their adorable son, Felix. Jodi was one of the people I hoped to meet someday in this post, and I'm so thankful it worked out.
After we left Winnipeg, we basically spent two days driving around the perimeter of Lake Superior. Northern Ontario is a lot of trees and rocks and lakes and rocks and trees.
 Rachel took this picture at one our rest stops.
There was a big exhibition (a fair type thing) in Thunder Bay, which we didn't know about, and all the hotel rooms were booked. We ended up getting the last suite at Lakehead University. The kids LOVED it. Dave and I were just thankful we didn't have to drive any further.
I've written before about Terry Fox. This monument, just outside of Thunder Bay, commemorates where he had to end his Marathon of Hope.
Some of my favourite parts of the trip were when the kids did this! Hahahaha!
Since we spent so much time driving around Lake Superior, you get lots of different views of it.
You may have heard of a somewhat famous bear named Winnie-The-Pooh?!? Well, Lt Harry Colebourn bought him on the way to fight in World War 1. He bought him in White River, Ontario which was on our way. All these pictures were taken by Rachel :)
And this is one last view of Lake Superior, as we were driving into Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. We had just finished two hours of driving with "no services." Yes, there was absolutely nothing for two straight hours. Except for rocks, trees, and lakes, of course.
You don't realize how large your country is until you spend three days driving and make it across about one third of it. I'm so thankful the kids were excellent travelers, even if we did end up sleeping in university dorms :)