My Summer In Canada - Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

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Travelling is something I've wanted to do for quite a few years now. Seeing people on Instagram going on adventures all over the world made me...not going to lie...a tad jealous. The one thing that was stopping me was fear. Fear of getting on a plane alone after only flying once before. Fear of being responsible for making sure I have accommodation. Fear of putting myself out there alone if no one was able to come with me. But I can happily say that no longer bothers me and I now only want to go exploring more.


This summer I spent 9 weeks in Canada and it was one amazing summer! A big chunk of it was spent working at a summer camp, but I was lucky enough to be able to explore Canada a bit before and after. Before camp, I had a few ideas of things I wanted to do, but for after camp I kept my schedule open so I could possibly plan things with people from camp.

Toronto

So what did I get up to? Well I spent 4 days in Toronto, one was filled with orientation, setting up a bank account etc...but the other days were much more fun. As I needed to pick up a few extra bits, I took that opportunity to explore the city whilst doing a bit of shopping and can I just say, I love the grid street system! Seeing as I didn't use public transport (because why do that when you can walk everywhere and see everything?) it made navigating so much easier! Day 3 was a trip to Toronto Islands which were just lovely. After walking 40 minutes to the harbor, I hopped on a ferry that cost $5 and wandered the islands for a good few hours. The houses on Ward Island were so cute, it felt very snow white like. Then the ferry ride back, wow, the view we had of the Toronto skyline was beautiful!

Toronto Skyline from water

Toronto letters in city


On the fourth day I took a trip to Niagara falls, because you can't go to that area and not see a huge destination such as the falls! I opted to take the bus which was around 2 hours and from the bus station it is about a 20-30 minute walk to the falls but it's a lovely walk. Before I flew to Canada a family friend told me that from the American side, you feel the falls and from the Canadian side you get to see it's beauty and she wasn't wrong! Of course, I had to go on a boat ride because although they were amazing to look at, I wanted to get up closer to them. That was a fun experience, I was trying to keep my plastic coat thing over my head, whilst taking photos, with water all over my glasses at the same time as being in awe... But it was definitely worth the trip! Yeah it wasn't the cheapest of days, but one that I'll definitely remember.

Niagara falls from Canadian side


After camp, a few of us stayed at a friends apartment and chilled for a few days, after a busy summer. But we also used that time to take another day trip - to Elora Gorge through Parkbus. As the past few days in the city had been so hot, we dressed for what we thought the weather was going to be like...then we got soaked on the way to the bus stop because we opted for no coats. But luckily the day brightened up as we explored the cute little town of Elora then headed to the national park which was around a 30 minute walk down the highway. Can I just say that as we were walking, I kept thinking to myself, I feel like I'm in one of those movies were a group of people all with their little quirks, not really sure if they are going the right way, but knowing it's all part of the travels. Anyway, we ended the day with some pub grub.

Elora Gorge, exploring the woodland

Ottawa

Short but sweet. We only stayed in Ottawa for one night but had an evening and morning to explore. After going to jail...aka the hostel which was a former jail...we headed straight out to get pizza then watched the light show on the parliament buildings which happens every night at 9pm. It was actually very information and interesting as it talked about the history in Canada - which I realised I knew nothing about.

The next morning we had a good few hours before catching the bus to Montreal so decided to see the city in daylight. We didn't venture too far from the center because we didn't want to risk being short for time.

Parliament buildings in Ottawa

Ottawa river

Montreal

Montreal was beautiful. Instead of a busy city, I'd describe it as a homely city. By the time we arrived it was nearly dinner time so with food being the priority, strolled the streets in the evening then the next day was when the real touristy stuff began. On day 1 we ventured into old Montreal and practically spent the whole day wandering round that area. We visited the notre dame basilica which was so beautiful! (I'm not going to post photos of the inside because I don't really like doing that of sacred places). We also stumbled upon a full on Christmas store! Yes, that's right I said the C word in September. My friend just so happened to capture the moment I saw the store...

Streets of Montreal

notre dame basilica Montreal

Streets of Montreal


Day 2 was a bit of a rainy day but none the less, we headed out (at first with no coats how stupid of us) to have a nosy in vintage shops and cute little homeware stores in miles end. Then, as we were pretty wet, changed back at the hostel before heading to a cat cafe that was round the corner. I repeat a cat cafe! I have wanted to eat at a cat cafe for so long and let me just tell you I was sat there the whole time smiling with pure happiness. To top it off, the cafe was vegetarian with many vegan options as well - which was fab. That afternoon, as one of the group has a love for museums and art galleries, we decided to take shelter in the art museum which I actually thoroughly enjoyed. Although, I couldn't help but look at the middle aged art without thinking about classical memes on facebook...oh social media, how you've affected us.

Montreal skyline

Day 3, and for two of us, our final day in Montreal. As the the other two girls were changing hostels, we all packed up our stuff and headed to the new hostel in the morning. Then around midday we began making out way to Mount Royal, it was pretty darn warm that day but when we got to the top it was worth the view and it was such a nice way to end the exploring part of my trip - as all that was really left to do was travel. On the way down we had some great laughs, not just about our past week together, but about the whole summer. Then as the evening went on, food was eaten and goodbyes where made as the group parted.

Group of girls travelling

The 36 hours without sleep...

The journey home was a whole other adventure. The group parted at 10:30pm on the 26th as me and Brittany were getting the night bus back to Toronto - because you know, saves on paying for another night in a hostel, just sleep on the bus...or so we thought. Our bus was leaving at 12:15am so we got to the station nice and early, had a snack, plaited hair and what not. Then time passed and the station didn't get any busier so we checked the tickets and we'd only gone to the wrong station! With the time being 11:50pm we ran to a taxi (of course it felt like he was driving super slow) and managed to get there just as they were loading onto the bus. But we were at the back of the queue and so we ended up with the left over seats. I got the fun place of upstairs, back row in the middle...I couldn't lean on the strangers next to me and couldn't recline the seat so I sat eating oreo's and snapchatting friends from back home for 6 hours.

Arriving in Toronto at 6:30am, nothing was open yet and to say that I hadn't had any sleep I was surprisingly energetic. So off through Toronto streets we trudged with backpacks and suitcase to find a Starbucks because 1.free wifi 2. we were probably going to need the help of coffee at some point 3. our friend wasn't awake to dump the bags yet. Of course it wasn't open so we chilled on the streets for half an hour. We probably looked a bit of a mess but to top it off as we were on our way to our friends, a guy asked if we had slept in the park last night...

The adventure didn't stop there. I needed to head out to close my bank account, where I found out there was a problem with my money and needed to go to the branch I opened my account at, which just so happened to be closed. So on the hunt we went and ended up at the opposite end of the city from where our friends apartment was and both running on no sleep. But hey, we had some delicious vegan waffles in between that (which you may have seen on my Instagram).

Once that palaver had happened and a few hours had passed...it was sadly time to say bye to one of the closets friends I made a camp and yes tears were involved and I was walking the streets, getting the subway and train with tears in my eyes. I didn't want to leave Canada.

Still with no sleep, I got to the airport, went to the wrong terminal, split bits of burrito down me then again ended up with a middle seat that I just couldn't work out how to recline and the earphone jack was partly broken...I probably managed about 1 hours sleep on that flight because I can't remember seeing a chunk of Harry Potter that was playing. But on my next flight, despite getting a stiff neck, I got another hour. Safe to say when I got home, I was over tired and hyper as hell! Then slept 15 hours that night...

So that was my Canadian adventure.



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