Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toronto, ON - 18th-21st July (with an interlude to Niagara Falls)

Monday, 18th July 2011
I got into Canada by bus from Detroit, arriving into Toronto around supper-time. I was met at the bus station by friend, and host for the duration of my visit to Toronto, Don Rickerd. Don, who took History at Balliol, before becoming a lawyer and litigator in Canada, was a contemporary of Tom Bingham's at Balliol, played basketball for the University with Ronald Dworkin (and remembers him boasting of scoring the highest ever LSAT over thanksgiving dinner at Holywell), and amongst other claims to fame attended Richard Nixon's inauguration ball where the champagne was served in plastic glasses with Nixon's face on them. That night we feasted on sushi and caught up since the last time we'd seen each other back just before Christmas at a Balliol dinner. The night was late, and, shattered from my day of travelling, I made my way to bed.

Tuesday, 19th July 2011
I'd decided that my brief trip to Canada (through Toronto and then on to Vancouver) would be a small break from the Pathfinders travelling and my project, especially since I wouldn't be staying with Pathfinders hosts. So, most of my time in Toronto was spent doing the 'touristy' stuff and generally sight-seeing and lazing around. After a long breakfast with Don and his wife, Julie, I got a lift into town with Don on his way to work (after retiring as an attorney Don took up a position as a Professor at Toronto University as a Director of its Asian Business and Management Program).

Most of the morning was spent at the Royal Ontario Museum, which houses one of the world's finest Chinese exhibitions and has an impressive dinosaur section.

'The Crystal' by Michael Lee-Chin - Bloor St. Entrance 

Dinosaurs

The morning spent, I met with Don for lunch at his college, Massey College, which was founded in 1963 by the very same Massey (Th. Hon. Vincent Massey) who funded the Massey Room at Balliol and was head of the Massey family in the Massey-Ferguson partnership (for all you farmers out there). The building, designed by an architect friend (Ron Thom) of Don and Julie's, is a fantastic blend of the medieval and the modern.

Massey College - Front Entrance

Massey College - SCR (below) and Hall (above)

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around downtown Toronto and paid a visit to the Art Gallery of Toronto which had a fantastic Henry Moore exhibition. 

Self-explanatory picture, anyone?

After the gallery I met Don and Julie for supper, and then sampled my first taster of the Toronto night-life, visiting a few jazz bars nearby Don and Julie's house.

Wednesday, 20th July 2011
After an early breakfast I set off on my day trip to Niagara Falls. The sun was out, with the temperature reaching 36 celsius at the height of the afternoon. After the long walk from Niagara to the Falls and a boat tour on the Maid of the Mist I settled down for some luncheon overlooking the falls. It was here that I found I got a degree:


A spectacular setting for receiving the news - it's a day I'm unlikely to forget soon.

Thursday, 21st July 2011
Don and Julie had warned me the Thursday was going to be a scorcher - and it certainly lived up to the hype: the temperature rocketed to 37/8 celsius with the humidex sitting at an average of 46 celsius for most of the afternoon. Attempting to avoid the heat as much as possible, I spent most of the morning downtown at the waterfront, shaded by the trees, reading and watching the sailboats, and (after another SCR lunch at Massey College with Don) most of the afternoon hopping from shop to shop getting a number of bits and bobs I'd been meaning to get for a while and hadn't really found the chance. 

Some sushi with Don and Julie preceded some further exploration of the Toronto bar-scene, after which I thought it prudent to get a good night sleep, for on Friday morning I was travelling with Don to their Island in the St. Lawrence River for a few days before leaving for Vancouver.

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