Another year for my ME day and for the year 2016, I spent my ME day in the country of the north, Canada. Few months before it happened, I was torn between two places of where to spend my birthday. It was either Chicago or Toronto. But it ended that I have to choose the latter. There were many reasons why I chose Toronto. Thus, it was easy to prepare an itinerary of my whole trip while in Canada.
First of the many reasons was to fly and check a new international airport for my blog. It would be a new entry under a new blog category which I haven’t had for a long time. I’ve arrived in Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). I explored it and I got to see Toronto’s international hub. Few hours after that, I got settled in Hostelling International Toronto: The Cavern as a HI member.
Second was to have a free and easy ‘O Canada’ trip within the streets of Toronto. The capital of the province of Ontario is worldly known as one of the must visit places. It has been on the list of the most searched destinations in the world in the worldwide web. Thus, it would be a great gift for myself as I turned a year younger that once in my life, I have sat foot in a famous city.
Third, what better to do when you are in Canada? Of course, that was to spend my birthday on a raging and powerful force of water falling from a thousands of feet cliffs. It will never be a complete Canadian experience if a traveler won’t visit the Niagara Falls. Here is how I spent that memorable day.
On the morning of my ME day, I took advantage of a discounted trip to explore the Niagara Falls. It was a bus trip for almost an hour from downtown Toronto. The Boat and Bus company which I got the day tour picked us up in our doorstep at around 0800H but we still have to transfer to a bigger bus since there were a lot of participants on that tour. Along with me in the bus tour were other tourists from different nations such as Brazilian, Americans, Germans, English, Russians, Mexicans and Filipinos. I got to meet a new friend while doing this tour. She was the only Brazilian and we got to talked about her travels. The engine started. We were just listening to the bus driver/ tour guide the whole time while we’re on our way to Niagara Falls. He was hilarious but informative about the country’s history.
At 1130H, we finally arrived in Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is the collective name of three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States, specifically in the province of Ontario and the state of New York. The first waterfall is the Bridal Veil Falls. It is the smallest waterfalls of the three. It is located on the American side and an island separates it from another waterfall which is the American waterfall.
American waterfall in the left while Bridal Veil in the right
American Falls is the second biggest waterfalls in the Niagara Falls. It is entirely located in the United States side. The height of the falls ranges approximately 70 to 110 feet. This falls is viewable head-on in the Canadian side.
American Falls with the Maid of the West boat
Lastly and the most biggest falls is the Horseshoe Falls which lies mostly on the Canadian side. It is also known as Canadian Falls and the most voluminous waterfalls renowned both of its beauty and as a source of hydroelectric power.
We may fall in love with the falls but we should not disregard the river where all the water came from. The Niagara river flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and it forms part of the border between Ontario and New York. Approximately 90% of the river flows over the Horseshoe Falls and 10% over the American Falls.
Niagara River with water heading to the falls.
Niagara River flows over the Horseshoe Falls
In general, Niagara Falls is so massive and powerful that it showed how great nature is. It was one of the best presents I got for my Me day. For tourists who really want to get closer to the waterfalls, you can partake a ferry ride with two companies. If you happen to be in the American side, you can take Maid of the West while if you are in the Canadian side, you can use the Hornblower service.
Maid of the West with blue ponchos
Hornblower with red ponchos
As it had been mentioned a lot of times that Niagara Falls is the border between two great nations, thus, a traveler can see two sides that the falls separate.
Niagara Falls State Park in NY state with the Maid of the West boat tour
But even Niagara Falls lie in between the Unites States and Canada, these nations have been linked through the rainbow bridge. The Rainbow Bridge or officially known as the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge is an arch bridge across the Niagara river gorge that connects both the cities of Niagara Falls, NY and Niagara Falls, Ontario. It is a world-famous tourist site.
Since I was in the Canadian side, I got the opportunity to explore the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Journey Behind the Falls Exhibit Centre
Toronto Power Generating System
Old and Deserted Building in Niagara Parkway, the Toronto Power Generating Station
Niagara Falls view from Toronto Power Generating Station
I went back to the city centre to see what it looked like and it appeared like an amusement park with restaurants, rides, hotels, and more. But I took a bite first in Queen Victoria’s Place.
Queen Victoria’s Place
Queen Victoria’s Place with the Skylon Tower
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Some popular restaurants
Niagara Falls street view
At 1430H, I came back to our rendezvous point and I was reunited with the rest of the tourists from the bus. The next stop was in an old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Cenotaph and Clock Tower in Niagara-On-The-Lake
It is a Canadian town in Southern Ontario where the Niagara river meets Lake Ontario. It is called as the loveliest town in Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake teems with historical plaques, many national and provincial, reflecting its significance in the establishment of many of the province’s institutions. The town has plenty of National Historic Sites in Canada but unfortunately, we only have few minutes to roam around the town.
Yachts in Niagara-on-the-Lake beach
Old castle in Niagara-on-the-Lake beach
Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
In just 25-30 minutes, we headed back to the bus and the operator drove on our next destination which was a wine tasting. We have arrived in Niagara College Canada in just a few minutes.
Niagara College Canada
Niagara College Canada has four campuses with one of it located overseas. We were in the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. The campus is enveloped in an ecological band of wetlands, vineyards and gardens, and becoming a laboratory for the students’ thriving environment and horticulture programs. We spent the time in the award-winning Niagara College Teaching Winery. We got to taste some of their products made, enhanced and studied by the students of the college.
Wines for sale in an affordable price
The sweet and delicious Ice Wine of Canada
Niagara College Canada Vineyard
After the wine tasting, that concluded our day tour and we went back to Toronto. We arrived in Toronto around 1900H.
The day hasn’t ended yet and it was still my birthday. The fourth reason of traveling to Canada on my Me day was to meet a friend who I haven’t seen for a long, long time. We have planned to meet up in Eaton Centre and to have dinner and talk about what we’ve been up to for the last decade. It was surreal to meet your friend again and not in your home country but in a different nation where she considered it now her home. I brought with me my newly met friends in the hostel and we had fun the whole night just getting updated and exchanging about different cultures of different nations.
Dinner at Pickle Barrel with new friends and old: (L-R) Chihiro (Japanese), me, Katharine (Fil-Canadian), and Caroline (Brazilian)
At almost 2200H, we departed ways and called it a day. It was indeed memorable and joyous birthday for me. The next day was my fly day back to the United States.
The last and most important reason for me why I travel to Canada during my Me day was to have my passport stamped that I have been to another country. Through this, it will be beneficial for my coming travels to other destinations that I’ve been eyeing to go.
To sum it all up, my ME day was a success. I met all the goals I have set for that trip and it was without a doubt one of the best my ME days. Next year at 2017, I’m looking on the possibility to cruise and be a Pirate of the Caribbean ;). By 2018 with God’s grace of good health, I’m planning to go to my last name’s home country. Hope it turns out well. Keep on traveling guys coz traveling never ends!