Falls, A Thousand Islands, Home of the Habs and the CN Tower (Canada)
Visited - November 2016
Location - Niagara Falls & the 1,000 Islands Archipelago, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto, Ontario.
Our trip across Canada began taking in the mighty Niagara Falls, before meandering through the 1,000 Islands archipelago, enjoying the food and hockey in Montreal before heading to Toronto for a trip up the CN Tower.
We made our way to Canada aboard a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 from Hong Kong (direct to Toronto). We arrived in the evening and jumped straight into our hire car and headed south to the Niagara.
Niagara (& The Falls)
Of course we really were only there for one thing, but based on what little experience we received of the town itself, that was probably a good thing. As you would expect for such a tourist mecca, there is not a lot of refinement nor originality. The food doesn't really deserve a mention, nor the accommodation.
But, the Falls themselves, are of course one of the worlds great landmarks and will be on most peoples sights to see list at some point of their lives.
We understand its well accepted (and we probably concur) the Canadian side is the best location to view the Falls, particularly the largest, most impressive of the three individual falls that make up the famous landmark, the Horseshoe Falls.
For those who truly want to get up close and personal with the wall of water you have three options from the Canadian side ...
The first is the look out in front of the Table Rock Welcome Centre where you can genuinely experience the power, and depending on the wind, enjoy a relatively subtle mist.
The second is aboard the Hornblower boat, which will approach, slightly alarmingly, to the base of the falls themselves, literally drenching all aboard brave enough to remain on either of the outside decks. The Hornblower is obviously Canada's answer to the arguably more famous Maid of the Mist from the US side (actually I believe it has replaced the Maid from the Canadian side). From what we could see, the Hornblower (there are multiple as are there Maids) are newer, larger boats, though both take pretty much the same route and both take you to the base of the falls.
The third is Journey Behind the Falls. This is a network of tunnels that pop out right next to, and directly behind, the wall of water.
On the way out of Niagara, our first stop was breakfast at the "world famous", as the staff reminded us several times ;), Blueline Diner. The Diner, and attached Memorabilia Shop, are owned by former NHL player, and current NHL Legend, Marcel Dionne. As Aussies, we were sorry to say we hadn't heard of Marcel before our arrival for breakfast, but those in the know can expect to see him sipping coffee and chatting with his guests (we didn't ask the autograph etiquette). As for the Diner, now this was true, hearty Canadian fare. Eggs anyway you like 'em, bacon (Peameal of course), ham, bologne (we didn't see that coming), and sausage options ensure you will get your morning protein. Of course, "Home fries" come with everything, and more than you could hope to consume (we hope). We guarantee you will leave very satisfied and you won't need lunch till late.
(Note for coffee snobs, filter only.)
1,000 Islands Archipelago
Getting there is easy, you simply find the 1,000 Islands Parkway, and its an easy 3 hour drive from Toronto.
We arrived at the back end of autumn, and while that means there isn't a lot of activity on the water, it did mean fantastical autumn colours.
Its not difficult to imagine just how much fun is had here during the summer months.
Our first live (Ice) Hockey Experience! Wow, for those Aussies out there, if you are an AFL fan (well if you aren't, you aren't a true blue Aussie) you will love (Ice) Hockey live! And can I just say, if you have seen it on TV, it doesn't compare, you have to see it live before you can judge this game!
One of us loves heights, the other, not so much, but when in Toronto you gotta do it (the CN Tower).