A few stops across the border… in Canada (Featuring Toronto)

By M.Swint

Living in Michigan all my life makes me neighbors with the largest country north of North America…..the one and only  Canada. Canada is ruled by the British Monarch A.K.A. Queen Elizabeth, but there is a government in place under the authority of the Prime Minister? Huh?

The Royal Family -Consist of Prince Charles, in my British accent he is the Prince of Wells, and his sons Prince Harry and Prince William, wait a minute, even though Harry is a Prince, I think Prince William son Prince George and his daughter, (toddlers) have more power than Harry? I think ? 😂 please correct me if I’m wrong 😩…..anyway

president-obama-meets-prince-george
President Obama shaking hands with Prince George

 The Royal Family of the British Monarch

If you have never been to Canada, put it on your bucket list.

Visiting various parts of Canada through out the years moves me to describe this country as Clean and Friendly, most people there seem to be very reserved and stay to themselves, but hopefully the Canadians have warmed up a bit since I have been there. Sooooo I’m hoping after you read this information you will be inspired to visit at least one of these cities in Canada.

Let’s highlight a few Canadian cities for some travel insight.

  1. Windsor
  2. Chatham 
  3. Toronto 
  4. Montreal 
  5. Niagara Falls

 

Windsor 

Canada was the first foreign country that I visited, driving into Windsor by way of the Ambassador Bridge or by way of the Tunnel under the Detroit River accessing from downtown Detroit. This was my first taste of foreign soil, but Windsor was just the preliminary part of my exploration of Canada, I wanted to see more. Dating my wife at the age of 19, Windsor was an escape from America where we could go accross the border and play like we were grown ups along with all our friends. No Passports were needed at that time,  just showing your license was accepted .

Back then there wasn’t much for us to do there in Windsor but hit a few clubs, grab dinner and walk along the river front, and of course some of our friends got in trouble in Canada, not me of course 🤓

Windsor Canada featuring the Detroit River and the Ambassador bridge in the background
Windsor today has changed somewhat, with much much more to do. The downtown area being built around Caesars Casino and hotel.

Windsor Ontario Canada

  • Jackson Park
  • Distillery Tour
  • Cultural Tours
  • Adventure Bay Family water park
  • Waterfront

 

Chatham

We Eventually we went further into Canada to the city of Chatham where you will find the activity hotel resort Wheels Inn, this hotel resort became a popular hangout for many of our friends. Wheels Inn featured a tennis court, bowling alley and a indoor swimming pool. Wheels Inn

wheelsinn-1

Toronto 

Another popular area we began to explore was Toronto which is 4 and a 1/2 hours from Windsor. You can either take the drive up highway 401  or you could take the train from Windsor. We did both.

The theater district initially attracted my wife and I to Toronto, we saw Plays and musicals such as : The Phantom of the Opera ; Show Boat and The Lion King

I have had the pleasure of visiting the wonderful city of Toronto about 5 times. However, I am not an expert by any stretch 🤔This city is continuing to grow. Downtown Toronto is definitely the place to be – filled with restaurants, shops and hotels .

As I was writing this article the former mayor of Toronto  who has passed away recently came to mind and the scandal that followed him Mr. Rob Ford. I kinda chuckled when I thought of him because he reminded me so much of the comedian Chris Farley who has also passed away. It is hard to imagine a person like Rob Ford presiding over such a nice classy city as Toronto.

Where to stay in Toronto?

Highly recommend hotel The Royal York owned by Fairmont. With this 4 star Luxury Hotel you can’t go wrong, it’s directly across the street from the train station. Centrally located and in walking distance to the Street everyone is drawn to Yonge Street, this is a Main Street in downtown Toronto.

The Queen at the Royal York

The Royal York Hotel

Another Hotel: The Sheraton Centre nice and inexpensive, this hotel is also centrally located in downtown Toronto where you can take a stroll down Yonge St and you will find many restaurants, shops and more hotels.

  1. Eaton Center mall
  2. Hard Rock Cafe

Where to eat?

One of my favorite restaurants in Toronto is the Marche Movenpick. A restaurant where you go from station to station and pick your own food. This restaurant feature gourmet foods including breakfast lunch and dinner.

Marche Movenpic

Marche Movenpick

Another restaurant that I can vouch for is The fisherman’s Wharfs. If you like seafood this is the place to go for a variety of seafood entree’s The fisherman’s Wharf

 


The Fisherman’s Wharf Toronto

Quick eating in Toronto: The hot dog stands on the streets of Toronto are superb! And deserve honorable mention.

Hot dog stands in Toronto are great. Please try.

The What to do’s in Toronto:

  1. Wonderland
  2. Caribana Caribana
  3. CN Tower
  4. Theater
  5. Ice Skating Harbour Front Centre
  6. China town

 

The Caribana is a festival of Caribbean culture and traditions held each summer in the city of Toronto. The city of Toronto come’s alive around this time of the year with many events to attend.

And look who’s at the Caribana, the one and only Rob Ford, lol

Wonderland is Canada’s Premiere Amusement Park designed for families to enjoy during summer months. This park has many rollercoasters and water slides and continues to grow each year. Wonderland Amusement Park

The CN Tower.

The CN Tower is a skyscraper monument observation tower where you can see all of Toronto. In 1976 it was said that this structure was that of the worlds tallest, now its number 7th on the worlds structure list. If you get hungry when you visit the CN Tower don’t worry, it is equipped with a restaurant 🍽. The cost for the Tower is about $35 for adults and $25 for children. The CN Tower

The view from the CN Tower restaurant

Toronto Theater 

As mentioned earlier, we were initially attracted to Toronto because of the theater shows and musicals. The Phantom of the Opera was at the Pantages Theater. Today the Phantom is no longer in Toronto but you can catch plays like Cabaret and Saturday Night Fever at The Princess of Wales theater. Another popular up and coming musical playing in Toronto is  The Bodyguard starring Toronto’s own Deborah Cox , this musical will be playing at the Ed Mirvish Theater. Toronto Theater

The Pantages Theater
Ice Skating 

Nice downtown feature similar to Chicago’s Millennium Park
Chinatown 

On Dundas Street you will find Chinatown. In this district you will find many Chinese places of business, restaurants and small markets. Very nice area to shop and explore.

Chinatown
The city of Toronto definitely has it all. Highly recommended for the first city you want to visit in Canada.

Montreal

Grammy award winning male vocalist Gino Vannelli  was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec he said it best in one of his biggest songs: When I think about those nights in Montreal – I get the sweetest thoughts of you and me, Those words with out a doubt  rang through my head when I visited Montreal. In this French community, romance is in the air. I will describe Montreal as a cozy and warm city with a lot of excitement.

The city of Montreal is know for it’s Jazz festival: The Montreal International Jazz Festival. In 2004 this Festival made the Guinness Book of world records as the largest Jazz Festival in the world.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival
Gino Vannelli at the Montreal International Jazz Festival
Many Jazz musicians from around the world have came and played in Montreal. Ella Fitzgerald, Pat Metheny, BB King, Bobby McFarren, Ray Charles, Bob James and David Sanborn to name a few

Montreal is also known for it’s cold winters, but no worries if you are not a fan of the cold weather like myself 😤 Montreal has an underground shopping mall similar to the city of Toronto. In this underground city you will have access to museums, restaurants, tours and much much more.

Montreal Fur district 

If you are in the market for a new fur coat you need to go to Montreal. Montreal is the capital of fur coats and one of the largest furriers in the world.  This was a major attraction for my wife, we shopped in many different buildings with floors and floors of furs. I was somewhat overwhelmed, I had never seen that many furs in my life.

 

Montreal furriers
Where to stay in Montreal?

My wife and I had a pleasant stay at the Courtyard Marriott  downtown, very nice hotel. One evening I sat at the hotel lobby bar before dinner waiting for my wife to come from our room, so I ordered a shot of Cognac, a very popular Liquor in Montreal known as a French wine, I just wanted the regular stuff at about $10 a shot, but little did I know the bartender was serving me the top of the line Cognac Hennessy XO very fine Liquor, the taste was very sweet and smooth in fact the bartender served it in a warm Cognac glass, I felt great until I got the bill, 3 shots @$25 a pop😩😩😩 I was thinking of canceling dinner, 😂 😂 😂.

Montreal  is about a two hour flight from DTW metro Detroit airport.

 

Niagara Falls


Last but certainly not least, Niagara Falls Canada, what a beautiful site to see. Niagara Falls should have been listed as one of the wonders of the world because of the falls volume. To get to the falls from Michigan you can go north-east taking the Bluewater bridge , you are looking at about a 4 hour drive.

If you choose to go to Niagara Falls the main attraction is no doubt the falls, but after you take in the amazing waterfalls there are other attractions and activities going on around the Niagara Falls downtown area:

There are two sides to Niagara Falls, one side is Canadian and the other side is the USA Buffalo, New York.

Pictured, Me and my daughter when she was a infant, I miss those days.

My final thoughts!

Canada is a huge country with plenty of places to explore. My experience going to these five cities in Canada probably didn’t give this country a fraction of what it has to offer. If you have never been to Canada, I highly recommend it, also you might want to note that the country of Canada is separated by provinces or capital cities, for example: 4 of the cities I visited were under the capital of Ontario and the city of Montreal falls under the capital of Quebec, sounds a little confusing but I guess it’s a Canadian thing.

I’m planning to go back to Canada in the near future to see how it has changed since my last trip there. Looking on the map it seems as though I barely covered any of Canada in comparison to how big this country is.

canada-map-795

 

When I go back to Canada where do I want to go? Well I do know one thing, it’s gonna take some research and planning. Coming up with a bucket list is a good start. When traveling in different countries it’s a good idea to check out reviews on TripAdvisor.com seek out bloggers advice, you will be amazed at the inside information you can gain! Thanks for your attention!

Nova Scotia Lighthouse
Canadian bucket list:

  1. Nova Scotia
  2. Vancouver
  3. Prince Edward Island
  4. Calgary

Please feel free to give me your thoughts on this article and link on to my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Meet The Author 

Welcome to Swint Travel Blog! May name is Mark A Swint and I enjoy Traveling or you can say that I have the travel bug. The purpose of this website is to share travel ideas and travel tips that will invite inexperienced travelers as well as those who are well traveled get away and try something new. My family and I have traveled to many places around the United States as well as the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe. My goal is to get viewers and bloggers excited about going to see places you have never been. (Switching Careers) Living in the beautiful Michigan area all my life, I currently work in the Auto Industry, however it is my goal to switch to the hospitality/travel industry in the near future. There are so many places on my bucket list for travel, please feel free to share your travel experience with me so that we can have an exchange of ideas.

Thank you for visiting my website and I hope that the pictures and the travel tips get you motivated to try some place new!
Happy Travels!
M.Swint

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