The return train ride from Montreal to Toronto was made much more enjoyable by green slime, which provided hour of entertainment!
This trip was shorter than the other one, but still ran late. We always try to be right downtown when we visit a city, but the downtown hotels in Toronto are peericeee! So, instead we looked for a condo. Sure enough, we found a few available that we could swing. One was right down on the waterfront, so we booked it.
Although I had been in touch with the owners to discuss arrival times and so on, as our departure approached I recognized that a few details were missing. Like, our suite number and how to get into the place. So I contacted the owners and they replied with their standard documents which read, in part:
“As this is a high-end condo we must ask that our guests take the utmost care in respecting our property, our neighbors and the building in general. There has been some negative vacation rental stories that have made the news as of late, which is causing property management to be very sensitive to the short term rentals…We kindly ask that you do not speak to front desk staff and if anyone asks, just tell them you are a friend of ours and you are simply visiting us.”
As one who has spent much of his career dealing with local political strife, I can assure you that had this info been provided to us earlier I would have booked elsewhere. It was too late to change now and, since we are not all that rowdy any more, I figured we had a pretty good chance of flying under the radar for two nights.
So, you wanna see what a half million (CAD) Toronto condo looks like?:
The reason it looks like a construction zone is that apparently it has been so successful they are building another one next door. We were on the 9th floor close to the top. The view was not too shabby.
Grandma and Grandpa had our own private room and the girls shared the expandable sofa, which worked out fine.
There was a nice little balcony
With a fine view of Toronto Island.
As well as the outdoor pool.
As soon as the girls saw the pool, that had to become top priority. This complex featured both an indoor pool and the one outside. Since it was just a bit nippy, they opted for the inside.
So, they changed and we headed down. We had been given a pass key to let us into these areas and as Eden and I headed in we passed a gentleman wrapped in a towel. He did not smile as he passed and then turned around a followed us in.
He said, “Excuse me. Do you live here?”
As per instructions I said were were friends of the owners and were staying here a couple of days.
He said that there had been a meeting of the owners and they decreed that rental people (we didn’t even bother with that part of the conversation) could not have use of the “amenities” because they were not insured. He said he would have to report me.
I just shrugged my shoulders and proceeded in. Eden asked if we could swim here. I said of course you can. I said, although that gentlemen seemed unhappy he and I have one thing in common. We both know the meaning of a contract. No one ever came down to question us.
After a nice swim we decided to head up to Chinatown for a dinner. We called a cab and soon we were splashing about in the rain in some of our old Toronto stomping grounds.
I had not done my Tripadvisor due diligence for Chinatown, so we relied on Yelp. Highest rated in the area was the Yummy Yummy Dumpling, so down we went!
And, they were yummy!
Since the arrival of Eden’s adopted sister from China, the whole family has been trying to learn a little Chinese. This restaurant is overseen by a woman, no doubt the owner, who greets each guest and takes them to an available table. Her English was very good, but clearly Chinese is her home language. After she had seated us and left, Eden started with a few Chinese words. She asked if we thought she should try them and we said, of course. So, when the lady returned to take our order, Eden said “Me How” which, apparently, means hello. Well, the lady’s eyes got wide and she stopped what she was doing. “How you know Chinese Me How.” Eden explained the whole story. From that point on, she was in love with Eden. She gave her some other phrases and helped with pronunciation. Clearly, we made her day. It was far better than one of my previous visits to Chinatown when I bought a Chinese newspaper to impress the locals and discovered later that I had been holding it upside down.
After a fine dinner, we went on a shopping spree at one of the area markets.
Although my supply of white fungus at home is running a little low, I didn’t see how I was going to get 500 grams into the old carry-on. Maybe next time.
Same story on the leechees.-
Aubrey loved the bracelets and would happily have bought them all. We suggested paring down the quantity to about 3, which she did.
The next morning we had a fine breakfast and then it was time for their last Big Adventure. It took us a while to locate it, but pretty soon we saw the unmistakable skull and crossbones of a returning pirate ship!
Once secured to port, about 15 middle schoolers got off, collected their backpacks and boarded a school bus. No one else arrived.
I had purchased tickets long ago for Aubrey and Eden thinking they would be part of a larger group of kids. Not so. We were then advised that at least one adult would have to accompany them. Though I offered the opportunity several times, Dianne declined. It was left up to me to join the girls for a little plundering.
First we had to get into costume.
Then, some very nicely done tattoos:
Then a group photo op:
Soon we weighed anchor for our great adventure!
It is said there are no small parts, only small actors. And, I was afraid that since it was just the three of us that performance might be a little less than spirited. Not so! These people put their hearts and souls into their roles and gave the girls the show of a lifetime!
First we had to be made into pirates at a christening ceremony
Then, the best safety instructions ever!
Then, through a series of clues, which involved one the pirates being taken over by the ghost of a fallen comrade, we had to solve the mystery of the lost treasure. When we booked this trip we were a little concerned it might be a little juvenile for these girls, but the bought in entirely.
After many adventures, we solved the mystery and retrieved the lost jewels!
We arrived back at port victorious!
Thanks to the spirited crew of Pirate Life Toronto we had a great time!
After this, we decided to hike up to the St. Lawrence Market for lunch and a little shopping:
What better place than Crepe it Up!
We bought the last of our souvenirs and called it a day.
Rather than see more sights, we and the girls were ready to chill. We went back to the condo, enjoyed a few more amenities, including the outdoor pool. Then strolled the downtown looking for dinner.
Of course, we had to sample the offerings of each vendor:
And pet the numerous dogs:
Until, finally, on the waterfront, we enjoyed our last poutine.
It was time to say goodbye to Toronto, at least for now:
And, to the glorious view from our condo:
The next morning I picked up the car, drove to the condo to pick up the girls and the bags, and we were soon on the QEW headed west.
Aubrey and I got out at the Buffalo airport and she and I flew back to Virginia. Dianne drove Eden home to Rossford. The next day, Dianne picked me up at the Columbus airport. And that was the end our great adventure.
What charming companions these girls were! They were at an age where they could appreciate what they were seeing and doing and they were such good friends, each looking after the other. They have both traveled with their parents and now they’ve traveled with us. They’ve had a little taste of this big ol’ world. Who knows what adventures lie ahead?