In between my 2-month South America trip and my 3-month Europe trip I decided to take a week break in Canada, because why not be a tourist in your own country, right? I was so lucky to get the opportunity to spend the past few days exploring Toronto and Niagara Falls while also getting to visit a ton of family!
I flew into Toronto to visit my best friend growing up and my “second family”. I’ve known her since I was in grade 5, and her family has treated me like their second daughter ever since, so it is always great stopping here for a visit when I can. Funnily enough her boyfriend was visiting from England, so I got to play tourist in downtown Toronto my first day here. It was great! We spent the day at the ROM and then met up with a couple of friends to have some dinner and drinks on a downtown patio.
The next couple days were more family oriented, but luckily for me, her dad’s side lives in Barrie, which is where I would always go to the beach as a kid. So, I got to be nostalgic and see the place where I used to think was a GIANT playground, and a HUGE beach. Turns out it’s nothing more than a 6-foot rope toy, some swings, and a VERY quaint beach. Quite hilarious to see!
The next few days my mom was able to fly out to spend some time with me. The two of us drove to my aunt and 3 little cousin’s place, who live in Fort Erie, only a 10-minute drive from Niagara Falls.
1. Butterfly Conservatory
The first day out there my mom and I checked out the Butterfly Conservatory. Which to my surprise is actually the largest one in all of North America! They also have some beautiful botanical gardens out front to walk around in, which we took advantage of until some rain started coming down on us.
2. Niagara on the Lake
Niagara on the Lake is a whole separate town from Niagara Falls. The Falls town reminds me of Vegas or New York with so many flashing, giant signs. Whereas, Niagara on the Lake is a quaint town with perfect flowers everywhere, a 10000 villages store (if you don’t know what that is, check out this link!), and a lot of other local crafty shops. Seriously, a perfect picturesque town.
3. Niagara Falls
Of course one day we had to spend around the Falls themselves. It was SO hot out we couldn’t stay long, but just long enough to see everything the Falls has to offer. The last time I went I was only about 9 years old, so I don’t remember a whole lot. I do remember it being a lot smaller and having a lot less things. For instance, now they have a zip line you can do beside the falls! I didn’t go because I went zip lining a few weeks ago in Machu Picchu for about half the price, but if you’ve never gone this would definitely be a great time to try!
There is a street called Clifton Hill which houses all of the “New York looking” activities and restaurants. It was crazy to see all of the insane signage they have. Even the Burger King had a sign about 10x its regular size, with a massive life-like burger coming out of the side. Anything to grab your attention.
The best part about exploring Toronto and Niagara Falls was getting to do it with friends and family. After spending two months away, and at least another 10 ahead of me it’s important to make time for loved ones when you get the chance. If you’re travelling or planning on it, I hope you can make time too!
Thanks for a great visit Canada, you’ll always be my home.
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