Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Not to Visit Toronto

True exploration of a city is impossible with 97 teenagers in tow. But I never give up an opportunity to discover a new place.

I'm just not a travel-with-a-group-kind-of-gal.

Enough with the negativity. On with the show.

• Stats:
3 buses
97 high-school choir and orchestra members (including my fabulous son, Jake)
15 parent/teacher chaperones
630 miles each way
11 hours drive time each way

• Reason why I wish I had remained dedicated to yoga:
This position would have been more comfortable than sleeping on a bus.

• Jake and I had seen Niagara Falls before although he didn't remember it. It's a natural marvel, of course. However, I felt much like Chevy Chase in Vacation when the family arrived at the Grand Canyon. There it is. Fabulous. Ready to go? My lack of enthusiasm has to do with interaction. When I do finally see the Grand Canyon, I want to hike it, camp in it, canoe through it. Other than going over it in a barrel, there's no way to really interact with Niagara Falls, so it leaves me a bit unaffected.

• Toronto Science Center is fantastic. Carve out a good afternoon at least to enjoy all it has to offer.

• The IMAX film Mysteries of the Great Lake is much more fascinating than it sounds। Did you know that it takes a drop of water 400 years to travel from the headwaters of Lake Superior to the edge of Lake Ontario? How do they know that?

The star of the movie is the sturgeon. He is one badass prehistoric fish.

• The Rogers Centre, formerly the Toronto SkyDome, home of the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Argonauts is impressive even to a sports idiot like me. It has a fully retractable roof and a hotel attached with windows looking out onto the field.

• Some 16 year old boys still like to hang with their mom in Chinatown and beyond. Kensington street and shops were beyond funky.

• The Four Seasons or Franki Valli were before my time, but Jersey Boys is an excellent story and compelling show.

• Freddie Mercury and Queen are right up my alley but We Will Rock You is simply ok. We got a nice surprise when two of the best actors came out after the show just to speak to our group. They were fantastic engaging the kids in a lively question and answer session.

• The CN Tower is...

... highly inefficient, but the views are nice once you get to the top. The same is true of the St. Louis Arch and Chicago’s Sears Tower. Sidenote: If you’re in Chicago, skip the tourist trap rip-off at Sears Tower and go to the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. Make sure to visit the women’s restroom for the best view. Honest.

Here’s more from the CN Tower. Pics courtesy of Jake. [Vertigo Warning] No. Really.

The glass floor completely freaked me out. Those are our buses down there.

Here was an example of how not to make money as a musician. Good for our young musicians to see.

• Jake enjoyed the names of these establishments:


although he much prefers these kind of signs:


• Enjoy your Easter or Pagan holiday this weekend.

Duck a l’orange anyone?

Maybe not.

I'll just leave you with dessert then.

Till next time, Bon Appetit.