During my first week in Toronto I also enjoyed a couple of great first experiences! Promptly on arrival in Toronto I was presented with some Poutine. Essentially this is cheesey chips and gravy, but in Canada its an institution! I would definitely have it again, although I must confess I’m fussy about gravy so I’ll need to acquire the taste a little bit.
Watching the Blue Jays at the Skydome was technically not a first for me, but I was very young last time so I can’t remember all that much. Essentially you need to treat it like watching a cricket match, as the game itself isn’t exactly fast. For $17, for a top tier seat, you can’t really go wrong, although expect at least $25 more on a couple of beers. Good fun though, its way better than watching it on TV as you can see where all those miss-hits and foul balls end up going. Generally into an excitable crowd! At one point a bat got accidentally thrown in!
Midway through my house hunt me and Michelle headed down to the local drive-in to see X Men, which was unique experience for me. The quality of the viewing tends to depend on how early you turn up, and the quality of the sounds depends on your car’s radio and sound system, which in a new Toyota was pretty good! I’d definitely go again, its also two films for 6 dollars!!
Arriving in Toronto felt well and truly like the beginning of a new life. The fun and games in New York and Niagara seemed a world away and now it was time to get down to the serious business of finding a place to live, and a job. Well sort of. There was time for a day or two of fun and a baseball game with my friend Michelle first and then the serious stuff began!
I began by canvassing the nearby climbing walls, and the CN Tower’s Edgewalk, with my CV (Resumé as they call it over here), as these were my priorities, the places where having a job would simply be awesome. After that I started to keep my eye out for other places, kitchen work, outdoor shops etc, places where with a bit of training, or drawing on my previous chef experience, I could be useful. I’d read that the tactic of meeting potential employers face to face with a resumé would be quite effective, and this tactic paid off when a meeting with senior staff member resulted in me landing a job the first wall I went to!!
Hunting for houses on the other hand proved slightly more tricky. Based on experience in London, I’d allowed 6 nights in the Toronto hostel for finding a room and a job, but this ended up being extended to 8 as I grappled with using Craigslist and Kijiji (Canada’s 2 most popular classified websites) effectively. As is the way with these kinds of sites, places are not always quite as clean and welcoming as they appear in their adds, so it took a few days of searching to go through lots of places until I came across one in the right place with the right balance of cleanliness and nice people. Thankfully the stress of sorting that all out is now over and I can start earning some money and enjoying summer in the city! Whilst I’ve been typing this I made a time-lapse of the water front near the CN Tower. Its a surprisingly tranquil place given its proximity to the city, if you like planes that is. If you don’t like planes, you might want to take a tram further down the Lakeshore!
I only had a day in Niagara, and after spending the morning sorting out my Social Insurance Number, an essential requirement for working in Canada, I went off in search of nerdy facts about the falls.
PLAY WHILE READING ON….
My quest led me don a super protective plastic poncho and journey down behind the horse shoe falls themselves in the apply-named “Journey behind The Falls Experience”. The sound that your listening to was recorded from the edge of the falls on the surface and is the sound of over 150 million litres of water pouring over the brink, towards the tunnel portals below, every minute. That’s about 150,000 tonnes or 20,000 london buses going over the edge every minute! The recording doesn’t quite do justice to the deep rumble that can be heard throughout the tunnels, I can only imagine what it must have been like digging them! The falls were eroding backwards at a whopping 3m a year, but human development has brought that down to just 30cm every 10 years. Looking at the water tearing over the edge, I love to see what the falls would look like in their untamed state. I also got to view the falls at night with lights on them for the first time, which was quite pretty.
Now onwards to Toronto!