Our First Roadtrip/ Toronto 2016

Hanna and I met on the similar interest of photography but we both love to travel. Months before this, a workshop coordinator contacted me through Instagram asking to hire me to photograph in one of her workshops. It was paid and was in Toronto so there was no way I'd say no. Then a couple weeks after that, I asked if I could bring a friend to shoot along with me, meaning Hanna. She agreed to the idea so after many Facetimes, we found our AirBnb in Mimiko, about a fifteen minute train ride from downtown Toronto. The day Hanna landed in Philadelphia, the coordinator had to make an emergency flight to California, therefore canceling our workshop. We didn't let this get to us because the place was already paid for, so we made it our first road trip together.

It's been a dream of ours to visit Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. We got our passports expedited so we'd have them in time, packed the car and were on the road to Niagara. Stopping for breakfast in the Poconos and going down back roads in the middle of nowhere, we finally arrived at the US/ Canada border. Waiting in line for about 45 minutes, we were finally in Canada. As soon as we were on the bridge, you could see the mist and hear the roaring of the falls. Hanna and I tried to find cheap parking but around that area, it's almost impossible. I misread the fine print of my cell phone contract which said I'd have unlimited data in Canada, but didn't read the part that said it would be 2G speeds, so my phone was connecting to Canadian networks.

Hanna and I had spoke about riding the boat all the way down to the falls, which we ended up doing. Niagara in general is hard to believe is real. Having been in Oregon months ago, this toppled it. We probably stood there for about an hour trying to comprehend what we were looking at. When they call it a natural wonder of the world, they mean it. These photos do absolutely no justice to the size and power of these falls.

About here is where you started getting sprayed with water. Keep in mind we're nowhere close to the main falls. I decided to stick it out with my camera since it's weather sealed. Not knowing if it was going to make it, I stood close to the edge of the boat because I could give my camera some cover if it got too wet.

About here was equivalent to being in the shower. The boat stayed in front of the falls for quite a bit of time. Hanna and I couldn't even take this all in. They looked huge from above but when you're staring them in the face, you realize how small you are. My camera lens was too soaked to focus so I had to stop shooting for a little bit.

Once the boat turned around, I could check that my camera was still ok and functioning. It was almost sunset and the sun was starting to descend. I couldn't wipe my camera lens since everything was wet so I kept shooting.

We said goodbye to this wonder of the world and headed to Toronto. Having getting used to the highways being in KM instead of MPH was a little bit of a challenge.

Waking up to this in the morning, our jaws dropped. This was the perfect little place for the two of us. So much light and even a small balcony. Hanna turned the thermostat down to 48 degrees for those three days. 

After getting settled in that night, we headed downtown the next morning. We decided to be typical tourists and get a city pass, which is buying the most touristy attractions in one book which makes it way cheaper. Out first stop was the Ripley's Aquarium.

After getting out of the aquarium, our next stop would be the CN tower, the tallest building in Toronto. As soon as we opened the door, they told us it was a two hour wait to the top so we decided to walk around the city until the start of sunset.

After an hour or so of roaming, we made it back to the tower. Opened the door and there was no line. We grabbed one of the fastest elevators we've ever been on and flew up the 147 floors.

Luckily, we were able to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play against the LA Angels from overhead.

We were planning to eat out one night but the whole day in the city wore us out. After watching planes land on the island across the water, we headed home and got Thai again for dinner. But before we got home, there was a Japanese cheesecake place inside the train station. The scent of getting off the train was too much to handle and I lost my self control and bought one. Thai and Japanese cheesecake seemed to be the ideal dinner.

The next day, our plan was to explore the Casa Loma castle in midtown Toronto.

We seemed to get lost in theses hallways. It seemed like they were never ending. The attention to detail in every room, which there is 98 rooms, is incredible. Of those 98, 30 of those are bathrooms.

There is also a tunnel system for easy access to other side of the estate, which leads you to the horse stables and garage.

After this incredible castle, since it was included in our city pass, we headed to the Toronto museum.

Even getting off the subway, you knew you were by the museum but first... coffee.


What isn't included in this post is our mishap with Scarborough bluffs. I didn't end up taking any photos of it but the bluffs are sand cliffs. It was a forty minute ride so we got our train ticket and set off. It started to rain on the way there but we didn't think anything of it. Just a drizzle, we thought we could just walk the 1.5 miles from the station. By the time we got there, it was down pouring so we got an Uber. Google maps doesn't exactly have a location for it so we got dropped off at the park. Not knowing we were at the bottom of the bluffs, we walked toward them in the pouring rain. The only way we saw up was this clay road which was impossible to walk up. Keep in mind this was about a half hour walk in the pouring rain and that I was also wearing a white button down shirt.

Hanna's international data ran out and we both had no service so we hung out in the bathroom because that was the only cover we could get. Not having any service, we had to walk the 1.5 miles in the rain back to an air conditioned train. It was one of the coldest train rides we had ever taken. The bluffs were absolutely beautiful but we'll keep in mind where maps drops us next time. 

After checking out of our Airbnb the next morning, we got coffee and set off on our way back to New Jersey.

We spend our last evening watching the sunset and swimming in the ocean at Island Beach State Park.

The last night is always hard. We never want to split up for two months and this night was even harder than June. The morning of Hanna's flight back was a very low one, just like June. Knowing my best friend is leaving for two months hurt... a lot. Living with Hanna for those three days was the best thing that I could ever imagine. Good thing those two months went by super fast and I'll be back in Oregon in twelve days. See you soon, boo.