Monday, 4 July 2011

A Trip Part one - mostly in pictures

The Better Half (TBH) and I have just returned from a short trip, during which we have managed just over ten thousand miles of travel.
We went to Canada first where we stayed with a cousin of mine (CK) and then we went on to Kansas where TBH’s son and family live. Kansas is not the world’s most likely tourist centre and whilst it has certain attractions, more about those later, this summer we were intending to travel on from there to see certain of the many other places of interest the USA has to offer.

But first: Toronto
Toronto is one of Canada’s major cities, right on Lake Ontario it has a wide range of attractions for tourists and not too far away is Niagara Falls.
Looking across the Horseshoe falls towards the USA

 The most prominent attraction is almost certainly the CN Tower, which is visible from a long way off in most directions.
The CN Tower on the left, visible from approximately twenty miles across the lake.
All of the smallest buildings in Toronto lie below the horizon
The tower is one of the many erstwhile ‘World’s tallest’ structures, built in 1976 and impressively, it was THE tallest for 35 years, but like many of its fellow towers or buildings it has been overtaken by more recent taller structures, but still retains the record for the Western hemisphere.

The tallest structure in the Western hemisphere - for now
 It is nonetheless very impressive and worth a visit unless you cannot stand heights. In the main pod, the first level, there is the ubiquitous glass floor which is quite daunting for some to stand on since you are apparently unsupported over an frighteningly long drop. For an extra fee you can also go outside and hang on a rope, under supervision, and hang over the 1,080 foot plus drop. Not something I want to do personally, even if they paid me.

Looking down through the glass floor at the 1000 foot plus drop from a safe place.
 The views are spectacular and you can see almost the whole of Toronto and much of the surrounding area from the different viewing platforms.
The view of the Water Front from the Tower
A closer look at the three masted boat visible from the tower

A seaplane flying by the Water Front
Another of the vessels moored on the Water Front
A tour bus is available around town with a boat trip around the water front included in the ticket price. The bus service allows you to hop on and off at any point around the tour allowing you to stop of and visit the many points of interest within the city. For this trip we did not have enough time to visit many places so we did not use the bus, or visit the tower. Our trip was more of a social visit and we had a whole pile of family photos to look at that I had brought over. This required some considerable time to sort through and attempt to identify some of our ancestors, which absorbed us for a while but we did get out and had a look around Toronto and the lake shore.
There was a lot of wildlife to spot and I was able to get some nice pictures of birds and animals that you do not come across in England.

This chap was scrounging food from the tourist's picnics 

A rather shy chipmunk 

A Cardinal

Robins are larger over here than in the UK

A very young squirrel

An adult Black Squirrel
Like most of the North American continent, there were a large number of quite ordinary sparrows. It is interesting to see them adapted to areas where much greater extremes of temperature take place than their native European countries, where they are in decline in some places.

A Red Wing blackbird

Toronto had had a lot of rain that spring, and I was interested to see that Lake Ontario, a vast body of water, 7,340 square miles in area was so full it had risen up about six inches over a path that would normally have been dry. This represents approximately sixty two and a half million gallons of extra water in the lake.

The lake near The Bluffs
My cousin CK  has lived in Toronto on and off for some years and whilst able to show us some really nice walks, she had never explored the AGO, the Art Gallery of Ontario, so was quite happy to have a look around there when I suggested it. I had heard a lot about the artists known as the Group of Seven, (follow the link to see their work) who had painted around the early part of the 20th century and I was keen to see more of their work, particularly the originals, which I knew were in the AGO.
They were everything I expected and CK was impressed with her countrymen’s work, declaring that she was inspired by them to continue with her own painting, something she had recently been encouraged to take up by her sister, who is quite a talented artist and judging by CK's recent work, this talent seems to run in the family.

Just behind the AGO is a very strange structure, which houses a college of Art and Design
 We had a relaxing time, looking at the family photos and going for walks along some beautiful almost untamed stretches of lake shore and some more formal gardens around the lake.

Someone fishing by the lake

Under a footbridge, hundreds of Swallows had made their nests and were busy feeding their, almost fully grown, young.

This female Redwing was not pleased to see us so near her nest and made  a strong demand that we go away

It seems that they have a problem with geese poop.  This is not just a problem in Canada, Canada Geese are found in large flocks all around the UK and they cause a similar problem.

We saw a pair of Turkey Vultures flying around what seemed to be their nest site

A wind turbine demonstrating the snag with this kind of renewable energy.  A dead calm.
After a few seemingly short days, our visit was over and we then flew on down to Kansas City.
The small intercity Jazz aircraft that links Toronto with Kansas City


  1. Wow, Snafu! I've never been called a talented artist before -- really! Well you're a talented photographer. I seen a lot of photos of The Falls but I like yours the best... and great animal and bird photos. Looking forward to hearing more.

  2. This is what you call a "short trip"? Fantastic photos and I LOVE the one of the cityscape across the lake. But there is NO WAY I'm walking on the glass floor. NO WAY!!!!!!

  3. I now pronounce you Minister of Tourism for Canada!. You did a wonderful job, by prose and photos, of taking us on your journey during your visit here. Brought back some wonderful memories for me of yours and TBH's stay.

    Looking forward very much to the stories from the rest of your travels.

    (I've made myself anonymous, since that seems to be the only way I can comment on your blog right now. But you know who I am :}CK)

  4. Thanks Chris, the trick is to take a lot of bad picturees in the hope one of them is going to look ok when you trim off all the unwanted bits, like trash cans and peopl's legs that got into shot. MAJ, I have to point out that we did not go up the tower this trip but those are pictures I took two years back. CK, the check box trick did not work then? If you have logged on with more than one PC at different times, ie lap top and a desk top, you may need make sure they are both unchecked. Blogspot is can be tricky.

  5. Oh good, Snafu - I'm so pleased that we are getting to hear about your travels. It must have been an exciting trip and how lovely to catch up with the relatives. Love the pictures...and I feel so much better equipped to face life now that I know the bowel habits of Canadian geese; I'll be sure to duck if one flies overhead! x

  6. I think I've I've got it now - thanks!

    (aka CK)

  7. OMG. 10,000 miles is not a short trip! I loved reading about your holiday and seeing your stunning pictures.

    Ellie Garratt

  8. hi Snafu, i read your explanation on Jayne's misfortune with her pc. Interesting and funny. I sense a bit of sarcasm. might be slightly mistaken! ;-)