Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beautiful Toronto

When I lived in western New York, Toronto was one of my favorite getaway spots, with choices that ranged from culture to theme parks.

My first visit was in the early seventies, when my daughter was still a preschooler.  Ontario Place was the highlight of that first visit.  We spent most of one afternoon on a paddleboat.  My daughter would have stayed longer, but she wasn’t the one doing the pedaling!

Subsequent visits included everything from museums to the marine park.  The drive was just long enough to remove us from daily responsibilities and just short enough to make it feasible for a weekend getaway.  We found an inexpensive motel about a mile outside the tourist district and relaxed by the swimming pool, when we needed a break from sightseeing.

My most memorable visit occurred after my daughter had grown and I was once again living on my own.  Friends invited me to join them for a one-day package tour to Toronto.  The bus departed early and delivered us to the Eaton Centre in time to do plenty of shopping and have a leisurely lunch.  Mid-afternoon found us leaving for the theatre area for a performance of Miss Saigon.  Dinner at a nearby restaurant was the final stop before we left for home.  That’s when things started to get interesting.

The restaurant was huge and filled to capacity.  The servers were great, but it took quite a while for the food to arrive.  We enjoyed the opportunity to chat and didn’t worry about delivery speed.  Our dessert had just been served, when a lady at the next table began to complain that the food had made her ill.  We felt fine, but it certainly made us wonder, as she complained about an unbearable stomach ache.   The server soon returned to her table with a manager, who offered to have her checked by a physician from the adjoining hotel, but the lady insisted that she would only see a naturopath.  I’m not sure if there were many naturopathic doctors in Toronto  at the time, but they probably weren’t readily available at that time of day.   Our return trip was delayed as she was offered various alternatives.  Finally, she said she wanted to get on the bus and go home, where she could visit her own naturopathic doctor.

By the time we left the restaurant, snow was falling steadily and visibility on the road was quickly impaired.  When the expressway was closed due to extreme conditions, our bus detoured onto alternate roads and slowly crept toward home.  The lady with the aching stomach finally stopped whining and began snoring.  Her companions, who had seemed less than sympathetic to her plight, told us that she had singlehandedly consumed two full baskets of bread between courses.  No wonder her stomach was hurting.    She didn’t need a physician, just a bit of moderation.  She was still asleep, when our bus arrived home, over four hours after its scheduled time.  It wasn’t my last trip to Toronto, but it certainly was my last bus tour!

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