Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eastern Canada Trip 2013 Day 7 Wednesday September 18 Toronto, Niagara Falls ON & NY

This is the seventh of a series of posts dealing with my third trip to Eastern Canada. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of a year later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

First off a little bit from last night: Evelyn is still not sure of me but she let me take photos of her without running off. Later after Dave and Jan got home we went out for drinks.

[NOW: The above are friends I was stayed with, Evelyn being their cat.]

This morning I took the Bloor-Danforth train to Yonge and the Yonge-University-Spadina to Dundas Station but this time a little west of Yonge-Dundas Square.

[NOW: The Bloor-Danforth line is now also called the 2 Line. The Yonge-University-Spadina Line is now also called the 1 Line.]

I grabbed breakfast from Daily Brew, by the Toronto Coach Terminal.  I got in line a little late because the bus was at a different bay than usual.  A guy claiming to not be a bus terminal bum nevertheless talked someone into giving him money. The bus I got on this time was Megabus, in Canada an affiliate of Coach Canada. The bus headed west, getting caught in a traffic jam. Someone was texting or something similar and creating lots of beeping noises. I looked back and asked in a low but loud enough voice, "What's that noise?"  They took the hint. At one point I used my left hand to text and make plans with Aidan while taking photos with my right.

As the bus arrived at its destination, it make have run over a squirrel, which caused a lot of dismayed gasps, including from me. It was however in the middle of the road and thus not near the tires so there is a chance it survived,  I got off the bus at Niagara Falls Bus Terminal and started jogging towards Clifton Hill, mostly using the Olympic Torch Run Legacy Trail I walked to Nightmares Fear Factory just outside of Clifton Hill but it was not yet open.

On the Hill I tried the House of Frankenstein haunted house. My main concern was actually the dark (not so much the fear but if tripping). You were supposed to follow the red lights but in a few places I had trouble finding them in in fact early on someone had to send me in the right direction. I next went on the SkyWheel, part of a Clifton Hill Fun Pass I'd purchased. I traded in my piece of paper for the official card and rode this Ferris Wheel. I then went on the Ghost Blasters 3D ride (part of the pass) inside the Midway games place. It was one of though rides where you ride on a small train and shoot at objects along the way. The third pass attraction I did was Movieland Wax Museum. Some of the wax figures resembled celebrities better than others but it was still fun and there were a few cute gags along the way (a sign noting Invisible Predator wasn't by any wax figure).  At the end there was actually a haunted house component that was optional. I did it of course.

[NOW: The full name of the Midway place is Great Canadian Midway Arcade. The full name of Movieland Wax Museum is Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars. During a second visit it seemed that Invisible Predator was actually a hologram that sometimes appeared.]

I then crossed the Rainbow Bridge (which is grey) from Niagara Falls ON to Niagara Falls NY; there was a bit of a delay due to a Quebec couple not understanding the Customs guy's English questions. I jogged along Main and then Pine, visiting House of Fantasy (comics), Rite Aid, and Family Video (got a DVD and a blu-ray). Crossing to the other side the heading back I ate lunch at McDonald's (heavier than planned because at first I couldn't find the grilled onion cheddar burger I wanted so I ordered that as well). Continuing along Pine I visited 7-11, Walgreen's, and another Rite Aid, then back to Main, then eventually making my way to a bridge that crossed over from the mainland to Goat Island; smaller Islands plus part of the American and Bridal Veil Falls were visible in the background.

I walked north on Goat Island and then turned east over a small bridge to Luna Island, where I got great photos and videos of the Bridal and American Falls, complete with rainbow.  Remembering something I'd overlooked I returned to Goat Island to get some photos of the Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls on the US side, then picked off where I left off on Luna Island. Unfortunately there's no pathway east on Luna so I had to return to Goat Island, head south and only then take another bridge to Green Island and then cross a bridge from Green Island to the mainland.  Unfortunately on the mainland most of the views were being blocked, but the island views, which I'd overlooked in previous years were better anyhow.

[NOW: There blocking was due to construction which was still in progress in 2014.]

The Observation Tower was open so I did take some photos of that, took what few off deck photos I could, and the returned to the Canadian side.  There I worked my way east to the Horseshoe Falls gradually before wandering back the other way.

Returning to Clifton Hill, I went to the XD Theatre, part of the pass in the Midway complex. This proved to be the real surprise of the Hill, a 3D motion simulator which creates the illusion of being in a roller coaster in space.  The less rational part of my brain was convinced it was real. I'd been in Disneyland and Universal motion simulators; this was topped them. I returned to Nightmares Fear Factory not part of the pass but also prepaid; unlike the other houses I couldn't take photos. They had a chicken board for people who give up and they give you a card if they make it through. As before, tripping in the dark was my main concern; the only point where I was tempted to give up was a point where you are being squeezed by airbags. But I just told myself to wait a few seconds and the bags did let me free. Amusingly, there's a point where people get their photos taken, everyone else in scared positions; however, mine showed me hyperfocussed with my hands out to feel my way. I then bought Jan and Dave some cards for putting me up.

[NOW: XD Theatre’s 2014 theme was a safari, which didn’t have as nice visuals.]

Back at Clifton Hill I got a brainstorm: there was a golf option included with the pass. There was no time to play but I checked if it was okay for me to take photos of the course of my choice. I went with Dinosaurs Adventure Golf because it was outdoors. I might have the chronology a little off here but I think next it was hot dog and large strawberry Julius at the DQ, then Midway games (I played two two-token games, winning a skull key chain on the first one and kept the fifth token as a souvenir. So the latter two in that order or vice versa. The five tokens were also part of the Pass. The Pass also allowed a second go with the SkyWheel so I did that, then walked to the Horseshoe Falls again. It was getting late so I made faster time heading back. I passed through the Hill, worked my way back to the Trail, did a quick dip into the lovely downtown, and then made it back to the Bus Terminal.

The bus stopped in St Catharines as per the way over but no one was going to Oakville so that second stop got cut out. The bus gradually got so dark I only took photos I thought I would have a fighting chance of identifying later. The bus did a courtesy stop before the bus terminal in Toronto. I took a chance and it turned out to be by St Andrew Station, on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. So I took a train to St George and another to Lansdowne.

[NOW: The latter train was the Bloor-Danforth, now 2 line.]

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