Monday, May 8, 2017

Eastern Canada Trip 2016 Day 10 Thursday June 23: Toronto, Niagara Falls ON, Niagara Falls NY

This is the 10th of a series of posts dealing with my 2016 trip to Toronto, Montreal, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

I got up around 5:13. I saw roaches in the bathroom; most seemed to be babies. Luckily bathrooms are the only place I've seen them. It’s darker here than Montreal was at 5, a good reminder that Montreal's quite a ways east in the same time zone. I had breakfast at the usual McDonald's. I walked along Dundas to Spadina and then took a TTC/Toronto Transit 505 streetcar back to Toronto Coach Terminal. The Megabus to Montreal was where my bus was supposed to be so I briefly visited Yonge-Dundas Square before returning to the terminal.

[NOW: The usual McDonald’s is on Yonge St just north of Yonge-Dundas Square.]

The Megabus to Niagara Falls, Ontario was a doubledecker; I snagged an upper front seat. As we were arriving I thought I last lost my memory cards but had simply moved them from my money belt to my backpack. In Niagara Falls I took the Olympic Torch Legacy Trail to near Clifton Hill (while away from the water I like using the trail because it's fast and it feels like you're taking a corridor through greenery into another world, which Niagara Falls kind of is). I wandered down Clifton Hill, the playfully tacky street (House of Frankenstein, Burger King with Frankenstein Monster holding a Whopper, a couple of Ripley's attractions, SkyWheel, Dracula's Haunted Castle, Haunted House, Movieland Wax Museum, and similar attractions).

[NOW: The Ripley’s attractions are Ripley's Believe It Or Not, which had King Kong hanging from a tower outside, and Ripley's Moving Theater 4D.]

I walked along the Falls area. Two of the three falls are on the American side and right beside each other: the larger American Falls and smaller Bridal Veil Falls. The third touches both sides and is formally called the Horseshoe Falls, informally the Canadian Falls. After reaching the Horseshoe Falls I turned back and walked to the Rainbow Bridge, which is grey. There's a 50c Can or US toll to cross the bridge into Niagara Falls New York. I cleared Customs with minimal difficulty. I decided to toss the bus trips on my itinerary and simply wandered along Pine Ave, visiting Rite Aid, Walgreen's, 7-11 (got a Slurpee, which is softer than the Canadian 7-11 Slurpee). Eventually I doubled-back and bought DVDs at Family Video and a back of Payday bars from another Rite Aid. I crossed the street to McDonald's for lunch, getting grilled onion cheddar burgers that Canadian McDonald's don't serve.

In the same area I visited a secondhand store whose name I can't recall, only it had z's where s's should be. I visited House of Fantasy, no not a sex shop, a comic shop. Issues 1-9 of a comic magazine series I had in the back of the mind to pick up were there for $1 (The Destroyer, a late 1980s series based on the novels). While not actively looking they dropped in my lap so... I considered visiting Family Dollar but the building was condemned and being cleared out.

[NOW: There is no toll to return to Ontario. The secondhand store was Uzed Dealz.]

I walked to Niagara State Park, where the Falls are located on the NY side. I got a good look at the Horseshoe Falls at Goat Island. On the tiny Luna Island you get the best views of the Bridal Veil Falls, but I didn't linger as long as I'd like as the wind was blowing saltwater spray at me and more importantly my camera. I paid $1.25 to go on top the Observation Deck that hangs over the Niagara River. It's between the American Falls and the Rainbow Bridge and is part of the Maid of the Mist operation. I returned along the Rainbow Bridge to Niagara Falls ON and again cleared Customs quickly. I wandered along the Falls again. A teenage girl asked to take a selfie with me. A bit puzzled, but she was dressed decently so seemed pretty risk free; I probably looked quite puzzled in the photo. I wandered along the Hill again and then, looking at souvenir and convenience stores, wandered along Victoria Ave becoming Ferry Ave becoming Lundy's Lane. I visited a pawn shop. Briefly crossing the street a man and a woman in a car (the woman driving) were having a serious screaming match. Hope they break up for both their sakes; it's clearly not working out. I visited the comic shop Neutral Zone, got a Slurpee from 7-11, then returned to CLifton Hill, then the Falls.

[NOW: The pawn shop was Niagara Falls Pawnbroker Services. The Neutral Zone is now closed.]

Doing Clifton Hill one more time, visited the Upside Down House, on a side street from Clifton Hill. back in the Hill proper, I had dinner at Wendy's, where a little bird was flying around (two years ago a bird flew around during lunch so it's apparently a normal thing there. I walked a little ways past the hill and back, i wandered around the Dinosaur Adventure Golf area before leaving the Hill and returning along the Olympic Torch Legacy Trail. I wandered downtown area, which looks pretty deserted even when it's busy. I returned to Niagara Falls Bus Terminal and got a CoachCanada (Megabus) bus back to Toronto; single decker but still got front seat. At St. Catharine a woman asked the driver (a grey-haired black woman) if she knew where the bus stopped in Oakville. Apparently not able to resist a straight line the driver replied, "I do." The sun didn't finish going down until the trip was ending, by which point Toronto's light  took care of the rest of the photos. It was getting late so I went straight to Backpackers on Dundas.

[NOW: The Upside Down House has a Clifton Hill address but is actually on Oneida Ln.]

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