Monday, May 10, 2010

Trip Hreport: Toronto

The plan for this trip to Toronto was to do a clockwise loop around Lake Erie with stops in New Baltimore, Toronto, Niagra Falls and Cleveland. We headed out right as President Obama's choppers started their orbits of the stadium, so we were pleasantly surprised that we could get on the highway and on our way.

The primary objective of the trip was to attend the Toronto International Documentary Film Festival aka HotDocs! The movies were uniformly good and we had no trouble working in plenty of walking, shopping and eating during the visit. We saw "The Parking Lot Movie", "Steam of Life" and "Small Wonders" while there. "Babies" also played during the festival, but we waited to see it in Ann Arbor.

This was a car trip although once there we relied on our feet as well as the subway and street cars to get around. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) now has a $10 day pass option that's good for two adults and a passel of children. In previous trips, we've used Via Rail from Windsor to get to Toronto. This is an even better option now that Zipcar has placed vehicles in the hotel garages. The Novotel has two of them right off the parking garage elevator.

Wifi access in Toronto is harder to come by than Ann Arbor. The best bet is to register with Starbucks which gives you a couple hours a day of connect time as you move around the city. The other option is Wireless Toronto. I'm still thinking about a MiFi as a backup option.

The other bit of technology that came in handy is our EZpass transponder. These are basically free (you pay for them and get an equal usage credit) and allow you to go through the automated toll lanes in the eastern U.S. without having to fuss with coins and cards. We used ours in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio on the way back from Toronto. You just link yours to a credit card.

We did a remarkable amount of shopping this trip. Some of the more interesting locations were the Ontario Craft Council, Wildhagen Hats, and Nicolas Hoare books. Good food was also easy to come by. We made return visits to Southern Accent, Canoe and Cafe Crepe as well as found new favorites in Bellini's Ristorante and Sassafraz's S Cafe/Bar.

After leaving Toronto, we spent an hour or so on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and then headed into the U.S. The only real miss of the trip was that we attempted to go to Melt in Cleveland for dinner, but they were on a 90 minute wait at 6pm on a Tuesday.


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