Toronto: The City Pass

Casa Loma, built in the 1910s for some $3.5 million, back when that was real money, is a castle

When I was thinking about us taking our trip to Toronto, I asked you fine folks for some recommendations. Some of you, especially Jaquandor, suggested a number of venues. As it turns out, all of the suggested locations are available from some program called the City Pass. In this case, five attractions at about 45% off the regular price, with nine days to see them all.

On our first full day, we took the subway to the CN Tower. Well, close to the CN Tower. We walked to an adjacent plaza as the signs suggested, but were obstructed by new construction. We followed the detour signs and ended up exactly where we had started. We got to our destination eventually and purchased the one child and two adult City Passes.

The CN Tower, which is one of the tallest human-made buildings in the world, was the most touristy of the five locations, with long lines. Recommendation: get there early. Don’t stop to go to the bathroom; you’ll have plenty of time to do so while waiting in the queue. Still, the view of the city was magnificent, especially overlooking Lake Ontario. The glass floor was wonderfully scary. The IMAX movie was entertaining.

Next stop that day: the Royal Ontario Museum, which featured several things the Daughter particularly liked, such as dinosaurs and mummies. I liked the Chinese sculpture. “Biodiversity is a core theme” there.

The next day, we went to Casa Loma, the former home of once-rich industrialist, financier, and military man Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, who controlled about a quarter of Canada’s finances for time. He brought streetlights to Toronto, helped create hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls, as well as several other ventures. Casa Loma came into the hands of a not-for-profit shortly before his death, and around the same time as the death of his wife, Lady Mary Pellatt, the first Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada.

The building, built in the 1910s for some $3.5 million, back when that was real money, is a castle. We walked up the turret, some seven stories; the trick, actually, was climbing DOWN some of the spiral staircases as others traversed upward. The site also lovely gardens. Note that if one takes public transportation, it’s three blocks up, then about four flights of steps. It was a good thing we didn’t go to the CN Tower that day, for it was quite overcast.

Having the City Pass, or at least some prepaid ticket, saved us some time getting inside.

More soon.

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