Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 3 in Toronto - Niagara Falls, Butterfly Conservatory, Clifton Hill, and Poutine!

We got up late on Friday morning and dawdled in the hotel room for a while. Today we were planning to drive to Niagara Falls where a friend of mine was going to join us for a day of sightseeing.

The drive to Niagara Falls from Toronto was nice. We drove along the Niagara Escarpment most of the way. This is a ~200 foot bluff that marks the edge of the Niagara limestone deposits. It's also the escarpment over which Niagara Falls cascades. We listened to our XM Satellite radio and found Howard Stern, so we listened to his show most of the way there. We made a quick stop at Wendy's to get breakfast / lunch and then I called Krista to let her know we'd be there soon.

Krista is a friend that I know through an internet chat site. When I told her that I would be visiting Toronto, she invited us to see Niagara Falls and get dinner with her and her mother, Ellie. It sounded like a great chance to meet a good friend and get a guided tour of the falls.

We met up with Krista and her mother at the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory. It's the largest indoor butterfly conservatory in North America! We really liked it, and Isabelle kept commenting on how the smell and the air reminded her of home - Cameroon. They have thousands of butterflies enclosed in a greenhouse with rain forest plants and a waterfall and lagoon in the center. We appreciated the warm air and were able to get many photos of butterflies and each other with butterflies. Isabelle bought some souvenirs to hang on our walls back home to remind us of this experience.

From there we drove to the waterfall - Niagara Falls. There are actually two waterfalls, referred to as the American and Canadian falls. Most people say the view from the Canadian side is the best. We were able to get very close to the edge of the falls and I could actually see the limestone at the bottom of the river just before it cascades over the edge. The power of the water is magnificent and in February the ice around the falls and in the river below were an amazing sight. The mist created by the waterfall froze to everything nearby, creating ice sculptures and coating everything in thick layers of glaze.

We were very cold after being outside for a while so we drove to the top of Clifton Hill and walked down the street and back up again. Clifton Hill is a sort of touristy main street with wax museums and haunted houses. We got some pictures of the attractions and made our way to Kelsey's, a diner where we intended to order and eat Poutine, among other things.

Poutine is a Canadian comfort food made of french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. It's so simple but so tasty! I couldn't possibly eat it all along with the chicken I ordered, so we boxed up the poutine to eat later in the hotel. After dinner, we wandered over to the famous Timmy's (Tim Horton's) for a cup of coffee. The hot beverage was just what we needed to prepare for the drive back to Toronto and our last night in Canada. Back in the hotel room we were treated to a showing of the movie Strange Brew on television while I ate the leftover poutine with a glass of Riesling.


Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

Niagara Falls is one of the top romantic destinations and favorite place as well. It offers visitors the best selection of sightseeing tours, winery tours, airline discounts and hotel packages as well.
I’d definitely recommend travelers to take a tour towards this place.

Unknown said...

Hope you enjoyed Canada! Oh the tim bits is the must in Canada. Glad you liked poutine.