They say that grass is always greener on the other side. Earlier this month, I set out to find out exactly how. The other side being Canada (since Swine Flu had ruled out Mexico!) and the city visited – Toronto – in the state of Ontario, abbreviated as T.O., and referred to locally by a much cooler name – the Tee Dot!
The French influence, I’m told, wears thin as you drive away from the state of Quebec but that didn’t seem to deter Toronto’s Pearson International Airport from having signs in French! That’s probably the first thing that hits you as you step of the plane. The second, and more impressive thing, is a snag free passage through immigration. There are no separate lines for Canadians – therefore your not likely to find signs marked ‘aliens’; the wait time is minimal; you’re greeted with a smile; the questions asked are not in the least bit offensive and before you know it your already at Baggage Claim!!
They also say that comparisons are odious and I couldn’t agree more. Prior to my departure for Canada, a handful of sources insisted that Toronto was nothing but ‘a smaller version of NYC’ or worse still, ‘a poor wannabe cousin of the Big Apple’. Trying to keep these biases at bay, I decided that a weekend in the Tee Dot should be enough for me to arrive at my own verdict.
First stop on a heavily overcast Saturday morning was St.Lawrence Market, where we managed to duck for cover seconds before a Bombay style rain shower pelted the street outside!
A mid 19th century building which once housed the City Hall and Jail House, St.Lawrence Market is today home to over 100 vendors spread across 2 levels, specialising in everything from fine cheeses to exotic meats, from coffee beans sourced across the globe to varieties of mustard that you never even dreamt of!!!
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