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Unread 12 Jun 15, 01:16 PM  
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jocat
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Our first taste of Canada - Day 4 - Casa Loma and Eaton Centre

Our first taste of Canada - Toronto and Niagara Falls

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Day 4 Wednesday 27th May 2015

Woke at about 8:50 am this morning and by the time we were showered and dressed, it was 10am before we left the hotel. Thankfully, it felt slightly cooler this morning, with a predicted temperature of 25 degrees for the day. It was supposed to stay dry though for most of the day, with a risk of thunderstorms by teatime.

We had breakfast on the go and grabbed a muffin and a juice each from Jugo Juice in Union Station.



Bought 4 of the tiny subway tokens from the ticket booth for $11.20 and headed for the northbound line. The subway is really simple to use here.





You can see the subway isn't very busy at this time of day!


Got the subway to DuPont and walked up the slight hill, (plus lots of steps! ), to Casa Loma.


It was a pleasant walk ...


... until we got to the steps! And this isn't all of them, as there are lots more hidden around the corner.


Great views from the top though.






Entrance was $24 each, but included a self-guided audio tour, which we took advantage of. We had a pleasant walk round, enjoying the exhibits. This kind of thing isnt something we do much of, but it made a nice change. One thing I have to say though is I know its an older building but it was quite stuffy inside, and could really have done with some air conditioning. Goodness knows what it would be like in the height of summer.







We took a break at around 12:40 for a drink in the caf - I had water, Martin had diet Pepsi. We just had the tunnels and stables left to do, so we headed downstairs, where thankfully it was much cooler. The mugginess had been starting to really get to me on the upper floors.











We left Casa Loma, and walked back towards the subway, pausing to take some photos on the way. It was a little hazy back towards the city, so although the views were great in person, they haven't turned out too well in our photos.




Wed had tentative plans to visit the Bata Shoe Museum today, but when it came to it neither of us were particularly bothered about it. We decided to skip it, got the subway back to Osgoode station, where we walked East to see City Hall on the way to the Eaton Centre instead.














Once we arrived at the Eaton Centre, we headed downstairs to the Food court, and shared a foot long sub meal deal, which included crisps and a diet coke for a bargain $9.50 ish. Cheapest lunch of the trip.




Off to do a little bit of shopping, where we picked up some gifts for our children. We were flagging a bit this afternoon, and we werent really bothered about more shopping, so we decided to drop our bags off at the hotel and go across the road to try and get on the Steam Whistle Brewery Tour today. We arrived at 4pm, but could only be squeezed in on the 5pm tour, which didn't work for us due to a dinner reservation booked for 7:00 pm. It would just have been too much of a rush, so they booked us in for the 2 pm tour tomorrow instead, and invited us to enjoy some samples anyway, which we did. If you are interested in doing this tour, please be aware that each tour only lets you book 10 spaces, hence how busy it can be, especially on a day that the Blue Jays are at home.


Sampling the goods!


We headed back to the room and spent the next hour just chilling and reading our guide book, looking for inspiration for tomorrow. Oh and taking some more photos of the fantastic view!




Before we flew out, the weather forecast for Toronto had not been that great - it was due to be dry for the first 2 days, then rain for the rest, so we'd planned some indoor activities for this very reason. However, with the sun out, we were reluctant to be indoors.

I then went in our lovely bath with a view, and felt so much better for having had a couple of hours relaxing.

We got ready for dinner and left the hotel to walk to our chosen restaurant for dinner this evening. Luckily, the thunderstorm had missed us, so we had no problems walking there.

We'd done a bit of research into French restaurants, and come across a quaint little French cafe, that had recently started serving dinner in the evening. It had 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor. I have a bit of advice for you - never listen to TA!

When we walked in, there was only one other table filled with customers, although there were people at a couple of tables outside. We were given a menu, and instantly saw that it was completely different to their menu online.






We heard a fellow customer ask to pay by credit card, only to be told the card machine wasn't working. That wasn't good as it was our chosen method of payment that evening, and I had actually checked the website for that before we left the hotel.

Alarm bells were ringing, and I considered suggesting that we leave. However, I didn't want to worry about where we'd eat instead, and I kept going back to the great reviews it had.

The server came over to take our drinks order, and we asked about paying by card. He said we could use the ATM in the corner, but we said we didn't want to, as besides the charge for using the machine, we would also be charged for a cash advance by our credit card company. The server said he could reboot the card machine and it would probably work, so we went ahead and ordered.

Martin ordered a beer and I ordered a Kir Royale. I could see the server pouring the drink, and instantly noticed that when he topped up the Cassis with the sparkling wine, he did so in one pour. When I pour one at home, it takes me more than one attempt, as the bubbles need time to settle so that the glass doesn't overflow.

As soon as I tasted the drink, I knew it had to go back. It was completely flat and tasted more like port. The server kept disappearing into the kitchen, so it was hard to get his attention. Eventually Martin went to the counter and waited for him to reappear. When he told him it was flat, he actually tasted it! I'm not sure what he'd have done if he'd disagreed it was flat!

He opened a fresh bottle of sparkling wine and poured me another, which was much better. I then saw him drink from the original bottle, before pulling a face and pouring it down the sink. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! He was then unable to find a bottle stopper to prevent the new one from going flat too! I was horrified that this was happening in front of customers, and it just left me wondering what could be happening in the kitchen.

In the meantime, our food order had been taken. Martin ordered a starter, which turned out not to be available, so we just ordered main courses. Again, I was a little worried when every dish seemed to be served with the same thing, but I put those worries aside. Martin ordered the salmon and I ordered chicken.

When it came, it was served with chips and salad it was supposed to be served with ratatouille (according to the menu), but it was just lettuce, tomato and cucumber with some pineapple buried underneath. Very bizarre!





I only ate half of my chicken, as I wasn't convinced that it was thoroughly cooked. The sauce it was supposed to be sauted in, seemed more like mushroom soup with a few extra mushrooms on top. We decided to leave pretty sharpish, and after paying our bill, we left a mere 40 minutes after we'd arrived. I think that must be some kind of record for us. I so wish Id paid attention to my earlier instincts and left before ordering. Now I'm sure it would be a lovely spot for a morning pastry and a coffee, or even a Croque Monsieur at lunchtime, but please don't try it for dinner. It just doesnt serve French food! Despite reviews to the contrary, a Parisien cafe it is not! Im sure the owners must be writing their own reviews.

We walked back towards our hotel, and stumbled across a Jack Astors. We grabbed a table in their 'cocktail bar' section, and ordered a Moosehead beer for Martin and a glass of wine for me. I even had a look at their menu, considering ordering something else to eat, but decided against it in the end.

We ordered a second round of drinks, then left for the short walk back to the hotel.
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Unread 12 Jun 15, 06:25 PM  
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Melbatb
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What a shame about the meal. Your photos brings back memories of our trip to Casa Loma..
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Unread 12 Jun 15, 06:47 PM  
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
What a shame about the meal. Your photos brings back memories of our trip to Casa Loma..
I know, it's such a shame.

We've got a very small family-run bistro near home, that started out as a caf. They then started opening in the evening at weekends and their food is far and away better than any other restaurants in our town. I was hoping this would be similar experience, which is why I thought I'd give it a try. It wasn't to be unfortunately, but you live and learn.

I must remember to put a realistic review on TA though, to balance out those positive reviews!
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Unread 12 Jun 15, 11:05 PM  
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Loving your piccies, reminds me of our trip in 2009. It is so strange to see so many tiny old buildings sitting among the skyscrapers. Shame about the restaurant, but def put a review on xx
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Unread 13 Jun 15, 12:01 PM  
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Casa Loma looks amazing... cant wait to visit it

Nothing worse than a bad meal on holiday..

Loving your report..
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Unread 13 Jun 15, 04:45 PM  
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jocat
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Originally Posted by shirley View Post
Loving your piccies, reminds me of our trip in 2009. It is so strange to see so many tiny old buildings sitting among the skyscrapers. Shame about the restaurant, but def put a review on xx
I really loved the mix of new and old buildings.

Will definitely put a review on for that restaurant, as I wouldn't want others to make the same mistake we did.

Originally Posted by sameeel View Post
Casa Loma looks amazing... cant wait to visit it

Nothing worse than a bad meal on holiday..

Loving your report..
Thanks sameeel. I was amazed that Casa Loma is just surrounded by normal houses - well not normal like the houses in my street, but you'll see what I mean. You don't get houses next to castles at home.

That meal was such a disappointment, even more so as it was our last night. I just think of all the fab French restaurants that there must be in Toronto. I do like to give small businesses a chance though, but I'll do more research in future.
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Unread 29 Jun 15, 05:15 PM  
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Glad you survived those steps up to Casa Loma but shame about the meal. We also prefer "mom and pop" types places rather than chain restaurants but results can be a bit hit or miss.
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Unread 4 Nov 15, 01:22 PM  
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Shame about your meal! Looks like a lovely day otherwise though!
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