When we woke up, we had no idea where we would go to bed. We knew that Toronto was a 6+ hour drive, but we weren’t sure how far we would go before calling it a day. Further complicating things was the upcoming Australia Day celebration. On July 1st it is their 150-year celebration so the campgrounds are full and the traffic will be bad.
It seems like this country is just full of road construction, it is everywhere you go and results in significant delays. Today was no different, as it took us a while to get off of the island and then circle around towards Toronto. Eventually we started making good time and the traffic was light, so we just kept on rolling south. Manitoulin Island would mark the furthest away we would get from Athens on this trip, every passing mile is putting us closer to our home. Due to the campground situation and crowds that will be pouring into Toronto on Australia Day, we decided to go ahead and push onwards to the Toronto metro area. We ended up at Rockwood Conservation Area, a beautiful park about 80 km to the west of Toronto. We rolled in around dinner time and the campground was mostly empty, so we grabbed a wooded spot towards the very back. It felt like it was all ours, and the kids immediately loved the playground as well as the trails down to the water. We ordered a pizza from a local place in the nearby town and had a relaxed dinner outside.
It rained throughout the night and the next morning we woke up to overcast skies and an uncertain weather forecast. We took our time, grabbing some breakfast at Tim Horton’s before making the drive on in to Toronto. The traffic is pretty brutal, even well after the morning rush. We arrived in the downtown area, parked, and began to explore while dodging some intermittent showers. The Kensington market area was very cool, lots of vintage and thrift shops mixed in with eateries, organic food stores, and residential areas. Then we headed over to the St. Lawrence Market for some lunch and more browsing. We walked around downtown and made our way down to the ferry terminal with intentions to go over to the islands just off-shore. However, we were a little wary of the brutal traffic and the likelihood that we wouldn’t make it back to the mainland before rush hour. We didn’t want to sit in the car too long, so we decided to forego the ferry ride out to the islands and instead headed back to the car. Even though we left at 3:30, it still took us over 2 hours to get back to the campground which was just a bit over 50 miles away. We had thought about taking the train in, but the weather coupled with the long train ride (almost 2 hours due to all of the stops) made us choose the car. Regardless, we found that Toronto is better explored by staying in the city and having several days to get around. We didn’t feel like we got to see as much as we did in Chicago.
On the way back to Marty we stopped by the grocery to pick up some dinner and then settled in for some drinks and food. The kids played on the playground for a while, and then since they had napped in the car on the long drive back, we ended up letting them stay up to watch a movie (Cars) which they loved. Meanwhile, I caught up on some work. We have burned through our Verizon data like crazy and our cell phone bill will be pretty large when we get back, due to the lack of Wi-Fi at many of the campgrounds. That’s ok though, it is worth every penny.
Tomorrow is Niagara Falls!