“We’ve been expecting you.”

For the past two weeks, my family and I have been traipsing around Canada, poking our noses into the crannies of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. Of course, having the appetite for foreign lands that I do, I ate up every second. Toronto uses one of the creepier tourism slogans I’ve seen (hence the title). But the banners sporting that slogan didn’t deter my family from our visit. We arrived in Toronto around noon on a Saturday, and had scarcely dropped our belongings in the hotel when we set out on foot to meet our bike tour guide. If you have limited time to explore a city, I would recommend a bicycle tour in a heartbeat – especially if the city is as bike-friendly as Toronto. My family used Toronto Bicycle Tours for a four-hour tour of the city and could not have had a better time. Rick, our fabulously savvy tour guide, knew every in and out there was to know about the city, brimming with knowledge that I shall pepper throughout my anecdotes. Toronto’s skyline is marked my skyscrapers and mega-apartment complexes. The tall buildings are the darlings of Toronto’s financial district, which Rick took us through. Since it was Saturday, the financial district was deserted.

According to Rick, the old (and thereby pretty) parts of Toronto were demolished in the decades after World War II in order to give the city a fresh, modern face. Toronto, Toronto, what were you thinking? The buildings that escaped the modernizing witch hunt soften the spikes of the skyscrapers. In posts to come, I’ll spend more time on some individual areas (the Distillery District, Baldwin Street, Kensington Market, Casa Loma, etc.), but see the gallery at the top for some highlights of the tour.

Buildings like these border the sharper buildings of the financial district.

The family stopped outside of an Irish pub on Colborne Street, which runs into the financial district.

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