Continuing on from last weekend where Ryan & I started our Citypass stops with the CN tower and the Royal Ontario Museum it was the following weekend where we decided to round off the book after finishing off midterms and assignment deadlines – and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend exploration!

Toronto Zoo

Nearer to Scarborough campus, a mere 5 minutes away, was the famous Toronto Zoo which has a baffling amount of wildlife within it’s grounds – due to it still being a cold temperature (well warm for the Canadians) there wasn’t the full repertoire of animals venturing during the day due to having to be kept inside for warmth.

However, this didn’t detract from the animals that we did see in the end – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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Waiting for his partner to wake up, this polar bear took much time bathing in the sun of a gloriously sunny Canadian Saturday. Almost looking longing for a swim.
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Similarly, this lion pair were equally as engrossed in the sunshine, making use of the warmth of the sun to catch some zee’s. The male looks majestic as anything.

 

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Almost didn’t see this croc was it not for the reflection of the water in this instant, can see why they’re dangerous the ambush!
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I saw this guy change colour twice, still annoyed I didn’t get a shot of him changing but he was still very much a wonder to watch.
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Mountain goats doing what they do best, exploring their surrounding by climbing – including their food pen!
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A snow leopard longing to wonder back in the icy fields of Canada, hoping that the winter snow would return soon.
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Such a ‘What you lookin’ at?!’ kind of look from the papa gorilla – wouldn’t want to see this guy on a bad day!
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This sea eagles wing span was gargantuan – was nearly the length of myself when stretched out!
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This snow owl looked so delightfully happy….or high….not quite sure which!

Toronto Zoo even in the nippy weather was definitely a great trek in the new spring sunshine, a definite return will be made to catch some of the animals we didn’t get to see this time round!

Casa Loma

Nearer to the north side of the city, near Dupont area, was a place I’d never heard of before but from what was said it sounded quite amazing. A huge castle in the middle of a city. It immediately reminded me of home, with Edinburgh castle being smack bang in the middle of the city also, I already had high expectations.

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Standing mighty in the Canadian sun, Casa Loma from the outside looked very bold.

On venturing into the building, there was a vibe that we couldn’t quite put our finger on, there were people dressed up as people of old, and a lot of children around – which begged us to wonder ‘what are all these kids doing here in a castle?’. I’m not saying that children don’t enjoy going to castles, but there was such a large amount of them! Within the old statue of the building there were a lot of kid-directed events happening on a daily basis; arts and crafts, mini science shows, song and dances displays etc. It felt a tad odd to have such a building be partially used for these means, but it didn’t detract from the architecture of the place.

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All of the downstairs halls were illuminated with projected ceilings, there was something very Disney about it here, Beauty and the Beast to be exact.

 

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A nice little reminder of home.

After finding out that there was a balcony outside we had to go take a look out as the weather, the same as the previous day at the zoo was wonderfully sunny.

 

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Getting up close and personal with the building, the turrets were something to be admired for sure.
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Looking out to the south of the city was almost like a postcard snapshot between the two garden trees.

 

 

One of my favourite parts of the castle were there underground tunnels that seemed to go on forever underneath the castle. There were used as escape routes and also used back in wars over Canadian history. I learnt a great deal about Toronto as a city from these tunnels, looking upon past events such as the Great Toronto Fire, the rallies for equal rights for voting, wages, and civil rights. It was almost like a history lesson, but much better than anyone could’ve taught.

 

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The lighting of the tunnels was just amazing, very war-time feel about the illuminations of the tunnels from these lights.
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The relocation of the hotel sign into the tunnels – a decision made by the owners of the castle at the time.
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This map really makes you realise how close Toronto is to the US, with Buffalo being the 1st town to hit the US!
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Struggles made from petitioning and rallies – the spirit of the Canadian people wasn’t something to be ignored.

 

As well as this there were other marvels of the place, with the multitudes of brilliant decoration and war-time murals within the confines of the building, as well as greenhouses and paintings galore. Casa Loma was a great insight into a way that Canadian life has been influenced by so many other cultures.

 

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An old Ford that very much reminded me of Herby for some reason even though it wasn’t an old Beetle, however, it was kept in amazing condition.
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Would not have wanted to be the person who had to tackle this tiger to form the rug that now sits on one of the many bedroom floors.
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War-time paintings of life within the trenches really hit home to the sacrifices soldiers had to make during such difficult times.
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In the garage of Casa Loma, with cars from all over the ages.

 

Ripleys Aquarium 

Directly next to the CN Tower in the entertainment district, as soon as you enter Ripley’s you know that there’s going to be much seen. Priding themselves on having so many different species of fish in one location, and keeping them all happy to their standards of care. Walking through underwater tunnels through the aquarium was quite the spectacle and a fantastic idea! You really got the see the dynamic of shoals of fish swimming from above you, almost being encapsulated by it.

 

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I’ve never seen a stiller fish than this one, didn’t move for at least 5 minutes, meaning I was able to catch a great shot!
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Was hard to catch the sharks in great focus from constantly moving, however from being underneath you get to see just how sharp and large their teeth are, something you never want to mess with.
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This one almost wanted me to take a picture of it, it kept following my lens around the side of the glass.
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The blue eyes of this shoal were quite something, almost as if small sapphires had been implanted into their eyes
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A smiling manta ray – something quite lovely about that.

There was one section of the aquarium that stood out for me, however, the jellyfish enclosure, the vast array of colours was loved by all and you could hear the oos and ahhs of the crowd as they made their way to this section of the aquarium, and for a very good reason.

 

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Almost motionless, just levitating within the waters, something quite psychedelic about the lighting they used but to great effect.
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If there was anything known as a cute jellyfish this was it, about the size of a £2 coin if that.
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My favourite picture just from the vivid pink colours of the jellyfish in this shot. Purely wonderful.

As well as being able to touch the rays and horseshoe crabs, there was a lot that Ripleys had going for it, both aesthetically and educationally – learning about all the different traits and interactions of the animals was quite something. Another trip will be had here for definite with some different lenses, and hopefully, some different species of aquatic wildlife to see!

 

Bringing the end of the CityPass run rounded off a pretty good couple of weekends. But the fun doesn’t stop there as I’m currently trying to frantically get through some work, as well as pack to head to NEW YORK. I’m very excited for the next 3 days time spending around the sights of NYC, as well as finding some stellar places to eat as well – might make a food post for that who knows, all I know is you’ll have something to read by next Tuesday.

Till then – Keep Exploring.

George

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