More Toronto

Today we wrapped up a few final important Toronto tourist activities. #1, I decided to finally check out Casa Loma. CL is a big mansion 10 minutes north of downtown, built by the guy (Henry Pellatt, IIRC) who first brought electricity to Toronto and as a result became a bazillionaire though he eventually blew it all, in large part on Casa Loma. I kinda like looking around big old houses / castles, so this place was kind of neat. I don’t know that there is anywhere comparable to it in Canada?, though of course in the UK these places are a dime a dozen (and, I suppose, about 500 years older on average…)

Sam outside Casa Loma

Sam outside Casa Loma

Next stop, Fort York. I have never really noticed this place before, but it’s on your left as you approach downtown Toronto on the Gardiner. FY guarded the very first version of Toronto (York), circa 1834 IIRC, wait a minute that can’t be right because it was involved in the war of 1812 which was 22 years before… oh well, I can’t be expected to remember everything. Originally the Toronto waterfront ended at FY, which being North of the Gardiner is now a long ways North of the current waterfront. It’s all landfill in between.

Ben at Fort York

Ben at Fort York

The Fort York stop was mostly me trying to inject a little educational value into this trip and it was at best very minimally successful. The only thing I could really interest the kidlets in was the weaponry, powder magazine, and a description of a guy who had to have his arm amputated without anasthetic.

After Fort York we returned to Rogers Centre (aka. the Skydome) for their “behind the scenes guided tour”. This was totally excellent. It took about an hour. At the time they were setting it up for an East Indian concert of some kind. They show you around the building and regale you with all these factoids. I love stuff like this…

Sam on the Rogers Tour

Sam on the Rogers Tour

Here are a few that I remember:

1. It takes 48 hours to convert the stadium between baseball and football. Both are played in the same season, and they have a ton of full-time staff to do these conversions, which include erasing and painting new lines every time.

2. It takes 20 minutes to open the roof.

3. The stadium cost $570 million to build and went bankrupt after Air Canada Centre opened (for hockey, just a few blocks to the East) and all the corporate sponsors switched to it. Rogers bought it for $25 million.

4. The cheapest seats for baseball cost only $2 and are located on the steepest-pitched tier of seats in North America. A luxury suite costs around $3000 per game, which is not too bad considering it seats 20 and $150 is not so much for an experience like that…


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