Niagara Falls

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From Toronto, to Montreal, to Niagara Falls

The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Water making its way from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The Hornblower

Experiencing the falls up close was my main priority for a day in Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I read reviews about getting there early to avoid long lines. Thankfully, that was not my experience. At 3:00 p.m., I was able to get a ticket and board in the time it takes for 700 people to ride the elevator down to the dock, get a poncho, and board the vessel.

Everyone wanted to rush to the top deck. I did my research and found out that both decks offer the same views, with more of a soaking on the top deck.

We went right into the Horseshoe Falls and stayed long enough to experience the power of the falls. The water was refreshing for a hot, summer day.

The boat turns around and gives a view of the Bridal Veil and American Falls.

Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist used to operate on the Canada side until their lease expired. The cruise follows the same route as the Hornblower. The only difference is the blue poncho.

Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls was too much time wasted for about 15 minutes of an “up-close” experience to Horseshoe Falls. I didn’t even get wet. There is an assigned time to go through security and take the elevators down to what used to be called “Table Rock.”

The only good thing about waiting for the assigned time was the sun coming out and being able to see rainbows. The afternoon and evening rainbows are an advantage of viewing the falls from the Canada side. These photos are not edited.

This is an above view of Journey Behind the Falls. There are two viewing decks located on the edge of the Horseshoe Falls.

New York’s version is called Cave of the Winds. It has more of a walking deck along the American Falls. I think that is better than tunnels.

There are two tunnels that lead to views of this behind the Horseshoe Falls:

Clifton Hill Good Eats

The best way to describe Clifton Hill is a mini Great Smoky Mountains Parkway. There were some of the same attractions and franchise restaurants. I preferred a meal that was more fresh and authentic. I found a place called Fusion Wrap by accident when I was navigating to a BeaverTails location. The chicken shawarma and cardamom tea were excellent.

I was wanting BeaverTails ever since the Toronto Island tour, but it was closed by the time I got back Downtown. I was so happy there was a location in Niagara Falls.

Beavertails Canada Fusion Wraps

For dinner, it was back to Fusion Wrap and a place called Sweet Jesus for dessert.

Sweet Jesus Ontario

Rainbow International Bridge

I was right by the Rainbow International Bridge when I got off the Hornblower. Silly me forgot to take my passport, so I had to save the walk to the U.S. for later.

Niagara Falls at Night

The finale to my Canada vacation would be watching the fireworks from the Rainbow Bridge I was finally able to cross.

Back in the U.S.A.

The quickest way back to Louisville, KY was crossing the Peace Bridge into Buffalo, NY. The scenery changed from lively to stark.

I learned a lot during my visit to Canada. I respect that it is more of a mosaic than a melting pot. I am grateful that everything worked out smoothly with safe travels.

Kelsie Lou

Source: Niagara Falls

How to Spend 2 Days in Toronto

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Kelsie Smoot Canada Sign In Toronto at CN Tower.
I’ve been to Windsor and Boblo Island numerous times, but this was my first visit to Toronto, Ontario.
The Ambassador Bridge:   Detroit, MI to Windsor, Ontario.
From Louisville, KY., crossed into Canada by the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit, MI to Windsor, Ont.

This vacation to Canada was inspired by one of my Smootents, Skylar who went to Niagra Falls for Memorial Day Weekend with her Girl Scouts Troop.

An important decision for my trip to Toronto was deciding where to stay. I had a wonderful experience with my first time using Airbnb.

I was hosted in a million dollar condo in the Entertainment District. The fully stocked, 2-bedroom split floor plan was a nice place to call home for two nights.

Toronto City Pass Attractions

The Toronto City pass was an opportunity to see the top six attractions in the city. With less than 48 hours, I did not waste any time getting to the CN Tower and Aquarium which were only two blocks away from the condo.

Neither attractions were crowded. Canada Day had just passed, so I missed all of those crowds. For the sake of time, I had to skip the Toronto Zoo and Ontario Science Centre.

The CN Tower

“Nothing Can Stop Me, I’m All The Way Up!”

CN Tower Glass Elevator Ride Up 346 m/ 1,136 feet.
Music: Views
Musician: @iksonofficial
The Financial District, Toronto.
There are 65 skyscrapers in Toronto. This is a view of the Financial District.
Harbourfront, Toronto.
Views of Habourfront, Lake Ontario and Toronto Island

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Ripley's Aquarium Canada
The layout of this aquarium is nearly identical to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.

Entertainment District

By this time, I had worked up an appetite. The open air lounge of e11even was very inviting with the Scotiabank Arena over my shoulder. This freshly ground burger did not disappoint.

e11even Toronto
e11even dinner: Surf and Turf Gyoza, The best cheeseburger I ever had, brownie dessert with toffee glaze.
Scotiabank Arena
Home of the 2019 NBA Champs!
Toronto Railway Museum at Roundhouse Park
Toronto Railway Museum at Roundhouse Park

Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan's Square
The Heart of downtown, Toronto. The location of the new and old city halls.

Queen’s Park

Ontario Legislative Building
Ontario Legislative Building

Royal Ontario Museum

The ROM was included with the City Pass. My favorite world culture exhibits were the Asian and Africa collections.

Royal Ontario Museum Asian Collection.
East Asian art collection, wooden Buddhist temple statues, tea set.
Proverbial coffin from Ghana made by Paa Joe, African stools, Ejagham headdress, Nisga'a crest pole
Proverbial coffin from Ghana made by Paa Joe, African stools, Ejagham headdress, Nisga’a crest pole.

Casa Loma

Louro and Sons Jewellers.

There was a 1.5 mile walk from the Royal Ontario Museum to Casa Loma.

I passed through the posh area of Yorkville that had this unique, jewelry store front. It was right across the street from a Ferrari dealership.

Casa Loma in Toronto
64,700 sq.ft. over 7 floors.

The decor of the Casa Loma reminded me a lot of the Biltmore Estate.

Casa Loma Suites
Sir Pellatt's Suite, Lady Pellatt's Suite Guest Room, Round Room.
Sir Pellatt’s Suite, Lady Pellatt’s Suite Guest Room, Round Room.


With directions from a local, I was able to ride a street car to Chinatown. I was not impressed with this area compared to Chinatown’s in the U.S.A. There was mostly Dollar Store like merchandise for sale.

Chinatown Toronto
Chinatown in Toronto

Kensington Market

This was a fun area. There were a lot of specialty stores and cafes. After all the walking it was time for a cold beverage.

Kensington Market Toronto
Kensington Market Neighborhood. Krepesz Cafe for lunch.

Toronto Island

Toronto Island reminded me a lot of Detroit’s Belle Isle. A local told me that Toronto went from winter to summer during the end of June. It rained for a week straight, which caused a lot of flooding on the island. A 10 minute ride on the fery gave me this view:

View of the city from Toronto Island
View of the city from Toronto Island
Kelsie Smoot Toronto Islands
Although the Island has beaches, I am more of an ocean girl. I admired Lake Ontario from the Centre Island Pier.


Recreational marijuana is legal throughout Canada. I was smelling herbal essences on every corner I turned. Either people were smoking or had just finished smoking.

Toronto has done a great job with having a cycling infrastructure in the core of the city. During rush hour, it looked like a race was taking place.

Toronto bike lanes
Bike Friendly City


The CN Tower view from the condo at night.

Toronto was absolutely breathtaking. It is a shame that I never taken the four hour drive from Michigan when I lived there. I don’t think I could deal with the wintertime regardless of the underground city and heated parking garages.

Overall, I am blessed to have experienced this city, and I encourage others to do the same.

My next post will include all photos from Graffiti Alley. This post is long enough 🙂

Kelsie Lou

Source: How to Spend 2 Days in Toronto