View from the CN Tower.

After 18 hours of air travel and a completely messed up body clock, a breath of fresh air is like heaven and when it’s in a country like Canada you can’t help but feel elated. The car ride from the airport to home was my first introduction to Canada. I landed at 7 30 pm at Pearson International Airport, Toronto in broad daylight. The sun doesn’t set before 9 30 pm which leaves you with a false feeling of 6 pm!

Notre-Dame Basilica
CN Tower

Even though Toronto isn’t a city with a checklist full attractions but it still has plenty to offer. The Lake Ontario spreads endlessly over acres, mesmerizing and beautiful. The sunlight reflects off the water and changes the water’s colour to various shades of blue. One of the more popular tourist attractions is The CN Tower; the second tallest building in the world offers a spectacular view of downtown Toronto and the Toronto Island.  The CN Tower opened the EdgeWalk in 2011, an amusement in which thrill-seekers can walk on and around the roof of the main pod of the tower at 356 m (1,168.0 ft). It is the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk. However, people are harnessed and it is safe. Nonetheless beware! Your heart will be in your mouth.

Montreal is a French speaking city, second only to Paris, situated in the province of Quebec. One step into the city and you get transported to Europe. It is a miniature Europe in America. The same narrow cobbled streets, road side cafes, street artists and exorbitantly expensive food! Archaic buildings, churches and souvenir shops are the three most common sights one gets to see. The highlight of the city is Notre-Dame Basilica. The church’s gothic revival architecture is among the most dramatic in the world; its interior is grand and colourful, its ceiling is a collage of deep blues and decorated with golden stars, and the rest of the sanctuary is a polychrome of blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. It is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. It’s beautiful and a must visit. However if you don’t know how to speak French, you’re in for a tough time because even cult brands like McDonald has its menu written in French!

‘The’ place to go to when visiting Canada is definitely The Niagara Falls. They are 165 feet high and 2,600 feet wide. The combination of the height plus width is what makes them so spectacular. It is a sight to die for and a living proof of how nature can be stupendous. The Maid of the Mist is the boat tour of Niagra falls. The boat starts off at a calm part of the Niagra river, near the Rainbow falls, and takes its passengers past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe falls. The impact with which the water falls is so great that the spray generated is blinding. The view from the boat is unparalleled and absolutely nothing can match up to it. Standing so close to the falls, listening to the roar of the falling water with the spray drenching you, the experience is out of the world.

Niagra Falls

The town is also known for its night life and has tons of casinos. The place is surely a gambler’s delight!

In terms of food, the variety this country offers is not even funny. Food maniacs will find all cuisines ranging from fast food, Greek, Mexican, Afghani, steaks, Mediterranean, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and of course Indian. Toronto has a whole street called Jerard Street dedicated to Indian food which has everything from south Indian food to biryanis. The street even has a ‘pan ki dukaan’! The shop has that exact same Indian feel, tiny shop, sweaty man making pan asking you if u want gutka in it! The street is like a little India in Canada.

There is no concept of home cooking there. Everything is available packed, tinned or frozen. However, food is not cheap but quantities sold are massive.

Canada is pretty as a picture and inhabits people who are way too polite. Be it a waiter or a cop they would begin by asking how you are even if the cop wants to fine you! Unlike Indians, Canadians are over enthusiastic helpers. Pedestrian is the king and no matter where you cross the road from the traffic will stop for you. Every coffee shop, mall and restaurant has unlimited free Wi-Fi.  The air is supremely fresh and the country clean. Spending a month in Canada spoils you. The pollution, traffic and the filth of India hits you in the face. But as the saying goes, there’s no place like home!