Niagara Falls/Toronto Trip Recap & Spending

Greetings from Colorado! It’s been a million years since you’ve heard from me (on this blog anyways). I’m assuming you’ve missed me terribly. I’ve missed you too! It’s amazing how quickly my days have been flying these past couple weeks. I need a vacation from this vacation, stat. (Just kidding, I’m really not that ungrateful! I’m having an amazing time and I feel incredibly fortunate.)

As you know (or if you don’t, you will now), I was in Canada from July 11th – 17th. I finally got to use my passport! Now that I’ve spent six days in Canada, I am practically an expert and I have come to the following conclusions:

1) Canada has cooler money than us. I resent this deeply. To compensate for my sadness, I will make fun of your money with the following GIF.

Canadian money

2) There are no cops in Canada. (Seriously, were they hiding? We couldn’t find any cops!)

3) Canada is terribly expensive and has like 16 different types of sales tax. Also, $5.50 is not a drink special! No, it is not.

4) There are no natural born citizens in Toronto. It is the most diverse city I’ve ever seen! The only thing missing were Canadians.

5) I really dig Canada. (Except for the fact that you can only buy alcohol at a liquor store. Why, Canada?)

Alright, onto the recap of my wonderful 6 day vacation to Niagara Falls and Canada. Fill in the holes with “walked around aimlessly” because we did a lot of that. For more pics, check out my Instagram!

Us

THURSDAY

After a day of packing my life into a Ford Focus, we headed up to Niagara Falls. It was already 10 PM when we got up there so we just grabbed an overpriced drink and called it a night.

FRIDAY

We woke up early to check out the Falls (thank god because around noon there were whiny children everywhere). Beautiful, but smaller than I imagined! We didn’t do any of the tours or anything because they were a total ripoff — as all tourist-y things are. We managed to accidentally cross into the U.S. and then we ALMOST did it AGAIN. They don’t have enough signs, I’m telling you.

Falls

We drove up to Toronto and had dinner and drinks at Firkin on Yonge and paid way too much for parking as we accidentally parked right next to the CN Tower.

By the way, it is a pain in the ass to navigate around cities without GPS capabilities. We didn’t get an international data plan so we had to use maps and iPhone screen shots that we took in coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. I’m assuming this is how ancient man got around…

SATURDAY

We decided not to drive into the city anymore and started taking advantage of public transit. Someone finally said “eh”. Like good little tourists we had brunch at Fran’s and went to the Royal Ontario Museum (used my student ID to get a few bucks off admission, score!). We had dinner and drinks at Bar Italia in Little Italy.

ROM

SUNDAY

We went to Chinatown. Gotta say, I’m not a fan. It was super crowded and smelled heavily of fish. No bueno. We stopped in an Irish pub for a couple drafts and then decided to seek reprieve from the heat in the movie theater. Yes, I broke my movie theater rule for Grown Ups 2. Judge me if you will. We had dinner at The Emerson, home of the best burgers we have ever tasted. OM NOM NOM.

MONDAY

Also known as the most awkward day of my life. We went to the African Lion Safari in the morning (kinda cool but way overpriced!), I worked on some freelance stuff, and then we had the dinner experience from hell. Monday was a dark day…

Safari

TUESDAY

We went to the Toronto Islands in the morning. The most interesting tidbit from that was our visit to the Clothing Optional Beach. Have you ever seen Eurotrip? Yeah, it was exactly like that. A total sausage fest where all the sausages were small and over sixty. No pictures were taken of this event — that image will be burned into my brain for all of eternity. After we got back to dry, non-disgusting land, we had lunch at The Fox.

Island

In the afternoon, we went to Old Town Toronto which I love, love, loved! We spent a lot of time browsing furniture stores and doing a bit of daytime bar hopping. We also went to the St. Lawrence Market and bought ice wine! Yum. Dinner was at Kultura, pricey but yummy!

Food

WEDNESDAY

Checked out of the hotel and headed back to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Now onto the spending. We have joint finances, so this is for both of us. Remember, I said Canada was expensive…

Lodging: $0

Thank you, credit card points!

Transportation: $193.85

Yikes! This includes gas, tolls, parking, and public transportation costs.

Food/Alcohol/Coffee: $582.41

I honestly don’t even know what to say about this. I swear we weren’t eating at baller restaurants for most of the trip. This one hurts.

Shopping: $68.72

We bought ice wine, vodka at Duty Free, and random drugstore things that we needed. Nothing overly exciting. We typically only buy consumables while on vacation.

Entertainment: $139.55

Admission to ROM and African Lion Safari, as well as tickets to the movie and ferry admission.

Fees: $20.28

Foreign transaction fees (that I still need to argue about because there aren’t supposed to be any!) and ATM fees.

TOTAL: $1,004.81

So that was my Niagara Falls/Toronto trip! We had a lot of fun and I’m so glad we finally ventured into Canada. I really want to go to Vancouver while I’m living on the West Coast. Maybe next summer?

[Image from My Vegan Summer]

Comments

  1. Good for you.

  2. Sounds like a lovely little trip!

    You could buy an actual GPS. I know this is a shocking idea in the days of iphones and whatnot, but they aren’t that expensive and work all over the world. Just sayin….

    Also thank you. Now I have “Scotty doesn’t know” stuck in my head mixed in with a few “mi scusi” and the occasional “here’s a fun fact…. YOU MADE OUT WITH YOUR SISTER.’ It’s a good way to start a Monday 😀

    • Yeah, we should do that. It would cut down on the data usage as well.

      We were just quoting that movie yesterday! “Stuck on a boat with a weird French guy? That sounds pretty gay.” “It’s not gay, I’m a girl!” “Kinda gay.” and “We’re the Manchester United fan club…from Ohio.”

    • Be careful, not all of them work all over the world. Most Garmins only have USA maps included. I think I had to pay 20 dollars extra for one with Canada maps included (my wife is Canadian) and it most definitely doesn’t have European ones. That being said, it does have some advantages over a smartphone.

      • I didn’t know that! Thanks for the info, Andrew :).

      • My Garmin came with all of North America (including Canada, Alaska and Mexico). I purchased all of Europe for like $70 a year or so back and have gotten my money’s worth out of it since the rental ones for cars can be $10 a day or so.

        I guess I should have included that caveat, but I figured everyone knew that and it would probably still be cheaper than a smart phone data plans if you use it enough, which I do.

  3. Sounds great! I’ve been stalking your pictures on Instagram and I love everything 🙂

  4. Glad you guys had a good time. You picked some good restaurants, for sure. I could have warned you about Chinatown though, I avoid it whenever possible and especially in the summer time!

  5. I was just at Niagara Falls! And ya it’s super annoying that the only places to buy liquor is at the liquor store run by the government.

  6. Yep – that’s pretty much Canada in a nutshell! Glad you enjoyed your stay in Toronto (my home) and having just come back from living in NYC I nearly choked on my coffee over your drink special comment.
    I didn’t know what we were missing until I spent some time in the States. Canada IS expensive! (Ontario has a thing against booze, I swear)
    Haha! Love your blog, thanks for making me laugh today!

    • Drink specials are supposed to be $1 or $2. $5.50 is an overpriced drink where I come from! It is really expensive, I wasn’t expecting that. Oh well, money well spent :).

      Thanks, Marci, I really appreciate that!

  7. Sounds like you two had a really fun trip! I’ve been to Niagara Falls before and it was definitely a tourist trap all around. Thankfully I was 13 so I didn’t have to pay. I probably wouldn’t specifically go back there now, but as you said, it is quite beautiful. I have to agree that Canadian money is cooler than US money. I loved your description of the clothing optional beach, haha! Oh boy, I would have been scarred too.

    • Definitely beautiful but a total tourist trap! Glad we got up early so we didn’t have to push our way through too many people.

      I’m still traumatized from the beach. So. Much. Awkward.

  8. Looks like so much fun! I really need to head on over to Niagara Falls one day – it’s on the bucket list!

    • We’ve hit a few bucket list type items recently! Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Mount Rushmore — it’s been a crazy couple of weeks! Fun stuff :).

  9. About #1, I just got back from spending a week in Ottawa. I agree about the money. It took me a few days before I noticed that the Canadian penny is gone.

  10. ooooh the Emerson was so good!! It really is home of the best burgers.

    So glad you enjoyed Canada, I agree you’re definitely an expert now 😉

  11. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip!! Also, that gif of Barney just got me insanely excited for the final season of HIMYM!

  12. I was expecting to get ripped off in Niagara Falls but everything was dirt cheap. Our seedy motel, the groceries, everything.

    I forgot to ask about roaming so our US data plan crapped out soon as we crossed the border. As it was dark and we were trying to navigate to Montreal. Lame.

    Toronto is super diverse isn’t it? We noticed that right away; we felt right at home as it reminded us so much of Auckland.

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