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Friday, May 25, 2012

Castle for Breakfast, CN Tower for Dinner!

The next morning we had to be down in the lobby by 8:30 so my wonderful lazy plans weren't going to be happening that day! We are Aflac trip vets now...we know the system and how things go. Whenever you go on a trip with Aflac you get to choose an optional activity. If none of them are obvious ones we are dying to do then we always pick the choice that includes a meal with it. Activity and meal for free, so our style. :) The meal one this trip happened to be a breakfast at Casa Loma a legit castle in Toronto! Zach LOVES castles so this was the perfect option for us! We didn't pre-plan with Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte but they happened to pick the same activity, us Parkers think alike huh?


Our table at breakfast (Lara and Todd are beside Zach, Lara is the Regional Coordinator)
Beautiful room where we had breakfast
(which by the way was super disgusting...it was Eggs Benedict, which none of us liked!)
After eating we were able to tour both the castle as well as a cute little house nearby. We chose to go to the house first. It is called Spadina House and it was owned by three generations of the same family (the Austin's). When no one lived it in any longer the family donated it to the city of Toronto and left all their stuff inside so it's exactly how it was back in the 1920s. It was neat to look back to how people lived back then!

This is actually a soaking tub that people would sit in to just soak
The man who built the house was in the gas business and had TONS of gas running all throughout the home. They used gas heating, lighting, etc. This is a gas powered shaving cream warmer!
The sinks were all SO short but the tour lady said they didn't have a standard height for sinks back then so that's why they were all short.
Love this pretty wallpaper
The home was made to carry sound so a few people played the piano to show how well the sound carried (Lara played a little even for us!)
I LOVE the molding...it's SO pretty!
Two wolves guarded the front door
The lights are still gas powered today!
The high society back then had a "visiting hour." Each home had one of these blue books and it had all the info about each family in it (sort of like a Facebook today...their names, birthdays, etc) and it also had each family's visiting hour. It was an hour each week when they would be home and would entertain guests. Toronto is a HUGE city but it is not very populated and since they didn't have telephones they had to travel a long way to visit each other. This way they would know when someone would be home so they could come see them. Wouldn't it be neat to start up a visiting hour trend again?!?! Get to see all of your friends but only have to have them over for an hour at one time a week? ;)
We thought this was wallpaper but it was actually made into the plaster when they built the house! I LOVE IT!
awesome game room

After we left the little house we headed back over to the castle for that tour. We walked with some other people on the way over. It was a man who was probably in his 50s and a girl that was obviously younger than us. Thank the LORD it was his daughter!!! At these Aflac things you never can tell...she was hilarious though and kept wanting to know if places were haunted. And she kept telling her Dad that she wanted all this stuff for her house! It turns out she's one of his four children and they have a rotation where they each get to go on trips with him if their mom doesn't want to go. He's a broker so he gets to go on TONS of different trips with all the different companies he represents. Wouldn't that be awesome?!?! 
The lady who gave us the castle tour wasn't super knowledgeable so I didn't feel like we learned much about it, but it was still neat to see. They had a hallway lined with movie posters representing all of the films who had been shot at the castle! Some of these movies include: The Vow, X-Men, Chicago, The Tuxedo, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and The Skulls (side note: I used to be OBSESSED with some Paul Walker! Yummy!)

The coolest thing about the castle was the secret passages! We should have totally built some into our house :) The guy who built the castle had a secret passage up to his wives bedroom. He had a light installed that went to her room and if she turned it off it meant it was time for him to come on up ;)
This bed was SO short...the tour guide said that beds were shorter back then because people slept sitting up. Has anyone else heard that before?!?! No offense to the lady who told us that...but it just doesn't sound correct to me!!!
While the Spadina house was all gas powered, this "house" was all about electricity. I guess the two men who built the homes were HUGE rivals and owners of each form of power. We all know electricity won out huh? This shower was SUPER neat. Water would hit you from every angle!
This pretty blue room belonged to the owners wife
If you've ever toured the Biltmore House then you have seen rooms with curved walls and doors before. Biltmore was actually built to copy many of the ideas and architecture of Casa Loma. It was ironic b/c I kept saying over and over "this reminds me of Biltmore!"





curved door!

As we were walking around the young girl who wanted everything to be haunted mentioned this clock was called a "death clock" (I told her she should work in a morgue...). Back when people would make them from brass or gold they would actually die from making them. Something about the mercury they used in it? Creepy!
View from the gardens








CN Tower!

We got back to the hotel around lunch time. I wasn't too hungry and we had early dinner reservations that night. Zach ordered a pizza from a nearby place and it was SO good!!! We just chilled in the room and watched more of The Office. We also started to look through some Italy stuff. We had booked our flights and hotel months ago (like back in October) but hadn't actually made any set plans for what we were going do while we were there so we were looking forward to relaxing in Toronto and planning Italy (it's TOUGH to get quality alone time with two kids!). 

Sexy Pizza Time haha
When we found out President's Club was in Toronto, I (of course) researched the top things to do in the area. The only thing I REALLY wanted to make sure to do while we were there was see the CN Tower. It was, at one point, the tallest structure in the world. That's something cool right?!? When I was researching I actually found out there is a restaurant at the top of the tower and if you eat there you get free admission to tour the tower. Admission alone was $25 apiece so a meal that cost us $40 apiece became quite a bargain! We deserved one fancy night out right?!?!

Our hotel was so close to CN Tower that we just walked there for our 4:30 dinner reservation (I know, it was the only time available!). On our way we joked around a lot about how Toronto doesn't feel like a different country. It felt like we were straight up in America. I was in a silly mood (rare for me) and took random pictures of stuff and kept saying "that's sooo America!" It was pretty funny...
Ice cream trucks? I mean totally "copied" America...
...it was funny until we happened to walk up to the Aflac crew with Mr. Paul (the founder of Aflac I mentioned in the last post). One of the ladies was like "what are you doing?" Because she saw me snapping RANDOM pictures every five seconds. Kinda embarrassing...

Ready to enter the tower!
Elvis welcoming us to the building...guess he was visiting Toronto too...
When we got inside we had to walk through these metal detector looking things but no one made us take off anything to go through them. It was SO strange. Like these little bursts of air when you walked through. I asked the security people what they were and they were actually for bomb or gun detection. SO cool. You just walk through and the bursts of air check you for any powders that could be used for bombs or in guns! Why don't they have these everywhere? Soooo much quicker and easier than any other security thing I've ever been through. I snuck this pic after we'd been past security ;)
In Hawaii Zach had really enjoyed the revolving restaurant we had a date night at one night. I didn't tell him that this restaurant also was revolving! It was a good surprise :) The view was AWESOME!

We watched several airplanes take off and land at this little airport
Our food was AMAZING. Like seriously amazing. Zach got a HUGE steak and I had shrimp, lobster and manicotti. Omg. Probably one of my top meals of all time!!! No joke!!!
SO GOOD!!!

After the meal we went to see the touristy portion of the tower. I'm SO glad we had our dinner there, it was delicious and the BEST way to tour the tower. So much better than paying a bunch of money just to ride up an elevator, walk around for a few minutes, and ride it back down!!! They have a portion of the floor that is made out of REALLY thick glass (like they said it can carry the weight of 6 hippos). You can stand on top of it and see allllll the way down. Zach went first and it FREAKED him out. And he's not even afraid of heights. So you know I was dying. I did it for the picture and immediately hopped off!
Zach's view
I did it...on tip toes...but it counts!
From 1974-2009 The CN Tower was the world's tallest self supporting building. From 1974-2010 it was the world's tallest tower and from 2006-the present it's the world's highest wine cellar. It is 553.33 meters tall, which is 1815 feet. The glass floor that we stood on is 342 meters high, 1,122 feet!!! That's 113 stories!!!!

View from the lookout area


There were LONG lines for the elevators so I actually had a clever idea (this rarely happens...Zach is the clever one between us!). We took some stairs back up to the restaurant and caught the elevator from there, no wait ;) 

360 is the name of the restaurant, if you're ever in Toronto EAT THERE!
Glass floor in the elevator
Gift Shop Time!!!
My dad traveled a lot for work when I was growing up and I always looked forward to getting a little present from him when he got home. I like to always get Kye a "prize" and feel it helps him to behave for whoever is watching him while we're gone. We hunted around the gift shop for awhile and ended up just buying him a pen that lights up (he LOVES to draw so he'd enjoy it). It was CRAZY how much people charged for the exchange rate there. The Canadian dollar and US dollar are almost EQUAL yet they charged us 10% for the exchange. Um, no. We ended up using our credit card a lot more than we had planned on because they only charge 3% for exchange!
There is a bridge you cross to get to the tower and this cool passenger train was passing under it when we left!
Goodbye CN Tower!
We skipped dessert at dinner because we thought it'd be fun to find somewhere on our own. Well it was COLD and I didn't really want to do a ton of walking in the cold weather. We saw a McDonald's sign near our hotel and it had stairs going under the ground. It turns out Toronto has an underground city type thing (sorta like Underground Atlanta but WAY nicer) called The Path. It leads to a ton of financial buildings and hotels and has food and such. We went down there expecting to find something for dessert and the place was straight up EMPTY. Like horror movie the zombies ate everyone empty.
We used the path to get to our hotel! It was CREEPY how empty it was. You KNOW if we had a place like that in one of our major cities that a bunch of homeless people or gangs and stuff would totally take it over. It would NOT be safe to walk in...and it would NOT be closed on a Saturday evening! We later found out that the path is only open during business hours because people use it as a quick way to travel to where they need to go for work. Really neat!

We found our hotel! We got in the elevator and pressed the button to go up and the doors shut then NOTHING HAPPENED. I started to freak out a little and kept saying to Zach " don't make me freak out don't make me freak out." He kept pressing the button and still nothing happened. Even HE was freaking out. I took off my jacket (like that would make me feel less claustrophobic right?) and I started pressing the "door open" button with nothing happening. I turned around and there were another set of elevator buttons by a second door. THANK THE LORD they worked!!! Whew!!!!
When we got back to the lobby we asked the concierge about where to go find a cheap dessert. He asked us why not eat something there in the hotel and I told him "we don't spend that kind of money!" He then offered to let us have ANY dessert we wanted, HIS TREAT. Um heck yeah!!! Zach got freshly baked warm chocolate chip cookies and I got (duh) ice cream. He even asked us if we wanted milk and had it all sent up to the room for us. It was SO good and it was so sweet of him! One of the benefits of a fancy hotel huh? For sure made up for the double bed situation!!! We put on our robes, PIGGED OUT then watched the latest Twilight movie because Zach hadn't seen it yet (we rented it before leaving home). It was SUCH a great way to end a wonderful day!!!
Since we had two beds one became the "eating bed" and the other was the "sleeping bed" haha.
Another non-relaxing day was up next ;)

3 comments:

  1. Dang..you are the queen of free hookups! Also, I am afraid of heights and that glass would freak me out. I remember eating at the sundial for prom and closing my eyes because part of the elevator ride is glass. I can see you saying "hurry up and take the picture!" in that picture of you standing on the glass!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Emily! I have to laugh... being a Canadian and all!
    I'm glad you enjoyed the CN Tower :)
    And that little airport is Porter Airlines on Toronto Islands ;)

    Also, off topic, we just got back from our Disney vacation today
    and I used A LOT of your Disney Planning Tips. So, thank you
    for your knowledge haha!

    Love your blog

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rachael_CopponexMay 30, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    The castle looks AMAZING.  At the O' Canada movie in Epcot it looks so beautiful there.  Yes, everything goes back to Disney for me.  And- I so wish I had been there during your silly moments.  I am sure I would have been cracking up.  I miss you!

    ReplyDelete

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