The Ex

Trip Start Aug 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 27, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Thursday, August 23, 2007

My mother would say I "used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure!"  This is because in the space of 12 hours I have changed plans a number of times.  To say the staff on reception (through whom I have been arranging accommodation) have been patient with my erratic change of plans would be an understatement.

As I mentioned before I was going up to Ottawa to meet Shazz but since she was going to Quebec for a few days I decided to go up to Montreal and meet up with Martin from my dorm (he flew up there today).  I was then going to go down to Ottawa and meet Shazz, but apparently she's going to either Ottawa or Montreal after Quebec so the plan is still in the air.  The up shot is that I booked a cheap flight, canceled the additional night that I had booked in Toronto for Thursday, and the nights I had booked in Ottawa and then went about the task of finding accommodation in Montreal.  Advise note: Don't do it that way round. 

Montreal seemed all booked up for Thursday night and by the time I realized this, so was my hostel in Toronto.  After a few minutes of panicking I did find a hostel that had beds available, so the gods are still with me.  Next time I'm going to check travel information but not book it till I have a place to stay sorted.  This will be vital to remember for my trip to Churchill (2 words - Polar Bears) where I do not want to end up on the street, or in a snowdrift which would be more likely (note to self: buy long-johns for that part of trip).

I decided to fill my day by going to The Canadian National Exhibition, or The Ex as it is known, located at Exhibition Place.  Massa had nothing to do so joined me and off we set, walking along the lake-front (nearly wrote sea-front there), where there are marinas and some parks.  We agreed that although a picturesque and flat route we would be getting a bus or streetcar back because it took an hour to get there.

The Ex was a bit of a let down as it comprised of a fun-fair, stage shows and an indoor market.  The fun-fair had all the staple rides; dippers, spinners, loopy-looper's, along with the test your skill games that are so rigged their difficult to look at without feeling robbed.  Saying this the Tom Bishop Trick Riders were impressive if brief and Alexander the Great was entertaining with his puppet show.  I found out a bit more on the hockey in Toronto, namely that all the teams have a feeder team that provide players (kind of like a B-team) and that they play regular fixtures between each other.  The Leaves team are called the Marlies and is was given a schedule as well as advise on how to purchase a ticket without paying extra over to ticket master.  One thing I will do before I go is go to a hockey game I don't care who, the Calgary Under 11's will do, but I will see a game.

I missed out on an opportunity to get into the Guinness Book of Records (another of my 10 things before I'm 30) and play with some Lego, doubly disappointed.  They were attempting to get into the record books with the tallest Lego tower, but that had finished 2 days before.

In the Garden section there was a stand advertising the supply of natural stone that consisted of a guy balancing stones on top of each other, his patience and the formations he produced were amazing because the stones were balanced so precariously point on point.  Most of the other shows exhibits that I would have liked had gone or were another day, next time I'll get a programme as early as possible.

So we wandered through the market section where they were selling every mod-con under the sun.  Some of the Jacuzzis looked deadly, with so many jets and nozzles that you must emerge black and blue from the pummeling, if your not dragged under by the strong current.  There were flat bread makers, life energy readers, shoe shiners, pictures, DIY demo's and tons of other tat.  We must have looked a cute couple cause we were offered a chance to win a romantic holiday in South America.  There was a world fair section that had stalls advertised as "Products of Indonesia/Egypt/France/Canada/USA/China/etc" and any combination in between, except for Britain.  The only stall I found with a British product as on the other side of the building, fudge, Go Britain!

As we left the Ex we were approached by a man with a beard who asked if we had seen the Military display and would we be willing to answer a few questions.  Being whore for any sort of attention, I said OK. 
So he started, "You are a Canadian citizen! And live..."."Nope!" I interjected. I may be whore but I'm honest.
Without looking up from his sheet he stated "You are resident of Canada!".
"I'm here on holiday!" I figured we would be there all day if he was going to go through every permeation for being there, before getting to tourist.
"Oh! Goodbye!" And he sidled away with a look of 'Why did you waste my time like that?'
Evidently I look Canadian but it's his fault for assuming and 'When you assume you make an ass out of Ume' (seek out Bus Pirates on the net and you'll get the joke).  Why is it people who do these surveys assume you are already pre-qualified for the first question, "You are Canadian!" "No!", "You are a home owner!" "In this economy!","You are married!" "Why? Do I look depressed!", "You strip naked and paint yourself blue!" "Only on the weekend!".  OK I haven't been asked the last one yet but I think it's only a matter of time, obviously I have one of those faces that falls into whatever category they are looking for. 

We returned via a street car which are very convenient because you can just flag one down much to the chagrin of the vehicles who become stuck behind it.  The Toronto Transport Commission (TTC) who run the street cars, metro and buses do a grand job and the system works, we should get them to do Birmingham, especially when there is a heavy frost and our network stops altogether, although in some cases you don't notice the change in service.

The evening I went and had a few drinks with Conor and Patrick.  We played a few games of stick (pool), although I had practiced a lot  in the hostel beating all opponents I was still having the problem that the white ball is huge compared to back home.  Although this did provide plenty if opportunities for crude innuendos about being British and used to smaller balls.  As you may expect I lost, I am going to have to put in much more practice if I am going to become a professional pool player, much more practice.  Got to know the guys better and I'm glad I met them, pity I'm heading of the Montreal tomorrow but I'll hook up with them when I'm next back through here.

But as I said in a previous entry about three pubs does not a crawl make, well one city does not make a tour so, onwards to the next destination.
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