11 Days in Montréal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto: Part 11
Day 11: Toronto to Los Angeles
We stayed for two nights in this hotel and we woke up too early in both mornings. In the second morning around 6 AM, someone knocked on our room’s door repeated. We called the front desk, who told us that they would send someone. The knocking stopped shortly afterwards. On both days, housekeeping knocked around 9 AM in both mornings despite the “do not disturb” sign on the door. Someone was really eager to clean our room.
Since it was the last day of this trip, we only had half day before heading to the airport for our flight home. Nevertheless, we wanted to make the most out of it.
We first visited Toronto Islands. They were a set of bridge-connected islands right next to Harbourfront Centre. There were three different ferries that travelled between Harbourfront Centre and three different parts of the Toronto Islands. We picked one that took us to Centre Island, which supposedly had the most to see. At $7.71 per round-trip, it was very affordable. The route also allowed us to view Toronto’s waterfront from a distance. It would have been nice to do it at night, but we could not since we were leaving.
After taking a ferry back to Harbourfront Centre, we rode our bikes along the waterfront. It has kilometers and kilometers of protected bike paths that covers the whole waterfront and beyond. We did not ride very far, mainly because of time constraint. Perhaps we would venture further out next time. It was still nice to tour the waterfront without worrying about our car in the time being, and we had spent enough time finding parking already.
Like many cities in U.S. and Canada, Toronto has its own bike-sharing network. A CA$7 Day Pass provides 24-hour access to unlimited 30-minute rides. Better yet, when we were there, there was a promotion, sponsor by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), that made Day Pass free on Wednesdays. It was a win-win-win situation, as bikers got free rides, the city got reduced car traffic, and CAA got more publicity. I hoped that the association’s American counterpart (i.e. American Automobile Association a.k.a. AAA) would do the same soon.
The last sightseeing place of this trip was St. Lawrence Market. It was a place that attracted tourists and locals alike. It primarily sold food items, and there was a huge variety of produce, dairy, meat, seafood, pastry, etc.
There was a tourist shop, where we did some last-minute souvenir shopping, including maple cookies. (We found out later that our local Trader Joe’s carried the same kind of cookies.)
We stopped by Carousel Bakery, which decoration was more colorful and vivid than most other shops. We decided to try a peameal bacon sandwich, which was advertised as being very famous. Supposedly, a lot of celebrities had tried it and gave their thumbs-up. We were disappointed. It tasted okay, but I did not get what the buzz was about. It was just a folded piece of pork loin in a Kaiser roll, with nothing else. It did not taste like anything extraordinary either. The natas that the bakery also sold was as good as the ones that we had before, though.
It was time to leave Toronto for Toronto Pearson International Airport. It took us exactly two hours, in heavy traffic, to get from downtown Toronto to the airport. We stopped by a Costco near the airport so that my companion could get a last cup of ice cream sundae before leaving Canada. We also stopped by a gas station next to the airport, as we needed to fill up our car in order to return it with a full tank of gas.
Getting to the car rental return was tricky. GPS did not help much since the place had multiple levels (departures and arrival). Signs for car rental return was were placed too far out, and we could not see them until it was too late. It took five tries, and four rounds of circling around the terminals, before we got to the right road exit. We arrived at the car rental return about 15 minutes later. Luckily, we did not get charged any extra. Supposedly, there was a 30-minute grace period. Car return was quick and easy. A staff came to check things. After several minutes, we were given a receipt and that was it.
We visited the Plaza Premium Lounge at its trans-border location in Terminal 1. This temporary location was literally between two gates. Someone just removed several rows of seat, walled off a section, brought in tables and chairs and two televisions, brought in food and drink, and called it a lounge. It did not even have its own bathrooms, as guests needed to go out and use the ones in the terminal. It was a big step-down from the already-ordinary domestic lounges of this brand.
Those who paid did not get a good bargain, I thought. At least our entry was included in our Priority Pass, and food was included so that we did not have to get food on the plane.
Perhaps because we bought our plane tickets with points, we did not get to choose our seats. On our first two flights, the system did the sensible thing and assigned us to seat together. On this flight, though, the system assigned me to seat on the opposite side of the aisle — in the middle seat, no less. Being in the longest flight in our trip at 6.5 hours, this was undesirable. Worse, we were at the first row of economy class, which meant a wall was in front of us and we had even less legroom than most of our fellow passengers in cattle class.
But then one last bit of good luck (or silver lining) in our trip happened: a father-son pair appeared to be my seat mates. Before I could propose something, the father had the same idea. He asked me if I minded switching seat with one of them so that the two of them could sit together. Of course I did not mind. In fact, I got the aisle seat next to my companion’s aisle seat. Score!
I never got an idea why Air Canada’s system did what it what, but I was glad that we, the passengers, turned it into a win-win system — in this case anyway.
The 5-hour flight went by pretty fast, as we slept about half of the time. After all, it was past midnight in the Eastern Time Zone. We arrived in Los Angeles on time. An Uber took us home, concluding our 11-day trip.