Treasures of Toronto – Ontario, Canada

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Toronto was the last stop of our trip.  We had one full day to explore before catching our flight home the next afternoon.  High on my list of things to see was the Royal Ontario Museum which can be found on Bloor Street West in the University district, very close to the aptly named Museum subway station.

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The ROM is vast, and the building is as impressive as the exhibits, an amalgamation between a 20th century, art deco style original and a modern glass extension completed in 2007 known as the Crystal.  We spent three or four hours exploring, with a quick lunch break to a hot dog stand in the street outside, but could easily have stayed longer.

One of my favourite galleries was dedicated to artefacts from the Far East, something there is little of in the National Museum of Scotland.  I had recently bought a macro lens for my camera and it was great opportunity to test it.

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There really is something for everyone at the ROM.  After having our fill of world cultures we moved on to the palaeontology and zoology sections which occupy more than a floor and include some very impressive specimens from land, sea and sky.

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Also fascinating were the rooms documenting the history of Canada which as well as historical items included modern works of art and documentary film pieces to help provide context.

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As much as I love museums there does come a point when sensory and information overload is reached.  As we only had a short time in the city, and it was a lovely sunny day, we chose to walk to the St Lawrence Market, which was next on our itinerary.  It took about 40 minutes, in more or less a straight line, passed the University of Toronto St George campus, Old City Hall, and Yonge-Dundas Square.

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St Lawrence is home both to a hall of permanent booths and on Saturdays to a farmers’ market.  The stalls sell a wide range of produce, some to take away and cook at home, some packaged as souvenirs and some cooked on demand.  Our minds must already have been on home as we chose to eat at a counter serving British style fish and chips, complete with artificial newspaper wrapping.

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Hunger satisfied but feet still sore, we made the decision not to continue on to the CN Tower, content to catch a glimpse of it in the distance as we headed for the train, our hotel, the plane and home.

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