Trip Notes: Niagara Falls And Toronto

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This past Tuesday I drove to Canada with my wife, my son Rafi (3 years old), daughter Talia (11 months), and 2 of my 5 brothers, Mendy and Akiva (19 and 15).

Let me tell ya’, keeping a group with ages like that entertained is no easy task. We didn’t do nearly the amount of things I had on our list, but that’s just fine. We kept everyone entertained every day and there’s no shame in leaving things to do for next time.

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More after the jump:

It was our first road trip with the kids, who have flown on dozens and dozens of flights.  But sometimes flying just makes no sense and this is definitely within those limits.

We left Cleveland at 9:20am and got to Niagara Falls at 12:40pm.

Even with a somewhat favorable exchange rate (C$1=USD$0.91), Canada is shockingly expensive. The 13% tax on top of everything makes it even worse.

The Niagara Bridges website was very helpful for deciding which route to take.

Niagara Falls is overwhelmingly touristy and frankly I didn’t have much interest in overnighting there.  While I’m a sucker for waterfalls my preference are the once discovered on epic drives like on Maui’s Road to Hana or the Great Ocean Road west of Melbourne.  Or my favorite, Iguazu Falls that rises out of the rainforests between Argentina and Brazil.

But Niagara is a whole lot closer than those.

We started off grabbing some food from “Tatty’s Pizza.”  The GPS isn’t great at finding it and the signage on the building says “Traveler’s Delight Restaurant” which doesn’t make it too easy to find.

Inside there is a “Mendel’s Burgers” section and a Pizza section.

Both are shockingly overpriced.  A Plain pie is C$26.95.  The meat side was even more overpriced with side dishes like onion rings costing more than C$10 with tax and sandwiches over C$20.

The food was below average, but I guess when there’s nothing else kosher for miles you take what you can get.  The Men’s bathroom was caked in feces and there was no soap. For better or worse I didn’t discover that until after eating.

 

Felafel pie was edible but the price was hard to stomach, C$31.45.  (4/10 stars)

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Spicy Fries (C$4.95) (5/10 stars)

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Don’t get the poutine at Tatty’s, it’s C$8.95, and we couldn’t eat it. (3/10 stars)

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Maid of the Mist has been ousted from the Canadian side and the boat rides are now Hornblower cruises.  You can buy tickets online so that you don’t have to wait in line.  The time you pick doesn’t matter, you can ride earlier or later without issue.

Much of the trip was only made possible thanks to our new ErgoBaby baby carrier. Previously we had a BabyBjorn and it was just about worthless.  But Mimi found the ErgoBaby a pleasure to use and she used it to carry Talia around to several places on the trip where a stroller would never fit, such as on the cruise.

It’s tough finding nearby parking so I was elated to find street parking right near the cruise.  Alas it was a whopping C$10/hour.  So I first went to find myself a bucket of ice (that I figured would be cute to pour over me once I was already soaked on the boat) and then paid for an hour of parking.  The boat ride is just 15 minutes and runs every 15 minutes, so I figured that would be enough.

Alas the lines turned out to be long and I wound up with a parking ticket to boot. Luckily it was just C$30.  The long lines also meant half my ice had melted, c’est la vie.

It was actually more ice than one of the people I challenged, AJK, got his hands on.  Though the coolness factor of doing it in a shower onboard an A380 far exceeds doing it on a boat!

 

Niagara Falls (American Falls):

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Is Rafi being left with an indelible impression and priceless memories or is he just thinking that he can really use the bathroom about now?

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Everyone gets a poncho but it was hot and muggy so we didn’t put them on.  That’s was a mistake as all of us got completely and utterly drenched.

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Originally we had planned to do Cave of the Winds on the American side of the border as well.  However coming from Cleveland that would mean going out of the way to get there and the border crossing times at the Rainbow Bridge were an hour compered to 5 minutes on the Peace Bridge.

Additionally there are lots of steps and it would have been something that Mimi and I would have enjoyed by ourselves, but not shlepping 2 kids along. so we jettisoned that idea.  Had Rafi been a few years older we probably would have tried it, but the boat ride got us close to enough to experience the falls up close and personal that none of the other tourist traps seemed necessary.

Traffic to Toronto was very heavy nearly the entire way on the QEW and it took nearly 2 hours to get there.  We checked into the Park Hyatt at about 6pm and started getting the kids to bed.

This is my least favorite Park Hyatt property in the world, there’s really no excuse for it having the Park Hyatt flag.  Service is not at all personal and the rooms are dated.  But the rates reflect that.

I used some Hyatt free anniversary nights for a double room for my brothers and used 7,500 points plus $100 with a suite upgrade certificate for our room.  We were booked into the Park Suite but were upgraded to the Luxury One-Bedroom Suite.

The Park Hyatt is located between downtown and the Jewish community in south Bathhurst.

The suite had 2 entrances and 2 full bathrooms.

Luxury One-Bedroom Suite Dining Room/Living Room:

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Luxury One-Bedroom Suite Guest Bathroom:

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Luxury One-Bedroom Suite Bedroom Sitting Area:

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Luxury One-Bedroom Suite Bedroom

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 Luxury One-Bedroom Suite Master Bathroom:

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The Park Hyatt Toronto won’t provide a free kosher breakfast for diamonds, but they did provide a kosher amenity consisting of Martins Malbec, crackers, bread, and a couple of dips:

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The hotel housecleaning is a bit odd. They threw away the box to Rafi’s favorite toy, his Magnatiles. But after 3 days they still didn’t clear away the amenity leftovers…go figure.

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Once our kids were asleep my brothers came in to babysit and Mimi and I walked to the Windsor Arms hotel, a boutique hotel just a few minutes walk from the Park Hyatt.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday they have kosher restaurant nights.  For C$75 you get an appetizer, entree, and dessert.  The menu changes monthly and you can view the current options on their website here.

The ambiance and service at the Windsor Arms was impeccable and the food was very good as well.

 

Foccacia bread is included and is delicious (8/10 stars):

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Roasted red pepper gazpacho is very spicy, but hits the spot (8/10 stars):

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Felafel with babaganoush was the best I’ve tried in a very long time (9/10 stars):

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The grilled white asparagus with pesto orzo was very good as well (7/10 stars):

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The Ribeye steak was phenomenal (9/10 stars):

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The portion of duck breast was very generous and very good (7/10 stars)

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Flourless chocolate cake was good, but was a bit too “pesachdik” (6/10 stars)

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The Cashew maple crème parfait was also just OK (5/10 stars). Shame that desserts here are just an afterthought, as everything was perfect otherwise.

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Windsor Arms Kosher Dining Room:

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Windsor Arms Kosher Dining Room:

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The next day we drove an hour to the African Lion Safari.  In the planning stages of the trip we had though that we might be able to squeeze this into the day after Maid of the Mist.

Don’t try that.

The safari is excellent and you can spend 1-2 hours driving leisurely through that.

Plus there are several shows as well as a train ride, boat ride, and a kids water park included.

The Safari isn’t cheap a C$32.95 plus tax per adult, but how mamy activities are there that will keep 6 people from 11 months to 29 years old thoroughly entertained?

When driving through the safari they require that you stay in the car and keep your windows closed.  Listen, it’s no Kruger Park, but it’s a whole lot closer.  Only bummer was that you couldn’t feed any of the animals like you can in some other safaris.

You drive through all of the different continents to view the different animals found on each.

The lions were neat to see, go in the morning unless you want to see them sleeping:

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The highlight though were the monkeys.  Perhaps not for the Jeep behind us which had its windshield gaskets ripped off by a monkey (you do sign a waiver acknowledging damage can happen) but it was really cool to view a monkey through our moonroof.  You can also take a bus through the safari, but what’s the fun in that?

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OK, so the kangaroos/wallabies kept in a cage is very disappointing, especially considering we practically played with them in the wild in Australia…

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The kids water park with slides and other water games is included with admission:

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There are also several animals in cages you can walk around and see:

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Rafi loved the train ride around the grounds:

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A boat ride is also included in the ticket price:

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There are several bird and elephant shows.  We only went to the birds of paradise show which was excellent.  But after that point Rafi had his fill of shows.

I’ve never seen a parrot talk or sing as well as the one they have here.

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We got to the Safari at 10:30am and left just before 2pm.  You can easily spend 2 more hours than that there.

We figured we might try to get to Centre Island, which requires a ferry ride from downtown Toronto.  On the island there is an kids amusement park and you can rent family style bikes.

However after leaving the Safari we got stuck behind a broken down train where we sat for over an hour which killed any other activity plans for the day.

So we headed over to BaLi Laffa for a late lunch.  We took the 407 toll route rather than the free 401 due to a 30 minute accident delay on the 401, it was the only time we took the 407 on the trip. It’s hard to figure out exactly how much I’ll be billed, but it seems like it should be about C$9-$10.

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The baby back ribs, C$30.99, had a great flavor. Unfortunately they had almost no meat on them making them a terrible value for the money they cost (6/10 stars)

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The steak sandwich, C$17.99, also had a great flavor, but was a bit too tough to eat on a sandwich. (6/10 stars)

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Shwarma Laffa, C$10.99, is very good (7/10 stars)

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Kebob Laffa, C$10.99, was good as well (6/10 stars)

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Afterwards we went hunting for what Rafi calls “Banff Cereal.”  It’s actually Quaker Oatmeal Squares and it’s only certified kosher parve in Canada.  We had it in Banff and brought home some boxes, but he’s been asking for it since we finished those over a year ago.

I know Costco in the US carries it so we went there first.  They didn’t have any but I did bump into a DDF’er there.  Costco did have several discounted gift cards including including 2 adult admissions to Canada’s Wonderland for C$78.99, adult admission to the Royal Ontario Museum for C$17.99 or kids admission for C$12.99, Niagara Fallsview Indoor Waterpark for C$28.99, and admission to the African Lion Safari for C$28.99 for adults and C$21.99 for kids.

Next we tried Super Walmart but struck out there as well.

In the end we finally found it at No Frills.

Then it was back to the hotel to put the kiddos to bed and take advantage of my brothers’ babysitting services.

We went up the CN Tower, which is a total rip-off tourist trap.  But I had to actually do it to confirm that 😉

It’s C$32 per person to go up the main viewing platform/glass floor and another C$12 to go to the top.  If your money is burning a hole in your pocket then just be sure to allow for lots of time as lines going up are long and lines to come back down were far longer.

View from the observatory:

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The windy outdoor terrace:

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The glass floor is not very photogenic, not nearly as neat as Chicago’s Willis Tower where it actually juts out of the building.  I won’t bore you of a picture of me on it though it always is a thrill (for a few seconds at least) to walk on a floor like that.

 

Afterward we went for a late dinner at Marron Bistro.

 

Fried Cauliflower, C$16, was excellent. So was the dipping sauce it came with (8/10 stars):

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Smoked Brisket Sliders, C$18, were basically just hot pastrami sandwiches.  They tasted very good (especially with the dipping sauce that came with the cauliflower) but weren’t what I was expecting. (7/10 stars)

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Duck Spring Rolls, C$18, were inedible (1/10 stars):

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The braised ribs, C$54, were delicious, with more meat than I’ve ever seen on ribs and a wonderful sauce. (9/10 stars):

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The Ribeye, C$45, was a good steak, nothing out of this world though the peppercorn sauce was excellent (7/10 stars):

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Creme Brulee, C$12, was very good (8/10 stars):

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For breakfast the next day we went to Omni Java & Jewels, home to their famous cheesecakes:

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We ordered lots of sweet goodies and everyone gobbled them up.

 

Cheese Blintzes were excellent (8/10 stars)

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Mimi got a caramel macchiato, C$3.85:

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And I had a mocha frapuccino, C$4.95:

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Belgian Waffles, C$9.99, were good (6/10 stars)

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The chocolate chip pancakes, C$8.99, were good as well (6/10 stars):

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French Toast, C$8.99, was excellent:  (8/10 stars)

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But the real treats were the desserts:

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The Brownie cheesecake, C$6.99, is pure heaven and a must try (10/10 stars):

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Peanut Butter Smores Pie, C$5.99, was too rich for my blood, (5/10 stars)

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Lemon Meringue Pie, C$5.99, was good, but not the best version you’ll find around (6/10 stars):

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Caramel cheesecake, C$5.99, was excellent (8/10 stars)

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The white chocolate cheesecake, C$5.99, was excellent as well (8/10 stars)

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We spent the day at the CNE or Canadian National Exhibition which runs this year from 08/15 through 09/01.

Admission was C$18 for adults, C$14 for kids 5-13, and free for under 5.

The grounds are enormous and there’s more than enough here to keep anyone entertained for the day.  There are tons of live performances and shows, games, rides, etc.

 

Bird shows are held throughout the day:

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The rides pricess are pretty confiscatory.  You’ll pay C$4-$5 per ride or another C$38 for unlimited rides per person.  Rafi went on a couple rides, but considering Cleveland has a great kids amusement park in Memphis Kiddie Park where better rides are just $1 each, we cut him off pretty quickly.

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Reptile show:

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Cool down from the humidity:

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See sand and rock sculptures being created:

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Rafi loved the Dog Disco show, though he had no interest in seeing the dogs afterward:

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Rafi had a blast with the firefighter exhibits where you can test your skills and climb into the firetruck.  The playful firemen even photobombed our family picture in front of the truck 😀

 

Open a credit card and get a free T-Shirt. Yay!

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We were at the CNE from 10am-4pm.  We never did get to other activities like the Science Museum or Aquarium. Perhaps on the next trip, though by then maybe Rafi will appreciate the NHL hall of fame as well.

That night the Park Hyatt held one its monthly kosher nights at Annona Restaurant.  It’s asininely ridiculously priced at C$175, but how could I not try and review it for the benefit of my dear readers 😉

Ambiance and service was not as polished as at Windsor Arms.  And the subway rumbling through every few minutes didn’t help. Nor did the plethora of flies.

 

A menu outlined the 8 course extravaganza that was to come. It’s a menu that a true foodie and someone that cares about presentation would love.

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The evening started with a glass of champagne:

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The chef talked about the challenges of cooking kosher:

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Course 1:

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The Edimame lime dip was the most intriguing part of the starter course (7/10 stars)

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Course 2:

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The duck was far too rich for my tastes, it actually for me fairly nauseous. So much for me being a foodie. (4/10 stars)

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Course 3:

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How bad is it that I enjoyed the “baguette” more than the rockfish? I mean the fish was fine, didn’t taste like much though the spicy sauce on top was nice (6/10 stars)

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Course 4:

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A nice small salad, served in an odd container from the Jetsons (7/10 stars)

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Course 5:

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A very good piece of chicken with a yummy potato flower on top (7/10 stars)

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Course 6:

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This may have been the highlight of the night (9/10 stars)

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Course 7:

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The steak was very good, but again, not exceptional. I couldn’t stand the pate.  The herb toasts were good though. (7/10 stars)

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Course 8:

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Everything was good, nothing outstanding once again. (7/10 stars) The parfait was probably the best thing

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A take-home package with a sunkist-like candy was given out as well:

 

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We wanted to try out Ben & Izzy’s but they were closed on Thursday and Friday.  Would have been nice if their website or phone mentioned that before going there to find the sign in the door.

There were a couple of DDF reports lavishing praise on their Jack Daniel’s pulled brisket sandwich and a couple DDF reports saying it was rubbish, so I was hoping to try it the polarizing sandwich for myself. Alas it wasn’t meant to be.

For brunch on Friday we went to D-Lites in Thornhill/North Bathurst.

 

One of my brothers got the breakfast special for C$7.99 which came with a bagel, eggs, hash browns, and a pancake.  He actually asked for a sesame bagel but a poppyseed one came out without explanation.  Just a few minutes later the table next to us ordered the special and the waiter brought out a sesame bagel saying that it was the freshest flavor they had.  He said the breakfast food was pretty bland.

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The french onion soup in a breadbowl, C$7.99, is good, though the soup could be thicker (6/10 stars)

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Ravioli, C$14.99, was not too shabby (7/10 stars)

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The Eggplant Parmesan, C$14.99, was excellent, crunchy and zesty in all the right ways (9/10 stars):

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I asked if I could substitute the caesar salad (which comes with the eggplant) for some garlic bread though the salad still came out:

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Mimi ordered a veggie sandwich, C$11.99, that she liked:

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We ordered tempura vegetables, C$11.99, that were pretty good, they came with a great spicy mayo (7/10 stars)

 

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And we split a sushi pizza, C$11.99 that was decent as well (6/10 stars).  But they’ve got nothing on Chicago’s amazing Rice Crackers you can get at Shallot’s.

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In the same complex as D-Lites is the amazing looking Sobey’s market, though we didn’t have time to go through there.  There’s also a kosher Second Cup where we got this delicious Icepresso cholov yisroel frozen coffee drink (9/10 stars):

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Second Cup has lots of other great baked goods.  The Blueberry cake muffin was very good (7/10 stars) but what really stood out was the phonominal lemon meringue pie, which was heavenly (10/10 stars).

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And with that we drove straight home.  We left Toronto at 11:45am and got home at 5:15pm. We took the 401 which added 10 minutes but cut out the 407 tolls.  We went via the Peace Bridge which had a 45 minute delay and we made a 25 minute pit stop for gas and bathroom breaks at the Angola rest stop, which brought back childhood memories of stopping there and looking down at the cars on the highway below your feet.

I made sure Rafi took a gander as well.

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42 Responses to “Trip Notes: Niagara Falls And Toronto”

  1. Joey Says:
    1

    Great TR. MT on Rafi’s turning 3. Asach Nachas

    ReplyReply
  2. samuel Says:
    2

    Wow dan. Thanks tons! Just in time. Im about to go to toronto and niagara! Thanks you are the best 🙂

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    @Joey:
    Thanks. I barely recognize him anymore with his first haircut and all 😀

    Time really flies.

    @samuel:
    Great, have fun!

    ReplyReply
  4. don Says:
    4

    Dan in niagra falls ! Thats lame 🙂

    ReplyReply
  5. sara Says:
    5

    The cave of the winds is the best activity on the falls!!!! We did it with four kids, ages 2-6 but it could be dangerous and slippery.
    The park safari is phenomenal, the elephant show is not to be missed!!! You can easily spend a full day there.

    ReplyReply
  6. Dan Says:
    6

    @sara:

    I can see how older kids and adults would love it, but it just didn’t make sense to drag an 11 month old and 3 year old across the border to go down hundreds of slippery steps for something they wouldn’t appreciate any more than the boat ride.

    Like I said, I have no need to do every last activity on a single trip, I’m sure the time will come when it will make more sense.

    I’m sure the other shows are great, but there was no way the kids would have sat through any more of them.

    Besides, we already went to an epic elephant show in Chiang Mai and if the Lion Safari can possibly beat that show I will eat an elephant…
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/12440

    Ultimately the trick to a happy vacation with kids is to push them, but not to push them past the breaking point. And that takes time to figure out.

    ReplyReply
  7. hersh Says:
    7

    nice review…thanks

    ReplyReply
  8. ari9 Says:
    8

    Wow what a thorough report, as always. Must`ve taken ages to write up. Thanks! And Rafi looks like a completely different kid, mazel tov.

    ReplyReply
  9. nbnuti Says:
    9

    Great report. Mazel Tov on Rafi’s upsherin. Why did we not see/hear any mention about it. Got his presents sitting here in Brooklyn for him. Please next time you here stop by (PM me)so we can give him his gift.

    Loads of Naches from all of them

    ReplyReply
  10. Danie Says:
    10

    Awesome trip. Think I’ll do the same. Btw the quaker oats cereal you mentioned is dairy equipment in the states, which the ou, according to their policy has to label as ou d. Some cholov yisroel people are fine with that. I am.

    ReplyReply
  11. samuel Says:
    11

    Q: How and which cell phone service did you have there?

    ReplyReply
  12. bingo Says:
    12

    Dan I visit toronto several times a year I try to obey the local parking laws but sometimes find it hard especially in the long winter where they don’t allow any curbside parking for snow removal . I feel I should let you know that I never pay my parking tickets (I ocasionally skip paying the ETR -407 toll but they eventually send a bill) I never had a problem yet I am doing this for 8 years now and come back about 5 times a year

    ReplyReply
  13. acer Says:
    13

    Why no DDF seminar?

    ReplyReply
  14. moish Says:
    14

    “Previously we had a BabyBjorn and it was just about worthless.” ??? we consider it an absolute lifesaver…

    ReplyReply
  15. Al Says:
    15

    How could you go to Toronto and not stop at Dr. Laffa?!?!?!
    You certainly dropped the ball there, Dan!

    ReplyReply
  16. Feigie Says:
    16

    Hi Dan , I’ve received some great flights on your website . Looking to fly my family to England next Thursday . Any way to help me figure out the cheapest way ?! Thanks ! Really appreciate it ! 347 768 4885 thanks !

    ReplyReply
  17. Steven Says:
    17

    Thanks so much for your thorough review! Being from Toronto, I feel I need to add some pointers, Dan, for your next trip.
    Firstly, getting a NEXUS pass–if you’re planning to be in Canada even only a few times during the busy season, $50USD/CDN every 5 years for the adults and free for the kids ’til their 18 is TOTALLY worth it. Wait ’til your a couple of months away from your next trip to apply and then time your interview with Canada Customs with your next vacation.
    Best is to avoid the “mixed” bridges which allow for regular traffic and a lane of Nexus–good luck getting into the Nexus when it’s backed up, especially the Queenston/Lewiston–best to avoid that one like the plague. Instead, with a Nexus you can take the Nexus-dedicated Whirlpool Bridge that I’ve only seen more than 5 minutes of traffic on in a late afternoon return of a long weekend–still, that was about 30 minutes which I can guarantee meant 2+ hours everywhere else. With young kids, even one time that you flew through the crossing when the kids are cross, you’ll be thanking HaShem for the Nexus! Plus, with a Nexus, you get a small discount on the bridge crossing charge.
    When eating out, use the Chase Sapphire as in Canada, Visa, like in the US, categorizes restaurants as such and you will get double the points.
    Take the 407 from the first possible opportunity in Burlington if you’re coming during a busy time–best to travel in the earlier morning and later at night of course to avoid the highest toll charge highway in the world. And as Canadians know, get a transponder, pay for it once a year (cheaper than monthly), and avoid the photo fees you’ll get if you don’t have one.
    Look for Groupons before you leave, when preparing for your trip, starting in June. Safari Niagara is MUCH cheaper than African Lion Safari, though you do to a degree get what you pay for. At the Safari Niagara, you can feed the giraffes and get closer to the animals, though they also have a drive through that I’m sure is not as good as ALS (haven’t been there for years–too expensive with Jewish school tuition in Toronto being what it is).
    Going to the CNE was a waste if you have limited time–Wonderland is SOOO much better. CNE has some strange height restrictions for kids and it’s not worth the pay one price pass. Also, the rides seem rickety compared to an upscale park like Wonderland, though it’s not Cedar Point (though part of the same chain and with a platinum pass, allows entry into Wonderland for free). For locals, the season pass purchased now for only $70CDN, which give you a free pass in for 2014 for the day is a great deal. Get the parking pass for $40 and the free refills for $10. Fill them at the tref 50s diner where they have Coke Freestyle (100 flavours of Coke) since you get a 15% discount on everything, making the pop 95 cents each time–and ooh, 100 flavours of Coke (all kosher under O-U I believe).
    The Metro Zoo is considered one of the best zoos in the world. If you’re a teacher you can get in free a couple of times a year (not during peak times).
    Thanks again for the restaurant advice. For the rare occasion that most families can barely afford a night out, it’s good to know what to buy that tastes better than bland.
    Too bad you didn’t stop by Lime Taco. While it’s menu is not perfect, it’s SOOO nice to have a restaurant what in Toronto standards is an exotic menu and reasonably priced Nothing is too spicy (for the good/bad) and everything but the Tofutti sour cream and ice cream is made fresh, including the free nachos and salsa when you walk in. Tell Yaacov that Steven sent you!

    ReplyReply
  18. Dan Says:
    18

    @nbnuti:
    Lol, my better half doesn’t love pics of the fam online and it seemed silly to make a post without the before/after pics.

    @Danie:
    Chabad minhag is to avoid DE.

    @samuel:
    Verizon has Canada plans you can switch to for a few days.

    @bingo:
    I’ve read that from other sources online as well…

    @acer:
    Most seminar topics are pretty US centric.

    @moish:
    Mimi found the Ergobaby 1,000x more comfortable than the BabyBjorn.

    @Al:
    DDF reports were that BaLi Laffa was far superior to Dr Laffa and I wasn’t about to spend 2 meals on that cuisine.

    @Feigie:
    Try 1-900-DansDeals

    @Steven:
    1. I applied for Nexus, just never got around to actually getting to an interview location.
    Not that important for an occasional Canada visitor.

    2. For 10 minutes I’ll avoid the toll. For 30 minutes it made sense to me.

    3. There’s a safari near Cedar Point where you can feed the animals and is just $8 on Groupon but you also don’t get monkeys climbing on your car.

    So you do get what pay for.

    4. Cedar Point is the greatest amusement park in the world, didn’t see any point in going to wonderland.
    I’ve written about the unlimited Freestyle at Cedar Point and a commenter got mad at me for drinking that much Coke. Apparently Bloomberg reads DD.

    We splurged for a couple rides for Rafi at the CNE but the main thing isn’t the silly rides, it’s all of the other experiences there.

    5. CLE has a great zoo and it’s free once a week for locals.

    6. DDF has mixed reviews on Lime Taco so I didn’t make it there.

    ReplyReply
  19. Osborne Greene Says:
    19

    Fun review. The new food rating style is terrific. Though, not so terrific for Toronto area food establishments. It’s funny about Canadians that they are forever rapsodizing about how everything there is so much better than in the USA. Apparently not.

    ReplyReply
  20. Dan Says:
    20

    @Osborne Greene:
    Lol, thanks for the feedback.

    Overall I think Montreal and even Vancouver have some better options than Toronto does, which is surprising given Toronto’s size.

    ReplyReply
  21. Brett Says:
    21

    Great review Dan! My wife and I were staying at the Park Hyatt Toronto on Thursday through Sunday. You were lucky enough to get the 1-bedroom luxury suite while I only got the Park Suite with my upgrade. We never made it to the CNE but will have to check it out next time.

    ReplyReply
  22. Hakoros Hatov Says:
    22

    @Steven: so nice of you to give such good advice

    ReplyReply
  23. Emma Says:
    23

    All very interesting, but the food pictures are excessive and show a lack of self control.

    ReplyReply
  24. tada Says:
    24

    Went to CNE last time I was in Niagara. It’s a pretty long haul. It was ok, but not sure it was worth the time. They had a butter exhibit and the flies swarming around from the ‘petting zoo’ were awful. Some other annoyances too. Since there are fairs all over the US I’m not sure I would spend my time doing that in Canada, but glad it worked out for you.

    ReplyReply
  25. Steven Says:
    25

    Your welcome Hakoros Hatov! I’ll need to start my own website and/or make my own seminars sometime-for example, how Canadians can get US credit cards.

    ReplyReply
  26. tada Says:
    26

    @Emma:
    oh c’mon
    although i did wonder if dan actually ate all those courses or just tasted them to report on it for us, but since it’s none of our business…

    ReplyReply
  27. Eve Says:
    27

    Tell your wife there is a new ergobaby – the 360 provides way more back support. I personally like the Beco – also great back support! There is also a new Babybjorn – the one – but it is way overpriced.

    ReplyReply
  28. canadian Says:
    28

    @Steven: please!!! I’m in for that, I am duo citizenship with great Canadian credit but zero American, suffering away

    ReplyReply
  29. Dan Says:
    29

    @Brett:
    The Park Suite looks on the small side from the pics. Is it?

    @Emma:
    Do you also post comments like that on newspaper food critic columns?

    @tada:
    There are 5 people eating these meals (either eating there or enjoying the leftovers).

    @Eve:
    The reviews on the 360 said that the Velcro was a poor substitute for the snap on the original ergo.

    @canadian:
    If you are a dual citizen just start building up your credit like any American does, what’s the big deal?

    I’ve written many posts on that.

    ReplyReply
  30. Lisa Says:
    30

    Dan you might want to know that you can get a refund on the GST/HST tax that you paid. Because you are an american citizen any merchandise you bought that you took home with you, is exempt from that tax.
    You can check it out here
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/rbts/gnrl/menu-eng.html

    ReplyReply
  31. Dan Says:
    31

    @Anonymous:
    I didn’t buy any merchandise.
    Does that apply to any activity/food/lodging costs?

    ReplyReply
  32. USA Says:
    32

    @samuel: if you’re going to be coming from the american side / buffalo, it usually pays to park in america for $10/day, and walk over esp considering the traffic crossing the bridge

    ReplyReply
  33. ShalomB Says:
    33

    Hey Dan. Please do another trip notes on Las Vegas. I booked the Excalibur and Vdara when you posted the hotels.com deal. It’s also my first trip to Vegas. Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  34. Moish Says:
    34

    1) Surprised that you didn’t mention the Chabad shul on the second floor above Tatty’s pizza in Niagara, Canada.
    2) I was there a few weeks ago and was informed of the bathroom issues due to construction that should have ended by he time you went.
    3) As to parking in Niagara, there are lots for $5 a day just a few blocks up from the river or $5 at the casino huge lot. You don’t have to worry about the meters that way.
    4) Your pictures are missing the Hornblower disposable raincoats.
    5) The US Cave of the Winds is better than the Canadian Journey of the Caves, but all other attractions are better on the Canadian side.

    ReplyReply
  35. samuel Says:
    35

    @USA
    Im actually flying LGA-YYZ on business (with 2 kids) booked with Avious. Thanks anyways.

    ReplyReply
  36. Dan Says:
    36

    @ShalomB:
    I’ve done a couple in the past, look in the trip notes tab.

    @Moish:
    1. Didn’t realize that.
    2. Didn’t look like anyone was working on the bathroom situation, just looked vile and like a public safety issue.
    3. Good to know.
    4. We opted not to wear them due to the heat/humidity, which was clearly a mistake…
    5. Yup, shame its on the US side.

    ReplyReply
  37. Sara Says:
    37

    20 min drive Nissan ‘kosher deli at tops

    ReplyReply
  38. binyomin Says:
    38

    hey dan, great write up, i was the one who met you and your fam right after the hornblower, good times. Rafi’s even cuter in person. id like to mention to all, that theres a great use of points for a corner suite in the sheraton on the falls hotel, which includes a fireplacee, Jacuzzi , balcony and a huge room for 11k points + $50/night…(ull just need to call) its amazing and totally worth it. also props to David of BRG for finding us a BRG @ comfort inn in syracuse the night before to help split up the drive from NYC.
    also we took your advice and the next day we walked over rainbow bridge,(50 cent toll)had a picnic lunch in the park there and then did the cave of the winds…it was awesome, so thanx for that tip.
    hope to meet you in more great destinations!

    ReplyReply
  39. Torontonian Says:
    39

    Great article and restaurants review. I will comment on three aspects: readers should be aware of the serious safety issue (akin to Hamas using civilian shields) at one restaurant; try Centre Island and Centerville in Toronto waterfront islands & utilize attractions Ontario coupons at http://www.attractionsontario.ca/Coupons.aspx#.VBpQTmd0x7o .

    This patron safety concern is why people avoid dining or shopping at Omni:

    A frum vendor located across the street said that the following was a breakfast-time heist & that all the restaurant patrons were ordered at gunpoint to lay face-down on the ground. http://www.cp24.com/news/armed-robbery-at-toronto-jewellery-store-1.1258975

    Don’t let a jewelry store use you as its own personal pawn to protect its jewels from guns.

    ReplyReply
  40. Raphael Says:
    40

    Dan, I’m glad you enjoyed the trip with your family! You got some great photos especially of the African Lion Safari. ALS and Niagara are some of my favourite close-to-home places to frequent. And I hope you do try poutine again some time, it is really quite tasty if made right. Swiss Chalet does a nice job IMO.

    ReplyReply
  41. Yehudit Says:
    41

    I just wanted to find out the approximate cost of your entire trip.

    ReplyReply
  42. Milana Says:
    42

    Hi Dan: we are thinking of staying at Super 8 Niagara Falls Ontario
    5706 Ferry St, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1S7, Canada. We are from NYC probable traveling by AMTRAK, do you think we will need to rent a car to see other attractions? Or is it local? our 1st time there, wanted to go there for our 10 year anniversary.

    ReplyReply

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