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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Friday, 27 Jun 2014

Location: Toronto, Canada

MapAn international voyage involving different continents can be tiresome, boring and monotonous. I try not to let that spoil the experience, as it is a very rare one for us. I find airports fascinating. Looking beyond the queues, security checks and Customs, airports are a melting pot of nationalities, all under the same roof for a brief instance before heading off to their respective destinations somewhere in the world.

The reunion at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport was emotional, as it had been over a year since we’d held our daughter in our arms, and seven years since we’d seen Jill and Walter. Driving towards the city showed us the stark differences from what we’d become used to after two weeks in Italy. Toronto is such a modern city that it is almost futuristic by comparison to Rome. Eight–lane expressways with apartment buildings and condos on each side, soaring 40 or 50 stories high. Skyscrapers in the distance. Stone and marble has been replaced by concrete and glass. Several Canadian icons remind us of where we are – Tim Horton’s coffee, Canada Trust bank, Pizza Pizza, Westjet, and of course the CN Tower in the distance.

We will initially stay at Jill and Walter’s home, and as we drove through their neighbourhood the streets became familiar, even after seven years. The houses are renovated post-war bungalows with a small plot of lawn and no front fence, a few steps leading to the front door, a second story above and a basement below. There is a slight homecoming feeling as we pull into their driveway.

Over coming days we get a feel for what life is like living in Toronto. We toured Dayna’s work - Corus is a national broadcaster of radio and cable television, and the multistorey glass building contains rooms and studios that could be used on the set of a Star Trek movie. We meet her workmates and are immediately made to feel welcome. We then visited her partner Adam’s job in a downtown hardware store, all within walking distance to their high-rise apartment down by the shores of Lake Ontario. Dayna’s view from the 43rd floor looking over Toronto’s retractable-roofed stadium and the CN Tower, with the busy Gardiner Freeway directly below, must be Canada’s equivalent to Australia’s Sydney Harbour skyline.