02 Jun - 01 Jul 2012 Toronto

People's Republic of Canada
High Park North
Oakmount Road 22
Furnished two-bedroom apartment with stunning views of Toronto's skyline.

Click below for an interactive road map of our rented apartment and for directions:
N 43° 39.31' W 079° 27.80'

Enjoying tremendously our annual visit to our two awesome grandsons Raoni and Tien and their wonderful parents Ulrike & Chris, who had just moved into their new family home in Toronto/Ontario, a lovely and liberal city which (i) as a fact, has a somewhat boisterous 320-pound mayor and which, (ii) as a factoid, has been named by the UNESCO "...the most multicultural city in the world", and changing our identities for a limited period of time from "perpetual travellers" to "grandparents on active duty".

Celebrating with bottles of ice-cold Alexander Keith’s smooth India Pale Ale (341-ml bottle for CDN$ 2.15 each) the birth of our beautiful and healthy first granddaughter Ronja, who had come into this world on the evening of 4 June 2012 in a bedroom of her parents’ new home weighing 3.912 kg and measuring 51 cm; congratulations, Ulrike & Chris, and the very best wishes for Ronja!

"Three's a crowd!"

Jumping-on and jumping-off an English antique open-top double decker bus (ticket price: CDN$ 40.- per adult and CDN$ 20.- per child) at 24 different tourist sites throughout the city of Toronto, together with our wild grandsons Raoni and Tien (there is nothing in-between their supersonic gallop on the one hand and their slow-wave sleep phase on the other hand), and visiting together, during a lekker Sightseeing Tour +14164637467, various attractions like (i) Yonge-Dundas-Square, the heart of the city and Toronto’s answer to Times Square, the city’s busiest intersection which features inviting cafĂ© tables, refreshing water fountains and all kind of entertaining buskers, (ii) the 1926 CE Queen’s Quay Terminal at the harbourfront and (iii) the vibrant neighbourhood of Chinatown which offers Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai delights at rock-bottom prices.

Embarking on MV “Harbour Star” (ticket price: CDN$ 15.- per adult and CDN$ 12.- per child) and cruising together with our two riotous grandsons the area between the waterfront and the 14 Toronto Islands thus enjoying countless postcard-quality views of Toronto's ever growing skyline with the CN Tower, formerly the world's tallest completed freestanding structure on land (opened in 1976 CE; it was surpassed in height by the rising Burj Khalifa on September 12, 2007 CE).

Exploring the 1832 CE founded Gooderham & Worts Distillery Historic District in downtown Toronto which used to be the largest whisky distillery in the world and whose remaining 44 heritage brick buildings constitute the most significant collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America, now full of sleek restaurants, counter-cultured boutiques and creative galleries.

Visiting the “People of the 21st Century” exhibition of portraits by Israeli artist Itamar Jobani (a conceptual framework reinventing and subverting the magnum opus of German photographer August Sander, People of the 20th Century, 1911-1950) at the Julie M. Gallery for Contemporary Art +14166032626.

Discovering together with our grandsons Raoni and Tien a "new" beach east of Toronto, Bluffers Beach near the Scarborough Bluffs on the clean shore of Lake Ontario, and realising once more the great recreational value of Toronto's parks and beaches, at least during its hot summers.

Teaming up with our son Armin, who managed to come all the way from Cape Town for a short family reunion, hiring together a flashy Honda Civic (CDN$ 65.- per day, including comprehensive insurance) from Enterprise Rent-A-Car +14167820296 and visiting, in the wake of our breezy grandsons Raoni and Tien, the mighty Niagara Falls (with a vertical drop of 53 m), in the process taking a cold shower under both the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls aboard the famous MV “Maid of the Mist”.

Purchasing two expensive double-entry tourist-and-family-visit visas (L-visas with a duration of 30 days for each stay) for the People’s Republic of China aka Red China from the super-efficient and professional Chinese Visa Application Service Center +14163458472 in Toronto thus shelling out the visa fee of CDN$ 75.- per visa for the capitalist comrades from China and the service fee of CDN$ 33.90 per person for their socialist working bees from Canada (regular processing time: four working days).

Reading in a rum-dum curried Canadian paper (The Weekly Voice of June 23, 2012) about “…how the mighty Europeans have fallen, and all because of a high wage system, especially in the public sector, that allowed them to live life king size, but political parties did it on the back of the people. Among the countries they have approached with a begging bowl is ‘poor’ India that generously announced a US$ 10 billion contribution to the IMF’s additional US$ 430 billion financial firewall to help the debt-wracked 17-nation Eurozone so that the faltering world economy is protected against the spread of any financial contagion…” and realising that the economies of the democratic welfare states are nothing more than a legalised/politicised and globally played pyramid scheme which might still last for a few more (Chinese, Indian and African) years, but certainly not for ever.

"There were Italian neighbourhoods and Vietnamese neighbourhoods in this city; there are Chinese ones and Ukrainian ones and Pakistani ones and Korean ones and African ones. Name a region on the planet and there's someone from there, here. All of them sit on Ojibway land, but hardly any of them know it or care because that genealogy is willfully untraceable except in the name of the city itself. They'd only have to look, though, but it could be that what they know hurts them already, and what if they found out something even more damaging? These are people who are used to the earth beneath them shifting, and they all want it to stop - and if that means they must pretend to know nothing, well, that's the sacrifice they make."

Bidding farewell to our beautiful granddaughter Ronja and her family and travelling back to Asia, thus flying the first leg to California with Continental Airlines (“Work Hard - Fly Right”) in an unobtrusive Airbus A 320, operated by no-frills United Airlines (“You’re Going to Like Where We Land”), from Toronto Pearson International to San Francisco International (for US$ 1,277.- per person for the entire but only partially utilised return ticket Taipei-Toronto-Taipei, all inclusive, booked with Airline Direct on the internet, long ago in December 2011 CE) and changing our watches in mid-air from Eastern Daylight Time (GMT/UTC - 4:00 hours) to Pacific Daylight Time (GMT/UTC - 7:00 hours).

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2012 Map Konni & Matt

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