Sunday Special – CN Tower, Toronto


This year my country of Canada turns 150 years old (officially on July 1, 2017).  To honour that I will be writing about a few spots in my beloved country over the months. Today will be about one of Canada’s well-known landmarks: The CN Tower. Many cities have an iconic landmark gracing its skyline. Canada’s largest city is no different. Standing at 553 m/1815 ft in downtown Toronto this telecommunications tower has been synonymous with city since its completion in 1975. For 34 years the tower was the world’s tallest free-standing structure. As us humans have continued to build higher into the sky that title has been lost yet the appeal of it’s magnificent view remains today.  It’s use of a major broadcaster for wireless, television and radio continues. Architecturally it was acclaimed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 1995 by the American Society of Civil Engineers. And of course, it is a major tourist attraction with plenty of ways visitors can experience it.

The first and obvious way to see the tower is to be whisked up to the observation deck in the high-speed glass paneled elevators. Three of the six elevators even have glass inserts in the floors. How’s that for seeing where you have been? The LookOut offers viewers a panoramic scene over Lake Ontario and the city-scape of Toronto. When visibility is clear one can peer for what seems like forever. If the view isn’t enough then try out the first-ever glass floor. Added in 1994 it allows you to look straight to the ground from 342m/1122ft above. Do you think you can walk across this section without feeling nervous? (Don’t worry, it’s safe – I can attest to that).  If you prefer you can enjoy a meal in one of the two restaurants floating above the city.  Horizons is located at the LookOut level with a casual ambiance. For a complete view of the city try 360 Restaurant. As its name implies, this revolving restaurant offers a feast for you eyes and your taste buds. It also has bragging rights of having the world’s highest wine cellar. I’ll drink to that!

Still not wowed? How about an even higher view at 447m/1465ft above?  Or a crazy walk outside of the tower? The Skypod is even higher than the LookOut at 447m/1465 ft. Up here you may be lucky to see all Niagara Falls (both sides). For the thrill seekers there is the EdgeWalk. Yes, as it sounds you get to walk around the CN Tower outside and up above on it’s roof! Do note that is seasonal feature. And yes,  this is on my bucket list (unless I chicken out).

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Toronto skyline at night with the CN Tower standing proudly. Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned Benson Kua [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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CN Tower including the EdgeWalk – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Sergiu Dumitriu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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View of downtown Toronto from the CN Tower – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Philipp Hienstorfer (photo taken by Philipp Hienstorfer) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Sri Lanka


The South Asian island country of Sri Lanka has been on my travel list for a bit now. Despite not knowing too much about this destination (yet) I have been intrigued and enamoured by the photos that have crossed my eyes.  So when I began my research for this post I thought I would pick one place and focus on that.  I couldn’t.  So much to see and do that I had to focus on the whole country itself (although I don’t think my little post will do it justice). Sri Lanka seems like a great place to go.  I won’t list every place and sight though I did find this wiki helpful.  So what can you expect to see, do and experience in Sri Lanka? Here are a few suggestions that I found:

  • A warm tropical climate (and some rain)
  • Eight UNESCO World Heritage sights such as the sacred city of Kandy and Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress
  • Beaches galore for worshipers
  • Surfing is very popular here. Surf season varies depending on which coast you choose to ride the waves. Many place offer board rentals
  • Other outdoor activities such as white water rafting, snorkeling, trekking and cycling are prominent activities as well
  • Cricket games – it is a much loved game here
  • Temples and pagodas abound and can be visited though please respect the sights by adhering to guidelines such as being covered up or removing your shoes
  • Food – Sri Lankan food is influenced by its long history with a blend of flavours and often brings on the heat

Sounds great and it has climbed up higher on my travel bucket list.

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Tangalla Beach, Sri Lanka – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Colby Otero from Brooklyn, USA (Tangalla Morning  Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage Sight), Sri Lanka – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Sintra, Portugal


Sometimes heading out of major city centres for a day trip is what you need. Located 28 km / 17 miles outside of Portugal’s capital of Lisbon is the picturesque coastal town of Sintra. One may see why this locale is a popular destination for those looking to escape the big city for a day, though a longer sojourn to truly experience all this UNESCO World Heritage sight has is suggested. Meander through the narrow streets; explore the historical castles and palaces or take in the views as Sintra is situated atop the mountains that shares its name. When I finally make my way to Portugal I will certainly seek out Sintra. The town sounds simply charming and inviting.

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Pena Palace, Sintra – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain

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View of Sintra, Portugal from the Castle of the Moors – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by By Chris Yunker from St. Louis, United States (Castle of the Moors  Uploaded by tm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Park Güell, Barcelona


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View of Barcelona and a portion of Park Güell – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned  Marrovi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 mx (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/mx/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Antoni Gaudi has his stamp on Barcelona. An architect and with a penchant for what is now referred to as Catalan Modernism.  His attention to detail and in his designs extended to use of wrought iron, ceramics, glass and more. One of his popular contributions is Park Güell, located on Carmel Hill. It was built during the years of 1900 – 1914. Its beginnings as a housing development failed and the area was then turned into a park in 1926. In 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (classified as part of the works of Antoni Gaudi). Today people flock to see its buildings, statues, pillars and more. I do know that I will visit this place should I make my way to Barcelona. The curves, vibrant mosaics and bold structures are reminiscent of candies and fairy tales. I expect I will be taken with the wonder of the design.

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Terrace filled with onlookers – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By es:Usuario:Rapomon [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Curved bench at Park Güell – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By deror avi (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons