Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dinosaurs, Hockey, and a Castle

There was so much to do in Toronto! We had no problems filling our days.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a very architecturally interesting building and in addition to terrific permanent exhibits, they currently have a special Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit on a basement level.
It is fantastic! So well done! We spent 2-3 hours just on the dinosaur exhibit.
 It features a lot of lesser known dinosaurs, dinosaurs just unearthed in the last 20 years,
There's a lot of interactive displays. So much to look at, so much information. It really took you back in time. I cannot say enough how fabulous this exhibit was.

We like dinosaurs. We also like hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame is in Toronto and it was a short walk from our hotel.
My favorite part was the helmet display (much as my favorite part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was all the helmets over time). Of course the Pittsburgh stuff was of special interest (and, OK, NJ Devils for one of us!).
Lots of Lemieux, lots of Crosby, lots of Canada team stuff, Canadian Olympics, etc. And of course, this:
We also like to wonder what kind of home we would build if ever we win the lottery, and I got a lot of great ideas at Casa Loma:
A Canadian Castle built in 1911 by Sir Henry Pellatt and costing him $3.5 million. Sadly, despite amassing a fortune as a businessman, he eventually lost his fortune, lost Casa Loma, sold off many possessions at a fraction of their cost, and died penniless.
But what a splendid, luxurious life when things were going well! The woodwork is stunning. The gardens are beautiful. The audio tour was well done, lots of interesting information.
Can you imagine living somewhere with a backyard like this?! When I visit places like this, I like to sit and gaze and wonder what life would have been like in such a home.
I imagine myself peering out windows in round rooms, dining in the enormous, could host 100 people dining room, sneaking through secret tunnels and hidden staircases, reading one of the books in the library and taking a break to recline and gaze up at the stunning ceiling. Lots of intricate detailing.
Places like these seem more tourist/visitor packed than places like Toronto Islands, especially when it's still summer vacation and especially when the weather is fantastic. They might not be as slow paced, relaxing, leisurely, and contemplative as our walks on Toronto Islands and through the Toronto Music Garden, but they are still fantastic experiences. It's always wonderful to be transported back in time and learn about the dinosaurs and think about just how old the earth is and how everything evolved. It's great to see the history of a sport, to read about the members' stellar skills and careers, to remember events like the Miracle on Ice. And it's always fun to imagine yourself living in a luxurious castle, summoning your servant to bring you tea via the secret staircase or imagining yourself soaking in the huge tub in the marble bathroom, a bathroom possibly larger than some bedrooms!

But then, it's back to reality, and while our hotel was a very nice hotel, it wasn't quite as nice as Casa Loma must have been!

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