Journaling our first big family road trip with our
old and rusty well-loved Dodge Caravan.
(Mississauga – Toronto – Mississauga). Road time: 2 hrs
June 23 (Friday).
Mira woke up around 7 and came looking for me. In the dark, I could see her figure, standing beside our bed where I was. She then made a sound and wanted me to pick her up and nurse. Diane was still sleeping, tired from being up late last night.
We all finally made it downstairs for breakfast. It was 8:30. The dining area was right across from the lobby, with booths and tables and bars. We chose a booth to sit and grabbed 2 high chairs for the girls. Devon joined us for breakfast. We had a feast. We were so pleased with the amount of food there was! I started my plate with the first food on the assembly line, scrambled eggs. I then loaded it up with breakfast sausages, bacon, French toasts, diced fried potatoes, and different kinds of fruits. I skipped the cereals. I need something heavy. I did the same thing for Mira and Ian’s plates. Diane shared her daddy’s food so I loaded his plate with more. The girls shared some yogurt after. I had to go back for seconds. And so did the rest of the adults in our table. The guys had coffee. I had tea and orange juice. It was a fine meal. A very fulfilling breakfast!
The first stop for the day was at Ripley’s Aquarium, situated underneath the CN Tower. We managed to get there at 10:45 and went through the entire place for almost 3 hours. We all had fun, especially the girls! Mira wasn’t interested in touching the sting rays or the shrimps, so we just looked. Diane wanted to touch the sting rays, but her arms were not long enough. We saw hundreds of different sea creatures, including some cute baby sea horses; squat lobsters that weren’t really lobsters but more like crabs; winter flounder with both eyes on the right side of its body; American eels that mature into female when settled in cooler northern waters or into male when in warm southern waters; goliath grouper which was the largest of the Atlantic groupers reaching a weight of 800 lbs; a potato cod which looked like a giant potato and a cod fish, hence the name (maybe?).
After our sea quest, we went to Casa Loma, “Toronto’s majestic castle” they call it.
Casa Loma was one of the biggest houses in Canada, built and previously owned by Henry and Mary Pellat around 1911. Its has a floor space of 64, 700 sq. ft. and has 98 rooms. A few hundred feet north of the main building was the Hunting Lodge, a two-story 4,380-square-foot house (a.k.a coach house) with servants’ quarters. It also has five acres of gardens and an underground tunnel that connects Casa Loma to the Hunting Lodge and to the stables (garage, potting shed, stalls, carriage room and tack rooms).
It was past 2 o’clock when we got there. Both girls were worn out and fell asleep before we got to the parking lot. So we decided to eat some of our packed left-overs for lunch in the van hoping that the girls would wake up by the time we were done. They didn’t
I didn’t want to interrupt the kids’ nap, so I asked the guys to go ahead and explore the place. Ian and I had been there last year so it’s still fresh from my memory. I stayed in the van until the girls woke up. They had a good 2-hour nap at least, and then we made our way inside Casa Loma.
Upon entering, we were reminded that they will be closing in an hour. We moved quickly. I had the girls in the double stroller. We head towards the patio right away to get some gelato, but they were already cleaning up. That was a bummer. I promised Mira we will get some ice cream when we get inside. We were both disappointed.
We went back inside and worked our way in all the rooms in the main floor. Unfortunately, some of the rooms in the main floor that were open last time we were there were closed off. The conservatory with bronze double doors that cost the Pellat’s $10,000 each during the time it was built was not open to the public. It seemed like they were setting up the place for a wedding ceremony. The lush indoor garden looked the same from last year, but it would still have been nice to get a closer look. A bustling of people with aprons tied around their waists was going in and out the library. They were setting up the lights, and the tables for what seemed like a wedding reception.
The oak room, which was beside the grand piano, where Henry entertained his guests, was closed as well. I’m not sure why. There were no signs indicating why it was. But it sure looked different from last year. This time it looked like an extravagant restaurant. The pool room with tall windows and a massive billiard table was closed as well. The elevator was not working so there were a number of strollers parked behind the grand piano. I had to abandon ours with the rest of the strollers to go upstairs. I carried Diane in one arm and held Mira’s hand with my free hand. Eventually, we bumped into Ian and Devon and finished touring the place at 5. I wasn’t able to take the girls to the tunnel, stable, and outdoor gardens. There wasn’t enough time. I think we were there for 4 hours last time. Ian wanted to take Devon to the highest tower where we had some pictures taken before. In a clear day, the view from the top was magnificent. But that section of the castle was closed too.
We all went back to the van disappointed with our second experience of the famous Casa Loma. I propped up the GPS on the dashboard and we headed to Pearson airport to pick up Devon’s friend from Germany.
We got there shortly before 6 in the evening. We stood by the international flight arrival area. Diane tried to climb up the railing a few times.
The screens in front of us revealed that there was a slight delay on his fight.We saw a huge black Labrador pup lying on the ground. It had a purple coat that says pup-in-training. Diane kept walking towards the dog. The owner said it’s okay to pet him, so Diane did. The pup got excited and stood up and gave her a lick on the face. Diane squealed. Perhaps a dog five times her size looked threatening when standing up. So I carried her in my arms, and she was fine. Mira came over too and pet the dog. She was thrilled.
I went to the washroom to change Diane’s diaper. When I came out, Devon’s friend was already standing with the rest of the them. He shook my hand and gave me a timid smile upon introduction. The kid was tall. Almost the same height as Devon who was 5’11”. He mostly spoke to Devon in German. This was his first time to visit Canada and he seemed pretty stoke about it.
We stopped by at KFC’s drive through to order a bucket of friend chicken. The chicken pieces were smaller than the ones we normally get from a different branch. Another disappointment of the day! Over supper we got to know the young lad a little bit. He’s in grade 9, has a younger sister, and owns a 3 year-old Jack Russel terrier and 2 pet mice. He gave us some German chocolate bars and coffee that we haven’t tried yet.
We hit the swimming pool after supper. Mira was so excited to put her bathing suit on! The pool was small, but clean and quiet. It was just us, plus another girl. The lights were off. We found that odd. We tried to look for the light switch, but to no avail. It was past 9 in the evening. The street lights were on and crept into the glass windows, so we were not in total darkness. I noticed one of windows was open. The air was warm. The water however, was cooler. We stayed as long as the girls could stand the water. Both had a good time! Mira didn’t want to leave the water even though she’s cold.
When we got into our hotel room to shower, Mira kept saying she wanted to swim. We had a battle taking her bathing suit off. Eventually we won. She had a melt down.
The girls went to sleep quickly this time, even Diane. And this marked the end of our second day.