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A Complete Weekend: 1000 Islands, Niágara Falls and Toronto

1000 Islands

A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I did a little trip to Toronto, passing through the Gananoque region to see the 1000 Islands and Niagara Falls. I’ll begin with the 1000 Islands, which is what I most enjoyed about the trip.

It’s nothing super great. But I liked that simplicity. It is a cluster of islands on the swirling river St. Laurent, which borders the state of New York. In fact there are exactly 1864 islands.

I’m not saying that all of them are real islands themselves, perhaps they also take into account boulders protruding from the water, because I did not see that many islands. However, the charm of this location are the houses that are on the islands, each with its pier, colorful little rowing boats and the idea of spending a summer there with the family. Must be idyllic. If you have seen Cheaper by the Dozen 2 you can get an idea of what is real summering here.

Not only is it a beautiful place, but you actually enjoy seeing the cottages. In fact, there are genuine mansions, and I even say more, there are a couple of castles. Only saw one of them named Boldt Castle on Heart Island. I was expecting something not very credible, one “americanada” as we say back in Spain. But hey, they are not so bad imitating the European style, or at least so did its rightful owner back in the early last century, one George Boldt, former manager of the Waldorf -Astoria .

Some curiosities are saved in these thousand islands. I would not hesitate to spend a couple of weeks posing as the typical American family to Tommy Hilfiger.

Dynamite Niágara!

No, I do not want to blow up one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. Certainly not comparable to Iguazu Falls, or Victoria, but do not disregard its merit, man. These are 50 meter high three waterfalls which, if you are on the Canadian side (as it borders USA) you enjoy a great panorama of the whole. However, yes I would like to blow up the plastic city that has been built around. It is worse than Disney World.

Brilliant idea the one of bringing commercial exploitation to the extreme in a natural spot as spectacular as Niagara Falls. And thank God that from the United States you literally can not see the falls but sticking out from above, otherwise I do not imagine what the wealthy gringos would have built.

Let’s just say it’s not a gift to the eye and that it is over-exploited. Another example: our group of people wanted to take the “Maid of Mist “, the boat that takes you to see the falls from below.

Oh my, to see so many Chinese surrounding me I would have to go back to my days in Hong Kong. An hour long queue crowded with groups and groups of asians armed with cameras and lenses more powerful and larger than what the NASA uses to see the stars. Like cattle locked in a train.

That resembles the experience of the boat. I’m lying, wet cattle locked in a train as the strength of the falling water makes such a mist that it nearly killed my beloved camera.

Foolish me for not shelter it below the blue ponchos the crew gave us at the entrance.

Conclusion: I’m nobody to judge the genius who came up with the “disneywordlization” of the falls, but if it were for me he would burn in flames down in hell. With love, of course.


Unfortunately we could not see much, as we were less than 24 hours there, very precious and well used 24 hours. Our group was willing to traipsing up and down the city during the day or night without leaving time if you want to sleep, who needs sleep? I, well, I do need it at some point, call me grandma if you want .

The night we arrived, Toronto was upside down. Precisely that night was the Nuit Blanche, which had different street shows, exhibitions and museums open until late at night and contemporary artworks exposed outdoors.

The whole city was in motion. Floods of people took over the streets, so it was difficult to walk upstream. We saw a few art exhibitions, walked a little through the city center and as soon as that was covered, some of the group decided to continue and go from bar to bar, while others decided to end the night visit to take advantage of the next morning.

The city awoke desert, wearing a low fog that enveloped the skyscrapers hiding its altitude. The party had been over a few hours ago, but there was no sign of the activity of last night.

Walking and hear the echo between block and block. Here comes an opportunistic thought which I will not hesitate to let out: these cities are always too sketched, there is no way to get lost. Too daring for them making a labyrinthine city given the attachment they have here to urban safety and regularity.

There is a famous market for its products imported from all over the world, St. Lawrence Market. We wanted to visit it, but it was closed.

Luckily just ahead was the antique market, which opens on Sundays. In Canada, or perhaps the entire North American culture there are many flea markets.

You can see from home sellers that on Sundays are engaged to clean house and take the lumber to win a few dollars, to professionals dedicated to it and earning a living. For example the Greek sympathetic owner of the stand with old books and boxing gloves who soon realized that my purpose was to steal a portrait of him.

Pencil behind his ear, smiling and married to a Chilean woman, we exchanged a few words about the wonder of books he sold .

The next stop was the Destillerie, the posh-hipster district of Toronto. This small neighborhood was the former industrial site of the Victorian stage Canada. This means that virtually all buildings were old factories made of orangy bricks in which wood, brick, stone etc. were manufactured.

Restored no more than ten years ago, this district is now the entertainment center par excellence for the posh-hipsters, as I mentioned earlier. Designer shops, bakeries, bookstores… But to our dismay, on our visit the neighborhood lacked life and activity, as the city was hung over after the previous day spree.

And little more is to be related of Toronto. Unless that is a city surely worth staying to live for a season. Says an inexperienced spectator who could only spend 24 hours on it. Lets just say I had a scarce Toronto shot.


Profile photo of María Lucaya Castán

Born in Madrid, Spain, around the early nineties, and currently living more or less abroad whenever I get the chance. My name is María, student of Spanish and Communication Studies by the Universidad de Navarra, in Pamplona (the city of San Fermines), Spain. I had the fortune of having well traveled parents, that always encouraged me to do so. And here I am, writing for Kiss of the World to let you see what I see during my trips. Traveling makes you see, seeing makes you think, think... Think makes you see

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