Exploring Infinity and Beyond in Toronto
I visited Toronto for a week with my mother and sister. We stayed at the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on Yonge Street.
This was a short walk from Yonge-Dundas Square, the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Streets surrounded by towering office buildings, countless shopping centers and restaurants, and eccentric street vendors.
We explored the Square for an entire day, and most of our time was spent in Toronto Eaton Centre, the main shopping mall there. This mall is four floors of endless spending options, and access to public transit (which we used throughout the trip) is on the bottom floor.
While inside the mall, we sampled poutine from a small fast food place called New York Fries. Poutine is a dish typically consisting of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy, but it may also be topped with beef, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, or onions.
It might sound gross to some, but it is quite the opposite, and definitely worth trying.
Later during the week, we took a casual stroll down Dundas Street and visited a charming dessert shop called Butter Baker. I ordered strawberry vanilla ice cream in a cone. It was served in a perfect swirl of both flavors and was probably some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted—and I consider myself to be an ice cream connoisseur.
That same day, while my mom and sister stayed at the hotel due to overexhaustion, I ventured out into town in search of a special exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario: the Infinity Room.
I took our family bus pass and boarded a bus in Yonge-Dundas Square, tapping my feet in anticipation as I waited for my stop at the art museum.
As soon as I arrived and checked in (free admission for students), I signed up for a slot to visit the Infinity Room. Yes, this exhibit is so popular that it has its own waiting list.
Each guest is only allowed to stay inside the Infinity Room for exactly 60 seconds. I spent exactly 12 of those seconds taking two pictures, then I put my phone away and gave all of my attention to the magic around me.
The Infinity Room is, without question, the most beautiful and enchanting room I have ever seen.
A picture absolutely does not do it justice—there’s no way to quite capture the surreality of the infinite reflections that bounce from the mirrors to the silver orbs that sit on the ground and hang from the ceiling.
A mirrored column stands in the center of the room, only enhancing its dazzling surroundings. LED lights shine from all around, bathing the room in a soft, pale green glow.
I love art museums, and I’m sure I’ll visit a lot of them in the future, but I don’t think any of their exhibits will quite measure up to the Infinity Room.
After that visit, I returned to my family and we went out to dinner at a diner called Coach House Restaurant. It is a small, comfortable place that serves home-style food, and there’s a window into the kitchen so you can watch the chef cook your meal.
The lighting is dim—not to the point that your eyes need to readjust when you walk back outside, but cozy, like sitting in a room full of Christmas lights.
I ordered a breakfast plate with three sunny side up eggs, toast, and bacon. Yes, bacon is great, but I personally can only ever eat one strip before getting bored of it.
However, my meal included four strips of bacon, and I ate all of them. This bacon was so good that I honestly considered ordering even more of it, and that’s saying something.
On the last day of our trip, my family visited Ripley Aquarium and the Canada’s National Tower. (These two attractions are right next to each other, so it wouldn’t make sense to see one and not the other.)
At the aquarium, we saw small, brightly colored fish, one Dory, about 20 sharks, a galaxy of starfish clinging to the glass of their tank, a spiky sea urchin, and so many neon pink jellyfish.
I love jellyfish.
Jellyfish are probably some of the most fascinating creatures in existence. They don’t have bones. They don’t have brains. They don’t even have a central nervous system. They just float around being fantastic blobs of scientific intrigue.
After absolutely losing my mind over how cool the jellyfish were, I tried convincing my mom to buy me a jellyfish lava lamp from the gift shop.
I was unsuccessful.
After our visit to the aquarium, we made our way to the bottom of the CN Tower and took our place in line. It was around 8:30 p.m. at this point, so it was steadily growing darker outside.
The line moved surprisingly quickly, and soon we arrived at a set of bright pink elevator doors. We boarded, packed snugly into the elevator with another family, and listened to the tour guide rattle off interesting facts about the tower.
As we began our ascent, we watched through the glass portion of the floor as the ground disappeared from underneath us. The roof design of the aquarium was soon visible, two sharks lit up in electric blue swimming next to each other.
It was nearing 9 p.m. when we arrived at the top and walked outside onto the observation deck. The night sky was almost black, which was perfect for viewing the vibrant city lights.
We stayed in the tower for almost three hours exploring the inside and walking around the observation deck while taking photos of the city below.
We made a quick stop in the gift shop on our way out, where my mom and sister bought matching hats (the kind that has a huge, ridiculous puff ball on the top) and I bought a navy sweater with CN Tower stitched on the front and white racing stripes down the arms.
After that, we walked for 30 minutes back to Yonge-Dundas Square and got ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery in the mall. We got there 15 minutes before they closed, making the ice cream that much sweeter.