Toronto & Niagara

In last part I explained how we enjoyed the CN Tower and Aquarium. We really enjoyed the colorful aquarium with so many different species of fishes, specially the sharks and the divers feeding the sharks and playing with sting rays. We came out and saw a Railway museum just opposite CNT. I have strong fascination for trains and it was free (The only free thing in Canada)… we went inside the park where different locomotives, trains and old stations were on display.

Steam Engine

Steam Engine

On a diesel engine

On a diesel engine

old train rack

old train rack

The next day was reserved for looking around Toronto.  We went to the nearby train station and boarded the train and reached Toronto in 35 minutes. The day was started early and we decided to take a city bus to see around Toronto. We booked the tickets online….36 dollars per person including a boat tour to the Islands facing Toronto. We reached the Union station from Mississauga and waited for the bus. The first shock came when we boarded the bus. If you have never traveled in a far village of UP from “Moondhi” to Aurangabad in a local bus, operated by a local goon, you will not understand my plight. Now saying that tourism department kept the bus that way, was to keep its antique look, would be over-gentleness. The bus was older than the city of Toronto, with wooden seats (as u find in parks in India), with over-heated interior. The driver’s seat had newly fixed springs and on every jump, his head almost hit the roof and it took him 2/3 jerks to settle down in his position. Then came the announcement, due to bad weather, there would be no boat tour and no money would be returned (They actually sounded -Go to Hell, type statement)… but the statement was made by a beautiful guide…. a Canadian version of Preety Zinta with similar dimples on both sides. I pardoned her for our Bollywood look alike and decided to settle down. We had seats on the back and both window panes were having metallic netting (For reasons even not known to bus owners)… so it was impossible to shoot passing streets and buildings from inside the bus. I think they need another evolution to know that a tourist spending money to travel in their bus is there to shoot through the windows. Well the bus zig-zagged through narrow streets of Toronto. Preety Zinta was continuously speaking, causing harsh squeaks in my ears and to the best of my luck, the bus stopped at Eaton Centre and we got down. The driver came down too and was looking like a desi. He revealed his identity that he was from Guyana and an Indian…rather lost Indian.

Near tourist bus with lost desi driver (Mr. Roy)

Near tourist bus with lost desi driver (Mr. Roy)

we went to the Eaton center, a mall not better than our Malls in Gurgaon.

Outside Eaton center

Outside Eaton center

I first visited the Downtown camera shop and purchased first ever DSLR a Nikon D-5300 (The next day fotos will be from this camera). Canadians have a funny way to fool people… they write all prices without tax without even a mention of it and suddenly when you pay, they will charge you 13%, which is not reimbursable even to tourists going out of the country with goods. Well the camera which I had to purchase for $ 999 came finally in $ 1125. I also purchased a bag and a remote and asked him to gift a thread to keep the lens attached to camera… but he shamelessly charged $2.5 for that “Dhaga” and I came out… at least to own a DSLR. I would thank some of my photographer friends to show me good fotos and waking the urge in me to try shooting something sane

My new Camera a DSLR Nikon D-5300

Then we went to Cassa Loma, Chinese Market, Ontario museum, Srinarayan Temple and ended our day happily. Some fotos of the day.  Casa Loma was a little on height and was looking magnificent from outside.  It started raining heavily and we had to catch the next bus in 45 minutes… so no time to go inside, hence we shot some photos from outside and came back to catch the bus.

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

The next stop was Ontario museum and Chinese market.  Chinese market looked magnificent…. we went into a shop and asked for tea.  To our surprise the lady prepared tea in traditional Indian style by boiling tea and adding milk and boiling.  In foreign countries, good tea is normally not available… we enjoyed the tea while looking at the chinese market

Ontario Gallery of Art

Ontario Gallery of Art


Chinese market

Chinese market


Graffiti on a wall in china town

Graffiti on a wall in china town

Chinese restaurant

Chinese restaurant

Saturday, the day three was fixed for Niagara but the weather was so bad that we decided to change it to Sunday, the forth day and spent Saturday around Missisauga, enjoying a tasty langar in local Gurudwara, visiting Swami Narayan temple and some forest areas around. As I entered the Gurudwara, it had all the slogans like “Khalistan Zindabad” … Raaj Karega Khalsa….  My mood was upset so I did not click any pictures there and then we went to Swami Narayan temple..

Beautiful Swamy Narayan Temple

Beautiful Swamy Narayan Temple


Swamy Naranyan temple



Side view of Swamy Narayan Temple

The temple was a piece of art.  The beautiful carvings on the marble were magnificent.


Swami Narayan temple

Alas they did not allow photography inside, otherwise I would have shown you the mind-blowing carvings in side which can not be explained in words.  Then we had a tour of nearby jungle which was, although it was still not summer yet looked beautiful.

Countryside of Toronto

Countryside of Toronto

The weather became good on Sunday and started off to our main desination…… NIAGARA !

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

(To continue in next part…. )


  • Stone says:

    Came to here after a long time, and bingo, got lucky to see your post.
    I can totally relate to your Gurudwara incident, I faced exactly same situation at US’s biggest gurudwara in San Jose, and that was the last time I went there.

    Another wonderfully written post, now looking forward to Niagra tales, and of course waiting for ‘khatthi-meethi yaadein’ post too. :-)


    • silentsoul says:

      Thanks Bhaskarji,

      Getting your comments is a prize in itself. I was told that it is mandatory to write Khalistani slogans in all gurudwaras in canada, otherwise they lose the visitors and face abuses from khalistanis. Some sikhs who are not pro-khalistan, still have to bear with this.

      Now I am leaving Iceland, will go India for a month and surely will visit Jwalaji and some new place of Himachal and then write my story

      thanks again

  • Prakash Yadav says:

    I was searching the SilentSOul since long. Today got…..

  • Dear SS

    At last you woke up and broke the silence. I was reading and doing he, he, and ha ha, as I always do while reading your log.

    Oh, dear magician sir, what you did with your Photos from Narayan Swamy temple? They look suddenly bigger than 640×426 size. Another point, you have purchased D 5300, clicked beautiful photos, and tactfully hided/deleted the EXIF info/data. How did you do that?

    Please come soon with your continuing part.


  • silentsoul says:

    My dear Anupam, Thanks for your generous comments. :) I am a purana paapi on ghumakkar and Nandan taught me some technical secrets :) Generation Y ke saath rehna hai to ye sab to sikhna hi padega varna buddhey ki kaun sunega ? :) :p

  • Vivek Kumar Srivastava says:

    Good post with awesome pics. Swamy Narayan Temple in Canada is really wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    My Dear Silentsoul,
    your Post took me back when I visited Toronto in November 1978 to attend a Training Programme of my company,Ogilvy &Mather.It was an international get together from Japan,Germany USA etc.I was the only I Indian, About five us collegues hired a self driven.
    Taxi and went to Niagara.Two things I remember
    1.There was a revolving restaurant on a tower called SKYWAYS(?) We had a meal there,
    2.It was said that people go over the Niagara Fall in a big Barrel. So there was a photographic studio which had a backdrop wall of the Fall; and you sit in the Barell,which was keptthere SHOOT.And you had a photo of you going over the Niagara Fall in a Barrell. Great picture. I am unable to find it(Later in1994 We visited the American Side)I also remember there was a small theatre Hall which played the film that showed as if you were flying right over the Falls.
    I wonder if all that is still there or not

    Great to visit Toronto again with you.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Sethi saheb.. I am content that my post brought back your old memories… dont know if such barrel photo is available now…. the skylon tower has a revolving restaurant..

      Thanks for your time to read and comment

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Wow, Superb post with exciting pictures. curiously looked for the pic of Canadian Preety Zinta in entire post ?? Swaminarayan Temple is awesome…… Niagra falls is all time hit. the pic “Countryside of toronto is captivating….

    Thanks for sharing.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Mukeshbhai for your heartfelt comments. Preety Zinta’s photo I did not share for privacy reasons, on her request.

      Thanks again…. with regards to Kavitaji

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    Thanks for jogging my memory. Yes it was on Skylon Tower.

  • Shiv Sharan Singh says:

    Wow…PST sir…you’re equally interesting as blogger also. Nice to go through your journey…

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi SS Sir

    First of all, please accept my apology for commenting late on the post.

    Sir, your description is amazing with excellent narrative style. I am a big fan of yours. The details of your bus journey and the Chinese market are really awesome.

    Although all the pics are artistically shot, but the pics from your new DSLR are really great and their dimensions too!

    Regarding the Gurudwara incident, I think during the era of eighties, there was a large scale migration took place there from Punjab, when authorities took strong actions against them in Punjab. Now they feel free to do whatever they want in their space and within themselves. So neither the Indian govt nor the people here are taking any notice of it.

    Anyways, all in all a nice post and you deserve congratulations for this.

    Eager to meet you as the D-day is approaching near…. :)

    P.S. – This is not for your initials but to request you, if you write a new post in Hindi too, that will provide much happiness to reader like me, who knows you have a great command over it.

    Thanx for sharing…..

    • SilentSoul says:

      Avtaar paahji, thanks for taking time and commenting on my post. Thanks for your in depth reading of the post..something which reminded me of my great friend DL here.

      I stayed in Canada with a Sikh family and my host was equally embarrassed on the khalistani slogans, because he is pucca patriot and anti- any “Stan”.. but they have to live with it because all the rich and influential sikhs and Canada live for it. Some more sensible rich sikhs spent money and time on making films :)

      I have written many posts in Hindi, specially the Khatti-meethi series is in Hindi and I think I have a little command…. pls read one of my old post in Hindi and offer your valuable comments

      Thanks again for bringing life to my post

  • Naresh Sehgal says:

    First, Sorry for the delay.
    What a post ! Details of bus journey and markets are interesting. You could not shoot passing streets and buildings due to metallic netting but could have taken a picture of Canadian Preety Zinta. She was indeed in the bus and no metallic netting between. LOL..
    As usual ,All photos are beautifully taken…….. from Swami Narayan Temple to Niagara falls. But personally I like the second photo , on diesel engine, the most.

    Thanks for sharing your Canada experiences with us.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Sehgalji for your comments :) Preety zinta’s photo is with me but not published due to privacy reasons.

      Hope your Nth journey to Amarnath was gr8

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Very nice written and good photos. Sorry to hear for 36$ ticket, but west is costly. In Paris 4day travel pass with entry to monuments cost 300$ per person. That’s why we like to visit India affordable. Hope you enjoyed Canada Visit. Thanks for share with us.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Good to read that Canada made you remember saada UP. I bet the buses which we have, plying between Bhangel and Gajiabad can give a run of money to these old beauties. I have a feeling that they may have kept them for the nostalgic aspect of it and they are probably not expecting a lot of Indian tourists (that is why USD 36). But all in all price wise it seems fine because there is a boat tour as well. Since boat tour was cancelled, you should get your money back. Sometime back Abheeruchi wrote a story where they bought a heavy-price pass but I think they got a refund. It would need some legwork and persistence though and probably you are already out of Canada, so good for Canada. But I have always heard good things about Canada. Anyway, chhaddo, here is the link of Abheeruchi’s story

    “Humare to kaate to khoon nahi wala hisab ho gaya. Both of us got shocked. We had spent $140 only at CN Tower where as in the same amount we could have visited 5 points. We felt so regretted that in hurry we made a mistake. We should have done some research before going. I was feeling very bad and sad that because of my Ghumakkar itching I had wasted $140.”

    Enjoy your new weapon. Use it carefully. Wishes.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Nandan, in fact I have no complaints from Canada… I just honestly wrote what happened.

      But my friend Sukhdev Singh and fore warned me that after living in Paris, Edinburgh and Iceland, you may not find Toronto attractive, as may look to a punjabi straightaway coming from a pind of hoshiarpur… and he was right.

      Niagra is the only attraction, and was the reason too, to visit Knida.

      Will your further explain the word “use it carefully” ? :p

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hello SS ji,

    Mujhe samajh me nahi aa raha mai kya likhu.Wish I could have warned you not to take those sight seeing bus its not value for money.I have never experienced it but I know its better to use Cab/Subway/Public transport here.I am sorry for your bad experience. Infact tax experience is also true .We are now used to of this 13% tax :(

    After reading your post I can only say to all Ghumakkars…that who so ever is visiting Toronto , just drop me a line in any of my post and I will try to guide the best and economical way of visiting Toronto.

    But honestly speaking I really liked reading your post.Pictures are really good.


    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Abhi… I in fact wished to contact you before going there.. but there was no link available and you had stopped visiting Ghumakkar altogether.

      thanks for your comments..

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