We recently traveled to Canada for a wedding. After checking prices for airline tickets from Chicago to Toronto we decided to make it into a road trip because they were pretty expensive…and the drive is only about 8 hours. The wedding happened to fall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so we left on Thanksgiving to head up to Canada.
It was weird to be driving on Thanksgiving rather than eating with family, but we were excited to drive into Canada. We hadn’t crossed a country border by car before! We left around 9 am so by the time we got out of Chicago traffic and into Indiana we decided we should eat something. We wanted to get something fast so Don suggested Arby’s because he likes their breakfast. Well not only was Arby’s closed because it was Thanksgiving but it was also 11 am instead of 10 am since we were well into Indiana, so breakfast was over. So we settled for a Burger King. I am not a fan of Burger King. I decided to try their chicken nuggets. They were okay, but their fries sucked.
We kept driving and driving. Once we were far up into Michigan it started snowing. We were heading for the border town of Sarnia. We were going to stay here over night to break up the trip. Crossing the border was kind of crazy. I felt like the officer asking questions was kind of scary. Once we crossed the border though we could see our hotel; it was right on the border. From our hotel window we could see the border. The line going into Canada moved fast, but the line going into the US was so long. I dreaded the return trip.
After we got to Sarnia we were pretty hungry so we decided to venture out and see what we could find. Driving through the town was kind of scary because it was very dark and it was snowing and unfamiliar. One of the parks was all done up in Christmas lights and it was cool. We found a restaurant called Jack Doyle’s Irish Grille. They had a really good cheeseburger menu so that’s what we got. Once we got back to the hotel we checked out the pool.
The next morning, Friday (11/29), we got up early to start our drive to Toronto. It would be about 3 hours. We wanted to try to find a place to exchange some US money for Canadian money though so we drove around Sarnia. The bank we tried was super busy; I’ve never seen a bank so busy. So then we drove around more. We saw a place called “Money Exchange” and we thought this is perfect! But as we started walking up to it we discovered it was just a pawn shop. Finally we found a Western Union and were able to exchange our money. Next to Western Union was a Taco Bell and were really hungry so we went there. The inside of the Taco Bell reminded me of a Taco Bell from the 90’s. All of their meals were different. I got my standard 3 soft tacos and they tasted the same.
Once we were done we headed onto to Toronto. Not too far from Sarnia we saw a sign for a Meadery. It was called Munro Honey and Meadery. Mead is a wine made from honey. We tasted a few different meads and bought some stuff then started on the road again.
We saw a sign for a Lion Safari and after seeing the sign a couple of times I decided we should stop and check it out. After we drove for about 40 minutes we found the place and it was closed for the season. Disappointment.
One thing that wasn’t disappointing though was the scenery on the highway to Toronto. The snow and frost made the trees so beautiful. Also, we really enjoyed how they put all the tourist attractions on signs on the highway. The US does this a little, but Canada really listed them all.
We arrived in Toronto around 4 pm. We stayed at the Hilton in Markham, which is a suburb of Toronto. We only stayed here because hotels.com had a really good deal. Our room was really nice. Once we checked in we called Don’s aunt and we went over there for dinner. At his aunt and uncle’s house were able to see his mom and his other aunt visiting from the Philippines. It was nice to see everyone and his aunt and uncle made a delicious dinner. After dinner we went out to check out the city of Toronto. Basically we just drove around the city to check it out. It was pretty cool. Once we got back to our hotel area we had some tea at a place across from our hotel.
The next day, Saturday 11/30, was the day of Don’s cousin’s,(Mariel), wedding. Around noon we picked up Don’s mom and his Tito Boni and Tita Lu. We went into the city of Toronto to the church and we had coffee at a place near the church. The wedding took place at a Catholic Church and it was very pretty. After the wedding we went to Mariel’s apartment building where they had a party room to gather with friends and family for a drink and snacks. There was a lot of time between the wedding and the reception. It took us a very long time to get to the reception though because of traffic and construction. We thought we had given ourselves enough time but we missed pretty much all of the cocktail hour. That was okay though because we made it in time for dinner. The reception was very nice.
The next morning we woke up very early and checked out because were going to do the whole drive in 1 day. We left around 645 am. We stopped at rest stop in Canada for coffee and a quick breakfast. It was a very nice rest stop compared to the ones we have been to in the states. It even had free wi-fi! For lunch we stopped at a Big Boy’s in Michigan. Don had always wanted to try one…neither one of us were impressed.
The drive was long but we made it back to Chicago around 3 pm. Our experience in Canada had been good. Can’t wait to visit again, but hopefully in the summer!