Quebec, like a child of mixed parentage, has features of Europe and Canada, with her own distinct French personality. She takes you back to a time where people still valued the art of conversation, and sat at laughter-filled coffee shops that ran into cobbled streets, or worshiped at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral My days spent here were like a stone being skipped happily across the water. Time just slipped through my fingers and the days passed by as quickly as the stone takes the next leap forward.

It was only four days, after all, and we had to make the absolute most of it. Plus, when you’re on a sightseeing tour with a couple of dozen other people, there is a schedule to be stuck to. We did sneak away to explore the unexplored, which left us with less time for both – the exploring and the time-bound itinerary.
CANYON ST. ANNE
CHURCH OF ST. ANNE DE BEAUPRE 2
Before heading to the miraculous Church of St. Anne De Beaupre, we stopped at the 1.2 billion year old Canyon St. Anne. The short 45 minute trek lets you walk along the falls and cross over to the other side of the gorge on suspension bridges of various heights.

Both sides of the path were lined with lush, dense foliage, still glistening with rain from the morning’s drizzle. Apart from the rumble of the waterfall below and the twittering of birds overhead, there was silence. The road goes on, first uphill and then down, turning and twisting its way around the canyon.

The last of the three bridges is the one that is closest to rapids and to get to it, one needs to walk down 187 steps. At the bottom, we were met with a long, shaky, wooden bridge. It would have been amazing to zipline across the falls. but hey, when you have a bouncy bridge ahead of you, you jump!

Jade - That Goan Girl

 

The walk back up the steps is easy at first, and then every step gets more painful than the last. After puffing, panting, wailing and countless “five minute” breaks, we get to the top… only to walk back uphill and downhill to leave for the miraculous shrine.
CHURCH OF ST. ANNE DE BEAUPRE

The Church of St. Anne De Beaupre, like the Notre Dame Basilica, is one of Quebec’s priceless treasures. The entrance to the church are through beautiful copper doors made by Albert Giles. The interiors are warmly lit and give out a soft, golden glow. Every inch of the ceiling is covered in words and paintings so fine and regal, that it’s impossible to believe it was done by someone lying on a makeshift scaffolding for days with a paintbrush.


The sombre church captivates every sense from the moment you walk in. One can hear the mutter of prayers, smell the smoke wafting up from burning candles and look at rows upon rows of kneeling people writing petitions on little pieces of paper before walking up to the statue and dropping it into a box at the foot of St. Anne.


St. Anne is the grandmother of Jesus, and the patron saint of pilgrims. The church was named after her ever since sailors were rescued by her intercession. The first known miracle at the church happened during the shrine’s construction when a hired worker, Louis Guimond was cured of rheumatism upon placing three stones on the Shrine’s foundation. Ever since then, thousands have been blessed with miracles and thousands more throng in the hope that their faith will bring them one. In fact, the pillars at the front entrance are covered with crutches, canes, braces and other signs of disabilities left behind by pilgrims who have been healed at the church.

After admiring the ornate ceiling and feasting my eyes on a glittering gold Statue of St. Anne, I make my way to a pew and write down petition after petition. That done, I head to the Statue and kneel with a dozen others around the base. Tied to the armrest is a printed prayer to be said before placing one’s note into the box. With the prayer said and wad of paper stuffed in the box, it was time to wander around some more

Walking around the church is like walking into a fairy tale. The light from the stained glass windows light up the ceiling, while below, dancing candle flames cast shadows on the mosaic, marble and stone.

I come across the Pieta, a replica of Michelangelo’s world renowned statue, and walk along a circular passage that goes behind the altar and comes out the other side. The passage too, has its share of stained glass windows and statues of saints in white marble,

Stairs lead downwards to a wide underground chapel that’s relatively empty, with a gold statue of Mary beside the altar. This shrine is different in style and design, and it’s like stepping into a completely different church altogether. White frilly patterns criss-cross across the ceiling, breaking up alternating the star and floral pattern, all the way to the front altar.

More than spectacular architecture, intricate mosaic and polished sculpture – this church is steeped in history. Prayer mingles with the smoke of a thousand candles, making its way above. That’s what makes it more than just another tourist attraction.

When I’m in Goa, I often visit a St .Anne’s Chapel, a couple of minutes away from my house, to attend Konkani Mass on Sunday. So the next time I’m home, I’ll be sure to follow up with Her on my miracle. It will probably come my way when the time is right.

It must be pretty cool to have a family business that’s known throughout the continent, especially one that’s not related to food – those tend to gain popularity as the generations go by.

Albert Gilles Copper Art

What I loved about Albert Gilles Copper Art is that it’s a quaint little structure by the countryside in Chateau Richer, Quebec. By looking at it on the outside, one would never guess that this was the place where master craftsman Albert Gilles made magic with copper.

Albert Gilles Copper Art

While the incredible artist, Albert Gilles is no longer alive, his daughters keep the 87 year old copper smith tradition flourishing. Apparently, they are the last crafters of their kind, so I’m really glad I could go and appreciate the art. The method they use is Copper Repousse – pressing shapes into the reverse side of soft copper using wooden tools.

From tiny pendants to the gigantic doors of the Basilica Sainte-Anne church doors you see in the picture, the time and detailing required during this painstaking process is incredible. In fact, Albert took over 15 years to create 50 large silver panels telling the story of the Life of Christ.

Albert Gilles Copper Art

Although I love marveling at art, I’m not the artistic type. My grandmother did all art and craft related projects I was assigned in school… I hope no ex-teachers are reading this.

Here are three attempt at Copper Repousse – my cousins, my brothers and mine.

Albert Gilles Copper Art

I’m not telling you which one is mine! (hint – it’s the best one!)

Now that I think about it, I spent a lot of time in Canada on boats. You’re probably wondering what one does on boats besides fishing – but no, I did not fish.

The Tall Ship Kajama

Have you ever had a ride on a Tall Ship? You know, the ones with sails, carrying pirates?

The Tall Ship Kajama

It was a beautiful sunny day when we sailed out of Toronto Harbour on a three mast schooner. The Kajama is gorgeous, has a rich sailing history, and it’s hard to imagine that a ship from 1930 could look so sleek.

Boating in canada

This 90 minute cruise let’s you admire the Toronto skyline by day without the guide being too touristy and pointing out landmarks, allowing you to just “hang out.” Canadian Sailors sing shanties while getting the boat far out into the water… which was awesome! The few happenings during the tour are spaced out so you get a good balance of excitement and relaxation. If you’re lucky, you get a chance to raise the sails (hard work, by the way!) Everyone seemed excited about the canon they fired at the end. Oh well.

They offer food and drinks aboard the ship, but it is pricey, as one would expect. And unless your goal is to work on your tan, sunscreen and a hat is essential. 90 minutes was probably a bit too long for the entire thing – they could have perhaps cut down the time and subsequently, the ticket price.

Whale Watching

I was super excited to watch whales ‘Moby Dick’ style but *sigh*

It was dark, gloomy, rainy, foggy and overall, miserable weather.

The boat was impressive though – there was an open air deck on top, the middle deck was a semi indoor deck that was enclosed in glass, while the bottom was completely enclosed in glass and contained seats and a canteen serving below average food. We eagerly watched the whale positioning monitor and saw them swim below the boat. The guide jabbered on the mike incessantly… and I was trying to not feel sea-sick.

Three hours, guys! Three hours! And we finally saw a fin of a whale in the distance. Needless to say, we couldn’t capture it on camera. What a waste of CAD 80! But hey, it isn’t something you do everyday.

The Thousand Islands

The next day, we set off to explore the thousand islands by boat. The weather was clear and sunny, bordering on hot, and we were sure those whales must have been frolicking around in all their glory in Charlevoix. The spectacular thousand islands in Ontario is made up of 1864 islands in the St. Lawrence River, sharing the USA and Canada border. Some of them are so tiny, they can support only a couple of trees while others had lavish mansions built on them.

After a while, the islands do get a bit monotonous. However the highlight of the trip would be the Boldt Castle – I don’t know if I remember this right, but I think the guide said that the castle was built by a man who lived on the main island, and wanted to keep his mother in law near, yet far.

I bet everyone has wanted their own private island at some point. And these islands were pretty neat. I have to wonder though – what if someone has a cappuccino craving? Or needs to borrow something from the neighbour? Pretty inconvenient to start up the speed boat several times a day… What do you think?

I love your comments, so keep them coming!

It was a rainy weekend when we headed out to Ottawa, the very next day upon landing in Toronto. It was the 1st of July – Canada Day, and the streets were full of people dressed in red and white. Basically, everything you would NOT expect outside a parliament was there – food trucks, folks dressed as super heroes, soap bubbles in the air, street artists…

Canadian Parliament

THE GROUNDS

We couldn’t really tell how huge the Parliament grounds were, because of the hordes of people and a stage being set up right in the middle for A ROCK BAND! But the architecture of the massive building was just gorgeous. I would have expected a Parliament to be solid and white – like uhmm.. The White House, instead, it looked like something out of Harry Potter. Rows upon rows of dome shaped windows, innumerable little towers sticking up, a brick facade and a gigantic clock tower.

In the middle of the ground is the Centenial Flame, a flame that celebrates 100 years of Canada’s Confederation and burns all day, every day. The emblems of each of the Provinces feature as part of the fountain. In fact, one comes upon these emblems everywhere – on the door of the Senate, the ceilings and plaques.

Walking along the street and around Parliament Hill, we came across plenty of statues ranging from former Prime Ministers to important stories in Canadian History. There are apparently 17 statues on the grounds and 90 along Wellington Street. My favorite were these 2 old ladies enjoying their tea. Would be apt around Indian Parliament too, don’t you think?

Canadian Parliament

INSIDE PARLIAMENT HILL

The tour of Parliament Hill is a delight for history buffs. The guided tour takes one into the Senate and the House of Commons. The guide provides little known facts as you walk along the long corridors and stare in awe at the plush, stately interiors where the Queen sometimes sits when a session is in progress. What’s striking is the way they pay attention to detail while carving out the logo of each of the Provinces on the ceiling.

Canadian Parliament

I loved the Library here. It’s hard not to.. and you can see why.

Another interesting room was the Memorial Chamber – a tiny room with books containing names of soldiers who died while serving during war.The marble walls are inscribed with beautiful poems in honor of the soldiers. There’s a book for WW1, WW2, The Korean War and many others. A page is turned in each of the books at 11 am every morning to ensure that each of the soldier’s names feature on top.

Canadian Parliament

PEACE TOWER

The highest point in the Parliament, the Peace tower is a symbol of Canada’s commitment to peace and gives one a fabulous view of the grounds and buildings. A clock on the top is surrounded by 53 bells of different sizes and sounds, and they chime different tunes from Super Mario to the Star Wars theme song. How cool is that!!!!

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

The next morning, we rushed to see the changing of the guard, a tradition since 1959. Every morning at 10 am, the Governor’s General Foot soldiers (in red coats playing brass instruments) and Canadian Grenadier Guards (In green kilts playing the pipes) march to their own tunes, literally! With the Parliament Hill building as the backdrop, this 45 minute show is executed to precision and is really entertaining

Canadian Parliament

TGG TIPS

  • Arrive 15 minutes early and grab a good spot to watch changing of the guards
  • The Parliament Hill Tour is Free and available in English and French – but you need to collect tickets in advance.
  • Get pictures with the soldiers before or after the show as they will not move once they stand at their positions

Majestic, surreal, stunning, hypnotic, mind-blowing… none of these adjectives can describe the Niagara Falls.

By day, the silvery mist from the falls reaches up to the clouds and by night, it is illuminated from behind with a myriad of colored light strobes. From the sidewalk, one can see the deceivingly calm teal blue water before it crashes down with noise like thunder. Can you imagine 2,00,000 tons of water falling every second? How amazing is that!

Way down below, tourist boats, that look no bigger than the size of  matchsticks, painfully inch forward in defiance of one of the Earth’s greatest natural wonders.

The Niagara Falls is made up of 3 waterfalls – the American Side called the ‘American Falls’ the Canadian Side called the ‘Horseshoe Falls’ and a small one in between called the ‘Bridal Falls.’ Both sides of the border claim that the falls on their side is better.. . Toss a coin already!

Just visiting the it on a regular day would have been an experience of a lifetime, but I got to go the extra mile, and visit it on the FOURTH OF JULY!!! Our hotel room overlooked the Falls from a fabulous angle..the 22nd floor of the Mariott! AND we got to watch the American Independence Day Fireworks display from across the border… I cannot tell you what a spectacular display of fireworks that was. With all the lights switched off, our seats facing the ginormous picture window, and snacks in hand, it was a half an hour show that would send Diwali fireworks on a run for it’s money

Niagara Falls Canada

The next day was reserved for touristy stuff. First up: the Hornblower… a high powered cruise that takes you right to the foot of the falls. It’s the best thing you can do to witness the fury of the wind and get drenched in the spray, even with the raincoats provided. The lines are long. Really really long. But the thrill of being so dangerously close is exhilarating; not to mention, its a perfect opportunity for selfies!

jade that Goan Girl

If being at the foot of the falls isn’t enough, you can also check it out from behind. The Journey Behind the Falls was a walk through a rocky tunnel that’s actually behind the Falls! How they managed to excavate that tunnel is beyond me. The tunnel has multiple openings where you can watch the water gush down like no tomorrow. There is a little platform where you can step on with the falls just a few meters away. It’s intense.

Boat Niagra fallsThe walls of the tunnel are interspersed with boards containing snippets of information. One of them talks about people who tried to survive falling over the waterfall on a jet ski or a boat. And about a woman who ROLLED OVER the falls….in a BARREL… with a CAT!!

People are crazy.

So, if one has time. (and money) there are tons of other things to do, such as watching the Falls from the Skylon Tower – a place where one can dine and admire the Falls from above. There’s a butterfly conservatory, a bird kingdom, a botanical garden, Marine Land and loads of tourist attractions.

Oh, and there are also helicopter tours that gives one a killer view from above. If there’s an angle to view the falls from, they have it!

TGG Tips 

  • The Hornblower cruise is better when it’s done in the morning as the lines get too long by noon. The left side of the top deck is the ideal vantage point
  • Book tickets in advance!!!
  • Get the Adventure Pass- you’ll save 25% on the top Niagara Falls attractions: Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Journey Behind the Falls, White Water Walk and Niagara’s Fury (a 6 minute multi sensory extravaganza in a special theater showing how the Ice Age formed Niagara Falls!) You’ll also receive two days on the WE-GO transportation service: a hop-on, hop-off system connecting Niagara Parks attractions with all  hotels.

Trying to fit in a truck load of things to do in Ontario Canada is no easy task. The more you do, the more there is to do. The list of things to see, to eat and to experience just never seems to end

And don’t even get me started on all the walking involved.

Oh God, the walking!!

fruit picking farm Canada

Taking a trip to the fruit picking farm was a great way to slow things down a little. Sure, it’s a timid experience unlike the Edgewalk, but it’s a refreshing way to chill out, bond with nature (sans the bugs) and have a bit of family time. Plus, a beautiful tea-picking walk in Assam is on the bucket list.. and this is pretty close.

The farms that let you pick your own fruit are spread all over Canada. Depending on what time of the year one goes, a particular field or orchard is kept open to the public. You may get to pick cherries, beans, strawberries, oranges, corn, grapes, even pumpkins and watermelons.

fruit picking farm Canada

We spent the afternoon amidst rows and rows of plants picking luscious red, raspberries at Downey’s Farm, Brampton. There are no buildings in sight – just the shrubs, the sky, and an old barn-like place where you pay 4 CAD and they give you little wooden cartons to fill fruit in.

Basket in hand, we separated branches to find raspberries hidden underneath the foliage, ready to fall off the stem. It’s crazy how long it takes to fill up one teeny little container – took us almost 2 hours, but time just flies. It goes without saying… quite a lot of berries never made it to the basket.. courtesy stomach.

One doesn’t have to pay for the raspberries collected. As long as it fits into the container,. it’s included in the 4 CAD charge at the entrance.

fruit picking farm Canada

At the end of the day, it’s good to get some sun and a little bit of non-digital Farmville.

After all that work, the raspberries were left in the trunk of the car. *sigh*

Have you ever tried fruit picking? Got a great recipe with raspberries? Just wanna say ‘Hi?”
All you got to do is comment below!

Cya next time!

If you look up ‘Things to do in Ottawa,’ the Byward Market always comes up on top! People do love their food, and with such a variety of multi cultural food choices, they don’t have to look for long to find something delicious! Unique eclectic shops and boutiques make a day of aimless wandering so very interesting.

Canadian MarketByward Market, at the corner of St. George Street and Byward Street, is a great place for one-stop shopping. Vendors cluster around an old maroon brick building selling fresh produce, flowers, seafood, baked goodies and souvenirs.

Canadian MarketOne of the things you MUST try here are the Beaver Tails. Gooey dough that’s deep fried till crispy, with a range of topping choices like marshmallows, Gems, Maple Syrup and Cinnamon Sugar. I had the Nutella and Banana one (obviously, it’s the most sinful of the lot) and it was the food highlight of my trip.

Obama once stopped at this very outlet for a beaver tail on his way to the Parliament, so that’s probably why the entire place is full of pictures of him. There are stores that even have cookies named after him. That’s the dream!

I read some negative reviews of Byward Market having a lot of pushy panhandlers and pickpockets, but I can honestly say I didn’t see a single one.

Canadian Market

Getting There – You will probably have to drive to get there, but there’s tons of on-street parking spots.

Canadian MarketI thought Byward market was eclectic. That was before I stepped into Kensington Market. It has a strange, unique charm– in the mismatched clothing stores, the roadside grocery carts, the graffiti laden cafes, and people selling hippie jewelry like you find in Anjuna Market. One of the jewelry vendors was actually planning to rent a stall at the Anjuna Flee market and wouldn’t let us go until we gave him a fair bit of info on house rentals and food cost in Goa.

Canadian MarketSo, Kensington is located just to the west of downtown Toronto, bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathhurst street and College Street. This is one place that must be experienced to be fully understood.

Dog SlobberEven if you don’t plan on shopping, I would suggest going and checking out this hipster-ish neighborhood. There are so many things that you don’t need but end up buying just because they’re hilarious. What do you think about these? Perfect gag gifts!

A wonderful thing about the street is that people from all walks of life come here – rich, poor, young and old, every ethnicity and nationality. Everyone bumps into each other on the narrow sidewalks and one way streets. There’s no parking and it’s a complete obstacle course. I love it!!

Literally just one street away, all the “flower child” vibe disappears to make way for dragons, lanterns and overcrowded sign boards in Chinese. Maybe it’s the Canadian Version of China Town because it was so clean and lacked the grit and bustle of touristy China Towns in other cities. Take time to walk around here, buy some knick-knacks, cheap T-shirts and memorabilia.

Bubble Tea is supposedly good here, but we were in a hurry and didn’t try some. I’m still curious to know what it is, though.

Getting around is pretty easy, if you’re prepared to walk. There are street cars that take you to downtown Toronto. It’s a good idea to get a day pass that is valid for all kinds of public transport.

Canadian Market

Although it’s called China Town, there are all kinds of south Asian cuisine available with the menus given in Chinese (or so it looked.) We stopped at a little Vietnamese Restaurant and ordered Pho – a broth containing slivers of beef, glass noodles and herbs. It tasted much better than it looked!

Canadian Market

TGG Tips:

1) Bring a camera
2) If you need to buy souvenirs, do it in China Town. Great stuff, good deals and really cheap.
3) Go hungry and try EVERYTHING!

Maybe it’s the Goan Blood, but I have a thing for Churches…

In my recent trip to Canada, two of them made my jaw drop. They were so stunning, so magnificent, that I gave up taking pictures… they just didn’t compare to the real thing.

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAME

I sat down to blog about them, but didn’t know where to start.

So! Here’s my best attempt *fingers crossed* at describing the breathtakingly beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral (Ottawa) and the Notre Dame Basilica (Montreal).

*P.S. Notre Dame is French for Our Lady, referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAMEThere’s no doubt that visitors must be as struck by the majesty of the Notre Dame Cathedral today, as they were hundreds of years ago. One of Ottawa’s oldest and largest houses of worship, the Cathedral had me in awe of the soaring arches, terraced galleries, stained glass windows and mysterious blue lighting. Built in 1885, this National Historic site is an example of religious art and Gothic Revival Architecture

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAME

As you walk down the center, you are flanked with bundled, slender stone columns on either side, separating the aisles from the seating area. The arches progressively open up to a view of stained glass windows behind them, depicting biblical scenes, reflecting the style of the Victorian era.

As if the side arches aren’t impressive enough, look up at the blue domed ceiling, with gold criss-cross patterns all the way to the front and feel the vast space that exists between you and the ceiling. The theatrical decor leads your eyes to gaze upon a gorgeous crown above the main altar

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAME

I’ve never seen something as intricate as the detailing on the bronze altar. It is carved wit scenes of the birth and resurrection of Christ and his teachings. The sanctuary around it is rich in Gothic adornments and sculptures of Biblical figures such as St. Joseph, patron saint of Canada, as well as St. John the Baptist and St. Patrick, patron saints of Ottawa. The lateral altars are made of wood, covered in gold leaf and studded with jewels.

Getting There:

There’s great connectivity to the Cathedral by bus. Spend the day in the area, walking around Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, Byward Market and visiting museums.

Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal

Similar to the Cathedral in Gothic revival architecture, bluish interiors and lavish decor, the majesty of the Notre Dame Basilica far outweighs its counterpart. Hundreds of thousands of visitors visit Montreal’s most famous landmark, a symphony of wood, paintings, gilded sculptures and stained glass.

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAME

Built in 1829 the history of the Notre Dame Basilica is intertwined with Montreal’s own. Initially a small wooden chapel operated by the Jesuits, it was not big enough to host parishioners who wanted to attend mass, and they frequently had to worship from the courtyard. Reconstruction was often discussed, but it wasn’t until 1823 that the Church wardens approved the plan. The gigantic church was complete in only 35 months!

The Basilica made headlines in 1994, when Celine Dion was married under the soaring midnight blue ceiling and again, in 2000 when Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro shared the pall bearing honours at the funeral of Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.

Sadly, not everyone can marry like Celine Dion did. The Sacred Heart Chapel (also known as the Wedding Chapel) was built inside in 1891, which was seriously damaged when fire broke out in 1978. It was then that the first two levels were rebuilt to be identical to the original chapel in modern style allowing more natural lighting.

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAME

I literally had 5 minutes to zoom through the entire church since the tour bus was leaving. Although even hours spent here would have probably not been enough

THE CHURCHES OF NOTRE DAME

Getting There:
Metro – Take the Orange line to Place d’Armes Station. Exit on Saint-Urbain Street and walk uphill toward Place D’Armes Square.
Bus- Take southbound Saint-Laurent bus No. 55. Get off at the Notre-Dame Street stop east of the Basilica.

TGG Tips:

  • There is no entry fee to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa. The Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal has a CAD 5 entry
  • There are ALWAYS weddings at the churches. Find out what time they are before you go. Entry will be denied in case of an event.
  • There is no fee to attend a church service, but you will want to take pictures. Plan ahead so that you can click away without having to be disrespectful during a service.
  • 20 minute tours are offered in English and French, but skipping it to wander around at your own pace is so much better!

It towers 1815 feet into the sky and is Canada’s tallest and most defining landmark. The CN Tower was once the tallest building in the world, but has lost the title to 4 others – the Burj Khalifa (Dubai), the Tokyo Sky Tree (Japan), Cantor Tower (China), Tower of Abraj Al Bait (Saudi Arabia).

For those unfamiliar with the tower, it comprises of two observation decks – the main one, at a height of 346 mts which also houses a revolving restaurant. And the upper deck or Sky Pod which is at 446 mts. That’s 116 floors high!

DO YOU DARE?
I love heights so when I heard about the highest, full circle, hands free walk, it took a split second for me to decide to do it. Sticking to the decision, with the family asking “Are you sure?” every 30 seconds, was the tough part.

I should probably mention that no one else, apart from the participants and walk-master is allowed to go up. Much to my disappointment, that meant no pictures!

An hour later, I was in a room with six others at the base of the tower, pulling on an orange jumpsuit and neon yellow harness. With quick instructions from the staff as to what I can and cannot do up there, I was patted down for contraband items. A hair clip, a key, an earring, anything that could pose a hazard to pedestrians below, was taken away. The shoes were inspected to make sure it had a firm grip, and a couple of people were asked to change into non slip shoes provided to them.

Next, the breathalyzer. For those who need a shot of liquid courage to get through the next hour and a half. The harness clasp was checked. Checked again. And again with a wand. This kind of checking probably meant that some seriously scary stuff was about to happen.

Before I knew it, I was in an elevator with a glass floor, being whooshed up in less than a minute. Whooaaaa!!

We arrived at a tiny room where we were hooked with two ropes connecting to a metal rail above our heads that ran around the circumference of the path outside. Heavy duty locking rings were added and secured with a plastic strap, in order to keep nervous fidgeting fingers away from the locking mechanism in a crazed moment.

TOES OVER TORONTO
For a minute, I forgot how to walk. Inching my toes towards the edge, it’s hard to have faith in a steel mesh floor and harness that separates one from the nothingness below. The harness allows one to “push one’s limit” to the maximum and lean over the edge, first face forward, and then by leaning backwards, with the arcs of your feet resting on the rim.

I struggled with the backward lean. What’s funny (now) is one of the girls, Lindsey, chose that particular moment to say to me “If I was to fall off and die, I’d rather go back first than face forward.” My mind was screaming, “THIS IS A BAD IDEA… YOU CANNOT FLY!!!”

You know how they say, “Just trust, don’t question?” Yeah, that’s easier said than done when it comes to the Edgewalk. The endless series of “what-ifs” never stop . What if this rope, tested for 15000 pounds, gives way? What if my harness breaks? What if I lean out too far?

The equally insane guide keeps you company and points out important buildings and landmarks along the 90 minute walk. “If you can walk on the pavement, you’re fine up here,” she said.

One can wander around, take in Toronto from every angle as the sun glistens off the high-rises below, watch planes land and take off at an airport far away, point out helicopters flying below and marvel at Niagara falls in the distance.

Once we were done, we were welcomed into an exclusive group of EdgeWalkers and told that we had repeated a Guinness World Record set in 2011 for the highest external walk on a building. Pretty cool!

A thrill like that doesn’t come cheap. For CAD 200, you also get a CD of the walk, taken from the guide’s GoPro, two photographs and entry into the SkyPod.

If you can handle this vertigo inducing walk, trust me, it’s one of the most exhilarating things you’ll ever experience!