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Credit: Contributed

A road trip may take as long as nine hours, but those can be some of the most wonderful, memory making (nap-taking, if you’re a passenger like I was) and joy-filled hours you can have. My two daughters and my older daughter’s best friend (who is like a daughter to me), left Brooklyn and were on the road at 5:30 a.m., and arrived in Toronto, Canada in the early evening around 4:30 p.m. (we stopped a few times along the way). We stayed at the lovely Town Inn Suites in a very comfortable and roomy two-bedroom suite. The room had a complete living room area, including a flat-screen TV, quaint breakfast area, and a full kitchen with marble-topped island, oven, stove, microwave, refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher and a very nice complete set of dishes in the lovely shiny, white cabinets in the kitchen. One bedroom has a massive King size bed and a flat-screen TV, while the other had two large beds. The wood floors throughout the suite were polished and perfect. This hotel is so comfortable, and the staff so accommodating, we loved every minute of it.

On our first night we went to the 360 CN Tower Restaurant, an elegant dining experience located on the 115th floor of the CN Tower with a dazzling view of the city. As you gaze out of the window you truly get a total view of this dynamic city, as the restaurant—true to its name—revolves. My daughters were absolutely thrilled by the enchanting view during our 9 p.m. dinner. This city can be called the city of lights as far as I am concerned! The service was superb: the maître d’ gave us a window seat as we were celebrating my youngest daughters’ upcoming 17th birthday, and our waiter Chi was happy to explain the menu to us and pointed out that they offer 2-course and 3-course meals for $65 and $79. Certain entrée items had an additional charge (and of course my daughters and I had to get those). My girls all got the salmon, I was more for the very raw prime rib and it was succulent and delicious. Our appetizers included a Caesar salad, braised lamb and a warm seafood combination—lobster, shrimp, scallops and clam—in a tomato sauce. The third course was the scrumptious desserts: I had a peach-pumpkin cobbler, served with vanilla ice cream and topped with a delicate, thin piece of chocolate; the girls had orange sorbet and chocolate mousse. My mouth is watering from the memory even as I type this.

Our next day was incredibly full of activities. We started with the Royal Ontario Museum and had our lives enriched viewing exhibits like the Zuul exhibition—Life of an Armoured Dinosaur where viewers learned about all types of dinosaurs, and there were free videos games where you could compete as different types of dinosaurs for survival and to protect your young. There were parts of the museum with sculptures, furniture and artifacts from the Victorian era in England; France; Egypt; Ancient Rome; the Byzantiane era; and a section of all types of minerals including diamonds. An animal exhibit called Life In Crisis introduced you to animals that are extinct or in danger of becoming extinct. And there were live creatures including hissing beetles. You could touch beaver fur or snakeskin. There was so much to experience. Next up was Ripley’s Aquarium where you could get up close and personal, petting stingrays, or submerge your hand in a pool as small Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp nibbled harmlessly on you. (That was somewhat strange, but cool.) So many different types of sea life were there to view—many breeds of sharks, octopus, sawfish, yellowtail snapper, jellyfish, tropical fish, eels, European Cuttlefish, frogfish, Pacific sea nettles…too many to name. And the tanks in some spaces were 360 degrees around on both sides of you, below and above, as you either walked through or stood on a slowly moving floor to view all the aquatic loveliness surrounding you. Being in the aquarium made you appreciate the brilliance and beauty that God has placed in the oceans and waters. It is both educational and inspiring.

My younger daughter had always been interested in archery and that interest was satisfied at the Archer’s Arena, where Nick the instructor taught my daughters how to hold a bow and arrow, then showed them the proper way to load it and fire. Everyone had a total blast aiming and shooting for the moving bullseyes and other targets. Armed with a bucket filled with foam-tipped arrows they fired, laughed, missed, hit and posed for 60 minutes and walked out feeling great.

Now, of course, who isn’t going to go to experience Niagara Falls if you’re as far up as Canada? Yes, we went we saw the awesome falls, which you don’t have to pay for to experience (except 25 cents for the view-master) and we were absolutely astonished and a bit frightened over their enormity and roaring power! The only cost we encountered was the gift shop, because once you are there you have to have a keepsake. There is also a ride called Maid of the Mist, but it was closed due to the icy conditions in the water. Under normal conditions you would pay a separate charge to go on a boat, armed with a raincoat, and be taken under a part of Niagara Falls. If you are into experiences like that you may want to plan ahead to do it.

Toronto, Canada is a beautiful, exciting, friendly place to take the family on vacation. You should definitely make plans to go—you’ll be glad you did.