Toronto’s downtown skyline is dominated by towering high-rise office buildings as befits this center of business and banking. With more than 5 million residents, this is Canada’s biggest city and the fifth largest in North America. And, as local folk are quick to tell you, Toronto boasts both a high standard of living and a low crime rate.
The dominant feature here is the freestanding CN Tower, over 550 meters high. On a clear day you can see the far shore of Lake Ontario from an observation deck featuring a glass floor. If you don’t have a fear of heights before you step out onto it, you likely will forever after.
The next morning brings clear blue skies and bright sun, a perfect day to begin the last and longest leg of my trans-continental rail journey, a three-night trip to Vancouver aboard VIA Rail’s premier train, the Canadian, appropriately designated Train #1.
We’re not yet in the peak travel season, but this is nevertheless a very long train: three diesel locomotives pulling 21 cars, including coaches, sleepers, two dining cars and four lounge cars, each topped with the classic sightseeing dome.