A Tourist in My Own Town: Toronto & Niagara Falls

The beauty of Niagara Falls.

The beauty of Niagara Falls.

This past week I’ve hadΒ the opportunity to be a tourist in my own town.

My friend, Laura, whom I met in France on my backpacking trip in 2011 (but who is originally from Finland) was visiting Emma and I this week in Toronto.

Laura and I, and our view of the CN Tower and the Toronto skyline from a sailboat on Lake Ontario.

Laura and I, and our view of the CN Tower and the Toronto skyline from a sailboat on Lake Ontario.

This is the first time I’ve had a friend I met while travelling come visit me, and as Laura had never been to Canada before, I had planned to take her to all of the major attractions nearby. Mainly, this meant wandering around Toronto and a quick road trip to Niagara Falls.

It’s strange how often we overlook the spectacular beauty in our own backyards. How, even though I’ve lived within an hours drive of Toronto my entire life, I’ve only ever been up the CN Tower once. How, even though I’ve also always lived within an hours drive of Niagara Falls (and my summer cottage is only 20 minutes from there), I’ve only ever seen The Falls a handful of times, and I’ve certainly never done the vast majority of the tours available.

So, this week with Laura, I pretended I was a tourist too. Emma took Laura around Toronto and up the CN Tower, while I took Laura to Niagara Falls and sailing on Lake Ontario (where we could see the Toronto skyline from the water and also visit the Toronto Islands). We did the Journey Behind The Falls tour in Niagara and got to see The Falls from a very up-close view, as well as getting to go into the tunnels behind the waterfall itself.

Laura's action shot from the Observation Deck of the Journey Behind The Falls tour.

Laura’s action shot from the Observation Deck of the Journey Behind The Falls tour.

It was fun pretending to be a tourist for a while. At one point, when I was walking around the cute little downtown area of another local town, Laura asked where we could grab a beer on a patio, and I awkwardly responded, “I don’t know. I’ve never actually been here before.”

We get so preoccupied with our normal, routine lives that we forget what it’s like to see our home from a foreigners perspective. With fresh eyes, it’s easy to find the beauty in our everyday environments. It’s fun to re-discover your own backyard.

Myself sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the town I live in.

Myself sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the town I live in.

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