Toronto 6/1-6/7 (PCW included)

Associated parks:

Went on a trip with my High School Orchestra / Choir to Toronto, my first time outside the US. I probably would've focused on Canada's Wonderland if it wasn't the low point of the trip, so here I go:


Had rehearsal around 12:30 PM for about an hour and a half. Biked home to finish packing and then went back to school to find myself waiting in a line stretching from the entrance to the gymnasium for the luggage check. Boarded a charter bus around 8:20 for an excrutiating 18-hour ride to Toronto which might have been 30 hours had I not told my orchestra teacher to tell the bus driver that Michigan does indeed border Ontario.


Had breakfast at a Burger King in Lansing. The bus got to Port Huron at about 10:30 AM. Surprisingly, the Canadian border crossing is very lenient in letting people pass. Had lunch at a McDonald's in Kitchener, and for anyone who lives in Canada, why is it called a Big Xtra rather than a Big and Tasty? Anyway, we got our currency exchanged and continued on into Toronto. Arrived at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Markham around 3:30 PM. Boarded the bus again and headed to the SkyDome in downtown Toronto to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe. Their service was awful! The hamburgers tasted like charcoal and they didn't give us a drink refill even after three requests for one. So we tipped them an American penny :) . Headed to the nearby CN Tower next, which, I might add, is magnificient. Especially the glass floor on the lower level ;) .


Took a tour of Chinatown and Kensington Market (not for kids). Choir performed at Metro Square. Our performance was right afterwards but was canceled because of strong winds (We were going to perform between three skyscrapers). Next we went to the Eaton Centre (a teenage girl's dream), and I bought a couple of books at Indigo and a disposable camera. Had a pizza party at the hotel afterwards.


Sunny weather again! Went down to Niagara Falls where the choir performed at the Oaks Garden outside the Sheraton Hotel. Took the Maid of the Mist boat tour and got rained on even though it was partly cloudy outside :) . Some cirrus clouds approaching after the boat tour had me worried about PCW the next day :( .

Returned to the hotel, swam for a while, went back to my room, and then heard a fire alarm. My roomates and I were so frantic to get out of the room that we forgot to take our room keys with us! We got new ones, though, and it turned out it was a false alarm.


Two hours later, the alarm rings again, and this time it's for real. I have to evacuate the building in nothing but my boxers :0 . Waited in the blistering cold for about a half hour until we were allowed to return to our rooms. So to make a long story short, the end of the day sucked.

In the morning we went to Paramount Canada's Wonderland. The bus driver had a little trouble finding the entrance to the parking lot, and I don't blame her. Anyone who's been to PCW knows what I'm talking about.

We only had five hours to spend there which was cut down the 4 1/2 because our tickets weren't bought in advance. To make matters worse, I was stuck in a group that was timid at the site of Dragon Fire (roll eyes). So, after managing to ride Wild Beast with a terrified group of kids, I was able to get into a coaster-friendly group. In the last two and a half hours at the park, I rode Vortex, SkyRider, and Dragon Fire. We considered riding Tomb Raider, but the line was worse than Millennium Force's line in 2000. The last hours at the park were okay, but you cannot have a quality visit to a park in that amount of time. It just isn't possible.

So here's a breakdown of the coasters I went on:

Wild Beast: A little rough, but a nice coaster. I probably might've enjoyed it better had a there not been a screaming banshee on the ride. Oh, well.

Vortex: Certainly a lot better than Iron Dragon at Cedar Point. This was a fun coaster and Arrow needs to build more of this genre IMHO.

SkyRider: My first Togo Stand-Up. I loved it! with the cars being so low to the track it almost feels like you're flying! It was as smooth as a B&M.

Dragon Fire: Your quintessential looping coaster. It's nothing I haven't been on before, but an alright coaster nonetheless.

We ate at a very nice Greek restaurant in Toronto, which I believe is called Pappas Grille (or something like that). We then went to see the Broadway play Hairspray! at the Princess of Wales Theatre (Canadian actors). It was funny as hell! I believe it was the best part of the trip.


Was forced to perform at the Metropolitan United Church, but then I sat in the hallway for the rest of the service. (I'm Jewish)

We toured Casa Loma which is in Western Toronto. My group spent so much time in the gift shop that we ended up missing the choir performance there. (oops!)

Near the end of the day. All of us boarded the Kajama boat on Harbourfront to take us around Toronto Island. The DJ on the boat played dancing music the entire time. I'm not much of a dancer myself, but I eventually got into it.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. So here I am, back in stinkin' Pella, Iowa. All in all, it was a really great trip with the exception of PCW and the Hard Rock Cafe.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
DawgByte II's avatar
I don't get how PCW was one of the low lights, yet you really didn't say anything negative about the park other than the entrance was hard to find, you had 4 & a half hours, and you were stuck in a group with anti-coaster freaks initially... where's the real low-light of the PCW trip? You didn't really dis any of the rides (surprisingly not SkyRider) nor the park or staff in & of itself...

Hmmm... you leaving out something?

I used to live near Toronto when I was about 8, but never got the chance to go to PCW, even though I have always wanted too. Did you get to ride any of there amazing line up of flat rides? Or even Top Gun? That would tick me off too if I went to a park for a first time, but didn't get to ride what I wanted to ride. I'm glad you liked Toronto though.
Emphasis on "low point of the trip" I didn't say CW was a bad experience, just that the rest of the trip was better.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Top Gun wasn't my top priority, considering that I'd already had an experience on a Vekoma SLC (Thunderhawk at GL). The coasters were the only rides i rode. I had no idea PCW was so popular in southeastern Ontario.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
BullGuy's avatar
Toronto is a great city. One of my favorites to visit. PCW is one of the finer parks I've visited. They don't have record-breaking coasters, and many are clones, but I'd take a day at PCW over some larger parks.

Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

You missed out on the flat rides.Psyclone, Shockwave, Cliffhanger.

Awesome, Awesome.

PCW is popular because it is the only park around for us Torontonians.

I would rather go to PCW than Darien Lake, anyday.

And Splashworks!!

Go to Splashworks on a hot day!!

Funny when I was down in Cedar Point I wondered why the US calls that buger the Big Nasty. I think Big Xtra sounds better.

PCW is a very average park. I've found even the locals find the park not too exciting. Alot of the people around here really don't know what a really good park is like. Which is why I tell people as many times as possible to skip PCW and go to Cedar Point.

The flat rides are the best part about the park.

Although you would have liked Top Gun had you ridden I think. I'd consider it easilly the best SLC.

It's not just choirsingers that get stuck with coaster-chickens. My wife and I are now coaster-commandos -- we're not very patient with our non-coaster friends. We tell them outright, "if you're not going to ride, thats fine by us. We're going on <insert coaster name here>. See you in 20/40/60 minutes!" We don't stick around long enough for any whining.

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