My short trip into Canada was going to be mostly without the internet. It would have taken way more preparation and research than I’d done (basically none) to have access whenever I wanted. There are very few prepaid wireless options in Canada. Getting regular service requires that you have Canadian credit and a Canadian address. The prepaid phones are tiny feature phones with no data service and can’t be tethered. I found a website that sells a prepaid SIM card with a gig of 3g data, but it would not work in my MiFi device and would have to be mailed to me. Since my cell phone is not unlocked, to use the SIM I’d have to also buy an unlocked smart phone that supports tethering.
So, for the few weeks I’m here, it’s public WiFi, mostly at Tim Horton’s and Starbucks.
I stayed at a campground on Lundy’s Lane, site of an historic battle during the war of 1812 which featured General Winfield Scott (“Old Fuss and Feathers” who later served as Commanding General of the United States Army for twenty years) and General Gordon Drummond (British Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada). Both sides lost more than half their men (killed, wounded, captured and missing) during the July 1814 battle.
At Queenston Heights and Lundy’s Lane our brave fathers, side by side
for freedom, homes, and loved ones dear, firmly stood and nobly died.
And those dear rights which they maintained, we swear to yield them never.
Our watchword evermore shall be, the Maple Leaf forever!
—The Maple Leaf Forever, Canadian patriotic song
But, of course, the main attraction is the falls, and they are spectacular.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the 4th or 5th largest city in North America (about the same population as Chicago). I took a walk in the downtown area, weaving through the streets from the CN Tower to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). It’s like being in New York, only cleaner and friendlier.
The CN Tower was built by the railroad company in an industrial area on what used to be a switch yard. The tower became an anchor for development and the area is now the sports and entertainment center of the city.
Can we get this in the states?
In Ontario the highway rest areas are called ONRoute – there’s one every 80 kilometers or so, and, well, it’s one of those not in Kansas anymore experiences.
ONRoute has pristine bathrooms, a food court, a convenience store, gas station, five acres of park land, and fast free WiFi.