The Maine wilderness welcomed us back into the USA on our way to Boston. We stopped for a hike in the rain to see Moxie Falls, before continuing on to see the Maine State House in Augusta.
We started off with a tour of La Citadelle, which was built to protect Canada from a possible invasion by the USA. Then we spent the rest of the day exploring the beautiful old town, including the Château Frontenac and Rue du Petit-Champlain.
Montreal’s “Space For Live” contains 5 museums: the Biodome containing different ecosystems, a planetarium, a giant botanical garden, an insectarium, and the Biosphere which covers environmental issues. We saw them all!
We didn’t let the rain stop us from walking around all of downtown Montreal. On our exploration we found a piece of the Berlin Wall.
After driving to Montreal, we spent the afternoon at Saint Joseph’s Oratory on top of Mount Royal. Then we walked around the Jean Talon Market and the Little Italy neighborhood.
This giant museum covered the entire history of Canada, starting with the First Peoples and going all the way to modern times.
We learned all about Canada’s system of government by touring both the Senate and House of Commons. The Americans were shocked to learn that the British King still has veto power on any legislation passed in Canada, and his appointed Governor General needs to give final approval before it becomes law.
This giant castle was built in the early 1900’s by Toronto’s richest man. We had fun exploring on a self-guilded audio tour, including climbing its towers.
The rain tried to ruin our day, but we just hid inside during the downpours. We enjoyed this zoo, but we were sad that the moose was off exhibit. The highlight was Puppe, the orangutan who loved to interact with the visitors while she washed the windows of her enclosure.
This museum was huge! It covered natural history, the entire history of life on the planet, geology, archaeology, and lots of other stuff. We saw the entire thing, but had to rush through some of it.
I taught the boys about the Jacquard Loom and how it was an inspiration for the first programmable computers. We also learned about the extreme limits of the human body, explored a rainforest and coral reef, and played with a bunch of hands-on science experiments.
Skipping rocks into Lake Ontario to finish our evening:
From up on top of the CN Tower, which is currently the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere, the view was pretty impressive. Back on the ground it was raining, so we explored the Toronto PATH, which is over 19 miles of underground passageways with shops and restaurants covering most of downtown.
When the rain stopped, we popped back above ground to check out Yonge–Dundas Square, which is kinda like their Times Square. Then we made our way back among all the buildings to the Rogers Centre, to watch the Blue Jays play. The boys caught one of the practice balls before the game!
The Canadians let us into their country without issue, and we were on our way to Niagara Falls. Once we got there, we looked at the falls from the Canadian side, and then crossed over Rainbow Bridge and back into the US, where Niagara Falls is a state park.
Our favorite experience was riding on the Maid of the Mist boat, which basically drove straight into Horseshoe Falls. The power of the water falling around us was unbelievable. We also hiked up to the edge of American Falls, getting drenched again, and walked around the tops of Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls.
We drove into Buffalo for dinner, stopping by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House on the way. After dinner, we drove around downtown Buffalo, before entering Canada again and heading to Toronto.
The view from the observation platform:
A video of us going into Horseshoe Falls:
After a drive through a bunch of farmland, we arrived at Comerica Park. We had plenty of time to explore before the game started. I think it was one of the nicest stadiums of our trip.
We had awesome seats, but they were in the blazing sun, so we ended up retreating to the shade of the nosebleeds in the 7th inning. The Tigers ended up beating the Royals.
Once the game was done, we walked around downtown Detroit and their river walk, which seemed to both be in a state of decay and rebirth. We spent the night in Port Huron, visiting Lake Huron, our second Great Lake of the trip.
On our drive through Ohio, we stopped off at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where we learned about the Ohio & Erie Canal that ran through the area. Then we took a small hike to see the beautiful Brandywine Falls.
We continued on north to Cleveland, where we had a pizza dinner next to Lake Erie, before finishing our day by watching the Guardians beat the Athletics.