#TravelDiaries: Toronto – 5 Years Later

You may remember my post from 5 years ago when my younger sister and I visited Toronto for my cousin’s wedding over the summer. This time, I went back for an entire week with my mom, to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday. I didn’t think I could have more fun than I did last time, and although I miss my sister dearly, this trip surprisingly outdid the one before; here is my recount one of the most memorable family trips of my life.

As last time, the travel was a bit long and chaotic, being that it was international and we had a connecting flight (which, by the way, was delayed by an hour due to a 15 minute thunderstorm). Thankfully, we still made it safe and sound, landing in Toronto last Saturday and staying with my mom’s brother and his family. After a full day of travel, we immediately changed and headed to our religious celebration for an evening of good food, good company and dancing until I literally could not dance anymore. Surprisingly, I wasn’t even as tired as I expected and still woke up at a decent time on Sunday morning to attend our religious center with my family for a meditation and special prayers.

For the birthday festivities, we had as has many family members come over as possible, but unfortunately most of them were unable to make it either due to travel restrictions such as those living in Pakistan, or work-related reasons for my family members who do reside in the U.S. Regardless, we had a blast with those who were able to make it, including my two-year-old niece who rejoiced in taking a picture with my 90 year-old grandfather and dancing around enjoying her time as the center of attention.

One of my favorite days was our trip to Centre Island in downtown Toronto, one of the few tourist spots I had not yet seen during my various trips to Canada. My mom, her brother, his wife and I all took a train, a bus and a shuttle to the ferry station, riding it down to a beautiful little island paradise- population: 250. My mom and I enjoyed a couple of rides including a beautiful Sky Ride over the island as well as a faster children’s boat shake ride. We stopped by the farm, watched people canoeing in the lake, and browsed some cute shops before stopping for fried chicken on the way home. Despite our exhaustion, we still ended up staying awake to watch a family movie late into the night.

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On the days following the hectic weekend and initial activities, we tried to fit in as much Toronto tourism with family time as humanly possible. This included going to the movies with my cousin to see Spiderman 4 (it was no Annabelle, but at least it wasn’t Toy Story 4- please, no judgement), visiting my dad’s side of the family, touring the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Center Toronto (ICT), viewing the city from the top of the CN Tower after sneaking into the Ripley’s aquarium and more shopping than I’ve done in a long time (thanks, Grandfather)! I was having way too much fun to take as many pictures as I would’ve liked, but I think I captured the most important moments and I am happy to be able to share those sacred moments with you.

Canada is one of the few countries I have had the pleasure and opportunity to visit several times throughout my life, but each time the trip has felt short and packed with activities! This time, I was determined to mix in adequate and equal amounts of reflection and relaxation as I did fun and exploration, making sure not to skip a single day of meditation, journaling or healthy breakfast for my mind, body and soul. I was even able to get 8+ hours of sleep per night, so that’s always an exciting bonus! Lastly, I was able to reignite my passion for writing, travel and music- my lifelong, all-time favorite hobbies and what fueled the fire to start this blog in the first place!

All in all, I’d say this trip was definitely a success, and I am so beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to relax, spend time with beloved family and explore the fun and exciting city of Toronto in a way I never got the chance to before! It really was a beautiful reminder of what truly matters in life and I feel refreshed and ready to get back to life in Houston, Texas- until next time!

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