Emily Chung: Mummy Mechanic


The Great Canadian Bucket List: Toronto Travel

Robin Esrock Hits All The Great Ones

Toronto Bucket List

I admit I don’t usually go to "touristy" things in my own city unless I have out-of-town guests. In fact, most of the time my guests will know more factual things about my city than I do – though I usually know the best route to get there and where to find parking!

I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and it wasn’t until recently (I’m in my 30s now) that I went to Casa Loma. And only because I heard that Robin Esrock was visiting Casa Loma as part of his Toronto Bucket List search with Ford Canada. Robin is a best-selling author, resides in Vancouver British Columbia, and is well-known for his adventurous travels. He’s written The Great Canadian Bucket List books.

So I figure this guy might know a thing or two about travel, tourism, and bucket lists. I was intrigued as to what experiences would make it onto Toronto’s Bucket List.

St Lawrence Market

We started off our tour at the St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto. This market has roots going back to 1803 with producers of Southern Ontario selling their seasonal produce. I grabbed a Lobster Roll at Buster’s Sea Cove – it was so good! If you love seafood, I definitely recommend it!

Buster's Cove Lobster Roll

Next, my driving partner Michael Cusden and I took the 2015 Ford CMax Hybrid to the Toronto Archives. This building holds all the records created by the City of Toronto government and its previous municipalities. Talk about being rich in history!

Toronto Archives

The Toronto Archives currently has an exhibit about food beverage production in Toronto. This free exhibit is on until August 31, 2015.

Toronto Archives Food Exhibit

At the Toronto Archives, Robin spoke with us about some of his travels that he’s chronicled in The Great Canadian Bucket List.

Robin Esrock Bucket List

Did you know that you can be part of the prestigious Sour Toe Cocktail Club in Yukon? All you have to do is drink this cocktail… which happens to have a severed human toe in it. Easy peasy, ya? You guys go right ahead. Let me know how well you do with that!

Sour Toe Cocktail

Another memorable bucket list item that Robin talks about is the cold sauna in British Columbia. He describes a beautiful resort owned by the Swarovski family and showcases $10 Million in Swarovski crystals. I’m just about to add this one to my personal bucket list when Robin goes on to tell us about the cold sauna located in the resort where the temperature drops to -110C and you’re wearing nothing but your bathing suit! They do provide you with gloves and slippers. Robin also provides details in an insert in his book about how humans freeze to death – such helpful information.

Sparkling Hill

Next, we took a short walk to Casa Loma. Robin Esrock tells us that there are a few things he looks for when determining if an experience will make it to his bucket list. Is it do-able for most folks? Is it unique? And does it make a great story?

Casa Loma

I found out a few interesting things about Casa Loma. It was built in 1911 by Sir Henry Pellatt, an impressive businessman and incredible romantic. His story is one filled with glamour, affluence, love, and multiple tragedies. Specifically about Casa Loma:

  • There are secret passageways in the home – one of which leads to the wine cellar! Now that is a fantastic reason to have a secret passageway in any home… right to the liquor stockpile!

Casa Loma Secret Passageway     Casa Loma Wine Cellar

  • Many movies have been filmed at Casa Loma. When I stood in the library I could see the scene in my mind from X-Men - this was the home of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Casa Loma library

  • The shower in Sir Henry Pellatt’s bathroom had 6 taps that controlled 3 levels of pipes…  an impressive state-of-the-art full-body shower!

Casa Loma shower

  • The most expensive item in Casa Loma is the rug in Lady Pellatt’s room.

Casa Loma rug

  • The stained glass ceiling in the Conservatory is beautiful.

Casa Loma conservatory

  • The Casa Loma has an 800-ft tunnel which led to Pellatt’s stable and carriage house. Currently there is an exhibit of Toronto’s “darker” days which show the history of Prohibition, The Great Toronto Fire, The Plague, and other painful events. Going through some of the pictures really brings to mind how blessed we are to live in the age that we do.

Casa Loma Dark Side

  • The carriage house displays some antique cars, one of which is a 1914 Ford Model T. This legend has a 4-cylinder engine, 20 horsepower and a 2-speed transmission. Fast forward to the 2015 Ford Mustang that Robin Esrock was driving on his cross-Canada tour: 4-cylinder engine, 310 horsepower and a 6-speed transmission. We’ve come a long way with cars in just 100 years!

Casa Loma Model T     2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

So, the Casa Loma made it Toronto’s Bucket List. Definitely unique, a great story, and certainly accessible. Want to know what bucket list items are in your backyard? I definitely recommend The Great Canadian Bucket List book – I had no idea Canada had so many experiences waiting for us!

Ford Mustang hood open

Want more Canadian travel ideas? Here’s 14 Great Canadian Family Escapes to try. If you’re heading to the East Coast, check out these Super Fun Things You Need To Do In Nova Scotia!