Toronto Attractions

Thought I’d post some thoughts on interesting things to do while in and around Toronto (Ontario, Canada).

The Distillery District is new and I haven’t heard much about it yet. I intend to visit there the next time I’m in town.

Also new (to me) is Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. I’ll be checking this out too this year and post a review when I get back. The website is challenging to navigate but I think it’s because they are assuming a lot about how their operation runs. For instance it’s not clear to me at all if the attractions are all for one price or a bunch of loosely collected separate outings. A phone call will sort that out soon enough. Check out the inexplicably hard to find video.
Addendum: I spoke with someone at the scenic caves and they assured me that for park admission cost (about Ca$17) you can do the scenic caves thing, but for the full price (about CA$ 95) you get the Canopy walk, the suspension bridge and the scenic caves. I think this is going to be fun.

Also of interest are the old standbys of cycling along the gorgeous Martin Goodman Trail. I’ve ridden many portions of it many times and have always been impressed at having this wonderful path available to me spanning the Toronto waterfront from end to end of the city.
It can get a little dicey cycling the trail in the Queen’s Quay Terminal district where you’ll need to get on the road and merge with the somewhat chaotic traffic. But if you’re not in a hurry, you can always walk your bike along the shopping district’s sidewalk and enjoy a little peoplewatching.

Also new to me as a fairly new pilot is the idea of visiting the Toronto Island Airport to rent a plane. I’m pretty sure that, holding a US Certificate, I’ll need to hire an instructor to come with me for now. I understand that there are a couple of ways to become legal in Canada based on that certificate. I’ll go this easier way first and see if it’s worth it to me to navigate Canada’s somewhat more bureaucratic airspace. Then maybe I’ll apply for a more permanent solution. My other choice is to rent my plane in the US and fly in, but I think it’s a good idea to get training in this slightly different airspace anyway. I spoke with Mel at Island Air Flight School & Charters. It sure is expensive to fly in Canada but some things were not as bad as I expected. For instance I was under the impression that you had to pay user fees for each take-off and landing, but Mel tells me that’s not so.

Found an interesting site that talks about downhill mountain bike rentals etc.

I’ll post more ideas as they come up.

Regaining Flight Currency

The weather finally was agreeable this weekend and I had a gorgeous day for flying. Astron’s warrior was in for its 100 hour inspection so instead I ended up taking out one of the C-172’s.

I had a perfect crosswind today, sometimes blowing at 50 degrees off the runway centerline at up to 10 Knots. This gave me ideal conditions for practicing my crosswind landings which I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on lately.

Then off to Winder airport to do some simple and short field landings and finally off to Blairsville for a beautiful trek over some of the North Georgia mountains to do a quick touch-and-go before heading back home again to Gwinnett airport.

The sun was out, the temperatures were mild (about 16 degrees centigrade on the ground) and the spring foliage was lush.

More Crosswinds than I bargained for

I had a plane all booked for Saturday to go up with an instructor. We were going to go to a field that is oriented roughly North-South so as to guarantee crosswinds for practice.

As luck would have it, it was just a little windy. Things were OK in the early morning but the wind had picked up, so that by the time my reservation came around the steady wind was already at the maximum demonstrated crosswind limit of my plane. Gusts were another 50 percent greater than that (winds were at 30 Knots, gusts at 45 at about 40 degrees off of my home runway heading).

Today was perfect, but I already had plans and couldn’t take advantage of the clear, moderately breezy weather! Ah well, that’s the way of all things that depend on the weather!

Jekyll Island Day Trip

Marc and PlaneJust posted some pictures from our day trip to Jekyll island back in October. For some reason I thought I had already done this.

We landed at the Jekyll Island Airport which is non-towered and used our cell phone to call the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and they sent a van right over to pick us up.

We rented some bicycles from them, nothing spiffy, just single gear coaster-brake bikes that took a little getting used to, and did a pleasant cycle of the north end of the island.

The trip was partly for a getaway and partly to flex my wings by doing a longer flight in the Diamond DA-20 two seater aircraft. This is a new plane and is a delight to fly. I wish it had more cargo-carrying capacity so I could realistically look at it for a flight up to Canada, but everything’s a trade-off in aviation.

For this reason I expect that any serious trekking will be done in something like the venerable Piper Warrior II workhorse.

By the way, I’ve been to Hilton Head Island (just North of Jekyll Island) a couple of times and found it to be fairly cold and uninviting. It is very obvious that the locals don’t really want you there and they take pains to ensure that you know this. The beaches are largely inaccessible unless you are staying at one of the resorts or unless you know someone locally who can point you in the right direction.

A big exception were the local Hilton Head airport FBO folks at the Carolina Air Center they were great and if I ever do visit Hilton Head again it will be almost solely on the strength of their efforts.