U2 May Have Cancelled in Toronto, but the Hippo Tour Went Where the Streets Have No Name


The Hippo Bus parked on Front Street in Toronto (photo by Jody Moon)

Toronto has seen its fair share of GeekDad activity in recent months. Doug Cornelius and his family visited back in May, my daughter went to a sleepover at the zoo in June and my wife and I spent the weekend in Toronto earlier this month. A friend of ours had bought us tickets to the U2 concert at the Air Canada Centre, but when Bono had to undergo emergency back surgery postponing the show, we decided to forge ahead with plans anyway. It would be kind of different to hang around the city sans kids (we’d already made plans to have my in-laws take them for a few days); more flexibility to do some shopping, pop in to cafes for a drink and sample some restaurants that didn’t necessarily feature a kids’ menu. That and the hotel was pre-paid, so no refunds, no matter how Mr. Hewson’s back was feeling.

Toronto's CN Tower (photo by Jody Moon)

Of course I took some time out to visit the Silver Snail, my favorite comic book and collectibles shop and the topic of one of my first GeekDad posts back in 2007. We also did the touristy thing and took a Hippo Tour (CAD $38 pp for adults, CAD $25 for children or CAD $110 for a family of four), one of the best ways to see the city. I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again. Not only do you get an interesting drive through the downtown, past old city hall, the provincial legislature and the University of Toronto, but you get some great vantage points of the city through the water-based part of the tour, including Harbourfront and Ontario Place. My wife snapped this great shot of the CN Tower as we cruised by -you would never know the structure was in the middle of a concrete jungle from the vantage point of the photo. The tour lasts an hour and a half and I’d highly recommend it. We took the kids on a Hippo tour in Charlottetown, PEI last year, and the look on their faces when the bus plunged into the water was pretty much worth the price of admission. Plus, from a parental point of view, it’s not only educational, but a chance to sit down and rest for a while. No bathrooms, though.

U2′s cancellation notwithstanding, Toronto was absolutely hopping that weekend, with a Tall Ship Festival, Gay Pride and the Jazz Festival all taking place. The city was pretty much recovered from the G20 craziness of the week before, although garbage cans and recycling bins were still AWOL. U2 has rescheduled for next year, so we’ll try it again then and see what happens.

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