I've fallen behind on posting our experiences in each city, but now that we're taking a break from adventuring in California I'll try and catch up.
Toronto was so clean and beautiful after New York City. Upon arriving and dropping off our bags with our generous host (found via couchsurfing.org) we went strait to a Bixi bikeshare station and bought a 72 hour pass. It felt fantastic to be biking again after so much sitting and walking. A 72 hour pass cost us 12 a person. The bikshare works thusly; all trips under 30 minutes are free. If you don't return the bike in 30 minutes you are charged a dollar or two for every half hour. We were very interested in how affective the bikeshare would be. We found the stations to be well within a 30 minute ride of each other and frequent enough that we could get anywhere within the downtown area easily. Each station had a map with all other stations marked, so we could plan where to ride. There were only one or two occasions in which we wished we had a smartphone with a bixi app. The bikes themselves were heavy and very sturdy. We ran into no flats or mechanical problems and we never ran into a station without a free spot, but if you do you can add an addition 15 minutes to your time for free at the station and bring it to another. The roads were in awful shape mostly (due to rough icy winters I assume) and there were not many lanes (but quite a few sharrows) however tons of people were on bikes and drivers were very considerate.
Toronto was like Portland if all of the activists turned into nerds. Needless to say we really enjoyed it. There were more bookstores and comic shops (of excellent quality) than I've ever seen in one city. And I satisfied my yearning for comic books by Moebius, Dino Battaglia and Jaques Tardí. We ate lots of frozen yogurt and shwarma. Also Pizza Pizza is a real place, for all you Scott Pilgrim fans.
The Toronto Fringe Festival was great. We caught two shows and especially enjoyed The House of Bernarda Alba, by Federico Garcia Lorca. It was very emotional and well produced.
We definitely want to return to experience more of Toronto. In fact, we'd love to spend a summer there if we can swing it sometime.
More posts coming soon in which we'll tell you how much more we liked Chicago than we thought we would!