Today was our first full day in Toronto! It was in some ways a comedy of errors, but as Shakespeare would say, "All's well that ends well." The first thing on our agenda was the Lions International Parade. The parade was MASSIVE! There are Lions clubs in 214 countries across the world, and it seemed like all of them were represented! Someone compared the parade to the opening ceremonies at the Olympics, and it seemed an apt comparison - each delegation was dressed in clothes that represented their country or state. Some delegations had floats (like the huge India float that we followed through Toronto on our way to the parade), and some had bands and color guard - like us!
Making the parade - and the rest of our day - even more interesting was the fact that a major road was shut down for the parade, creating traffic and gridlock around the rest of the city. The parade also had to pause on a regular basis because city buses and trams were crossing the parade route.
There was a great crowd cheering us on.
Of course, the majority of the two to three hours that we spent at the parade, we "hurried up and waited." We took advantage of the opportunity to take sectional photos.
After the parade, we headed to the amazing St. Lawrence Market for a quick lunch. We didn't have a lot of time there, but there were lots of shops and food vendors. I enjoyed a wonderful spinach, tomato, and feta cheese crêpe.
After lunch, we headed to the Convention Center to enjoy the exhibition hall and engage in some pin trading. Despite being very close to our destination, it took quite some time to get there because of the traffic caused by the parade. There was also some confusion about where we were going, which resulted in a bus full of us being deposited at the Sheraton downtown - which was not where we were supposed to be! Despite the traffic and confusion, the kids were great, and we all eventually made it to the Convention Center and enjoyed pin trading and viewing the booths.
Next, on to a great dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory - also downtown. Dinner was, of course, spaghetti, and was very tasty. As far as I know, no one got red sauce on their white pants! The staff was also very generous with the napkins, which was helpful. This evening is the "Teen Dance" sponsored by the Connecticut Lions - I'm sure that I will hear all about it tomorrow, and possibly have some pictures to share.