Jules: Well we finally landed in Toronto and even though I was so incredibly tired, I was as grateful and excited as I thought I would be – probably more. To actually have made it and be standing in the airport as Team New Zealand was an incredible feeling.
We made it to the hotel just after midnight and the hotel staff met us with Invictus cookies and were very welcoming. By the time we had unloaded and got to our rooms many of us were looking for food again. The food trucks across the road from the Sheraton were very welcome. It seemed bizarre, but somehow very “Kiwi” to be sitting next to a huge Toronto sign eating burgers at 2am.
We awoke to a fire alarm just after 6am. Luckily we all have military training and it wasn’t too hard to all muster for it even though we had only few hours sleep. We were even all wearing pants which is not always a guarantee in the many fire alarms I have been to!
It wasn’t worth going back to sleep as there was only an hour before I was going to get up, so a light session in the gym helped get some of the kinks out. Getting out into the Toronto morning was a good feeling and a few of us had a Starbucks breakfast. A lovely way to really start the day.
Some of us opted to go to an outlet mall for the morning. As we arrived we saw what I had researched before we left. It was huge. The first shop I saw was why I had come – The Bass Pro Shop. Excitedly I found the fishing section and this was as big as a whole shop at home, just like husband had told me. There were at least ten aisles of the best “lure candy” I have ever seen. There were lots of varieties I hadn’t seen before, which is unusual – as we have everything. If anyone has seen my husband’s man cave, they will know I am not exaggerating.
After I had ticked this one off my list we happily shopped until it was time to hit the shuttle bus for the hotel again. We were getting pretty jaded by now, but had been fed and got snacks for later.
Hopefully we will all get together shortly for a team meal. I am looking forward to getting together as a team again as we will be starting prep for the games as soon as we are sufficiently rested. Now the real focus begins.
Nicki: After a very long flight and a very early morning fire alarm, it was not surprising that myself and Megan woke late. I looked out the window and wondered why it was so light and there were lots of people walking around. 12:50pm – opps time to get up.
We had a look around the Mall under the hotel, grabbed some lunch and went to the Hotel Fitness Centre for a quick easy workout. After a stint on the exercycle (as you are peddling you are creating power for the Hotel and save them $$$. I thought that was cool), some leg weights and a short stint on the treadmill – that was enough for me.
There was no air conditioning in the fitness lounge. I did some washing, catching up with team mates and went out for some dinner at a ‘world famous’ restaurant, Hooters, before heading to a bar in town called Hemingway’s that we are claiming as a Kiwi Bar. It is very nice and very Kiwi for a Canadian bar. Well worth a visit. Tomorrow, training starts again.
Coach Ray: As I got to bed not long after we arrived, I was sound asleep when the fire alarm rudely woke us all at 6am!!! The kind hotel staff advised us over the PA that the fire service was on their way and not to panic. We took this to mean not to bother evacuating quickly but by the time I’d gone down five of the eight flights of stairs they had arrived and given the all clear.
Although I jumped back into bed, I fired up my laptop instead of sleeping a completed a couple of tasks before getting up and going for a run. As I left I checked out the gym and the lap pool at the hotel. I’ll make use of that in the morning.
I followed my nose a bit and got down to the water front. It was kind of weird looking across at an airport less than 100m away on an island with no road going there. After turning around I ran back the other way along the water front to the Rodger’s Centre home of the Toronto Blue Jay’s Baseball team. Apparently there is a game on Thursday. As I’ve never been to a major sporting event in North America I’m keen to go, but I need to look at my work commitments first. Also there is the CN Tower, which I used in a few mid-run selfies.
I spent the rest of the day continuing to get my bearings. It can be quite hard navigating as the footpaths are all under ground and go under the roads from building complex to building complex. I imagine it gets pretty cold in winter.
For dinner myself and the other coaches went for a walk to find one of the closer venues (although a bus service will be put on to get athletes there). It was a short walk and we got invited around to see the venue. We even watched a bit of a low level hockey game. By hockey I mean ice hockey.
Afterwards we found this amazing salad bar called Salus, so delicious and also conveniently located across the road from where my indoor rowers will be competing. After the early start it’s time for me to get an early sleep.
Read more about about Invictus Games through our daily updates at 7pm NZ time.