Toronto — Lake Ontario
Our friends who went up to sleep did not like their Quarters so much as to remain long in them for they joined us before breakfast. The meal over, and there being time to spare, we made an expedition to see the town. It is the capital of Upper Canada and contains about fourteen thousand inhabitants. The site is low and without natural beauty, but the place looks tolerably thriving.33
I have been somewhat at a loss to know what was the cause of the generally grumbling tone I have met with among the common people in Upper Canada. They admit they do well and yet are dissatisfied. Can it be, the proximity of the United States? Yet to many of them, the States as they call us present no agreeable idea. They pine for home which most of them have been but a few years from. England is a pleasant country if the poor could live there. The necessity which drives them away is hard, but they are compensated here with plenty, and there is a prospect for their children of something better than the Poorhouse.
The buildings in Toronto are for the most part of a meaner description then those in the towns of similar size with us, but they do not look neglected. It takes a great while to collect capital, most especially in towns of the interior, but there is evidence the process is here begun. There is little or no navigation visible on this Lake which somewhat surprises me and may still further account for slowness of progress. The Government House is here and some very good private Houses. We left at ten o’clock and passed the day upon the Lake, a fine sheet of water without a sail. The banks are low and generally not striking.
In the afternoon, we stopped at a little place whose name our boat bears, the Cobourg, a neat spot enough with the same general appearance with Toronto excepting the superior advantage in situation. There is a large building here, a Seminary of some sect, which makes quite an imposing show. The use of tin upon the roofs of buildings which is general in Canada has a pretty effect in the distance. After a walk of about fifteen minutes we returned and kept our course in the boat all night.
The day was fine and the water smooth which is quite an unusual occurrence in Lake Ontario. Our accommodations on board of this boat have been very superior. Indeed I do not know that I ever before enjoyed Steamboat navigation. I think I can now conceive of a very pleasant trip in a thing of this kind. The Captain is prodigiously attentive.