Ithaca College Men’s Basketball Canadian Journey with President Jim Walker

Wednesday October 11th

An excited Ithaca College Bombers Men’s Basketball team departed from the front of Ben Light Gymnasium around 3:00 p.m. for their charter bus ride to Niagara Falls, Canada. They arrived for dinner at the 520-foot-high Skylon Tower Summit Buffet overlooking the Falls, lit spectacularly with colored spotlights. They were joined there by Jim Walker, their tour manager and President of Sports Journeys International. After dining and viewing the falls and a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, the team went to the nearby St. Catharines Hampton Inn for a good night’s rest.

Thursday October 12th

Following breakfast at the hotel, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Niagara Falls cruise to the Canadian Falls. Riding into the mist was indeed a breathtaking experience, like being in a torrential downpour. Despite wearing ponchos at the end of the cruise, everyone was still soaked. After some team picture-taking and picking up sandwiches for lunch, the group continued to the Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe several large ships on their journey to and from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Watching how the locks worked proved to be very interesting. Then it was on to the impressive White Water Walk, a boardwalk along the Niagara River rapids where the swift and loud river travels at up to 50 km/hour with waves as high as 5 meters. Everyone was in awe of the powerful rapids. After a short ride, it was time to enjoy a pregame team dinner at Lina Linguin’s Italian restaurant in St. Catharines. The team was back on the bus headed to their first game at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. After a slow start, the Bombers played well and won the game 87-80. Following the game, they shared pizza with Redeemer before heading to the Hampton Inn in Brampton for check-in to their hotel, their home for the next three nights.

Friday October 13th

After breakfast at the hotel, the team headed into Toronto for a full day of sightseeing and a day off from playing. They first stopped at the CN Tower for a trip to the top and some spectacular views of the city and Lake Ontario. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Tower, which until 2007 was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, provides a scenic overview of Toronto and the lake. Afterward, the team boarded their bus for a guided tour of the city and its many neighborhoods. They stopped for lunch in the Big Smoke Burger, one of Toronto’s best specialty burger joints. Then it was on to the highlight of the day, the Leaside Curling Club and everyone’s first encounter with the Olympic Sport of Curling. After an hour of instruction, the Bombers formed teams, including coaches and players, for some enthusiastic competition. With many great memories of Toronto, the team headed to an impressive dining experience at the Mandarin, a buffet-style restaurant in Brampton. With full stomachs and many great memories they drove to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Saturday October 14th

Following breakfast, the team headed back to Toronto, where Jason, their guide, joined them for a walking tour of the sights of the “Old Town.” They ended at the iconic St. Lawrence Market, called by many “the World’s best food market.” With hundreds of vendors and just about everything, including nonfood items for sale, the Market provides a tapestry of Toronto. After a couple of hours of eating and roaming the Market, the team boarded their bus to return to Brampton. After a pregame dinner at Moxies in Brampton, one of Toronto’s best steak houses, the Bombers took on the Sheridan College Bruins. Ithaca jumped off to a good start and never trailed. Sheridan narrowed the deficit midway through the game, but the Bombers responded by closing the game strong, scoring 100 points and winning by 20. A trip to Popeyes for a post-game meal finished a great day.

Sunday October 15th

The team slept in on Sunday morning and ate a late breakfast before leaving the hotel. They made the short drive to Humber College for their third and final game of the tour. Playing their best game of the tour, the Bombers beat one of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s (OCAA) best teams, 88-77. After picking up subs for the return home, it was time to say goodbye to Canada. They arrived back at school with many wonderful memories of their great experiences.