Archive for June, 2007

The Double L’s at the Pride Parade

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

If you follow this blog, you will no doubt be familiar with the Canadiana’s legendary Double L’s (Lager Louts). They have never been the one’s to miss a festive occasion. The Gay Pride Parade was no exception.

Four of the Double L founding members Pearcy, Si, Jono and Marcin took three new members Dan, Pat and Sean to the Pride Day festivities. They all dressed for the occasion.

They attended the parade clad in tight fitting one-piece bathing suits, strateigically padded with socks. Knowning the Double L’s as I do, I am absolutely convinced that (in their case, at least) was a necessary exercise.

The bottom line is that they really got into the spirit of the day. Their seemingly outrageous atrtire was decidedly conservative when you consider they were watching a parade where full-frontal (male) nudity was fairly commonplace.

Gays on the Gay pride parade - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Gay Pride Week

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Toronto’s twenty-seventh annual Gay Pride Week finished on the weekend with a huge parade down Yonge Street (the city’s main north/south thoroughfare) with about a million people watching 144 colorful floats in celebration of the city’s Gay Community.

It was the second parade of the weekend. On Saturday, there was a smaller parade down the same route. “Dykes on Bikes” was put on by local and visiting lesbians who share a love of motorcycles. They roared up and down the street; some dressed in leather; some topless – which is quite legal under Canadian law.

Canada, in general, and Toronto, in particular, are justifiably proud of the reputation they have earned for tolerance. That tolerance has paid huge dividends! It is estimated that the Pride Parade is responsible for 100 million dollars in tourism revenues for the city.

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

The Canadiana Double L’S having a “Gay Old Time”.

Genesis

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Genesis left us yesterday. She’s a pretty little Mexican senorita who has been with us for nine months. Genesis came to Toronto and the Canadiana at the tender age of eighteen to study English. She was well named.

Genesis means, “Beginning”; Canada was a series of new beginnings for her. She made a lot of friends here and she’ll be missed by all of them. She turned nineteen a few months ago and her friends in the hostel took her to the local pub at midnight for her first “legal” drink!

Her stay with us at the hostel was, to the best of our knowledge, her first solo trip away from home. She really liked Toronto and Toronto liked her.

She had been with us for so long the place now seems a little empty without her; in spite of the fact that we are fully booked at the present. And it is certainly a little less beautiful than it was yesterday.

Best of luck in all you do Genesis! And come back to visit.

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Genesis - the best mexican - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Mika

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

.Mika - Japanese Massage - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Mika, Simon and the prostrate Pearcey.

Mika-chan holds the record for the longest term resident of the Canadiana. She first arrived almost four years ago from Japan speaking very little English. (Almost none, infact.)

She stayed for about a year studying at a language school then extended her visa and was able to work here for an additional year. When she left two years ago her English skills had improved so much that she was able to get a job as a translator on a cruise ship.

Since leaving us Mika-chan has travelled from Alaska to Aruba; Martinique to Monaco on cruise ships. She even lived in Bosnia for three months!

In the over two years Mika has been away from us, she has returned to visit us twice! Once last year for three weeks or so and she’s back with us right now!

Working on a cruise ship entails long hours with very few days off. Mika has come “home” to the Canadiana to recharge her batteries before she heads off again to heaven-knows-where. Until she decides on her next destination, we are so happy to have her back!

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Mika - Canna Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Mika-in-a-Basket – a Japanese delicacy!

nilesh

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

It no exaggeration to say that Nilesh has forgotten more about computers than the rest of the rest of the staff at the Canadiana knows collectively.

Nilesh arrived at the hostel almost four years ago as a new immigrant.? He quicky established himself as one of the kindest, gentlest, smartest and popular people in the place. So we hired him. What a good move that turned out to be!

Among other duties, Nilesh kept our computers running smoothly and supervised the installation of our wi-fi computer connection. In the time? he was with us, he established himself as a most willing worker and a friend to all.

Nilesh? is now a proud Canadian citizen and left us a month or so again? and returned to India to visit his family. While he’s there, he is studying to attain yet another computer work certification – a CISSP, or something. We have no idea what that is but computer aficionados seem to be very impressed by its mere mention.

Nilesh calls “home” at least once a week (to the Canadiana, that is) to make sure that all is well and to ensure we haven’t completely screwed up the computer system. That’s probably what would have happened if we didn’t have Simon – but that’s another story.

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto

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Birthdays

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

People choose to stay in hostels because of the convivial atmosphere that allows a lonely traveller the chance to meet people.? Thus, a? lot of hostel life? consists of? “any excuse for a party”.

It’s a tradition here at the Canadiana to celebrate? each staff members’ birthday in keeping with the party atmosphere of the hostel. That tradition has evolved into an excuse for a feast.

Chris (a.k.a. “The Squire”)? had a birthday last week and? Teresa (head of housekeeping) prepared a lavish spread for staff members and friends. Roast chicken, fish, lasagna, potatos, rice and? salads. Teresa? always prepares wonderful food and she always makes too much!

The photos that follow show a motley collection of staff, friends and hostel guests (new friends) all joining in on the celebrations.?

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Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Big Chris in the centre surrounded by staff members, friends and hostel guests.?

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Teresa (a.k.a. “Wonder Woman”) preparing to “baptize” Michel.?

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

One last group photo before the cleanup work begins.

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Ode to the Canadiana

Monday, June 18th, 2007

We just received this message from a former guest at the hostel:

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? “Hi I want you know that I enjoyed my stay from June 1st to the 10th. Your staff is very friendly and helpful. Below is a little poem that I wrote while I was there.”

Hostel: by William Wilson

The back patio of the Canadiana Backpackers Inn. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, warm looking up through the buildings, alleyway to the blue June.

Toronto sky white gulls, wings tipped black, circle in search of food.

At a corner table

a mixed group of male and female

smokers

circle around a laptop,

a young woman giggles at the screen

Suddenly quiet,

I sip my Canadian.

It is my last day in Toronto,

my new favorite city.

Thanks Bill, for those kind words and the lovely poem.? We enjoyed having you with us. Make sure you come back to visit the next time you’re back in Toronto.

Body Art

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

The Ninth Annual Northern Ink Tattoo Convention is taking place this weekend one hundred meters (literally) from our front door. It ‘s at the downtown Holiday Inn at King and Widmer Streets The latest generation has taken to “body art” in a manner not seen since perhaps the Second World War.

This resurgence (or recrudescence, depending on your point of view) of the popularity of tattooing has a lot of similarity to the thousands upon thousands – maybe millions – of young servicemen who returned from overseas with tattoos ranging from their Service Unit Badges to “Mom”or “Sue” permanently emblazoned on arms and chests.

The only thing that I can personally remember of the ex-soldiers and sailors that virtually ALL regretted being tattooed! “I was young and stupid.” was the most common response given to the question “Why did you do it?”

In fairness, the art of tattooing has come a long way since the war. hygiene standards are much higher and artistic skill has improved immeasurably.

More and more women are choosing to get tattooed and the truth is that some tattoos look pretty nice on a young and toned female body. But how will these tattoos look on an old, flabby and sagging septagenarian. Only time (and gravity) will tell.

“Twist” (yes, that’s his name) has come to the convention from the UK for the second year in a row. He’s a “piercer” which in many ways so much more radical than tattooing; yet, less permanent if one chooses. He sports tattoos and piercings of his own (at least, a dozen in his face alone).

Twist came with two other tattoo artists and they will be doing tattoos all weekend.

Tattoo Artists - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

One Extreme to the Next

Friday, June 15th, 2007

It just seems like yesterday when everyone was battling through the snow and cold to get anywhere and five minutes outside felt like five years.?

After spending even a small? length of the? winter here you will really appreciate the summer time.? Summer here is just so hot, so humid and so much fun!

Cafes and pubs, that you hardly new existed, suddenly open up wonderful outdoor patios.? ? As often (as? time and the budget will allow)? you can? spend the hot day and night sitting at your favourite patio with good friends and a cold beer.

The touques(woollen hats) come off and you actually get to see what people look like? without all those bulky coats and? winter layers.?

So,when you come to Toronto this summer, bring your sunglasses and be prepared for the glorious heatwave.

By Lesley

Canadiana Staff

High “Steaks” Poker

Friday, June 15th, 2007

A little poker game took place on our patio last night. It was a high “steaks” game by all accounts. Money wasn’t involved (that would be illegal) and backpackers tend not to have a lot of cash to throw around.

It was an international game to say the least. The participants were Steve from Ireland, Simon from England, Melanie from Germany, Mika from Japan and Jonzo from Oz. It was a “winner takes all” game.

What was the wager, you ask? Well, everyone (except the winner) must prepare a home cooked meal for the others. And it must be a “real” meal; no Kraft Dinner or tinned spaghetti!

The game was won by Simon representing England – a country not noted for its cuisine – so the participants will be spared “Egg and Chips” or “Mushy Peas”. Simon is also a staff member and our resident computer whiz. Although he can do wonders with a PC, I seriously doubt he could manage toast!

Luckily for all, Steve from Ireland was among the losers. He’s a professional chef and plans a roast leg of lamb. It would have been a shame had he won.

Melanie is planning to prepare a German specialty of some sort. I’ve been told the name of her planned meal but I haven’t a clue how to spell it. Sounds pretty good though.

Mika from Japan is thinking of doing a traditional Japanese dish or perhaps even sushi. Mika is a girl of many talents so I’m sure she will do wonders in the kitchen.

Jonzo is a short-term visitor from Oz and he’s moving on this Saturday. He’s been given a special dispensation as a result and will be allowed to purchase a take-away meal for all.

I think Steve will be the first to prepare a meal (the roast lamb) and as a professional, he’ll be a tough act to follow!


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