Archive for July, 2007

Canoeing the Harbour

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Voyageur Canoe’s used to be Canada’s most popular means of transportation.? They were used by voyageurs to transport goods in and out of the wilderness.

Today a group of backpackers, led by Pearcey,? was taken down to the waterfront and given the opportunity to become ‘voyageurs’ themselves.

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The canoe of around ten people, led by Alex, was taken out on the harbour for just a taste of what ‘Canoe Toronto’ offers.

For only $5 a head? a group of around 10 people from the Canadiana? were taken on a half hour trip out onto Toronto’s Harbour.

With only man power to get them? to the middle of the habour and back, everyone said it was an afternoon of fun and laughter with? some fantastic views along the way!

Also available is a 3 hour tour around the habour and? Toronto Islands,? with the long weekend? coming up and some fantastic weather conditions I think that it sounds? like a perfect thing to do on a? hot summer Sunday afternoon.

Canadiana Staff

Lesley

Canoeing the Harbour - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Canoeing the Harbour - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Canoeing the Harbour - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

The Boys from Belfast

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

It’s almost a cliche! Aaron and James, two good old boys from Rathcool, Belfast. They were here on a holiday after completing their studies in Dundee Scotland. Aaron and James were supposed to come with another friend but he was injured in a donnybrook at a post-graduation celebration at a local pub!

James arrived with a broken wrist. He avers that some Scottish fellow hit him on his fist with his head! Told you it sounded like a cliche! Two lager louts perhaps? Actually, looks can be deceiving and such is not actually the case.

James was injured going to the aid of a fiend who was being viciously assaulted. (Aaron was busy elsewhere at the time trying to chat up some wee Lassie.) They are actually quite fine and articulate young men. (Although you might not believe it when you look first at them!)

James is a recent graduate of Environmental Studies and Aaron studied Geopolitics or some such arcane subject. Aaron is about to attend the world famous Military College at Sandhurst before receiving the Queen’s Commission as an Officer and Gentleman in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

If their behavior during their visit with us here at the Canadiana is any indicator they are two young gentlemen of their way to bigger things. (Bigger pints of beer as well! But what the heck, they were on vacation!) We really enjoyed their company and we hope they enjoyed ours as well.

Sorry about our negative first impression lads! But give us a break! If it looks like a duck; walks like a duck; talks like a duck – it very often is a duck! Nonetheless, best of luck in all you do from all of us here at the Canadiana!

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Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Aaron (Officer and Gentleman) and James (Environmental Crusader)

Cultural and Religious Understanding

Friday, July 27th, 2007

We live in a world fearful of differences. It is lack of understanding that warps our perceptions and fuels our prejudices. Possibly nowhere, is their greater misunderstanding than when it comes to religious beliefs.

It is widely held that the homogeneous makeup of rural and small town North America tends to foster a xenophobic isolation. Differences are seldom seen; hence, even less seldom understood.

A history teacher, John Hetherington, from West Ferris Secondary School in North Bay, Ontario has addressed this issue in unique manner and he has been doing so for the past eight years. Would that all students in Canada be exposed to the experience offered by this remarkable educator.

Twice a year he pays us a visit with a different group of students. On a two-day field trip they are exposed to the worlds’ major religions. They attend hosted visits at an Islamic Mosque; a Jewish Synagogue; a Buddhist Temple; a Hindu Temple; and a Sikh Temple. Every attempt seems to be made to foster a cultural, as well as a religious understanding.

What John has seen is that his students begin to realize that all religions seek truth, justice and peace. And rather than focusing on differences, begin to learn just how similar we all are.

In case anyone is listening, it’s plain to see that this is a program should be offered in every high school in the Province. We look forward to hosting John’s next group of students.

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Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

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Family and Friends

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Travelling is great but it also means being away from friends and family for extended periods of time.

You just could be lucky, like a few of the guests here, and be visited by family and friends from back home.

What a great opportunity it must be to show your parents around a place that you have become familiar with and that over time, has maybe even become your home.

Of course, with friends you can also partake in the wonderful beer and wine that Canada has to offer.

You can really see the excitement in a guest eyes when they find out that their family or a old friend from back home is going to come and visit them.

Candy is from Mexico and is in Canada studying english, Candy’s parents have come all the way to Toronto to visit her and Candy’s already fantastic smile just got bigger and her face really has lit up!

Melanie from Germany, a Canadiana staff member was able to show her best friend, Sarah? from home around Toronto and Pearcey, also Canadiana staff, has had the opportunity to show his mate a few of the great local pubs and clubs.

We, at the Canadiana feel lucky enough to have met all these wonderful people and wish them well.

Mucho Gusto Senores Mendoza-Ruiz

Lesley

Canadiana Staff

Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Niagara Falls

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

When visiting Toronto, a trip to Niagara Falls is a must. Admittedly, that magnificent spectacle has been commercialized and visually polluted by the early intrusion of man; yet it still remains a marvel to behold.

The falls are located just 80 miles (130 km) south and west of Toronto. It’s only a short drive of about an hour and a quarter by highway. Like most tourist destinations the world over, the town of Niagara Falls is quite tacky with shops selling plastic souvenirs of Mounties and stuffed toy polar bears made in Taiwan.

At the Canadiana, we offer three separate tours to Niagara. The tours all offer much more than a mere view of the falls. The tours also include a trip to the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and a visit to a winery for a sampling of the local products.

The tours travel along the Niagara Parkway past the historic Queenston Heights and by the world’s largest whirlpool located downstream from the falls. The cost of these tours (all pick-ups up at the hostel) is about the same as the return bus fare alone from Toronto.

All three tour companies leaving from the hostel can also arrange discounted tickets for helicopter rides, the Maid of the Mist boat trip and Journey-Behind-the-Falls experience.

Tours that we offer are listed on th Canadiana’s website.

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Niagara Falls Day Trip - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

A group from the Canadiana on the Niagara Parkway.

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The view from the helicopter - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

An eagle’s eye view of the Horseshoe Falls.

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Maid of the Mist, near the American side of the falls - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

The American Falls with the “Maid of the Mist” in the foreground.

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Zoo Trips

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

“Y’all got a world class zoo here!” So says Jack Hanna, host of the (dare I say) wildly popular U.S. Television show “Animal Kingdom” on a visit to our city.

The Toronto Zoo is located in the east end of Toronto in the picturesque Rouge River Valley. It is famous for its’ interactive educational displays and conservation efforts. The zoo’s collection has more than 5000 animals representing over 460 species.

It is also one of the largest zoos in the world situated on 287 hectares (710 acres) of land with over ten kilometers (six miles) of walking trails that turn into cross-country ski trails in he winter – a unique way of seeing the zoo! Over 1.2 million visitors are hosted annually.

Tips for zoo visitors: wear comfortable walking shoes; take a hat and sunglasses; take your own food and drink the restaurants can be crowded and a tad pricey.

The trip to the zoo is a little over an hour by public transit ($2.75 each way) but it is well worth the trip. The cost of admission is $20 – adult; $16 -senior (65+); and $12 – for children (under 3 years – free).

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Jonno, Mika and Darren going to Toronto Zoo - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Jono, Mika and Darren at the Zoo Gates.

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Siberian Tiger - Toronto Zoo - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Darren’s Tiger photo. (not bad!)

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Darren with the Elephants - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Darren getting a sunburn! (smart!)

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Zoo - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Darren’s “Beaver Shot”.

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#%MAGIC%#

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

I love Magic so when Simon (Canadiana Staff) bring’s out the cards I can’t help but be one of the ones at the front of the crowd waiting to see what will happen next.

So as yet Ive not seen any rabbits pulled out of hats, no one as yet has been ‘sawed in half’ but the card tricks are fascinating.

Once I watched him turn a empty can of beer in to a full can. It wasn’t just me who saw him either, it was witnessed by many and we all sat there amazed wondering if he could make our empty’s full again too.

It is a great mix of people that stay here.? We once had a Australian guy stay here, he had come all the way to Toronto to audition for a job as an illusionist, unfortunately we never saw him again….maybe he disappeared!?

When you come to the Canadiana feel free to bring your favourite trick along!? Maybe Simon will even show you a few tricks of his own.

Lesley

Canadiana Staff

Magic - Simon & Liam - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Hostel Toronto

New Zealand Style or Kiwi Chicken

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

“Hi there! Wanna chicken?” That’s Lesley our resident New Zealander greeting guests at our front counter.

The guests look confused. Do we want a chicken? “Well, maybe later; but first we’d like a room.”

“But in order for me to assign you a room you need to chicken first!”, says Lesley.

“Thanks anyhow, but we’ve just got off of a seven hour flight from Manchester and we ate on board. We just need a room.”

“Then you wanna chicken?”

The exasperated guests finally give in, “Alright, alright we’ll have the chicken!”

Lesley assigns them a room; gives them their linen, towels and keys; then explains the hostel’s facilities – all with her beaming trademark smile.

The guests don’t move. “Anything else?” says Lesley.

“Were waiting for our chicken”, the newcomers say.

“But you’ve already done your chicken.”

Now everyone’s confused. Here’s why:

You see, it’s Lesley’s job at reception to “Check In” guests. But in her distinctive Kiwi accent it comes out as “Chick In”!

Sorry about this blog entry Lesley.

I’ll tell you what; I’ll buy you lunch to make up for it! We can have “Fush and Chups!”

Isn’t it funny how people can be separated by a common language?

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Lesley - A Kiwi - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Lesley and Myriam (a.k.a. “Muffin”)

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Lesley & Fiona - Kiwi's in Toronto - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Lesley & Fiona

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A Family Affair

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Quite a number of our guest have come to Canada to learn or uprade their English. Luisa has come all the way from Venezuela and has brought her teenaged daughter and son with her. The three of them have enrolled in the same school.

Luisa is, in a word, healthy. She works out daily and the results are plain to see. Her children might easily pass for siblings. She must be one heck of a mother too as her children (Alexandra and Raphael) have impeccable manners and are extremely well-behaved. They must be a joy to travel with.

They have only been with us for a few weeks and you can already notice a marked improvement in their English skills. The concept of learning by immersion seems to work.

We try to treat all of our guests like family here at the Canadiana. Luisa and her children actually are a family and it’s such a pleasure to have them here with us.

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Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Luisa with Teresa (our head of housekeeping and part time Rockette dancer) Raphael and Alexandra.

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Michel

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Michel is a banker. But he likes the Canadiana so much that he still works here on weekends when the bank is closed. He came here from Lebanon almost four years ago and worked for us while looking for a job in finance.

The best words to describe Michel (the newest Canadian citizen in the hostel, by the way) would be “an outrageous dichotomy”.

He has an MBA degree and a pretty successful career in middle-management (thus far) banking. But he often wears T-Shirts with slogans and sayings that could make a sailor blush!

I’d love to quote a few of them here but I don’t have the guts! He speaks English (fluently) albeit with a Lebanese accent; so perhaps some might excuse him thinking perhaps he doesn’t understand what’s written on his shirt!

Don’t you believe it! He knows full-well what’s written on his shirt! Anyhow, most of the things on his shirts are lies – especially the one’s relating to his size and prowess, if you know what I mean.

Still, Michel is a wild and crazy guy in marked contrast with his job in the staid and conservative banking industry. He’s game for almost anything and he’s quite a lot of fun.

If you stay at the Canadiana you’ll likely meet him – only you can decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing!

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Michel - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto

Michel (the bearded one) celebrating both his birthday and citizenship with staff members and guests at the hostel. (It’s a good thing you can’t read what’s on his shirt!)

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Michel - Polar Bear Dip - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Michel after the Polar Bear Plunge. (or in plain language; jumping into Lake Erie in January!) Crazy!

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Michel - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Youth Hostel

Michel cheating in a dogsled race!


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