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Archive for July, 2014
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We sometimes call her “Ms. McGuyver”. You know, a female version of the TV hero who can fix, build or jury rig anything using little more than some tape, string and a Swiss Army Knife. Think I’m kidding? Then think again! She can repair almost anything. A broken dryer, a toilet needing replacement or paint scraping three floors up a shaky ladder is no problem for her.
Sandra is our manager here at the Canadiana and she’s been here since almost the very beginning. She first came to the hostel as a University student working her way through school (Business and Finance) as a painter. It was patently obvious to all and sundry that she was clever in her business dealings had extraordinary mechanical abilities.
There is an adage “You can”t buy brains.” That’s quite true, you can’t! But you can hire them! To make a long story short, that’s precisely what was done!
Almost since she first arrived, Sandra has “run” the Canadiana and very efficiently, I might add. We were voted “Best Hostel in North America” in no small part due to her efforts.
So if you are staying at the Canadiana and you have a problem that seems insurmountable, call “Ms. McGuyver” – and don’t you dare bet that she can’t do it – you will likey lose!
Thiago (don’t pronounce the “H”) pitched up back at the hostel after spending the winter out west in Calgary and Fort McMurray, Alberta. “Tee-ah-go” just finished a year-long working visa? program in Canada and has just left for his native Brazil.
But Thiago is the kind of guy who’s attitude in life seems to be “whatever-it-takes”. His first job here was in Northern Ontario and Quebec in the dead of a Canadian winter. He heard there was a severe labor shortage in Western Canada and as a result, wages were considerably higher.
That’s quite true. There is indeed a shortage of worker out west and the pay is? much higher. For instance, a counter person at McDonald’s in Toronto recieves around $8 per hour. In Calgary, the same job pays as much as $15 per hour and in Fort McMurray it would pay as much as $18!?
The downside is there is also a housing shortage out west. In northern Alberta some home owners have divided their two-car garages into four rooms and can charge as much as $1000 per month per room.
After paying an extortionate amount on rent in the north, Thiago settled on a job in Calgary cleaning windows. Hanging form ropes on a plywood Bosuns’ Chair several hundred feet above the ground he managed to earn enough money to continue his travels. After a brief visit home to Brazil, he plans on heading for Europe to work and travel.
I’d wish him the best of luck but it probably isn’t necessary. This young man is earmarked for success – “whatever-it-takes!”.
Thiago with Teresa (our head of housekeeping) upon his recent return from a winter in the west.
Again with Teresa (last winter) after being injured working in Northern Ontario.
Last year, we had a visitor from Kinross, Scotland by the name of Mitch. He was on his way around the world and stopped off here (twice) at the Canadiana. Actually, Mitch was here long enough to become a charter member of the legendary “Lager Louts”. (An affectionate term, I hasten to add!)
Four of his founding cohorts in that exclusive organization are still here or have returned to Toronto over the past six months! (Two are employed right here at the hostel.)
Anyhow, seems that Mitch was on a scouting mission for the “Bonnie Lassies of Kinross”. He’s sent them here in droves and what wonderful friends to the hostel they have been! It’s been a great invasion from the town of Kinross.
The first lass to arrive from Kinross was Jenn; followed by Sarah and they both made Toronto their home for several months. They were recently met here by Hazel and Alison two more lovely lasses from home. They left for home two days ago.
Bonnie wee Sarah left this morning at 4AM heading west. She’s on her way to Calgary to meet up with Zoe, a friend the lassies made here at the hostel. Lovely Jenn (the original Bonnie wee lassie) is to follow her shortly. They plan to spend the winter ski season in the magnificent Canadian Rockies.
It’s a bit sad to see them go but they promise to return. See you in the spring lassies! Don’t forget to dress warmly it gets a mite cold in them thar hills!
I just wrote this blog to let everyone know what a charming addition the lassies from Kinross have made to the Canadiana Hostel. So cheers Mitch! Anymore to follow?
Trouble is the furthest from the right, in the pink shirt, with his legion of friends. He embodies the French joie de vivre, and always has a? welcoming smile. Read more……
When I first saw him I thought he looked like “trouble”, and the nickname stuck.?
Actually his name is Thibault.? ? He’s from Lille, France, which is? on the Deule River near the border with Belgium.? He had been studying in International Trade and Development in Lyon before coming to Toronto.
He has come to Canada on an internship to work for a French company,? he is spending his days updating their data base.?
The company he works for makes a small but very important part which? helps remove grime that builds up on the inside’s of storage silo’s by forcing compressed air in between the build-up and the sides of the silo.
On? Thibault’s 20th birthday I asked him if he would like me to start calling him by? his name but, with? a cheeky smile he? said that ‘Trouble’ would be just fine.?
Thibault’s english has improved alot since he first arrived and his sense of humour and wonderful smile is a pleasure for everyone.?
Some people can put a smile on your face no matter how bad a day you are having, Trouble can walk in the room and make everyone smile!
Canada breeds Hockey Fanatics, that’s a given. As inventors of the sport we produce the best players in the world. But we are not completely alone when it comes a love of the “fastest game in the world”.
We have seventeen year-old Kenny here from Scotland. He’s a goaltender for the Edinburgh University Hockey Team. The goalie is one of the least popular positions to play in Canada’s National Sport! Let’s face it, you stand in the net and let people shoot rock-hard pucks at you at 100 miles per hour! It takes guts!
Kenny came here to attend a Goaltender’s school. It’s a year-round facility run by two brothers who have trained quite a number of top players including the legendary Curtis Joseph or “Cujo” the former Toronto Maple Leaf net minder, now playing with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Kenny has taken in most of the sights around Toronto now that his hockey camp has finished. He has been to the Hockey Hall of Fame (twice!) and purchased miniatures of the Stanley Cup (League Championship); the Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP); and the Vezina Trophy (Top Goaltender)!
It pretty obvious that Kenny is pretty serious about our National Sport and when he returns home, we’ve got money to bet that opposing teams are going to have a much more difficult time getting the puck past him!
Kenny (second from left) with the Franco Brothers (coaches)
On the Maid of the Mist – Niagara Falls
Kenny with a miniature Stanley Cup (you can always dream!)
Canada is a proud and (officially) a multi-cultural nation. The ever changing demographics have even altered the sports we watch and play. For a long time, the? five top sports in Canada were; Hockey, Hockey, Hockey, Baseball? and Canadian Football.
Now a lot of other sports are rapidly gaining popularity in Canada. Soccer is becoming a very popular game with young people if for no other reason that it is a relatively inexpensive sport to play. Unlike hockey or Canadian football, no expensive equipment is necessary.
We have a Provincial Rugby Team staying with us this week. They represent the best young players in New Brunswick and hail from all parts of the province. They have come to watch Canada’s National Rugby Team play and will take to the same field after the game to play a match against a local team.
Thirty-one of the top young players from New Brunswick are here for a week and will take in the sights. They are a fit and athletic bunch and not surprisingly, are also interested in hockey – good Canadian lads that they are!
One young team member has said that his “dream holiday” in Toronto would include a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame. What he doesn’t know is that their coach and chaperons have planned a surprise visit to the shrine of Canada’s National Sport.
We host a lot of young groups throughout the year and this young group from the rough-and-tumble world of competitive rugby are a well-spoken, well-mannered and generally well-behaved young team.
So in the humble opinion of the staff here at the Canadiana this team has done a first-rate job as ambassadors representing both their Province and their sport.
Well done lads! And best of luck in your game!
Some people just don’t know how to take a vacation! Take Claire, for example. Claire is an educator from the UK Midlands and teaches sciences to secondary school students.
Claire holds a degree in Zoology and has a particular affinity with this branch of science. She was not content to visit Canada and do most of the touristy things – like sightseeing, night clubbing, pub crawling etc. She came to Toronto to teach!
Claire has spent her vacation as a Toronto Zoo Volunteer as part of its’ educational program. For five days a week she heads for the Zoo and guides young students through the massive (700 acre +) facility and gives them a talk on the different species. She touches on their habitat, diet, survival and impresses upon her young charges the need for conservation.
She has told us that the Toronto Zoo (a world-class facility) is particularly strong in its’ education/conservation efforts and avers that it is particularly noted for its’ efforts to protect the “big cats”.
Anyhow, Claire thanks for coming and sharing your knowledge with our youngsters here in Canada. From our point of view here at the hostel, it has been a singular pleasure having you with us!
“Peripatetic” is a word that can describe most young backpackers today. In simple terms, it’s merely a word to describe somebody who gets around.
At the Canadiana Hostel we have hosted literally thousands of travelers some of whom have spent years on the road. They are a unique breed with a hunger for knowledge; consumed by a wanderlust that keeps them looking over the next hill and beyond the far horizon.
Meet June Izumi, the most peripatetic of them all! We first met June in 1999 on her first trip to Toronto and she had been traveling for quite some time before she came here.
Where in the world might you find her? (Just about anywhere!) Where in the world has she been? (Just about everywhere!)
Her travels have taken her from her native Japan to the far corners of the globe and she’s still on the move! Her travels have taken her to six continents, visiting countries from Australia to Austria; Zambia to Zimbabwe. Thus far, the list nations she had visited totals more than fifty-five and counting.
Over the past eight years, June has visited with us four times, Why? Because Toronto is her favorite city among the hundreds she has visited in her travels. The reason for her affection for our city is its’ multi-cultural make up and the tolerance she has found in our society.
June has traveled farther and experienced more of the world that any other backpacker in our experience. As far as choosing Toronto as her favorite city goes – well, we must be doing something right!
June (second from right) back “home” with her friends; the staff of the Canadiana.
In today’s health conscious world more and more people have opted to return to an older mode of transportation – pedal power. We are getting more and more cyclists willing to explore this vast country by bicycle.
Andrea and his friend Georgina, two veteran cyclisyts from Italy,? have come to explore eastern Canada. Their month long tour will cover well over a thousand miles, They left Toronto today heading for Ottawa via the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park.
As with most long-distance cyclists, Andrea and Georgina are strong, healthy and athletic. Andrea looks as if he could comepete in an Iron Man competition and Georgina is built like a gymnast and appears to have zero percent body fat, with legs to die for!
The pair began bike trekking about seven years ago when they? cycled around Nepal, Since then, they have? done the same in Austria, Switzerland, Norway and now, Canada.? Since that first expedition to Nepal the two have returned to Nepal on a hiking trip to the base camp of Mount Everest.
The pair plans to explore the countryside at what, according to them, is a? moderate pace of 80 – 100 kms per day. They plan to be back with us here at the Canadiana Hostel within the month. We certainly look forward to seeing them again and hearing all about their adventures on the road.
Andrea and Georgina (Two for the Road)?
All packed and heading north.
It’s getting hotter and more humid in Toronto. After a particularly temperate summer it finally returning to its’ usual climate and becoming oppressively warm! Temperatures are in the thirties and the “humidex” (as the weathermen say) is extremely high!
We’ve decided to spare no expense and install a “pool” for our guests. What do they think of it? Well, the initial comments seem to indicate that our current residents are an entirely ungrateful lot!
Here’s one of their thoughts, “I’ve seen bigger hot tubs!” Alright smart guy, so have I! But how many other hostels in this city have a pool?
Or comments like, “Do you call that a pool!?”
Well, yes. We do!
It’s round and holds water. It’s made strictly for recreational purposes. Hot and weary travelers can relax around it and cool their heels. And the smart one’s do just that!
The following photo is of three guests lounging in the cool waters of of our beautiful swimming pool! The rest of you ingrates should stop whining and join these people “poolside”!