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Simon says….

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

We got a message from Simon (Si) a few days ago and what he said was he was coming back for a visit!

Simon was here a year or so ago on a working holiday visa. His expertise is in Information Technology (IT) which turns out to be quite a movable feast! He found his skills in popular demand here in Canada.

He worked for us a good deal of the time and rather lost track of his original objective of seeing the sights of Canada. When he left us to head for the west coast and the Yukon, he only managed to get as far as Calgary!

To make things even worse, he had to cut his last trip short and return to England due to a family bereavement. His grandmother passed away and he had to rush back for the funeral.

This time, he aims to make it all the way as there will be no work getting in his way. He plans to visit the east coast as well and check out Cape Breton (called by Alexander Graham Bell the most spectacular scenery on earth!).

We’re glad to see Si come back for the holiday in Canada he really never had before. You know what they say about all work and no play….?

He arrives today and we’ll all be so pleased to welcome him back!

Alistair

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

“To anyone who is staying here or just arrived: This is the best hostel EVER! Enjoy the moment.”

The comment above was left by Alistair from the U.K. at the end of the summer of 2006. He stayed with us for some months a few years ago while he was here on a work/holiday visa.

A lot of people have said that the “Canadiana feels like home” and as so often happens here, our guests become our friends.

Alistair was good friends with Ravin who back then was our “Events Co-ordinator” They had something in common – music! Back home in Singapore and Australia, Ravin worked a a Producer and Sound Engineer; in fact, that’s what she’s doing now.

She was with us for a year and left and left for home to resume her career in the Music Industry shortly before Alitair returned to Scotland..

Alistair’s interest in the music field was no passing fancy. He’s back here for a few weeks taking a break before resuming his studies at the University of Glasgow (final year) studying you guessed it – Sound Engineering!

Were really happy to see him again and we’re sure he’ll have a great stay. As soon as he arrived (yesterday) Alistair headed directly for our “local” pub – The Fox and Fiddle – and met up with the gang from the hostel.

He came back just after midnight, forced to return by the lingering effects of jet-lag.

Anyhow Alistair, get ready for a heck of a party for the next two or three weeks! A lot of your old friends are still here!
And welcome home!

CHECKMATE!

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Chess match at Canadiana Backpackers Inn, Toronto youth hostel downtown

Pers and Nilesh during the rematch (late into the night!)

..

We’ve got a young man named Pers, from Norway visiting the hostel right now. He likes Chess and is always looking for a game. He’s quite good at it too!

If it’s Chess he likes, he’s come to the right hostel. As one of the hostel’s “events” we hold an in-house tournament every week. We usually get about a dozen entrants.

Pers has thrown down the gauntlet and wants to have a go at our local champion. Nilesh, who used to work at the hostel taking care of our computers (to the best of my knowledge) has never been defeated!

Doc Dalbir, an Orthopedic Surgeon from the U.K. maintains that he beat Nilesh, either last year, or the year before. (He’s visited us about eight times already!) Nelish says thats nonsense! So I suppose that means a rematch to settle the issue when Dalbir next visits.

We don’t usually post the dates of our Chess Tournaments on our website. It makes for a good indoor activity if Table Tennis or Soccer gets rained out.

If you fancy yourself a Chessmaster, come on in and take our boy Nilesh on! There are some neat prizes to be won!

Update: The match took place last night (the evening of the 26th). It was a long, hard fought match and Pers made a remarkable comeback from a position of disadvantage to claim victory! Well done!

Update #2: (Evening of the 27th) A rematch was played and this time it was Nilesh who emerged victorious! Standby for a report of the soon to be played rubber match!

Memories of the Canadiana……..

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Working at a backpackers is never boring, there is never a dull moment. There is ALWAYS something to do and there is always someone to talk to…. even at two in the morning(especially at two in the morning).

I no longer work at the Canadiana but at least once a month I wish I was back.

Bill always has a good story to tell, there is always a heroine in his story or a lager lout.

Teresa, Canadiana’s world famous cleaner, would be laughing asking people to lift their feet so that she could clean or trying to set me up with some bloke at the hostel – Teresa could make anyone laugh!

Sandra, the manager and my good friend, would be running around like a mad person fixing and painting, accounting and invoicing.

I miss the place but most of all it is the people I miss. The feeling of walking through the door and seeing the smiles of new and old friends. Like the programme Cheers, Canadiana really is a place were people know your name.

I may be over the other side of the world but I still keep in touch with my Canadiana Family and even got a little teary when I spoke with Bill (Canadiana’s Blogger) over skype. Technology is amazing as we both had cameras and we could also see each other.

I am really looking forward to seeing you all again one day!

Lesley at Canadiana Backpackers youth hostel, toronto

Lesley at our 70′s party……….

Our Neighbour Milly

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Milly the cat at Canadiana Backpackers hostel toronto youth hostel downtown

Sandra (Mgr.) on the left who is in charge of day-to-day hostel operations and Teresa (Head of Housekeeping) on the right both feeding Her Highness Milly – who is in charge of everything else!

..

We have a strict “No Animals” policy at our hostel. Both the two legged and four legged variety are not welcome on our premises.

We have a young neighbor who seems to take great pleasure in flouting this rule.

We’ve been told that her name is Milly.

She hangs out at the hostel at all hours of the night and day and demands constant attention and thinks you ill-mannered if you neglect to share your food with her.

It is virtually a given that she’ll show up on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings when it is BBQ night. But she has yet to bring a measly three dollars for a burger or hot dog, crisps and a drink.

And still she gets fed!

As far as we can tell, Milly lives around the corner from the hostel on Adelaide Street, we think, but we are not exactly sure where.

She’s wandering around the hostel as I write this looking for someone to pay her attention or, feed her, at the very least.

Milly is young, affectionate, spoiled and a member of a visible minority (she’s black) and she always seems to get the affection she craves so wantonly. And anything else she desires for that matter.

I’ll have to cut this blog a little short and pet Milly before I incur her displeasure and begin receiving the evil eye from her.

Rain, rain, go away….

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

It seems like it has rained an awful lot this summer. Now Environment Canada has made it official. We (Toronto) are the wettest part of Canada. We even beat traditionally soggy Vancouver..

So don’t tell we that we haven’t completely screwed up the earth’s weather patterns, We just came out of a winter with record snowfalls and we are on pace to break all rainfall records this year.

Last summer here in Toronto was particularly dry; however, the really strange thing is that we’ve had about the same amount of sunshine as last summer. You never really know how to dress or when to carry your umbrella!

People get up in the morning and see it’s raining and alter their plans accordingly; they cancel day trips, tee off times etc.; then bang out comes the sun!

Nonetheless, we remain the ONLY city in Canada where rain records are being shattered! There are still more than four months to go in 2008 and we’ve almost had our normal annual quota of precipitation! We have already surpassed the 2007,l 12 month total of? 592.7mm of rain!

What is the forecast for the next two days? There is a 60% chance of rain today and the possibility of thunderstorms. Tomorrow it is predicted that their will be a 40% chance of rain!

There has been an upside to this strange weather. Thus far, the city has been spared the tortuous heat and humidity that is the norm for Toronto summers. And, believe us, that is no small grace!

Emily’s Gone!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Emily left Toronto a few days ago and we are all glad! Glad, in the way that we are awfully happy for her.

Emily left Australia some time ago and spent a couple of years in San Diego on an internship learning all she could about hotel management. It was a great learning experience, but it involved hard work, long hours and low pay.

She was a popular guest/resident of our hostel in Toronto, full of life and personality. See previous entries: “Emily from Oz” and “St. Paddy’s Day” – where she was escorted back to the hostel by the Transit Police!

When she first arrived, she organized the “Australia Day” party and it was a roaring success. Much to our chagrin, it was even more festive than what we did on Canada Day!

Emily did temporary office replacement work while she applied for jobs in the hotel management field. Her perseverance has paid ff handsomely!

Emily has been hired as a department manager at the world famous Banff Springs Hotel – a Five Star rated resort hotel in the magnificent Canadian Rockies!

Although we’ll miss her smiling face and fun-loving personality, this opportunity couldn’t have found a more deserving person. We all wish her well and we’re sure that she’ll be successful in her new job!

A typical day in the Canadiana Lobby with Emily (center) and friends! (Don’t ask! Because I don’t know!)

Working/Holiday

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Hugh and Paul. Two strapping Irish lads who are no strangers to hard work!

..

We’ve got some Irish lads at the hostel right now who plan to be in Canada for about a year as they have working/holiday visas. This allows them a full year in the country to travel and work as they see fit.

Two of them are friends who came over together. Hugh and Paddy (seriously, that’s his name) are qualified tradesmen. They are carpenters working in a skilled trade that pays quite a bit of money. They are what are known as Jackeens or Dubs – Irishment who hail from Dublin.

They met a fellow Dubliner named Paul, at our hostel in Toronto who arrived a few days earlier on a work/holiday visa. The lads shared a love of traditional Gaelic sports such as Irish Football. To the untrained eye, this violent sport has a lot in common with a streetfight!

Anyhow, Paul took his new found mates along to a game with a local team he had joined comprised of transplanted Irish expatriates. A good intro to a sport they enjoy and a contact for work in Canada.

Some of their fellow football players were stonemasons and offered them work as “laborers”. It is a well known fact that a mere laborer in that trade can earn up to $27 per hour. It is heavy, back-breaking work often involving hauling loads of bricks up flights of stairs.

I’ve checked and it is absolutely true that stonemason laborers earn $27 per hour! That’s not too shabby a pay rate! However, it only applies to employees who are members of the union!

After a week of moving brick loads up stairways, the lads found that their pay rate was almost 2/3 less than the union rate. They naturally felt exploited and are currently seeking alternative employment.

They are young, fit and willing to work. So if anyone has a job for three Irish lads who are no strangers to hard work, please contact our front desk and leave a message for Paul, Hugh or Paddy.

A Second Scottish Invasion

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The first “Scottish Invasion” we documented in this blog began more than a year ago. It was started by Mitch of Kinross who was a founding member of the legendary “Canadiana Lager Louts”.

To make a long story short, Mitch was followed to our hostel by a bevy of beauties beginning with the dark-eyed lassie Jenn who preceded a sizable group of lovely lasses of Kinross,

We’ve also had groups of young wee lasses from Glasgow and Dundee – although we often have trouble understanding their thick accents.

The latest pleasant invasion comes from Ayrshire – a county in the southwest – in reasonable proximity to Glasgow. However, their accent isn’t quite as thick as the Glaswegian variety and you can (usually) make out what they are saying.

The area is perhaps best known for the town of Troon, which often the hosts the British Open Golf Championship. But we now know it because of the beautiful ladies it sends us! One look at these gorgeous blonds and you’ll see why they’ve become so popular at the hostel.

Kristen and Lindsey are here on working/holiday visas and have been with us for a couple of weeks. According to them, they have been having “too much fun” in our city and have been rather remiss in their job hunting.

They were having such a good time that they didn’t even remember to extend their stay with us and they were forced to book in to a different hostel last night as we were unable to accommodate them. However, we’re pretty sure that we will have them back tomorrow. (They seem to like it here!)

I just saw the wee lassies on their way to a midnight screening of “Batman” in the Cineplex Theatre across the street. So I imagine that job hunting will be on the back burner for, at least, another day,

Scottish girls at Canadiana Backpackers Inn, Toronto youth hostel downtown

Kirsten and Lindsey (far right) with three hostel Lotharios

The Godfather’s Hideaway

Monday, July 14th, 2008

For the third year in a row, Michael has booked into our hostel. But Michael stays here for only two or three days each visit.

Michael is an artist from Vienna and each summer he comes to Canada to spend a month or so at his Godfather’s retreat on a Lake in the Bancroft/Barry’s Bay area near the Madawaska Valley.

His Godfather is from Germany and divides his time between Canada and Germany. But he has always maintained his summer retreat in Ontario’s cottage country.

The first time Michael booked into our hostel he was on his way to spend six weeks at his Godfather’s vacation home. Last year, he only managed a month due to lack of vacation time.

This year, circumstances seemed to have conspired to allow him only three weeks in the beautiful Madawaska Valley. Michael, wouldn’t miss this vacation for the world. You’d really have to see the area to understand what I am talking about.

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