Archive for February, 2009

Diana, We Will Miss You.

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Our lovely Diana has moved on! She was our lovely events co-ordinator who had something in common with virtually everybody she met! Diana loved everyone and everyone loved Diana

Although she hailed from what was formerly the drab, depressing old East Germany, no one can remember seeing anything but a warm, friendly smile on her face.

She is in Canada on a year-long working holiday and we were fortunate enough to have her working for us in the hostel here in Toronto for several months.

But Diana has relatives here in Canada and they live in Collingwood, Ontario and they are virtually on the slopes of the famous Blue Mountain – a ski area that has produced several World and OlympicChampion skiers.

Diana has gone to stay with them while there is still snow on the hills so get a little time in on the boards!

From there, she plans to head west to the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast. We’re sure she’ll charm everyone, everywhere she goes.

Best of luck Diana and although it is probably pointless to say this to you, “Keep Smiling”!

We’ll ALL miss you.


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British Barrister

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

We get a lot of immigrants to our country from all over the world.

One thing that our country finds desirable are “skilled” migrants. We have a “point system” and if you can accumulate a certain number of points, “Welcome to Canada”!

Meet the Ramsubhag Family from the United Kingdom. Andrew is a Barrister in the U.K. and works as one of Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecutors.

Andrew was here with his lovely wife Sri and two sons Myan and Navaro to find a suitable location to set up a planned business here in Canada.

A “Shingle Shop” legal Law Office perhaps? Actually no.

Andrew and his wife are “New Age” people. They plan to start a “Spirtual Retreat” in the beautifully pastoral countryside ofd Canada.

This trip, they explored the Nova Scotia seacoast – an area famed as the favorite home of Alexander Graham Bell. And had a look at Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

Next trip, they will take a look at what western Canada has to offer.

Thus far, a ninety-five acre farm near the famous Cape Breton Coasty has their eye. But no matter where they choose to settle, it will be a pleasure to welcome them to Canada!

..
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Dom

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

What can I tell you about Dom? Well, to begin with, he scrubs up fairly well!

Dom arrived at our hostel dressed in tatty sweats and sporting a three day growth. He could usually be found hunched over his high-powered laptop computer, surreptitiously stealing glances at? the ladies in residence.

Dom is a real charmer too! Since arriving, he has had dinner dates with several lovely young ladies when he was claiming to look for employment.

Dom is a very successful young “Project Manager” with an Engineering Degree and impressive computer skills.

He has finally got down to brass tack and is actively seeking employment. (He has a two-year working holiday visa!)

A Professional “Headhunting” company has secured him several interviews and Dom spruced up for the occasions.

The results are in the photo below. We wish we had taken a photo of him the day before! Talk about night and day!

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St. VALENTINE’S DAY

Monday, February 16th, 2009

O.K. I give up. Just what is St. Valentine’s Day?

I even took the time to do a Google Search to see if I could find out. No luck. It’s almost like they don’t know themselves so they just obfuscate.

For Backpackers in our hostel here in Toronto, it is an excuse to eat drink and be merry. (As if backpackers require an excuse to do just that).)

The truth about St. Valentine’s Day is it is an occasion that has been manufactured by confectionery companies and greeting card producers to separate you from your hard earned money!

In short, sheer Marketing Genius!

Unfortunately, the staff members at our hostel are not immune from getting caught up in their sales ploy. They went out and purchased heart-shaped balloons, chocolates, red ribbons and Valentine’s Day Cards (?).

Nonetheless, a goodly number of our residents got into the spirit of things and a lot of booze was enjoyed. However, I’m not sure that is the point of the day.

The evening ended with everybody going to the “Augusta House” for drinks. It’s a place I’ve never heard of even though I grew up in this city. I assume that it is on Augusta Street. (St. Valentine’s Day just gets more and more confusing.)

No matter. As with all of the hostel “events”, a good time was had by all.
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New Zillund

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand. Seven countries separated by a common language.

But unlike some nameless countries, we actually choose to understand each other’s accents, idioms and inflections.

I won’t mention the name of the nation that refuses to recognize their language as she is spoke by others (but think Eiffel Tower.)

The hostel really is a crossroads for many different cultures. We get people from all over the world speaking different languages with different customs.

Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of New Zealanders (New Zillunders) who have a pretty distinct way of speaking the Queen’s English!

It is not difficult to understand them (if you are a native English speaker). It is just…well…irresistibly funny!

So for all you non-native speakers who want to learn the language but encounter Kiwi’s, we have attached the following guide.

We hope it helps.

..
New Zilland - Canadiana Backpacker Toronto Youth Hostels

BUILDERS

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Our hostel consists of downtown townhouse dwellings constructed around 1889. There are six buildings in a row (connected) and a total of eight in extent.

As one might imagine, it required a lot of renovation to convert these former single-family dwellings into multi-bed hostel buildings. We had to add shower and toilet facilities (lots of them) and conform to Toronto’s stringent fire and building codes.

Toronto has long been one of the great boom-towns of North America and one of the few cities where it is desirable to live in the heart of the downtown area.

New building cranes rise into the skyline heralding new construction almost daily. And there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of smaller sub-contractors to do the finished work on the interiors.

We “import” our contractors from the Chatham area of southwestern Ontario, about four hours drive away near the border with Michigan State.

They have renovated all ten of our buildings starting over a decade ago when the first building was opened as a small hostel. The work is ongoing and seemingly unending in order to maintain standards.

Why do we bring them in from such a distance when we have to provide them with accommodation to them during the work week?

First of all we can. (We are a hostel don’t forget, so we have the facilities). But most importantly, we appreciate the professionalism they always bring to the job.

We needn’t fret about outrageous cost over runs (the bane of many construction projects) but can count on the work being completed on time and on budget. With Larry and his crew, we always know where we stand.

Larry, the honcho of the group, has an enviable reputation for scrupulous honesty and first-class workmanship. What more might one ask?

Our hostel is known as a clean and efficient, modern operation while still maintaining much of its’ old Victorian charm.

We can thank the builders for a lot of that.
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From Costa Rica to Canada

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

We’ve got more young Latino folks at the hostel; but this group aren’t language students. They’ve here on working holiday visas for a Canadian adventure.

These young people have likely never seen snow and temperatures of say +20C? likely seem cool to them.? They arrived here to temperatures of -20C+!

Canada has long been proud of its’ reputation for tolerance and in this respect we have much to show to visitors from other countries.

We were voted (five years in a row) by the U.N. as the best country in the world to live in – the bitter cold notwithstanding.

Many Latin American countries have long been known for abrupt and unscheduled changes in government as well as a host of other unjust practices.

Costa Rica is a notable exception. We might have a lot to learn from them!

Canada has been a stable democracy for a century and a half. Costa Rica has been a democracy longer!

The only way to oust a government here is via the ballot box. Costa Rica the same. Unlike a lot of their neighboring states, they have NEVER had a coup d’etat. (That would be pretty difficult since they don’t even have an army).

Canada has an enviable record of reforestation to maintain our natural resources.? Costa Rica has arguably the best Rainforest Preservation Program in the world!

The real telling point is that our three young Costa Ricans are well-behaved, polite and considerate young adults. A pretty accurate reflection of their country it seems.


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Pamela, Gloriana and Daniel from Costa Rica.

FINOLA

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Such a lovely Irish name for such a lovely Irish Coleen.

We call her Finn, for short, which is rather exotic too!

She’s an Interior Designer by profession but is currently looking for work that will help finance her travels in Canada.

Her first stop in Canada was at our hostel where she made quite a number of friends. She has since moved on after finding lower price accommodation (albeit in a rather dodgy part of town!)

Anyhow, most of Finn’s friends are right here at Canadiana Backpackers so we’re quite sure we’ll still be seeing her smiling facve in the hostel in the days to come.


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Finn using her charms on our resident “Ladie’s Man” Francois!

End of an Era at the Canadiana

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

These are strange times here at the Canadiana!

Matt from Oz left for Mexico City a couple of days ago. Seems this lad from the beaches of the Gold Coast had enough of the freezing cold.

This marks the first time in almost three years that at least one of the original seven Canadiana “Lager Louts” has not been visiting the hostel!

This legendary group have been responsible for some antics that are just not to be believed. I really wish I could relate some of their past excesses but this blog cannot afford an “X” Rating!

Matt came back a while ago and replaced Simon who returned to England. Simon had replaced Pearcey etc., etc.

Matt met lovely Franzie a German lass and hostel staff member. The two of them left for Mexico City. It seems that no matter what one of the Lager Louts does, it has a disruptive effect on the hostel!

They have planned to meet up with Genesis – a gorgeous Senorita from Mexico and a charter member of the “Lager Louts and Animalettes” See previous post.). They plan to travel all the way south to Chiapas Province and destroy as much of Mexico as possible.

However, we think that Franzie will be a moderating influence on? them. (She had a calming effect on Matt while they were here.)? Good luck Franzie.

Is the hostel more peaceful right now? A little perhaps. However, Matt has threatened to return in six weeks! Then it will be back to normal.


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