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Some things in life simply stretch the limits of credibility.
Like the Harry Potter films, for instance. I mean, a ginger with TWO friends!
Stranger things do happen however. Kieran Scott a personable young redhead from Sydney came to the Canadiana and made a whole lot of friends!
If you check out the Canadiana Page on Facebook Groups (an impromptu site started by former guests of the hostel already boasting close to 500 members) you can see his comments as well as a lot of other past guests.
The bottom line is that if you are coming to Toronto and want to meet a lot of friends; then, stay with us!
(Take a look at the pic below! We told you he made friends here!)
Chicago is a mega-city about an eight or nine hour drive down the road from tiny Toronto.
(I say tiny because Chicago dwarfs every city in North America with the exception of The Big Apple and L.A.)
The city has a lot going for it. From one of the world’s busiest airports to spectacular waterfront, not to mention it is the home of Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama.
It’s also home to the International School of Design and Technology.
It’s a high-tech institution that covers virtually every facet of design. From photography to web-design. fashion to film production. (Too many to list.)
A group of 27 design school students just spent four days at our hostel checking out the “design scene” here in Toronto.
It seems that little T.O. can teach big Chicago a thing or two when it comes to design. Especially in the field of fashion, film production and computer animation.
The school also has a sister campus just two-blocks from our hostel’s front door.
It seems that the students had a pretty nice time here in our city and we hope they’ll make the excursion, at least, an annual event.
When you are converting what were once single family dwellings (built circa 1889) into a multi-bed hostelry, a lot of renovations are required as you might imagine.
Due to Toronto’s very strict building safety codes, the process is largely a matter of wreck and rebuild.
Constriction at our hostel has involved new walls, new floors, new plumbing, new wiring, new heating, central air installation and additional walls, rooms, washrooms and showers.
In a city as large and as rapidly growing as Toronto, there are a lot of builders/contractors to choose from. In spite of the plethora of choices here in the city, we have always imported our workers.
Larry is the honcho of a crew of “good ‘ole boys” from Southern, Ontario? who have worked on the reconstruction of all of our buildings for more han a decade.
They hail from the Sarnia/Chatham area close to ther border with Michigan State and the city of Detroit. It’s about a four-hour drive down the highway from here.
From the first time we engaged Larry and his motley crew we knew we had chosen well. The job was completed on-time, on-budget and to a very high standard of workmanship.
And perhaps the largest bonus is the reputation that Larry has within the industry for consistently excellent workmanship and scrupulous honesty.
The motley crew!
The hostel – every building with a flag – almost the whole street!
If you had the choice of staying with us (a top-rated North American hostel) or the Fairmont Royal York hotel (arguably Toronto’s most elegant hotel) where would you stay?
Well, call me shallow and disloyal but I’m leaning towards the Royal York!
The catch is that a low end room at the hotel will set you back $250 per night plus taxes!
So I’d opt for it only when someone else is picking up the tab.
Pete Stewart from the U.K. was here doing interviews for his TV music program SYNCLIVE.COM.
He’s one of their on camera presenters/personalities.
The crew and other personalities were housed at the posh Royal York. But Pete elected to take a room at our hostel!
Why? He finds the entire atmosphere warmer, friendlier, more convivial and much more fun!
You can catch Pete’s efforts at music fests everywhere at the website mentioned above.
He’ll probably back in Toronto this summer for the Jazz or Blues Festival or perhaps the North By Northeast Music Festival!
See you then Pete! I hear you are still picking us over the grungy four-star Royal York!
Links to interviews conducted in Toronto by synclive.com:
What does TWO car crashes in one day teach you? Especially, two serious accidents!
For two friends from Stoke-on-Trent, it was as bit of a wake up call and a message that life was definitely not a dress rehearsal!
Angela and Sarah are two good friends of long standing. Sarah was driving alone one day and was struck so hard from behind her vehicle was left on its’ roof! Luckily she escaped with just minor cuts and bruises.
She called her friend Angela to come and give her a lift home. On the drive home, Angela’s car was also hit by an out-of-control vehicle seriously injuring Angela’s hip!
That’s two major collisions in one day!
Both women are successful professionals. Angela was a former researcher for a major pharmaceutical firm (until she resigned in protest over her firm’s “questionable dealings” with Third Word Countries”). She is now a worker with troubled youths.
Sarah is the manager of a successful BBC Radio Station in Stoke-on-Trent.
So you might say that most of their time was spent on their respective careers. The accidents convinced them that they should both step back and “live life”.
That’s just what they are doing and have embarked on a year-long world-tour!
Their first stop has been Toronto and the Canadiana Backpackers Inn. I’ll bet we’ll be a tough act to follow!
Angela and Sarah
We try to use this blog to write about interesting backpackers who stay at our hostel in Toronto.
Some of the most interesting characters are staff members.
Natalie is a young, tall (117cm) beauty who is one of the newest additions to our hostel staff. She just gave me a link to her MySpace page. As Mr. Spock would say; “Fascinating!”
Her MySpace label is “Raven” (which is actually her surname!) She’s a recent graduate of DeMontfort University (U.K.) with a degree in English and Drama. She was awarded a commendation for tghe Frank May Prize for “Excellence in Performance”.
I can’t explain to you what “Perfromance Art” (Natalie’s specialty) really is all about. You really have to see it to believe it.
We’ve got some photos of Natalie on the streets of (winter) Toronto. She’s running around in the snow dressed in a red summer dress carrying a parasol and wading through ankle-deep, icy slush puddles in red pumps!
(I told you I couldn’t explain it!)
Nonetheless, Natalie is vibrant, vivacious, gregarious, adventurous and a whole lot of fun!
Remember our motto? “It feels like home!” This is the hostel where everyone feels at home and where life-long friends are made.
If you don’t believe me, check out the comments on our Facebook group. It was started by former guests at the hostel about a year ago and already has close to 500 members!
Bjorn from Scandinavia and beautiful Katrin from Germany were both guests in the Summer of 2007.? They can attest to the fact that good friends are made at the Canadiana.
Both Katrin and Bjorn stayed with us through Christmas of ’07 and if you check out out Christmas blog, Katrin posted a comment that she “had eaten turkey for the first time in her life” and she loved it!
We live in an ever shrinking world and virtually all backpackers can claim friends from all around the world.
As happens so often with past guests, Bjorn and Katrin met up for a reunion in Europe and Bjorn even wore the ubiquitious Canadiana T-Shirt for the occasion!
Thanks for sending us the pics guys. We miss you both.
Katrin and Bjorn
The name stands for “Urban Experience”, I suppose. Because that’s what they provide.
Canada is officially a multi-cultural nation and if urban centers like Toronto are accurate indicators, it really is a social experiment that works.
We really don’t have tensions such as ethnic ghettos, overt racial animus or, even worse, race-riots.
However, smaller towns are still very much ethnically and culturally homogeneous environments.
That’s where organizations such as Urban EX come in.
This seems to be quite a growing (and necessary) field if our multi-cultural society is to expand and flourish.
The aim of organizations such as Urban Ex is to facillitate the exposure of people from smaller regions to the rich cultural diversity of a major center like Toronto.
They describe what they offer as an “experience in arts, culture and social justice”.
Understanding of other cultures or even the underprivileged in our society is what they are attempting to foster. It is an admirable objective in a world fearful of differences.
We hope that our hostel environment aids them by allowing them to meet and interact individuals from all around the world.
It’s been a long, cold Toronto winter (as usual) but there are sure signs of Spring in the city!
We’ve already experienced record a March 6th temperature of a balmy 17.9C! And the Robins have already started to return!
Local residents are always going on and on about how vibrant the city becomes as the weather warms up.
That’s a fact!
The city comes alive with Music, Entertainment and Food Fairs. And the city puts on a host of events (many of them free) to attract visitors. (There is a listing of some of the events on our website!)
There are so many “events” held each summer that we couldn’t possibly list them all. We’ve done our best but we’ve also undoubtedly missed some!
The first major event of the year has already begun (beating the arrival of Spring by about a week!)
The Canadian Music Week ’09 Edition – a three day Music Industry gathering that will see more than 350 visiting bands in just over 35 varied venues in the city.
It is the precursor of the good times to come! Toronto will hold Blues, Jazz and Folk Festivals; Food Fairs in ethnic neighborhoods; outdoor Art Shows and unusual events such as the “Buskerfest” for street performers.
A lot of performers opt to stray with us here at the backpacker’s inn. Some of the visiting groups are pictured below.
To find out where you can catch their shows see the free weekly papers “Now Magazine” and “Eye Weekly” for complete listings.
They’ve all come to play some hot music to warm things up in Toronto!
6 Day Riot
Alasdair is a young red-headed Scot with a bit of a thirst for adventure.? This experienced Globetrotter’s travels have finally brought him to the the Canadiana!
Like a lot of our backpackers, Alistair has already circumnavigated the earth! But he is no ordinary tourist!
He seems to have that Scottish penchant for getting into trouble! Take his China adventure, for example.
He landed in Beijing in time for the Olympic Games and somehow managed to get his hands on some tickets (quite a few actually) to a very popular event. (Don’t ask how!)
To a good Scots lad like Alasdair, this is an opportunity like manna from heaven! So he set off for the sports venue to “scalp” the tickets!
Tickets to popular events are severely limited and fans are willing to pay a lot more than the “face value” of the ticket!
The only problem is that “scalping” (selling tickets for an inflated price) is illegal!
Enter the Beijing Police! And they cart Alasdair off to jail!
If a person had to choose a country in which to be arrested, China with it’s Communist Regime and appalling Human Rights record, would not be near the top of the list of choices!
After several hours of threats and interrogation Alasdair was finally released? Did he learn his lesson?
Actually, he returned to the sports stadium. He still had some tickets to sell!
He’s a wild one, this crazy red-headed Scot!
Tickets? What tickets?