Archive for August, 2009

Cyclists from New York

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Every summer we get a lot of cyclists passing through our hostel in Toronto.

They come from as far away as Europe and South America and some have already biked across Canada from Vancouver on the Pacific Coast, five time-zones west!

Their ultimate destination is usually New York City!

However, we don’t get many cyclists from New York City! Actually, none that I can think of at the moment!

It is likely because the Interstate Highway that connects NYC with the border atr Niagara Fallls is a pretty boring stretch of highway! So New Yorkers likely head North towards Maine or South towards Florida or Southwest to Califoirnia!

According to our intrepid pair from Brooklyn, if you avoid the area adjacent to the Interstate and travel up the Finger Lakes region (a gift of the Glaciation Era) and the Adirondaks it is a scenic wonder!

They had a relaxing five day bike ride to Toronto where they enjoyed our city and our beer for three days.

Time constraints have forced them to hop a bus back home to be back at work. The beauty of it is that it iis a mere 12 hours (of sleep) by bus back to the Big Apple via the Interstate Highway.

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Sandra’s Birthday

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

We  are (at the moment) the largest hostel Toronto. In this busiiness, largest is not necessarily best!

With so many guests to contend with and with an increased number of  clients tol cater to, pleasing eveyone is impossible.

Nonetheless our ratings have remained consistently high. Why?

A lot of it is because of Sandra. She is the hostel manager.

With Sandra on duty, we rarely run out of anything. Problems are quickly resolved. And broken things get repaired. (She has a remakable Mechaniical Aptitude even though she studied business at University).

So when it is her birthday, we celebrate it. And we usually do it in style. Drinks and Pub Grub. Or we order in a full Portuguese Brunch with chicken, fish, salad, rice and potatos.

But this year the hostel has been so busy with backpackers we settled for a quick lunch of Domino’s Pizzas!

I think Sandra would like me to remind everybody that we still owe her drinks! (In case you were going to ask, she’ll be free on the weekend!)

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Older Backpackers

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Very recently (4 entries ago) we profiled an adventurer/backpacker named Doug Slack from Chicago who roared up to the hostel on a state-of-the-art 600 c.c. Yahmaha road rocket! The entry is titled “No Slack”.

He was fornerly an avid long-distance cyclist but those excursions often rquired months of his time away fron home. So he has opted for a quicker (much quicker) mode of transport.

The reason for this “update” of so recent an entry is that Doug left a nice comment to the entry  that he liked our hostel allthough he was the “oldest backpacker” in residence!

Sorry Doug. Not even close!

I will admit there were younger backpackers here at the time; but none of them were roaring around on motocycles!

We’ve had several other  travelers like Doug arrive here on motorbikes. There was J9hn a retired lawyer from alaska who rode all the way from Anchorage to California via out hostel in Toronto.

There was Freddy, a retired boadcaster and former soldier.

Those are just two examples of other motorcyclists around Dougs age! There are alsoo quite a number of octogenarians who have stayed here (but they didn’t arrive on bikes, I’ll grant you!)

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Island Girls

Friday, August 21st, 2009

They come to our Toronto Hostel from allover the world.

Two of the latest (and lovliest) arrivals hail from the Island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands of the Atlantic coast of Africa.

As so many young, Spanish speaking students are doing, they are here to improve their English. Both girls attend University and English is important on the Islands as tourism is the main industry.

With the exception of visitors from Spain, the British comprise the largest group of the some 10 million foreign tourists who visit annually.

The pair have ennrolled in a three-week intensive course at a language school. And at the end of their term we’ll wager we ‘ll see a marked improvement in their language skills.

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canadiana backpackers inn toronto ontario youth hostel

canadiana backpackers inn toronto ontario youth hostel

All That Jazz

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Ed is a former actor who played caracter roles in Canadian television series such as “Night Heat” and “Adderly” in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s.

Those were the boom years for the film industry in Canada. That was when he decided to try his luck in California,

Unfortunately, he arrived in Hollywood just in time to meet the economic downturn in the industry. It is a rule in showbiz that “timing” is a big factor with success in the industry.

But Ed has other talents besides acting. He is also an accomplished singer/songwriter.

His chosen musical genere has long been traditional country and the other evening, he treated an appreciatie audience of hostel guests to an impromptu concert of his own compositions. Pretty neat stuff too!

However, his own reseach (in Nashille, among other places) indicated a declining market for traditional country songs.

Ed has switched gears. His latest compositions are traditional jazz numbers which he has found is growing in popularity.

He’s proving to be the sort of man who can wheather the ups and downs of the mercurial Entertainment Industry. To deal with the ever changing demands of the industry. He simply redefines himself.

We wish him luck in his present incarnaton as a jazz singer/songwriter.

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canadiana backpackers inn toronto ontario youth hostel


Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Kali Rees is a pretty, personable and popular young lady from Oz! She’s been with us here at the hostel for some time already and although she is here on a working /holiday visa – the operative word seems to be “holiday”!

Kali can be found up late at night and sleeping in during the day. In short, she is really enjoying her summer here!

You see, Kali is a “Winter Girl”. She’s a hostel “fixture” – as I have said, popular with her fellow guests – especially the males! (Kali is a real “looker” and she is is quite phsically fit.)

While most of the people are enjoying the warm summer weather, Kali is one of the group who prays for snow!

You see, Kali is an athlete – a qualified ski instructor in her native Australia!

If you think about it,, becoming a ski instructor in Oz must take considerable effort.  They don’t get a lot of snow and mountains with suitable ski slopes are few and far between.

So, in short, becoming a proficient downhill skiier Down Under takes considerable dedication to the sport. Still, it is a known fact that you don’t require massive ski hills to produce world class downhill ski racers!

Ontartio’s own Blue Mountain (as mere 800 feet in elevation) has produced quite a number of World Cup Downhill and Olympic Ski Champions.

Kalii will enjoy her summer then work out west on the ski slopes when the winter finally arrives here (as it always does!)

She plans on heading to Whistler Mountain in British Columbia and ski the mountain with the highhest vertical ski elevation in North America!

I suppose that means we wiill miss her presence here in the east. But you can’t keep a skiier off of the slopes! So it would be pointless to try!

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No Slack!

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Doug Slack is a retired backpacker from Chicago. He has done a lot of long-distance cycling across the U.S. including a trip through Alaska to the Yukon Territory on a tandem bicycle.

He still answers the call of the open road but now his one-month trips by bicycle have changed to two-week trips on his Yamaha 600 c.c. In the past, Doug has made several cross the U.S. bike rides with his wife of four decades, with friends.

A few years ago, Doug cycled the Dempster Highway in the Yukon Territory, a northern route that runs north from Dawson city to Tuktoyaktuk, well north of the Arctic Circle.

I rather like the mode of transport he is using on this two-week  trip out of Illinois that brought him to our hostel in Toronto. He’s got a superbly equipped, water-cooled, four cylinder Yamaha 600 c.c. motorcyle!

His choice of route is merely programmed into a state-of-the-art GPS Navigation System, that “talks” to him giving him dierections the entire way. Cool!

There really is no slack for Doug Slack. He has the freedom of the open road. A wonderful way to spend his retirement!

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Getting Ready for Karaoke

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

It is hard to believe that Monday night is one of the most popular nights for an “event” put on by our  hostel in Toronto.

It’s a late-night, party hard event that lasts until 2AM (at least)!

You see, Monday nights is Karaoke Night at the local pub The Fox and Fiddle, located exactly one block from our front door!

It is a very, very popular event made even more attractive by the menu “specials” offered by the “Fox” on Mondays!

Easily the best “chicken wings” in the area (some say best in the city) are on for half-price all day and domestic draft beer is a mere $10 + tax, a pitcher (3 pints)!

Some of our guests who go to Karaole regullarly can actually sing! But sadly, many others are seriously delusional! However, that’s what makes it entertraining – and fun!

The evening starts early. It usually begins on the patio where our singers stock up on liquid courage before walking over the the pub around 10PM.

Since it is a regular event for  hostel guests, a large table is reserved front-and-center for hostellers.

So join us on Monday nights and sing up a storm.


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Roberto and Michelle arriving at the Fox,

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Harry enjoying a vodka and tonic at the Fox.

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Jeremy, a hostel staff member getting ready (and the courage)  to sing!

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Ayano and Pearcey on the Smoking Patio of the Fox.

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… pingpong

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Ping Pong sounds like the Chinese name for Table Tennis. Apparently, it is!

Whatever you call iit, one hostel event is a Table Tennis (or Ping Pong) tournament,. You can win one of out T-shirts or a  Canadiana baseball cap.

A space is cleared on our patio and people are matched at random with a blind draw.

There are a few regular player who are quite proficient; however, they enter and play for bragging rights only. Most players suffer fron varying degrees of incompetance so it is a pretty even match!

So come out and win one of our shirts with the Maple Leaf/Inukshuk logo. (We’ll even tell you what an Inukshuk is!)

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Battling for a T-Shirt!

canadiana backpackers inn toronto ontario youth hostel

Rained out!

A Day in the Life of the Hostel

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Random shots of hostel life taken on the same day!

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Lounging on our back patio,

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Front office staff slacking off!

canadiana backpackers inn toronto ontario youth hostel

Masahito (a guest from Japan) and Wouter (a staff member fron South Africa) on our front steps.

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