Archive for October, 2009

SARAH’S GONE; SARAH’S HERE!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Our lovely Sarah left us about a month ago to move to France. It’s not too surprising as almost all of our reception staff speaks French (or Spanish). Sarah, of course, speaks French.

We miss her – a lot!

Pretty much everything about our Sarah was good. She had a good nature; good people skills; good language skills; a good sense of humour; and good hair!

We’ve spent the last month looking for a suitable replacement. We finally found one. Her name is Sarah too. (That really is just coincidence!)

Our new Sarah hails from Guelph, Ontario; located about an hour west of Toronto. She is still in the process of moving to an apartment in the city.

She is a graduate of one of Canada’s oldest institutions, McGill University in Montreal (founded 1821). She studied “Women’s Studies” and I suppose McGill is a good place as any to do that. After all, the current Principal of McGill is a woman.

She also brings a second language to the hostel. Hers is (you guessed it!) French!

She plans to be in Toronto for some time to come as she wants to attend the University of Toronto to read law. (Oh well, nobody’s perfect!)

Nonetheless, we all think she is a great addition to the hostel staff! Welcome aboard Sarah. (And all the best to our other Sarah!)

ALEX

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Alex (short for Alexandra) is a new addition to our hostel staff.

She is a recent graduate of the Universty of Guelph (Ontario) with majors in Biology and Philosophy.

Alex is a native Torontonian (almost); in fact she hails from, Thornhill, Ontario which is teccnically just over the city’s northern border in the district of Markham.

She plans to move into town. The commute from Thornhill is a pretty long haul and she’ll need to be a lot closer to the hostel.

She is also no stranger to backpacking herself. She spent six months traveling in Spain and got  a feel for the “hostel experience” on her trip.

Like the majority of our staffers, Alex has a faciliuty withy a second languuage. Hers is – you guessed it- Spanish!

A year in Toronto.

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

One thing about Toronto having a world class University (three, in fact) is that the city attracts world-class academics.

The Meyer family (father, mother and two sons) are the latest “academics” to stay with us while they got their bearings in Toronto.

The father has come to do a year of Medical Research at the University of Toronto. It is a field in which the U of T excels. Insulin – the discovery that has saved millions of lives – was developed here. And that is juast one of the many innovations of this hallowed institution.

Their older son (Tim, aged nine) has just enrolled in school here in Canada. Their youngest boy is still an infant so it is likely that all of his education with be back at home in Germany.

The Meyer clan stayed with us for several weeks while they obtained suitable housing close to the University. They left this morning to their new home for the next year.

We wish them well during their year in Canada. They were a pleasure to host at our hostel in Toronto.

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Mountains to Mountains

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

These days, a good many backpackers are traveling on working holiday visas, It gives young travelers the opportunity to live and experience a different culture.

Sarah and Jeremy are a young French couple who were born and bred in the mountains around Haute Savoie in the French Alps.

Naturally, they are both avid skiers.

In fact, both Jeremy and Sarah skied virtually from the time they learned to walk. They both had their first experience on skis before they turned three!

When Europeans think of North American Ski Resorts, the “Mecca” is Whistler Mountain in the Canadian Rockies just north of Vancouver. It offers the highest vertical elevation on the continent!

Both of these young French alpinists are what is known as “freestyle” skiers. They use short, responsive skis and are able to ski moguls (bumps) with ease and perform flips and other daring manouvers.

It used to be called “hot dogging” as some of the moves are quite spectacular.

Neither of our young visitors brought skis with them to Canada. It turns out that purchasing new skis here (even of French Manufacture) is far less expensive than at home.

Unlike the majority of Canadians, these young ski fanatics will be praying for snow.

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NICE GUYS

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

If we gave an award for the male hostel employee with the most equanimity, the winner would be a toss up between Wouter (Walter) from South Africa and Chuck from the U.K. with Nathan from Eire, a strong contender.

The point of this is to illustrate the simple fact that our hostel in Toronto has been pretty fortunate with the recruitment of some of our newest staff members.

Wouter is a dour, easy going Afrikaaner whose South Afrcan roots are more than a dozen generations deep.

He has emigrated to Canada and has taken a job with us while he gets his bearings in his adopted home. He has added Afrikaans to the list of languages spoken by hostel staffers.

He makes friends easily and is always ready to render assistance to both friends and strangers.

Chuck is an even tempered young English gentleman (and gentleman is the operative word) who like so many backpackers these days is traveling on a working holiday visa.

Nathan from Erie is also in Canada on a working/holiday visa and as well as bringing his friendly nature to the table he has pretty good computer skills and adapted to our somewhat complicated on-line booking program with remarkable ease.

So to future visitors to our Backpackers Inn in Toronto we pay close attention to your comfort and enjoyment and do our best to reccruit staff members who can help you enjoy your visit.

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Nathan, left and Wouter

canadiana backpackers inn toronto ontario youth hostel backpacker cheap\
Chuck

Susan

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

A part of running a backpacker’s hostel is saying goodbye to guests who have become familiar faces and good friends during their stay with us in Toronto.

Susan is a physicist from Germany (she holds a Master’s Degree) and came here on a working/holiday. She flew home on Monday to “return to the real world” as it were.

Like many of our guests on working holidays, Susan stayed at our hostel until she found accomodation conventient to her workplace. We had her here for several months!

She managed a Second Cup Coffee Franchise for the summer. It was a prime location right on the waterfront in the tourist rich HARBORFRONT area of Toronto.

But even after she moved out of the hostel she would come by on a BBQ or wine and Cheese Night or Pub Crawl Evening to renew old/new aquaintances. A lot of our long-term guest do that (most actually!).

For her last few days here in Toronto, Susan moved back into the hostel for a few nights – a lot of our guests do that before their return home.

She is now back in the exacting, skilled and important work of a physicist back at home.

We bet she misses the relaxed atmosphere of the waterfront coffee shop. We’ll miss Susan.

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Sarah

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

We had a party at the hostel last night. It wasn’t the happiest party we have had at the hostel. It was just a wine and cheese night to say so long to our Sarah!

There were a few tears shed before the staff retired to the local pub  to continue the party. Sarah is leaving for Paris where she plans to live and work. Sarah is one of six hostel staffers who are fluent Francophones.

Sarah has always been very popular with her co-workers with her sunny disposition and great sense of humor.

We very much doubt that she will move to Europe permanently, so we can always hope we’ll get her back!

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Katy; Marcella; and Sarah — three of our lovely reception staff!

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Avec Elise – our staff member from France!

NEVER QUIT!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

We first met Mika about five years ago when she arrived at our hostel in Toronto speaking almost no English but determined to learn!

Mika had always dreamed of getting a job that would allow her to travel to all the exotic places she had read about as a child in her native Japan.

But she knew that her dream would be impossible since she only spoke Japanese.

So her first step was to come to Canada with a working/holiday visa to learn.  She didn’t know how long it would take her but she was determined to do whatever it took to develop a facility with the English language.

As she had suspected, it wouldn’t be easy, it took two years of effort and dedication! But she is now fluent in the English language (albeit with a pretty cute accent!)

Mika became the longest term resident at our hostel having lived here for for the entire duration of her stay in Toronto.

We arranged for a limo to take her to the airport when it was time for her to return to Japan.  The driver reported that she had a tearful trip to catch her flight.

Mika now works on cruise ships as a Japanese/English  translator.  She has achieved her goal of work/travel and has cruised the Inland Passage to Alaska and the Panama Canal to the Carribean.

She has also returned to Toronto twice to visit us and we are always happy to see her.

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Mika - Canadiana backpacker hostel toronto
Mika with a new friend in the Carribean.

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Mika - Canadiana backpacker hostel toronto

Mika had a penchant for catching a nap just about anywhere!

Vouter

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

His name is Vouter. (We can’t pronounce it either).

He’s from South Africa and has moved to Canada since he holds dual citizenship because his mother was born in Canada. (although she left the country as an infant.)

Since his arrival he has become a valued member of the hostel staff. Like many Boers or Afrikaners as they refer to themselves, he has been imbued with a solid work ethic.

We are glad to have him.

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Woulter - Canadiana backpacker hostel toronto

Vouter with Ayano, from Japan.

Wow! do you ever look like…!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

“Wow! Do you ever look like like…!”

When backpackers say those words about one of the hostel’s female employees, you can complete the line with the name of almost any attractive celebrity.

(Backpackers are usually not so flattering when speaking of our male workers.)

And it’s not exactly true when they are speaking of our female staff members; unless you are referring to the fact that they have two eyes; two ears; one nose…etc.

Katey, our tri-lingual receptionist, is often told she resembles Sarah Jessica Parker (of Sex in the City fame). Alright, perhaps a little. But we think the thing they have most in common is the fact that they are both smart, funny, and yes–we hope her head doesn’t get too big after reading this–attractive.

To be fair, there is a passing resemblance but it is more apparent in real life than in the photos below.

Katie - Canadiana Backpacker Staff - Toronto Hostel Canada
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Katie? - Canadiana Backpackers Hostel Toronto Canada


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