Archive for February, 2010

In HIS Name

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

We’ve got a church group of 13 visiting from Indianapolis, U.S.A. And no, it is not the leader with his 12 disciples! (Alright, I suppose that last comment is treading on the line of blasphemy.)

In fact they are a group of church goers who  are together to learn to walk more solidly with their faith. I guess that if you want to expereince diverse cultures this city is a pretty good place to do it.

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There really isn’t a  more culturally diverse city in North America than Toronto. You might even argue that there is no better city in the world for a multicultural experience.  (That’s actually the opinion of the United Nations.)

It looks as if their objective is “leading by example” as opposed to prosyelizing.  They have a clearly stated image of the world in which they would like to live

And seem to go about trying to achieve a better world by, first., living it.

Their method of pacticing their religon is a little unique.  It appears as if they don’t neend a church to affirm their beliefs.

How much better to practice your faith in all facets of your life rather than reserving it only for Sunday’s in church.

Church Group - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Backpacking Hostel Downtown Toronto Ontario Canada

ROLL CAMERA!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

“SPEED!” is the response you will hear from a Cinematographer to the prompt of the Director to “ROLL CAMERA!”

Our staff member, Elise (2009/2010) is a trained cinematographer/camera operator who has been working in Canada for a year. She has worked free lance on several feature films and TV commercial projects in the Toronto area.

She has been working at the  hostel  in between assignments and was coming to the end of her working/holiday visa.

Elise wanted to stay in Toronto in this city known as Hollywood North because of all the studio facilities  and films being shot here. In fact, the hit musical “Chicago” was filmed entirely in Toronto!

Elise is astaying on for, at least. another year having been offered an internship with Panavision Cameras – the industry standard for feature films and major commercials. She easily had her working visa extended because of the Panavision offer..

The internship (a few days a week) could be a ticket to her big breakthrough in the industry. But until that happens she will continue to work at our Toronto Backpacker’s Inn where her French language skills come in very handy!

Elise - Canadiana backpackers Toronto Hostels budget youth Hostel accommodation

Elise - Canadiana backpackers Toronto Hostels budget youth Hostel accommodation

AUSSIES: THE CHOSEN ONES

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

It has been said the the ancestors of many Australians were chosen by some of the best judges in England.

We don’t  imply that they are descernded from bandits and thieves but some things happen that give you pause to consider….

We had two backpackers from Downunder stay with us for most of last summer. They both arrived at the beginning of summer and stayed until the fall.

Kali and Andy were part of the great exodus to Vancouver to find jobs at Olympic venues. A lot of people headed west just before winter.

Most of our summer guests reconnected on the west coast having forged lasting friendships while staying at our hostel in Toronto. Andy came back recently and Kali stayed in Vancouver (she’s an advanced skier!)

Andy was back at the hostel on his way to England and Europe to continue his backpacking adventures. He left a photo with us taken with Kali whom he met up with on the coast.

What is kind of suspicious is that they are holding the torch used to light the Olympic flame!  Now where do you suppose they got it…?

We’d better check to see if it is missing!

Andy & Kali - Olympic Torch - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Youth Hostel Accommocation Ontario Canada

Kali and andy with their hot little hands on an actual Olympic Torch!

NICOLA and PATRICE

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Nicola and Patrice (a.k.a. “The Blue Mountain Girls”) are two attractive young ladies from Oz.

Patrice hails from Brisbane and Nic from Perth. Nic arrived here early last summer and Patrice perhaps a month later. They met here and struck up a friendship as so often happens here at our Toronto Backpacker’s Inn.

Both are on working /holiday visas and when winter arrived both landed jobs in the resort town of Collingwood about three hours northwest of  Toronto.

The town nesteled in Nottawasaga Bay also boasts Blue Mountain, Ontario’s premiere ski resort. It isn’t a particularly large mountain with a vertical elevation of only 8oo feet at it’s highest ski run. But the hill is very challenging and has produced quite a number of World Cup and Olympic downhill racing champions.

Both girls were very popular here at the hostel and now that they have an apartment at Blue Mountain are even more popular! Especially among the Irish Blodgers…er…Lodgers at our hostel.

I won’t name the (mostly Irish) freeloaders who imposed their presence on the two lovely ladies from Downunder,  but their names sound something like:  Nathan, A.J., Mark, Aiden and Chuck. (Chuck was an English gentleman; but unfortunately, has been corrupted by association.)

The girls spend a lot of their time off visiting us back in Toronto. It’s a three hour bus ride to and from Blue Mountain. It is a place popular for weekend getways from the city and well known for Apres Ski parties.

So the fact that Patrice and Nic choose to spend so much time off back here with us, speaks volumes about our hostel.

ROSEBUD

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

An hour of a half outside of Calgary in the heart of Canada’s Badlands is the town of Drumheller.  This area is famous for Dinosaur bones and the town is hardly a metropolis with a mere 8000 souls.

But just southeast of Drumheller is a “place” called Rosebud. I say “place” because it isn’t actually a town or even a village, but perhaps, a  hamlet – maybe.

It is a place of exactly 96 full time residents, virtually all of whom are involved with the Rosebud Theatre. This is Alberta’s largest full-time rural professional theatre.

It began as the location of a full time post-secondary theatre school and has been offering a full a season of productions since 1988. The 200 seat Rosebud Theatre plays to more than 40,000 each season.

Of the 96 residents of Rosebud, sixteen of them were in our hostel for the last few days. That is more than 16% of the town, er..village, er.. place!

They have been on a worldwind tour of New York and Toronto to catch live theatre productions in the world’s largest English theatre venue (New York) and the world’s third largest theatre centre (Toronto).

(It is still hotly debated if  Toronto or London England can claim the number two ranking; but we’ll give it to London so as not to bruise their fragile British egos.)

What is remarkable is the fact that among their favorite productions (Broadway nothwithstanding) was a Toronto Soulpepper Theatre production of the Canadian classic “Billy Bishop Goes to War” starring the esteemed Canadian thespian, Eric Peterson.

The Rosebud Theatre attracts large audiences during their theatre season. Most of their audience makes the drive from Calgary to catch the theatre’s offerings.

We wouldn’t blame you if you thought we were pulling your leg with this entry but you can check out their website for yourself.

http://www.rosebudtheatre.com/

And if you are in the Calgary area this summer check out their theatre. Their 2010 lineup looks pretty interesting.

Rosebud - Canadiana Backpacker Youth Hostels Toronto Ontario Canada

The booming “metropolis” of Rosebud.

Rosebud - Canadiana Toronto Youth Hostels Budget Accommodation Ontario Canada

The 200 seat Rosebud Theatre.

Rosebud Group - Canadiana Toronto Youth Hostel Budget Accommodation anada

CIRCA NIGHTCLUB

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Our Toronto hostel is located right in the middle of the Entertainment District. In fact, we are the most centrally located hostel in Toronto.

The Toronto landmark CN tower is three blocks away looming right over our threshold. And there are, literally, 20 – 30 nightclubs in a three block radius of our front door.

The Circa Nightclub is virtually across the street from our hostel. Fortunately, the entrance to this possibly largest club in North America is on the next block which cuts down on weekend noise.

It is a massive 55,000 square feet on three levels. There are, I believe, seven bars and several different dance/music areas. The capacity of the club is about 3000 guests.

The cover charge in this popular nightspot can be up to $20 just to enter. That’s pretty pricey for the average backpacker.

That’s where our hostel comes to the resuce.  We can organize a “Club Night” (unsually on Friday or Saturday) and we can get our “neighbours” at Circa to waive the cover charge for Hostel guests who arrive as a group.

Ask a hostel staff member well ahead of time if you want to visit this club and we will try to make the arrangements.

It really uis quite an “experience”. The club also contains a recording studio and screening room and has hosted world-famous DJ’s as well as acts such as “the Veronica’s” and the hip hop sounds of “Fifty Cent”.

It really is quite an experience.

Circa - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Youth Hostel Accommodation Canada

Circa’s opening required massive construction/renovation.

Circa - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Youth Hostel Accommodation Canada

Haloween at Circa.

Circa - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Youth Hostel Accommodation Canada

Noted DJ David Guetta at Circa.

Circa - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Youth Hostel Accommodation Canada

The largest nightclub in North America!

SANDRA AND MICHEL GO TO LEBANON

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The hostel might be a little short-staffed for the next two weeks.

Sandra the hostel’s mamager and Michel, the weekend assistant manager have left for a two week sojourn to Lebanon.

When you are looking for a dead of winter vacation in a warm clime, Beiruit doesn’t spring to the top of too many lists.  But the couple have headed for two weeks in one of the world’s “hotspots”!

You see, Michel was born, raised and educated in Lebanon. his family is part of the large Christian minority of Lebanon.

He earned an MBA at the University there and now (a Canadian citizen) is a mid level banking executive. Hence, he only works at the hostel on weekends.

Sandra is the heart and soul of the hostel and is responsible for the smooth day to day operation for which our Toronto hostel is well-known.

But Sandra and Michel have been an “item” for a couple of years. It has never been an issue before but this is the first time they have taken a vacation at the same time!

We’ll do our best to cope.

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toronto - hostels - north america

A Chinese meal to wish Sandra (3rd from left) and Michel (right) Bon Voyage!

QUIZ NIGHT

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Question: Who was the Olympic Champion who played Tarzan in films of the 1930′s?

If you can answer that question you’ve just answered the first question in tomorrows trivia quiz at the hostel.

It begins at eight and we’ll play three or four rounds of 25 questions each. You might win a Canadiana T Shirt.

In the past, some of the competitors have complained that the questions were too difficult and only managed five or six correct responses out of 25 questions.

But we did a test with a random “focus group” last week as part of the plan to reintroduce the quiz as an event. Either the contestants are getting smarter or the questions easier – or both!

The group of test subjects virtually aced the quizes and we did about a dozen of them!

So tomorrow. At 20:00 hrs (8 PM) join us in the common area for the Trivia Challenge!

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toronto hostel - canadiana - quiz

The “focus group” acing the Trivia Event!

SOPHIE & PAULINE

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Last evening, we saw Pauline, a language student from France a sitting by herself in the common room. Something just didn’t seem right. Something was missing.

Then we realized that her closest friend in the hostel Sophie from the Netherlands was nowhere to  be seen and we hadn’t seen her for a few days!

“Hey, Pauline,” we asked. “Where’s Sophie?”

“Holland,” she replied.

Oh yes. Sometimes the squirrel falls asleep in the wheel. Of course. Sophie has returned home for nine days. Her sister is getting married and she has been asked to be Maid of Honour. She’ll be back after next week!

But it is like that here at our Toronto hostel. Firm friendships are made between people from very diverse backgrounds. Pauline and Sophie have become such fast friends that we often remark that the two are inseperable and seemed joined-at-the-hip.

Seeing one without the other seems strange. Tonight is Karaoke Night at the Fox. We won’t be hearing Sophie and Pauline belting out a number together.

So I guess this brief separation is not all bad!

Sophie & Pauline - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Hostel canada
Sophie (m); Pauline (r); at Karaoke with Christine (from U.S.A,) on the left.

GAP YEAR

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The more young universitsy grad/backpackers we meet, the bigger fans we become of the “Gap Year” concept.

That is. finish Secondary School. Pack your bags. Buy a ticket. Then spend the next year discovering the world and all it has to offer.

So often, a young pers0n is asked to decide the course of his entire life when he or she is still in their teens. More often than not, that is patently absurd.

Take Sophia, a young lady from France. She’s bright. attractive, focused well-qualified but she’s looking for “any” job.

In fact. Sophia is a qualified Optomitrist which we all know is a pretty good and lucrative career. Like so many young students she went straight from her secondary  to study Optometry.

She worked at it for a few years discovering she hated it!

Rather than falling into a rut and working at a job she didn’t enjoy  until she retires, she went back to school to study business and marketing. That decision landed her excellent positions in marketing and public relations.

Still, she has decided to take a break and travel. It is so difficult for some young  people to find their direction in life when they are still not sure of just what life has to offer.

So taking a Gap Year to work and travel is a lot like Captain Kirk of the Star Ship Enterprise when he l00ks out into the unknown, and says to his crew; Let’s see what’s out there.”

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toronto hostel - canadiana - gao year

La Belle Sophia avec Thibault.


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