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OK, I know what you are thinking. There are no Polar Bears in Germany (outside of a Zoo.)
Think again. We’ve got close to twenty Polar Bears from Straubing (Bavaria) Germany staying at our Toronto Hostel right now!
But they aren’t exactly Backpackers judging from the amount of baggage they arrived with. In other words, they aren’t traveling what you might call, lightly loaded.
They ALL arrived with enormous bags and were this not Canada, the staff would have been a bit taken aback. But here in the Great White North, we know what hockey equipment bags look like!
The Straubing Polar Bears have arrived in force to play three games against Canadian teams. This is not their first excursion out of Germany to seek competition. They have already played some games in Finland.
Now the Straubing Polar Bears should not be mistaken for the Berlin Polar Bears (the reigning champions of German First Division Hockey.)
There are quite a number of ex NHL players in that professional league. But their Straubing, Bavaria namesakes all have day jobs.
Our intrepid players have hired three mini-vans to transport them to the Lakeshore Arena. They are going to play their first game on the “small ice” as they call it.
And yes, the ice surface is smaller than European Rinks. But wait until they see how much it speeds up the game that is already the world’s fastest!
And, at the risk of sounding disloyal, we’re rooting for the visiting side. After all, they are pretty new to our game amd they’ve come a great distance to play!
Go Polar Bears! Go!
Did you turn out the lights Saturday at 8:30 p.m. for EARTH HOUR? Last year, nearly 1 billion people from 4,100 cities in 87 countries participated.
Last night our Toronto Hostel turned off our lights and lit candles as part of a Global effort to draw attention to conservation needs of our panet.
Unfortunately, the hostel was still well-lit with the glow of a lot of laptop computers. Seems that a lot of people were somehow missing the point.
Newspapers and websites are asking people all over the world who took part in the effort to upload photographs of their efforts.
I don’t know if we got any pics of our backpacker’s participation. I mean, any pic would just be glowing candles and computer screens in a darkened room.
If anyone has a pic, please let us know. (We’ll publish it here!)
Well? Does anybody know?
The search for happiness has spawned a more than ten-billion dollar annual publishing/lecture industry in North America alone.
Self-help books run the entire gamut in an unregulated industry. People can (and do) buy into concepts such as “thinking good thoughts will cure cancer”. Really?
Maybe. But that statement is exactly what it appears to be. It is little more than an unsubstantiated assertion. (i.e. : It is true because I say it is!”)
Then there are books such as “The Road Less Traveled” by the late Psychaiatrist M. Scott Peck, that remanined on the N.Y. Times Bestseller List for more than 15 years.
It begins with the simple premise and statement, “Life is hard.”
You bet it is. We all seek to be happy. Backpackers for sure. Isn’t that the whole point of travel? To see what is out there. To learn.
But does anybody really know what would make them happy? Money? Freinds? A romantic attachment? Success? Fame?
So we are requesting comments. Please take the time to answer the following question in the comments section. “What would make you happy?”
It’s been almost three years since “Big Stew” and “Little Katy” (Katuiska) were with us at our Toronto hostel. The summer of 2007 to be more precise.
“Big Stew” is a carpenter from Oz. He got the moniker “Big Stew” because he is enormous! (About 6’5″ and 240 pounds).
“Little Katy” was a language student from Venezuela and the pair met right here at the hostel. They dated casually before Stew had to return to England where he was working.
He’d been back in the UK for less than a week when he quickly sent Katy a ticket so they could celebrate their birthdays together in London.
That, as mentioned, was almost three years ago. Katy returned to Margarita Island, Venezuela and Stew to Newcastle, Australia.
Over the years, Stew made five trips from Oz to Venezuela. It is a journey that requires some complicated travel logistics and considerable expense!
On the fourth trip, Stew “popped the question”. Katy, her parents and her sisters have been to Australia to meet their daughter’s/sister’s future in-laws and check out the country that will be the couple’s future home.
Well the the two were wed on the beautiful Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela. They join one of, at least a dozen happy couples who had met at the Canadiana Hostel in Toronto and later married.
They are also one of the nicest couples we’ve had the pleasure of hosting and introducing. We wish them both all the best. Everyone agrees that this marriage is a great match!
“A Cultural Exchange”. That’s pretty much describes one of the nice things about our hostel. (Among many, I hasten to add!)
We have hosted travelers from all over the world from Bulgaria to Bora Bora. At our Toronto hostel you are likely to meet a future “life-long friend” from another community, culture and country.
It happens with great regularity, right here, in downtown Toronto! For instance” we have randomly selected some comments from a Facebook site started a year or so ago by a former guest from Germany.
It already has almost a thousand members! Check out some of the comments posted just since Christmas 2009!
Bec Maddocks Thanks for the awesome experience! I am planning a trip back asap! It was great meeting all the other Aussies; it was a little reminder of home! Can’t wait to come back.
Alfa Omega Hi Everybody, I have been hosted several times at Canadiana Backpackers Inn. I am going traveling again to Toronto Next 28th March and I would like to know about events for that time. I am Carlos from Celaya, Gto. México. I hope to receive information about it and about guests in that time in order to make friends.
Stuart Neild Sh*t hot place to stay! Made friends for life here and met a hot Swedish girl! Also met: Ectic (sic) Saffas! Mad Aussies; Crazy Scots; Stinking English (Pearcey and Simon) ; Drunk Irish; OoH La La French; and some quality Canadians. (Along with half of south America and one dude who said he was from Guyana but I am sure he was from Jamaica.)
February 4 at 1:28pm
February 4 at 3:00pm
February 5 at 7:37am
Grace Kelleher is fearr liom an canadiana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This hostel has changed my life its the best place not only in Toronto but in the world! If coming to Toronto do not spend twenty five dollars on the CN Tower book in to the Canadiana where friends and banter can be had. There are no strangers in here. Only friends you haven’t met… yet. HOLLER TO ALL MY PEEPS that I have met there. Love ye all especially you googlejumpers, thanks for the memories lads I’ll be back soon have the red carpet out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xxx
Claire Mc Donnell Grace u legend please dont leave me! The place wont be the same without you. I love this place it’s the best place in the world! You have not lived until you’ve come here!
Christine Szabo I have been gone since the 19th and miss everyone there already so very much. I will be back for a week before I have to leave for good to head back to Vegas. My 4 months at the Canadiana was so much fun I will be back for sure this summer!!
Eli Magdiel Gonzalez Ulloa im sorry i coulnt make it this year……I missed the Canadiana hostel. I always have much fun there. I hope to return next year
Raymond Tarm I miss the Candiana! Quite frankly, the Candiana p*sses all over where I’m staying now! Am I allowed to say that? Haha. Love all you guys. Have a great Christmas and New Years. Probably see you guys again in the Spring!
There really is no way of putting this delicately. (What’s more we don’t even want to!)
But our Toronto Hostel has the most gorgeous ladies of all the hostels in Toronto. That’s just a fact. So live with it all you other hostels!
It has been that way for as long as anyone can remember and we have pics on our wall of a lot of past beauties. Ladies like CSI Cathy (a forensic investigator); Aniko (a Professional Belly Dancer); or Tania (a high-fashion model); Sabine (a Parisian student); and Christine (Las Vegas model/dancer), to name only a few – stunning beauties all!
But every, once in a while, there comes a lady with a certain something “extra” that used to be referred to in Hollywood as an “IT” girl. (You’ve got to think way back to Hollywood legends like Clara Bow or Greta Garbo.)
We just heard from “Adventure Girl”. Her name is Betty and she hails from Romania. And Betty has “IT”. She grew up under a repressive regime headed by the notorious Communist Dictator, Nicolai Ceausescu.
Unfortunately for him, the people ended his tyranny and made him go away with some well placed bullets! Serious people these Romanians!
Betty can be found wearing anything from a bikini to a burka and looks incredible in either. She can be seen petting tigers and holding items from a snake to an M16 rifle! She attracts males like bees to honey and it is quite funny to watch them trip over their tongues!
She’s working in Stavanger, Norway at present – Norwegian is just one of the seven languages this multi-talented, multi-tattooed, multi-lingual beauty can manage!
But she’s off on another adventure very shortly. She’s likely to have been asked to leave Norway! You see, she’s so hot she is probably being blamed for climate change.
Best of luck in Southern Africa Betty! As the Zulu would say; Hamba Kuchle! (“Go Well!”).
(But knowing her, she’s probably learned that language already!) Look out world! Here she comes!
This is actually going to be a repeat entry, albeit updated. But it concerns an issue that bears repeating.
Each day there are hundreds (literally, hundreds) of plastic water bottles of varying sizes discarded in our hostel’s waste baskets.
(I might add that plastic bottles in Toronto should be placed in the blue “recycle boxes” but that would be straying off subject.)
The point is that many backpackers still insist on buying bottled water. They happily pay an average of $2 a litre but would recoil in horror if that were the price for, say, gasoline! In fact, a two liter bottle of Coca Cola or Ginger Ale is cheaper!
The fact is, there is absolutely no law in Canada that prevents someone from bottling and selling plain, ordinary tap water. Guess what? That’s what companies do.
So you are, in effect, paying good money for the same water you might find in your toilet. (To be fair, they do usually treat and filter it – needlessly – but read on and you’ll see what that can sometimes do!)
No matter the evidence a lot of backpackers insist that the bottled water “tastes differently” from water from the tap. Well, I’m sure it does! It has, after all, been sitting (for who knows how long) in a plastic container.
Back to treating and filtering already clean water: Dasani (a brand of bottled water owned by Coca Cola) had to be withdrawn in the UK due to contamination with bromate, a suspected carcinogen, produced by the treatment process used on the water.
The Toronto City Council in 2008 voted to ban the sale of bottled water in all municipal Toronto properties to alleviate the pollution caused by discarded, single-use, plastic water bottles.
By taking this action, Toronto joins more than 70 municipalities, six school boards and three university campuses across the country. It seems we are beginning to understand that we have been sold a bottle of goods.
Meanwhile, virtually hundreds of billions of plastic bottles are scattered annually in dump sites where they will likely sit for thousands of years. More than 2 billion litres of bottled water were sold in Canada last year! That’s a lot of plastic waste!
It is well-known that Toronto’s tap water is tested stringently and has been deemed, by independent tests, to be superior to the leading brand of bottled water.
So backpackers! Stop throwing away your money and stop polluting the environment needlessly! Please.
“Sparky” is a slang term the Irish use for an Electrical Tradesman.
Here in Canada, we rather think that sparks are something you should NOTsee in that particular business.
Aiden is a “Sparky” from the Emerald Isles who is here on a year-long working holiday. Of all the trades Electrical is the one where only the most simple of problems involves a “do-it-yourself” solution.
Bad things tend happen if you don’t know what you are doing or touch the wrong thing on an electrical panel or power outlet.
Aiden has come in very handy helping us with any electrical problems at our Toronto Hostel.
Aiden works as the hostel’s Night Man, two nights a week as well as attending to any in-house electrical issues.
It really comes in handy at times having a “Sparky” in residence.
But Aiden plans to move on shortly to find work in the mines and camps of Northern Alberta, B.C. or the Territories where his skills will be in much demand.
Aiden (a.k.a. “Sparky”) showing off skills of his misspent youth!
Toronto has several annual music festivals. Two of the largest are held off-season and target industry professionals.
The Canadian Music Week and NXNE (North By Northeast) Festivals are annual mega events. The CMW just ended last night and featured over 700 musicians in 45 venues throughout the city.
Glen and Ian arrive each year from St. Johns to check out Canadian Indie Music talent. They run a music bar/club called “Distortion” in the heart of the downtown of Newfoundland’s capital city.
Last year alone, they showcased 68 Canadian Independent bands. And it is likely due to the efforts of club owners like Glen and Ian that the Independent music scene is surging in Canada.
They have become very familiar faces in the hostel. They are going the extra mile, it seems, to bring quality talent to St. Johns.
Their club features all types of music. Rock. Blues, Jazz, Folk, Punk, Metal – you name it!
To all of our hostelers who plan on visiting the “Rock” (Newfoundland) this summer, check out the music scene at “Distortion” in St. Johns.
The hostel is bracing for another St. Patrick’s Day! Officially, the parade was yesterday as it is always held on a weekend.
All the “Irish Pubs” in Toronto are going to be packed this Wednesday the 17th! And there are a lot of Irish Pubs in Toronto.
They have names like Fionn MacCool’s, McVeigh’s, The Old Sod, Grace O’Malley’s, The Foggy Dew, The James Joyce, The Irish Embassy Pub etc., etc. Good luck getting into one!
In fact, good luck getting into ANY pub!
Everyone and every drinking establishment gets into the spirit of the day. Sort of. I mean, technically it honours the Patron Saint of Ireland (but I suppose raising a class to him counts – technically!)
The parade held yesterday was well attended and lasted over two hours. The Grand Marshall of the Toronto Parade was the octogenarian mayor of the neighbouring city of Mississauga, Hazel McAllion.
It sort of makes sense too. She does have Irish heritage and the three decades she has been mayor of Mississauga attests to her popularity. She’s much more popular than Toronto’s Mayor…whatshisname?
Wednesday night is the real St. Patrick’s Day. Remember to start early if you can. All pubs/bars will be packed with revellers and serving copious amounts of Guinness and Green Beer.
Erin Go Bragh!