Archive for September, 2010

WE DAY

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

“We Day” is an event conceived by a Toronto based organization formed to combat child exploitation around the world. It entails a one day gathering in Toronto, to be followed by additional meetings in Vancouver and Montreal.

The “We Day” events mark the launch of a year-long program called; “We Schools in Action

The Toronto event to be held tomorrow (September 30, 2010) has a distinguished guest speaker Mrs. Betty Williams, Nobel Laureate and co-founder the Northern Ireland Peace Movement.

As one might expect, the core of volunteers of this initiative consists of  mostly young (18 – 23 year-old) students.

Late last evening, the hostel received 23 young visitors from Boston area schools who have come to attend the Toronto conference. They are not typical backpackers. Let’s call them young convention delegates.

They represent a lot of good things of their generation. They are politically concerned, socially active and prepared to expend time and energy in aid of an important cause.

For more information on “WE DAY”, see: http://weday.freethechildren.com/

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We Day - Canadiana Backpackers Tronto hostels

THREE INCHES

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Our previous blog entry was about a film being shot on the steps of one of our buildings.

It is a production of a made for television feature called “Three Inches”. They have decorated our alleyway and are filming even as I write this.

There are several Irish lads from the hostel sitting on our front step watching with great interest. It is sort of a new thing to these backpackers. (Plus they are likely labouring under the impression that a movie called “Three Inches” is possibly a soft porn film.)

It is actually a Sci-Fi feature being made for television.

But Toronto residents are used to seeing film productions and movie stars. In fact, at the height of the film industries boom, there were as many as 45 – 50 productions being filmed simultneously in Toronto.

We are putting up the pics of two of the female leads in the film being shot on our property. The scenery around our backpackers inn has definitely improved!

3 Inches - Canadiana Backpackers Budget Toronto Hostels

3 Inches - Canadiana Backpackers Budget Backpacker Toronto Hostel

“ACTION!” at the Hostel

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, of all the hostels in Toronto ours is the only one that can claim to be in the middle of the Entertainment District.

The middle? Well yes we are. More accurately, we are located in the dead centre of the district!

We are in fact precisely one block from the HQ of the Toronto Film Festival; perhaps 15 metres from the Scotiabank Multiplex Cinema; one block from the National Film Board and the MuchMusic Studios.

It is a five minute walk to the CN Tower, Rogers Centre (Skydome) and Roy Thompson Hall;  and ten minutes from the Air Canada Centre (three venues for major bands and entertainers).

We are also within easy walking distance of Harbourfront and Ontario Place. Despite being in the epicentre of the district, we are still on a quiet, residential side street!

This morning a film crew took down two of our Provincial flags and covered up our hostel logo so they could shoot a scene right on our front porch.

And that ladies and gentlemen is ENTERTAINMENT!

Action - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Hostels Canada

HOSTEL DEMOGRAPHICS

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Hostels host backpackers from all over the world. Our Toronto backpackers inn is home to travelers from virtually everywhere and anywhere you can imagine.

I really can’t really think of any place we haven’t had somebody visit from. Backpacking and staying in hostels is now a world-wide phenomenon and no longer the sole preserve of the youth of the world.

We get people from  Khazakstan to Korea; Lithuania to Lichenstein; Macau to Mozambique etc. So it is likely easier to tell you from where we get the  fewest travelers.

First of all, Ireland is the all-time champion for the greatest percentage of our hostels guests. They have occupied as much as one third of our total capacity and virtually never fewer than 20% of our total capacity of over 200 beds.

Toronto, according to the U.N., is perhaps the most multi-cultural city on the planet. So it stands to reason that we get visitors from far and wide.

There are actually close to half a million ethnic Chinese in Toronto. But we don’t get a lot of Chinese backpackers (nor do other Toronto hostels, to the best of my knowledge)

Why not? Three reasons actually. The first is that many Chinese who visit Toronto have friends or relatives to stay with.

The two other reasons are cultural.  Chinese usually have to have a reason to visit a foreign country. They don’t really grasp the concept of a vagabond lifestyle or travel for the sake of travel. They are far to practical a people.

They also don’t fully understand the western concept of a “vacation”.  Like camping, for instance.

To the Chinese spending your limited leisure time living under conditions that are less comfortable and less convenient than how you normally live is patently absurd. (It really is, if you think about it!)

So despite the fact that they represent more than 20% of all souls on this planet, they have been decidedly under-represented in most hostels.

And the Irish,  (the ones actually from Ireland) number only about 4 million people and have taken over our hostel – go figure?

HOSTEL GIRLFRIENDS

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Solo travelers (especially young, attractive females) often find it a little daunting to arrive in a strange country and strange city and find themselves in the company of only strangers.

But at our hostel in Toronto, they find they are in good company; in fact, there are others in exactly the same predicament.

Rhona and Elaine both arrived from Ireland within a few days of each other. They met Cigaine from Avingon, France who was also traveling long-term with a working/holiday visa.

The three became fast friends and eventually moved out to share an apartment in the trendy (rather bohemian) Kensington Market area.

But they never forgot their real “home” in Toronto. They regularly attended hostel “events” to touch bases with the many friends they made while staying at the hostel. Elaine (an accomplished folk singer/songwriter even performed at our Canada Day Barbeque!

The three are leaving Toronto after spending the summer and all heading west to Vancouver via the Rocky Mountains. They hope to find work in the ski resorts for the winter.

Are their any job offers for three stunning backpackers?

Girlfriends - Canadiana Backpackers Hostels Toronto

MOTHER and SON

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Peter came to Toronto in the summer of 2009.

He stayed at our hostel for several months before moving to an apartment in Chinatown with A.J. and Nathan; two other Irish refugees who came here to find work away from the troubled Irish economy.

A.J. has found employment in his trade as a carpenter and Nathan worked as part of the hostels staff until his work visa expired. He is now headed for Australia.

Peter works here in Toronto for “Magic Bus” a local tour company that runs sightseeing trips in the city and Niagara Falls.

The point is, Ireland is fast loosing virtually an entire generation of its’ young recent-grads. It is estimated that by next year the current exodus of young Irish will number more than 200 thousand. That is an enormous slice from a population of only around 4 million.

Laura, Peters recently retired mother, arrived for a two-week visit. She had not seen her son for over a year.

One thing that a great many of these Irish working/holiday backpackers have in common is that many are not too anxious to return to the Emerald Isles. It is the single thing that separates them from so many other travelers.

But what seems strangest of all is that so many of their parents agree with their children’s decisions to leave Ireland forever.

It isn’t because of a lack of love for their beautiful homeland. Anyone who has ever been there will agree it is a pretty nice place.

But in Ireland the economy is stagnant; jobs are scarce; opportunities lacking; and taxation outrageously high.

So we’ve been seeing more and more visiting parents flying over for a visit with their now grown children. Like all good parents, they want to check out where their children have settled.

Mother & Son - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Hostels

“YOUTH HOSTELS”

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

“Youth Hostels” is an archaic term that you rarely see used these days.

At one time hostels were all youth hostels because it was thought that hostel accommodations would only appeal to youth travelers.

Young backpackers still comprise the  bulk of “Youth Hostels” guests; however, backpacking inns are no longer the exclusive domain of “youth”when it comes to hostel guests.

These days, backpackers in their youth are not the only budget-minded travelers. The worldwide economic downturn has created a greater demand for lower-cost accomodation.

Largely in response to this demand, we have dedicated two of our eight buildings to “private” rooms; for both single and double accomodation. A few are even ensuite.

They have proved to be a very popular item for both backpacking youth (especially couples) and older business travelers who find hostels both comfortable and convenient.

Right now this particular “youth hostel” has several media reporters, film distributors and other film industry professionals in residence. The Toronto Film Festival HQ and media centre is located one block from the hostels front door.

And most of the festival venues are within walking distance of our hostel. So you can drop the word youth when you are searching for budget accomodation in the future. Hostels are no longer the exclusive domain of youth travelers.

TIFF

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Toronto’s annual TIFF began on Friday. Toronto International Film Festival, that is.

The Festival is now in its’ 35th season and it has grown from a small, ambitious festival started by a group of film lovers to become one of the world’s premier cinema events rivaling even the Cannes Film Festival.

Of all the Toronto Hostels and Inns for backpackers, only the Canadiana can claim to be right in the middle of the Festival!

Go out of the hostels front door and look right. There you will see the HQ of the Festival; the Bell Lightbox Theatre; and the Film Festival Towers (a condo development catering to actors, directors and other film industry professionals).

Immediately across the street, is the Scotiabank Theatre complex – a multi-screen “Cineplex” that is one of the festivals main venues. The Film Festival Box Office is one block west of the hostel on Peter Street.

The Roy Thompsom Hall, the location numerous grand debuts and “Red Carpet” events is three blocks east along King Street.

One block east along Richmond street is the HQ of the National Film Board of Canada.

Want to see movies? Want to see film stars? Then Toronto is the place to be this week.

And the Canadiana Backpackers Inn is place to be in Toronto!

Bell Lightbox - Canadiana Backpackers Hostels Toronto Canada
Bell Lightbox

Scotia Bank Theatre - Canadiana Backpackers Hostels Toronto Canada
Scotia Bank Theatre

Roy Thompson Hall - Canadiana Backpackers Hostels Toronto Canada
Roy Thompson Hall

AMERICAN VISITORS

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

We get a good many young American visitors who stay in hostels even though you might not consider them to be “traditional” backpackers.

You see we have a rather unique relationship with the U.S.A. First of all they are right next door and together, we form the largest trading partnership in the world. (The fact that Condoleeza Rice thought it was China and the U.S. notwithstanding!)

We also share there world’s longest undefended border – 4000 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific (approx. 6400 kms).

The point is, they are our neighbours. Some Americans live as little as 80 miles from Toronto (even less as the crow flies). So they think little of driving up for a week; a weekend; or even a day.

Andrew is a New Yorker who came up to Toronto several months ago on a business trip. He must have liked the city as he got three of his friends to drive up here with him for a week’s holiday. And it is a ten hour drive from the Big Apple.

His friends were Kyle, Matt and another Matt. (seriously). So they parked their car and then it was PARTY TIME! They chose our Inn among all the other hostels because we are in the centre (literally) of the Entertainment District.

They really got into the spirit of things and even brought some sort of beer guzzling contraption – a length of hose with a funnel attached! (Always a bad sign for hostels!)

But we want our guests to have a good time so they went out on our regular Saturday night Pub Crawl led by our lovely staff member Julia.

They have all promised to return soon; or should I say threatened?

American Visitors - Canadiana Backpackers Hostels Toronto
Matt, Andrew, Kyle and another Matt.

THE GIRLS FROM BRAZIL

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Brazil is an enormous country – larger than the continent of Australia. Canada get a lot of imports from Brazil, mostly food products such as coffee, sugar, beef and (of course) Brazil nuts.

Hostels in Canada (particularly in main centres like Toronto) host a lot of backpackers who come here to study English.

The huge influx of young travelers from Brazil is a boon to virtually all backpackers hostels and budget travelers inns in major Canadian cities.

The language of Brazil is Portuguese and there are actually twice as many native Portuguese speakers worldwide than there are French speakers.

The real boon to our Toronto Backpacker’s Inn are the many, many Brazilian beauties we host every summer.

Don’t believe me?

Then check out the pics of Karina and Camila from Sao Paolo, Brazil! They were here in Canada for a month on vacation.

Many travelers find that staying in Backpacker’s Inns is a good way to practice their English skills with travelers from other countries who are doing the same.

Girls from Brazil - Canadiana Backpackers Hostel Toronto Canada


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