Archive for March, 2012

Ceebeeteegees!

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Some Canadians say (regarding places with strange names), “If you’ve never heard of it or think it could not possibly be a real placename; then, it’s probably in Newfoundland.”

Don’t believe us? Then try these Nfld., place names:

viagra cheap viagra - Bacon Cove; Blow Me Down; Come By Chance; Goobies; Heart’s Content (or Delight or Desire); Little Seldom; River of Ponds; Pothead and the ever weird, unfortunate town named, “Dildo”.

CBTG’s (pronounced “CEEBEETEEGEE’S”). Is a popular St. John’s watering hole whose name is (almost) an unpronouncable acronym.

It stands for, The Closest Bar To Gulliver’s (Taxi). Which presumably allows you easy access a cab to help you stumble home safely after a night out.

Ian Newton, who owns and operates Ceebeeteegee’s, comes to the Canadiana every year to catch the North by Northeast Music Festival or Canadian Music Week. He’s here again for the 2012 edition of CMW. It is yet another scouting trip to find possible bands for his club.

So when you visit Newfoundland, drop into “CBTG’s” – The Closest Bar To Gulliver’s (Taxi Service) located at 338A Water Street, St, John’s. (Tell them that the Canadiana Backpacker’s Inn sent you!)

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CBTG’s (top two floors above Subway). Entrance via hidden/raised patio around the corner.

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See? We weren’t kidding about the strange place names!

BOOMTOWN TORONTO

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

There was a time when our hostel brochures included the boast,  “Located in the shadow of the CN Tower”. Like everything in our hostel literature, it was absolutely true.

We are situated in the heart of the “Entertainment District of Toronto”. Go out of our front door, look to your right…and voila! The CN Tower!

That is about to change. (And very soon too!)

WE are not going anywhere. The CN TOWER is not going anywhere. But it is soon to dissappear from our view!

Our city is in the midst of an unprecendented building boom.

As we write this, Toronto currently has 148 high rise condos and skyscrapers under construction. By comparison #2 (New York City) has 59; and #3 (Chicago) 22!

You can stand in a single spot on the street a block from the hostel and count dozens (literally) of construction crane towers peircing the sky. (And this does not factor in the many buildings that are still in the excavation stages of development).

At last count, there were 14  high rises (40 story plus) planned or underway on our block or within two blocks of our hostel’s front door!

There is a sliver of land wedged between Toronto’s elevated expressway and an off-ramp that pumps traffic into downtown. This has become the epicenter of Toronto’s construction boom. In this area, towers between 40 stories and 75 stories have or are being built are so numerous, that it defies our efforts to count them.

The Canadiana Backpackers Inn is comprised of 10 attached, Victoirian Era, 3 story residences (circa 1889) on a quiet street. And we are located in the centre of this constrction boom! (This is NOT hyperbole! It is a dead-bang fact!)

A tower at the foot of our street (a part of the one-full block epanse of the Toronto Film Festival Development) is rising at the rate of two floors a week! By month’s end, our once clear view of the landmark CN Tower (three blocks away) will be obliterated.

To all of our old Canadiana past guests and friends, come on back and see the areas you may no longer recognize! It is radical change indeed; but, just it is the price of progress.

And it is actually kind of nice in a very exciting way!

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We are losing the hostel’s dramatic view of the CN Tower a mere three blocks away!

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WINTER? WHAT WINTER?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Anybody who still isn’t convinced that the threat and dangers of “Global Warming” aren’t real, should have been in Toronto this winter.

A “normal” Canadian winter is usually defined as bitterly cold and white with snow. (That description doesn’t even begin to address the stinging sleet, messy slush and damaging hail etc., that often accompanies winter’s wrath.)

Canadians often describe the month of March as; “coming in as a lion” - a month when winter gives us a savage reminder of her savage power to control how we must live.

At a time of year when we ususally experience temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, mid-March has seen insanely high temperatures double-digits above freezing.

This follows a winter devoid of any signifigant, lasting snowfall and with a mean temperature the highest seen since the beginning of accurate record keeping six-and-a-half decades ago.

In a country defined by winter, ski-resorts in Ontario have been crippled; snow mobile enthusiasts outdoor activities ruined; winter carnivals less wintery; skating rinks shut down early; and outdoor swimming pools are being prepared months sooner in anticipation of possible earlier openings.

In short, it’s crazy! Although many of our visiting backpackers (skiiers, snowboarders etc.) have been somewhat disappointed, long-suffering Canadians are  (in the spite of ther global threat) inwardly elated.

So to the youth in other countries who enjoy the “status quo” regarding the climate in their home countries you’d better start addressing the issue of Global Warming!

We’ve had first hand eperience here in Toronto. That (“…the times, they are a-changin…!”)

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Our usual winter

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This winter

OUR NEW POOL TABLE

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Several pubs in our neighbourhood have pool table for patrons to use. They are normally good quality, coin operated, 9 ball tables. It costs around two dollars per game; but the bar makes a lot of money selling draft beer to the players for $17 – $20 dollars per pitcher (barely  3 pints).

Obviously pool is a very popular game with young people in pubs. Here at the Canadiana, we have installed a regulation sized pool table which is almost identical to the one’s you will find in drinking establishments. The only difference, is ours does not have a coin slot. The games are free.

People who operate hostels are well-aware that the majority of young backpackers are extremely “budget conscious” and that bars, all too often, constitute the biggest single drain on many young backpacker’s resources.

With our own table and patio, our guests can enjoy a “pub night” out with free pool for the cost of a six pack of beer! And since the patio is “outdoors”, you may smoke during the game (if you’ve still not managed to give them up!)

It’s just another way our Toronto Backpackers Inn helps backpacker’s save a little of their money to continue traveling.

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Frugal Academics

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

It is pretty much a given that most business travelers on the government’s tab are usually outright profligates. (What the heck? It’s not their money!)

There is currently a conference here in Toronto for people who compile satistics on the rapidly changing demographics of Canada. As population changes with the influx of different ethnicities, new strategies must be employed to fit a new and rapidly changing social paradigm.

It requires those with a strong academic to compile accurate and pertainent statistics to enable the government to formulate plans and policies to ensure a smoothly running multi-cultural country.

I don’t think it is unfair to say that many (if not, most) bureaucrats working for the government, tend to be rather profligate when attending professional seminars and conferences. After all, it’s your money they are spending.

But here in our hostel, we have noted that there are notable exceptions. The exceptions are almost always government employed academics.

The conference referred to above took place at the exclusive Harbour Castle Hotel right on the Toronto waterfront. Conference attendees got a “special rate” of a little less than $200 per night. Not too bad for such a upscale hotel.

Josh, is a doctoral candidate (Geography) working for the Provincial Government of British Columbia. His job (among other things) is to track the geographical distribution of different ethnicities presumably to aid in allocating initiatives and funds in various areas. So he was here on the taxpayer’s dime and the total cost of his conference was budgeted for around $1600 of public funds.

We see a lot of professionals attending conferences since Toronto is the conference centre of Canada. Yet, the individuals who opt to stay at our hostel (instead of an expensive 4star luxury hotel) are employees  with strong academic backgrounds.

Why? We have no idea really.

But some have speculated, that after years spent as a struggling student, academics know the value of money and are loathe to spend it wastefully. So many of them elect to stay in our hostel.

When we ask some of them why they choose to stay with us the answer (almost uniformly) is the friendly, convivial and unpretentious  atmosphere of hostels.

So if you are a senior bureaucrat booking accomodations for staff members, keep in mind that we are centrally located in the downtown core of Toronto and have clean, comfortable private rooms at less than 1/3 the price of a downtown hotel.


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