For the first time since… well, the first time I visited in 1976 and got a guided tour of the shiny new CN Tower after riding around in a police car all day, I’m enjoying a stay in Toronto. There are places where there are real neighbourhoods, not just suburban sprawl and an antiseptic downtown. Next time I’m down, I know what part of town I’m going to stay in.
In previous visits, my employers were in Missisauga or business was right downtown. As a result, I stayed frequently at the Sheraton Centre or Hilton (I still call it the “Hotel Toronto” from when we stayed there in 1976, and Trader Vics is still in the basement) downtown, or one of the lego hotels by the airport. Those two neighbourhoods are not exactly people friendly. This time I stayed a little farther North, closer to Bloor. A little out of the way, but I got to take the subway (it was clean, which is not what I have grown to expect out of a subway system) and walk to Shaver’s place for drinks.
The walking is what made the city rub off on me a little. I walked up Yonge to Bloor, then West to Brunswick. What a great area of town. Yonge has a bunch of head shops, adult video stores, subject-specific bookstores, and a number of smaller shops carrying a variety of things. Bloor has all the big-name stores, including a couple of my favourites. Walking out of the shopping district around Varisty Stadium/Spadina exposes you to neighborhoods where people live in real houses/buildings, not glass cylinders, and there were plenty of cool restaurants, pubs, patios, and life on the streets to make it interesting.
As always, it was good to see Mike and Tyla, and I enjoyed a frosty beverage and a Scotch with them in their apartment. We spoke of cats falling off a roof, stupid-big TVs, good tequila, pretty new LCD monitors, and a whole bunch of other things that were mostly unrelated to work.
I’m actually looking forward to going back and exploring, and I know where all be staying next time around. Hopefully work won’t get too bent out of shape at me for not staying at a “preferred” hotel (corporate code for “we get discounts at the end of the year, but won’t credit them against your travel budget”). Not that I’d really give a shit about what they’d say, anyways. 🙂