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O Canada

September 21st, 2007 by Raj

Toronto

This place is pretty good ay! I’ve been wondering the streets of Toronto for three and half days now and it has definitely put on the charms to woo me across the Pacific before I’m 30. That said the weather has probably influenced my opinion somewhat with gorgeous mid twenties every day with nothing but bright blue skies. The people here have been fantastic too, friendly, happy, and always happy to have a chat. In fact they could actually be bordering too polite, take crossing the road for example, despite what my driver from the airport said about Toronto being rather full on when it comes to driving (yes I said Driver, I got a town car, yeah… eat that fools!), these Canadians are so damn pleasant that they give way to pedestrians! I mean seriously guys it’s OK your car weighs just a tad more than me, I’m happy to not cross the road for another thirty seconds and back up traffic. Seriously… go!

In that respect I’m a bit like a fish out of water here. I’m not exactly the most social person on the planet and as soon as someone gets a whiff of that Aussie accent they’re all over you with questions and conversation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I got a couple of beers from a bunch of guys (no I wasn’t in a gay bar Paul) the other night who filled me in on the local hot spots and helped me out in getting a ticket to the Hockey the other night. Speaking of accents, I sound like such an Occa bastard here, it’s as thick as vegemite! In the US I didn’t really think about it much, linguistically there it was like I was walking around in a movie, but here in Canada their own accents are a lighter American with a touch of English, it almost borders an Australian one in some respects, which is why my own stands out so much to me I think. Some have mistaken it for English, must be the South Australian in me there, but 99% get it right, saying “no worries” at the end of a sentence is a bit of give away too, they love it.

Drake Hotel

So exactly what have I been doing here… Not a lot really, which probably sounds odd considering I haven’t been doing any writing on here but the reality is I’ve just been enjoying time here. It’s such a step down from the pace of New York and quite honestly I think you could mistake this place for Melbourne, well if you forget that everyone says “ay” after anything they say. There’s plenty of Australian reminders like Crumpler and Molly Blooms to ensure you don’t forget home. I haven’t even been sight seeing (not that there are many here), I’m skipping Niagara Falls and my Driver told me not to bother going up to the top of CN Tower as it was a bit of waste of time and money. For the first couple of days I’ve just walked around and soaked up the sun, hell I think I might even have a slight tan if that’s possible. My skin’s slowly been losing any remnants of Indian heritage and pigment form the countless hours indoors I think, Michael Jackson style without the plastic!

Downtown Toronto is quite beautiful, lots of parks and lawn areas. I spent my first afternoon in a book store reading the new Douglas Coupland novel and watching people two stories below through the large glass windows of the building. It was really nice, my mind was completely relaxed and for the first time in many, many months I was content. You really can’t ask for more than that so I’ve modelled the rest of my time doing the same type of things, relaxing, enjoying the atmosphere and pondering just how bad a -30 degrees winter would be here?!

Ice Hockey

Beyond exploring on foot (I think I’ve worn my soles out) I went to an NHL preseason game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Phoenix Coyotes. I was really glad the guys from the other night told me there were some preseason games on because seeing an Ice Hockey game has been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. Similar to the baseball game in the US they’re crazed fans up here for their hockey and even though it was a preseason game the place was packed with screaming Canadians for their rather lack lustre team that hasn’t won a championship since 1976 (I think it said). Unfortunately it wasn’t their night in this particular game either as they lost 3-2 but it was just awesome to watch! Hard rock music, fast paced game, three fights! Yeah it was pretty damn cool and I much more enjoyed that over seeing a waterfall, sorry Niagara you just don’t cut the mustard this time around.

Tomorrow I’m going to meet some of my Dad’s family for the first time. Cousins, Uncles & Aunties that no one in my family has ever had the chance of meeting (well other than my Dad 30 years ago). It’ll be good to see them and if one day I do ever move over here it’ll be nice to know there’s already a support network built in for me, which is something I haven’t really had before when moving around Australia. After that I fly out to Paris for MacWorld before finishing off my trip in London…. oh how time flies!

Toronto pictures here

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