TORONTO TOWERS MAKE THE GRADE
Maybe it's because we live here that we take it for granted. Or maybe it's just me. But I've never thought of Toronto's skyline as anything particularly noteworthy.
The CN Tower has never turned my personal crank, and there's not that much of a critical mass with really cool architecture. But things have been improving, which is perhaps why forbestraveller.com has named the Toronto skyline as one of the top 13 "most stunning" in the world.
The picture they showed is kinda cool; with the CN Tower lit up at night and a glittering Lake Ontario in the foreground. The Royal Bank building always has stood out with its gold-covered windows, and I guess there are enough big towers downtown now, both of the business and condo variety, to make things more interesting than even a decade ago.
The little blurb that accompanied the Toronto photo talked about how the city has 2,000 buildings of 300 feet or higher (never knew that and I suspect that has to include suburban apartment towers) and the magazine says that "verticality is a distinguishing feature of the varied Toronto skyline."
LIVE FREE OR DIE
Folks in Toronto don't hear a lot about New Hampshire. Vermont has Stowe and the Von Trapp family and all that. Maine is famous for lobsters and Bar Harbor. But New Hampshire sometimes gets forgotten; the meat between two fairly nice pieces of bread.
But having been there for a couple of ski vacations, I can say it's a pretty good place. Great skiing, friendly folks (not always super chatty like the Florida supermarket check-out folks, which isn't a bad thing) and incredible shopping deals at the outlet malls. The mountains have great hiking and fishing, and there's even a small stretch of seacoast that looks pretty cool.
Want an even better reason to go? Apparently, you have almost no chance of being shot. The study said there were only 15 murders in New Hampshire last year; a state with 1.3 million people.
According to a U.S. study of crimes by state, New Hampshire had the lowest crime rate of all. Vermont and Maine were right up there in the 2 and 3 positions, by the way, followed by North Dakota and South Dakota.
The worst five states for crime were Florida, New Mexico (bit of a surprise to me), South Carolina, Louisiana and, in the 50th spot, Nevada.
WHILE WE'RE AT IT, ANOTHER NEW HAMPSHIRE PLUG
The same folks at Forbes who gave Toronto's skyline the top-13 placing have named the Mt. Washington hotel in Bretton Woods, N.H. as one of the top ten mountain hotels in the world. It's been a favourite of celebrities and politicians and has lovely views and a classic design with a wraparound porch.
Personally, I think if every house in the world had a front porch we'd all have crime rates as low as New Hampshire. I've got a lovely home but spend many a summer day wishing I had a porch on which to sit and read the paper.
Anyway, among the other top 10 mountain hotels was, not surprisingly, the Fairmont Banff Springs out Alberta way. So there's another victory for Canada. And no mention of Vermont or Maine!