Toronto gets 2 thumbs up from USA Today Travel - top food, shops, hotel picks
Okay, they trotted out that old cliche quote about Toronto being New York run by the Swiss, a hoary chestnut allegedly invented by wag Peter Ustinov.
I'd prefer something a little less antiseptic given how far this city has come. But there's still some truth to it, I suppose. Come to think of it, given what's happened down in Times Square these days you could say New York is now New York run by the Swiss...
Anyway, it was nice to wake up and see a story on Toronto on top of the USA Today travel pages, at least on-line.
"Indeed, this is a big, beautiful, and efficient city, one that has emerged from relative obscurity over the past half century to become the center of culture, commerce, and communications in Canada. With its colorful ethnic mix, rich history, and breathtaking architecture, Toronto is nonstop adventure for the willing tourist from the top of the CN Tower to as far as the eye can see."
On the subject of food, here's a sample of the story:
"Immigration flourishes in Toronto, and even if you've come from a far-flung corner of the world, you can often find home cooking here. Multiethnic Little Italy (which has as many sushi and Thai restaurants as Italian), a half-dozen Chinatowns (urban and suburban), the Greek area of the Danforth, and Little India or Indian Bazaar are just some of the lively neighborhoods full of restaurants. Southeast Asian cooking—Korean, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, and Malaysian—started tempting local taste buds with flavors like chili, lemongrass, coconut, and lime in the 1970s with the arrival of thousands of Boat People who were welcomed to the city with open arms. The abundant fresh produce of the province, once filtered through French, British, and Italian cooking techniques, now stars in dishes ranging from the sweet and pungent flavors of the Middle East to the soulful dishes of Latin America. In one short block of Baldwin Street at Kensington Market, there are 23 eateries—a de facto United Nations of gastronomy, if you will."
The top picks for tourists were fairly standard. The top sights were listed as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the CN Tower (yes, really) and St. Lawrence Market. I would rate the Distillery District or West Queen West higher than the CN Tower any day, but I guess some folks still enjoy the heights and the view.
The top hotel picks were the Royal York (always popular with tourists and a fine property), the SoHo Metropolitan and the Windsor Arms. For food, top honours went to Canoe, Lai Wah Heen and Splendido, as well as Rodney's Oyster House and Truffles. Top nightlife picks were Canoe, Massey Hall and the Rivoli.
There were a couple noted mistakes. I saw something about a B & B called Alan Gardens, when it should be Allan. The story also noted Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel, but I've never heard of the Royal part. And they referred to a shopping complex at Bay and Front called BCE Place, which is what it was called several years ago. It's been Brookfield Place for quite some time.
There also was a bit that said that the northern edge of the city is called "York Mills or North York," which is at least kinda close to being the truth. Many downtowners would say Bloor is the north edge of the city, I guess....
Anyway, it's nice to see the old town get some needed ink. And good ink at that.