Friday, July 13, 2012

Thoughts on Canada


Hello and happy Friday! Just a reminder that ONE WEEK from today, our House Hunters episode will air at 9pm cst on HGTV! Set your DVR and spread the word!

As you read this, I am en route from Toronto back to Austin. I was in Toronto for a Microsoft event for work since Sunday and I am more than ready to get back to my hubby and Chunk. Traveling for work for me is incredibly busy and go-go-go and I am looking forward to jumping back into normalcy (until my next show at the end of August). 

Lack of sleep=hello bags!!

So here are my thoughts on Canada, specifically Toronto

  • It is incredibly expensive. I stayed in a crappy-ish Courtyard Marriott for $400/night. Granted, it was a 16k person event but still! It needed some major updating. And not just lodging but food and drink was very expensive...I ate $15 breakfasts, $30 lunches, and $60 dinners. 
  • Speaking of food...there were so many delicious steakhouses! When you travel with businessmen, you eat steak, and I ate enough steak for the entire year. I highly recommend Tom Jones Steakhouse if you are looking for a delicious (and very intimate, quiet atmosphere). Panorama Lounge was also great...mostly because it had a panoramic view of the city from the 51st floor.
  • There are lots of gay people which I DO NOT have a problem with...just stating it. I think we missed Pride Week by a few days but it is just something I noticed
  • It is like a clean New York City to me. But weird because lots of homeless people which is weird for me to say, coming from Austin. They are different than the bums in Austin too. The city seems very safe
  • Also a lot of foreign people but that is expected because the show was Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference so I met people from Mozambique, Argentina, India, Denmark...pretty cool. But as far as Toronto residents, lots of French (obviously).
  • The weather was perfect!! I couldn't really keep track of the temperature because they measure in Celicius but it was sunny, breezy and probably in the 70's the whole week (and of course it rained all week in Austin when I was gone!)
  • Lots of smokers which really sucks. Austin has great laws that ban smoking pretty much everywhere so I am not used to being surrounded by it.
  • International phone plans suck. I paid $5 to have my phone calls be $.59/min rather than $.79/min and also $30 for 200 texts. Data was ungodly expensive (for example my coworker forgot to get a data plan and racked up a $2k bill in 8 hours). I turned off all data and relied on Wifi for iMessage and FaceTime...thank God for iPhones!!!!!
we tend to put the word "face" at the end of all nicknames...
  • Netflix here sucks. No Pretty Little Liars, no 30Rock and lots of movies in French. Also, no Pandora! 
  • Fun restaurants, bars, clubs, entertainment. One of the best part of huge tradeshows (specifically in software) is the people watching...computer nerds letting loose :-)
 (did a little Forever 21 shopping in Dundas Square, $10 necklace baby)

(Target shoes rule...can I get an amen?) 

(thank you for the compliments on this dress, it was a hand-me-up from my little sister hehe)
  • Taxes are 13% and healthcare is free. It was interesting to talk to a girl my age about the good and the bad of that. 
  • The accents are cute but not too noticeable. "Parliament" and "about" were my favorites to hear. I heard lots of other accents this week too.

I wish I could have met up with some of you fabulous Toronto/Canadian bloggers but it didn't work out :-(. Not sure if I will be coming back to Toronto and I wish I had time to do a tour of the city but what I did see, I liked.



and you still have a few days to enter my group giveaway!




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21 comments:

Hilary said...

That is too cool that you're going to be on House Hunter's! Congrats! My cousins live in Toronto and say that it is beautiful. Have fun in O Canada!

Hilary
theyoungandthenaive.com

Lauren Talon said...

Happy to hear you liked it here! Tom Jones steakhouse is about a 2 minute walk from my place but I've never been! I'm surprised you thought there were a lot of smokers. We have pretty good smoking laws. No smoking inside, in cars, in public parks. I'm not a fan of smoking either though. Toronto is one of the most if not the most multicultural city in the world so that explains that part :) I think the phone plans are only because you were out of your own country though. I had the same problem with data when I was in the US. And yes Netflix sucks...we don't even bother with it :) Oh and free health care is amazing! It was interesting to hear what you thought :D And as always I'm sure you're glad to be home!

Jamie said...

So glad that you're on your way home to be reunited with your husband and your cute pup! I've always wanted to go to Canada and I liked your recap, but that is crazy it is so expensive. One of my co-workers is from Canada and I love the fact that their milk comes in bags :)

Whitney said...

So jealous that you got to travel to CA! I've been to British Columbia, but not Toronto. I'm dying to go! You are GORGEOUS by the way!

Ashley said...

I am glad Canada left a good impression!! Although Toronto is super busy!! I am surprised that you got such a good pic of the CN tower!! It is usually too smoggy!! We live about an hour and a half from Toronto!

Sandra said...

It's always great to get some normalcy back after work events that require travel. For me the best parts of traveling for work is all the great food! I also notice the cigarette smoke when outside of Austin. I think we are spoiled by the fact that it's banned in so many places. Wish it were like that everywhere! Have a great weekend!

Meg said...

Sounds like an overall decent trip. I've been to Quebec not Toronto--maybe it needs to go on my list. I'm not a fan of the huge smoking thing, yuck!

Have a safe trip back home!

Cara said...

Sounds like a fun experience. I have only been to Vancouver and it was very different too. For one, when we drove across the border you would think you are driving into Iran. It was very serious and they are very serious about who enters. Another thing I remember is the speed signs on the road are in KPM not MPH so it says 50 but that does not mean 50 mph and apparently a lot of Americans get tickets.

Erin said...

I hate traveling and being hit by unexpected smokers. I always forget about it, as I'm in Ohio and it seems like it's banned just about everywhere here lol.

I cannot WAIT to see your episode! :)

Claire-Christine said...

Glad you're back safe and sound, Ruthie! Looks like a busy and eventful time!

Leilani @ Soleil Selene said...

"computer nerds getting loose", hahaha! Loved that.Happy Friday!

The Management said...

I'm an Ontario girl. Love Toronto so much, go there every chance I get. My parents still live about an hour from it.

Netflix really does suck here, I'll give you that.

Daisy said...

Glad you're back! Toronto sounds expensive but fun :)

Abbey said...

How fun that you get to branch out for work and see different cities! I bet you are ready to be home after your trip/work! Can't wait for HH!!;)

Amanda said...

Sounds like you got a good taste of Canada for the week! I wish you were coming back to NYC or me coming to TX. I think I want to plan a trip to visit soon! Can we have a massive blogger meet up too? 'Cuz I would love to meet some more Texas bloggers! Miss you Ruthie face ;)

Simply Splendid LOVE said...

I love your outfits!!! Hope you enjoy your weekend home with your hubby!! Happy weekend!

Girls Love Fried Pickles said...

I have been to Canada a few times and my idea if paying 5 dollars for a Reece's peanut butter cup wasn't a fun experience. But the people were a blast. They can drink Americans under the table. Glad your back! Missed you! Let's eat cereal now !

Pamela said...

You are too cute!! That's crazy how expensive everything was! eeeee, can't wait til Friday night to watch!

Lauren H. Edmondson said...

I love when conferences and trade shows take me to cool places! We went to San Antonio last year and it was SO HOT, but we stayed on the River Walk and it was amazing. And I HATE cigarette smoke, NC has laws banning it just about everywhere.

Sarah-Life is what you make it said...

I live in toronto and you are so right about everything. Netflix SUCKS! and it is so expensive here. And we love our immigrants :) glad you had fun.

Chelsea said...

Fun! That view of the city is gorgeous. But I bet it is good to be home :)

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