Archives for: August 2006, 29


My Kind of Town... but not on the "Top Ten"...

I love Toronto... my family has STRONG roots in this city from the first gaslights to the building of modern city attraction...

I'm pleased to be ranked amongst the city's supporters with my true life's work web site, TorontoGhosts.Org... and was born, raised, and have lived here all my life.


...but ask me how "shocked" I was that Toronto was NOT in the "Top Ten" North American cities to visit, according to Travel and Leisure Magazine?

Not an iota.

Sorry, but I may love this burgh, despite my occasional complaints, but even I recognise that it has all the raw, exciting, and awe-inspiring tourist attraction as a plain donut has an attraction to a fine-foods critic. On occasion, and when necessary, a nice repast... but I can't say I'm waiting on pins and needles to revisit it!

Torontonians have been sold a bill of goods that this is a World Class City in league with New York, Rome, London, and Paris... NOT A CHANCE!

I don't think there's ONE child out there, somewhere outside Canada, who's looking up at his or her parents saying, "Gee, mom and dad... can one day WE go to Toronto?"

Now, for those that would argue this... sit down and think of how you would book a "vacation extraordinaire" to a visitor to this city for one week... without sending them off to Niagara or Wonderland... What, in Toronto, could someone do as a tourist to fill seven days? What sites do we offer? What museums? What history?

Hell, what "is" the Toronto Experience???

Here's what I would do and how I would "market" Toronto to make it at least an INTERESTING destination...

#1: Re-Claim the waterfront... not only to open the beaches, but also re-open/re-build Sunnyside and make the Palais Royale a real happening place again. Sorry, commuters, but the Gardiner and bits of the Lakeshore gotta go! Expensive, but worth it in the long run. I would market this as a "throwback" in history... really pump the idea that this would be a modern equivelant to a Victorian/Edwardian park/amusement area... like an old Blackpool pier in North America.

#2: Leave the Toronto Islands (including the airport) alone. Period. They're fine.

#3: Three Words - Kick A$$ Casino. Try to convince developers to build the equivalent to a MODERN Vegas style casino... something that yes, appeals to adults, but has the right amount of "family fun and shows" to appeal to the masses.

#4: Fund the historic sites... and kick out those mamby-pamby wimps who take these sites and try to pervert them into more "politically correct"/"representing the modern city" folks out of the management positions... learn from the Brits... Our history is NOT boring and it was NOT always pretty... REVEL in it's more eccentric bits and display them! As a re-enactor, I'd love to see a HUGE historical encampment/festival/whatever held within the city! Celebrate ours AND THE WORLD'S heritage. It can be done and should be!

#5: This city needs a multi-million dollar "multicultural museum" like it needs a hole in the head. If people want to see the different and diverse cultures of Toronto (of which there are many and I enjoy 'em all!), have tourists VISIT those areas of the city! Go to Greek Town, Little Italy, China Town, Little India... and all of 'em! Let the local businesses and people reap the benefits of tourism... not some centralized monstrosity that "encompasses all in one place"! This isn't a MASSIVE city, it's a big one (at about 3 million souls) but people CAN and WILL get around it!


Okay, that's a joke... sorta... but it would have been very cool if our own TTC had bought up some of London's old Routemasters when they were pulled off the road in England, did a wee bit of work on them (to make them Left-Entrance or something) and ran them on "tourist routes" as standard vehicles...

Okay, pipe dream... but it's true. It would have been cool.

Toronto is a place known to be a bit boring... plain... and with a throwback to England.

Why not play that up? Why not MARKET that? Why not say, "Yeah, we have cool clubs, a diverse multicultural population, great history, and some neat attractions... but overall, we're a quiet, safe, introspective, almost Victorian city."

What do you think? Would you visit a place like that?


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One Old Green Bus

This blog was started in April of 2006... its original itent was really twofold. One was to be a "sounding board" for it's author... and the other... well...

At the time we started this, your humble author was unemployed and going through the usual crisis situations that arise from being jobless.

We (my wife, stepdaughter, and I,) used to "amuse" ourselves (read: Take our minds off our troubles) by more-or-less fantasizing as a family about what we'd do when things "turned around". Along this route, we discussed going to England on a vacation... and in that, alighted on "double-decker buses".

We kind of adopted one bus... Regent Low Height 3... as Our Bus... and we used to talk about what we'd do with "our bus" if we got it... from fixing it up to the trips we'd take on it.

Along the way, we became students of the history of this bus which HONESTLY seemd it was truly for us... trouble was, we couldn't afford the bus and weren't in a position to work towards the bus... so we had a couple of options...

Since the bus' position was sketchy (there's a chance she might be sold for scrap or "carved up" in other ways,) we could forget about her and pretend she didn't exist...

...or we could TRY... ask for help... put our dream of owning and saving "One Old Green Bus" into the universe and see what happens...

As of February, 2008, we knew that there was a perspective buyer for the bus (not us, obviously,) and made some difficult decisions... The first was that we wouldn't "beg" for help anymore and give the little money we received to a few different charities both online and off... and the second was simply hope that either we find a corporate sponsor (for an "ad" idea we have, click here to about read that,) or even a patron who see's the value in a silly family's dream...

But, if the bus is about to be purchased by someone who's planning on restoring it and they "get there first", we wish them well and are glad that at least Our One Old Green Bus is in a safe place being looked after.

For now, though, we are still hoping WE might be the ones to get our One Old Green Bus and see a family dream come true...

Regardless, this blog WILL continue... and we will still "go for" a bus of our own... but this blog will ALWAYS be dedicated to our own One Old Green Bus.

Want to know more about Regent Low Height buses? Click here!

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