It's a freaking mall, people.

BlogTO yesterday raised an interesting topic: the differences in travel styles. Emphasis is mine.

Yesterday, the New York Times published yet another one of their great travel articles on a Toronto neighbourhood that doesn’t get much play from the powers that be who promote our city. Titled Skid Row to Hip in Toronto, the article isn’t a comprehensive look at the area, missing favourite spots like Crema Coffee, Smash and The Beet to name a few. Here are the ones they did mention:

Which is to say that it’s a good start and exactly the sort of story the city should be trying to get out instead of the crap about Ontario Place and Casa Loma.

I’m of the same opinion as BlogTO on this: for Toronto, or any tourist destination, the real soul of a place isn’t in the big tourist attractions, it’s between the lines of the Fodor’s guide. For many cities, and especially for Toronto, it’s in the neighbourhoods.  That you could wander from Chinatown to Kensington Market to Little Italy to the Annex to U of T (to take just one example) in less than an hour is fantastic because they’re all such different neighbourhoods. That’s what I want from a city, to get a real feel for it.

Obviously lots of people want to see the big attractions. When I lived at Dupont and Spadina I had tourists ask me every other summer day how to get to Casa Loma (which was always fun ’cause I could just point to the giant castle on top of the hill) and now that I live downtown I’m often asked where the Eaton Centre is. It always horrifies me that this is what tourists want to see, but that’s what’s in the guide books and, as BlogTO points out, the tourism promotions.

Should there maybe be two sets of promotion materials and guidebooks? Or is this the kind of thing that guidebooks just can’t keep up with, due to the rapid emergence and decline of neighbourhoods? Is this the role of the internet now? Until now a guidebook has just been an easier thing to carry around a city, but GPS-enabled devices could change that. I’m sure there’s already an iPhone app that points out cool insider tips about the neighbourhood you’re wandering through. If not, there should be. Damn, I wish I knew how to write those things…

"Make art…make art."

BlogTO is single-handedly trying to kill me, listing the best places to buy chocolate in Toronto. Of course, I was already aware of them, especially JS Bonbons and Soma, but those pictures are making me hungry.

.:.

Quick thoughts on the Oscars: for the first time in quite a while I have no problem with any of the winners (or rather, with who didn’t win). Also, it’s a good thing “Falling Slowly” won best original song, ’cause if it’d lost to one of those Disney songs from Enchanted I’d have flown to L.A. and burned the Kodak theatre to the motherfucking ground.

Watch the performance (and acceptance speeches) here at Cinematical.

.:.

I just finished reading Incendiary (indigo) and need a new book. Fortunately I own about 60 that I haven’t read yet.

[tags]blogto, chocolate, soma, js bonbons, oscars, falling slowly, once, incendiary[/tags]

"It would be Wolfmother instead of Wolf Parade, Darkness instead of Lightning Bolts"

I like this recent development of traditional media linking out to local event sites for more in-depth coverage. It’s especially helpful in cases where user-generated content (like all the photos of this week’s fire on Queen Street) is better and/or more plentiful than the professionally-gathered stuff.

.:.

I don’t know what it says about the internet (or, erm, me) that, just by reading her blog at NPR, I’ve developed a crush on Carrie Brownstein, a gay woman I’ve never met. I sense this could be difficult relationship.

.:.

I can feel myself getting sick. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since everyone around at work is sick, but c’mon…I was just sick. Super crazy mondo sick. Hell ass balls sick. I cannot be sick again, not with an assignment due Monday and work running somewhere north of murderous. I cannot. I shall not.

[coughs]

Goddammit.

[tags]blogto, toronto star, carrie brownstein, cold season[/tags]