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Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Club, TML Fever - Toronto FAQ
    Toronto FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
    The SkyDome and CN Tower: Toronto Landmarks 1. What is Toronto's reputation?
    2. Who are the Maple Leafs?
    3. What is Tim Hortons?
    4. Tell me about Toronto's multiculturalism.
    5. What are some phrases or words I need to know?
    6. What do I need to know about Canadian government?
    7. How do I travel there from the United States?
    8a. Do I need to change my U.S. dollars?
    8b. Is it really that cheap?
    9. What's happening in Toronto?
    10. How do I learn more?

    1. What is Toronto's reputation?

  • Clean and safe

  • From time to time, Torontonians hear apocryphal stories like this one: To make Toronto look like an American city, movie makers dump garbage on our streets. Joking aside, this sobriquet applies. Our subways are relatively new and well-used. Our downtown core is abuzz with activity. And we have bright, shiny new garbage/recycling containers on our streets. Sir Peter Ustinov (author, actor, playwright and producer) once described Toronto as: "New York run by the Swiss."
  • Inferiority complex

  • Not just limited to Toronto, but is a Canadian trait. This city has been known at times as "Hogtown," "Muddy York" and, like Chicago, "Second City." This manifests itself in the need to prove ourselves to the United States and the world (e.g., our 2008 Olympic bid).
  • "The Centre of the Universe"

  • We are the financial, transportation and media capital of Canada. Some Canadians outside Toronto feel hostility, therefore the moniker: "The city everyone loves to hate."
  • Meeting Place / "The World Within a City"

  • The first phrase is an aboriginal translation of the word "Toronto." It suits Canada's reputation for multiculturalism and tolerance. The United Nations has even recognized this. See Question #4 for details. The second phrase is the motto of Tourism Toronto.
  • "Megacity"

  • As Canada's largest city, many people travel from far away to work here. We get our share of traffic jams, smog and road rage. Housing prices are very high.
  • "The City Within a Park"

  • The motto of our Parks & Recreation staff (Glenn: I'm one!) Plenty of green space throughout the city, including popular running spots such as High Park, Sunnybrook Park, the Beaches/Ashbridge's Bay, the Toronto Islands and Rouge Park.
    The last word goes to NEP (New England Penguin) Julia Kim:
    "Toronto is a most excellent place. It is BIG but without the stereotypical U.S. big city attitude. The people are nice. They have their own pace — it's slower than NY or Boston but not so that it is irritating."
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    2004 Stanley Cup Champions!
    2. Who are the Maple Leafs?
    Hockey is Canada's national sport. Toronto is a hockey town. Therefore, the Maple Leafs are the greatest team in Canada. Don't tell this to a Montreal Canadiens fan, though ;-) We haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967, but we're working on it. The Leafs used to play in Maple Leaf Gardens, but in early 1999, they moved to the Air Canada Centre. Oh yeah, other sports… There are the two-time World Series champion Blue Jays. There are the Vince Carter-led NBA Raptors. And the Canadian Football League Argonauts. Just wait till we get NFL football! But make no mistake: Toronto is a hockey town. A final tip: If you don't want to be identified as a tourist, don't ask a Torontonian why it's Maple "Leafs" and not "Leaves." That's a dead giveaway!Although we haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967, (over 45 years ago), there’s a strong possibility that we will end the longest drought in the NHL between winning a Championship. Betting odds taken from Betway Group suggest the Maple Leafs have a reasonable opportunity of securing a Stanley Cup over the next NHL season. According to recent reports and transfer news, the Maple Leafs may be closer than ever to securing some of the very best young talent in the NHL when the free agency opens on the 5th July 2013. Let’s not forget, Toronto is a hockey town.
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    Best Deal: 20 Timbits for a Toonie
    3. What is Tim Hortons?
    Tim Hortons is a distinctly Canadian chain of donut stores, famous for its coffee. As the commercial goes: "You've always got time for Tim Hortons!" Tim himself was a hockey player. In the movie Wayne's World (1990) starring Torontonian Mike Myers, the Aurora, Illinois, donut shop is named "Stan Mikita's Donuts." A donut shop named for a hockey player. Wonder where he got that idea? In December 2001, American giant Krispy Kreme opened its first Canadian franchise in nearby Mississauga, Ont., and sold more than $70,000 worth of donuts on its opening day. We'll see...
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    4. Tell me about Toronto's multiculturalism.
    The United Nations has called Toronto "the most diverse city in the world." Canada has always considered itself a "mosaic" or "mixed salad" in contrast to the American "melting pot." Toronto was (and still is) the most popular Canadian destination for new immigrants. Chances are you'll find any ethnic community in Toronto. Here are three of the largest:

    • Greek (Danforth between Pape & Broadview)

    • The “Taste of the Danforth” food festival drew 500,000 people last August.
    • Italian (St. Clair West and Dufferin aka "Corso Italia")

    • Toronto has the largest Italian population outside of Italy!
    • Chinese (Spadina and Dundas)

    • The first of many Chinatowns now in Toronto.
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    5. What are some phrases or words I need to know?
  • "T.O."

  • Pronounced "TEE-oh," "TEE-dot-oh" or the even cooler "TEE-dot." It's the way Torontonians abbreviate Toronto.
    Picture of a loon = loonie. Get it?Toonie rhymes with loonie!
  • Loonie & Toonie

  • The one-dollar and two-dollar coins, respectively.
  • Squeegie Kids

  • Homeless young people who offer to wash your windshields for spare change at busy downtown intersections.
  • Double-Double

  • Taking your coffee with two creams and two sugars. Correct usage: "Large coffee, double-double, please."
  • Back Bacon

  • Instead of the pork belly, meat from the loin, covered with peameal.

    Rocket was the nickname for the old TTC streetcars

  • TTC

  • Short for Toronto Transit Commission (i.e., public transit).
  • Eh?

  • Multipurpose word, commonly used as a replacement for "Right?" Example: "You've got an extra ticket for the Leafs game tonight, eh?"
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    6. What do I need to know about Canadian government?
    The biggest difference between Canada and the United States:

    • United States: "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"
    • Canada: "Peace, order and good government"
    Now a brief history lesson. Instead of gaining our independence by revolution, we basically asked for it and got it! On July 1, 1867, the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined to form the country of Canada. Since then, the first of July is a national holiday, appropriately named "Canada Day."

    Canada is a constitutional monarchy. We have our own constitution, but we still recognize Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as our head of state. The Governor General (her representative in Canada) signs all bills into law. In practice, this is merely a token gesture; there is no real power.

    The real power lies in our federal system, divided into federal and provincial governments. (The municipal governments are technically under the jurisdiction of the provinces.)

    The government pays Canadians to display this wordmark, but not me!
    Government of Canada
    The federal government, based in Ottawa, Ont., is in charge of national interests such as defence and economic policy. It is also responsible for areas not expressly defined in our constitution (which differs from the states rights view of the United States). Our head of government is Prime Minister Paul Martin, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberals hold the majority of seats in the House of Commons, roughly equivalent to the American House of Representatives.

    The symbol on the left is a trillium, Ontario's official flower
    Government of Ontario
    The provincial government, on the other hand, is in charge of areas such as education and health care. Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario. Premier Dalton McGuinty is leader of the Liberals, who hold the majority of seats in Ontario's legislature (aka "Queen's Park").

    The building depicted in the logo is Toronto City Hall
    City of Toronto
    The City of Toronto is led by Mayor David Miller, who was elected in November 2003 and oversees 44 city councillors. In 1997, six separate cities amalgamated into the new City of Toronto; we now have one school board, one fire department, one public library, etc.
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    7. How do I travel there from the United States?
    Toronto is the transportation hub of Canada, similar to Chicago's role as a rail and airway connection in the States. The nearest American cities are Detroit, Michigan, and Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York.

    By plane: Lester B. Pearson International Airport
    Canada's biggest airline is Air Canada. Make that the only airline.
    By train: Union Station
    The Canadian passenger rail service is VIA Rail. There are also several dedicated Amtrak trains, esp. from Chicago and New York
    By bus: Metro Toronto Bus Terminal (Bay and Dundas Streets)
    Many bus lines travel to Toronto, including Greyhound.
    By car: Highway 401 (4 hrs from Detroit) or the Queen Elizabeth Expressway aka the "QEW" (2 hrs from Buffalo/Niagara Falls)

    Getting Through Customs
    If you're a U.S. citizen, you don't need a visa to enter Canada, but you should have:

    • Your passport, or
    • Your birth certificate and photo ID (usually your driver's licence)
    Be prepared to show your return ticket, proof of accommodation and ability to fund your trip (i.e., cash, credit cards, etc.) to customs officers upon request. Remember: Despite the similarities to the United States, Canada is still a foreign country. In other words, we have different rules. For a current and more detailed explanation, read the brochure Tips for Travelers to Canada available from the U.S. State Department Web site.
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    8a. Do I need to change my U.S. dollars?
    YES, you should probably change your U.S. dollars to Canadian dollars. While most Toronto businesses will accept American money graciously, their exchange rates can vary. Like most currency conversion, it's cheaper and less stressful to do this in the States before you travel. However, if you're stuck for time, you can always use an ATM machine from one of the major banks: Royal Bank, CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) and Toronto Dominion (TD Bank). We also accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express here in Canada. And it's always a good idea to keep some small Canadian bills and change handy.
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    8b. Is it really that cheap?
    YES, it is that cheap. Glenn: "Having travelled to nearly 15 U.S. cities in the last three years, I can say that, in general, food and accommodation are cheaper in Toronto." Bonus: For an excellent cash conversion tool, visit the Universal Currency Converter at: www.xe.com/ucc/
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    9. What's happening in Toronto?
    Toronto is a popular city. Here's a sample of upcoming events:

    Caribana (Mid-July to early August)
    The largest Caribbean culture festival in North America. Lots of Americans make the trek to T.O. to participate in this three-week party. The main event: The parade down Lakeshore Boulevard. Mas bands. Incredible costumes. Dancing. Jump up!

    Canadian National Exhibition (Mid-August to Labour Day, September)
    Better known as the "C.N.E." or "The Ex." Picture a gigantic state fair. The Ex is a tradition in Toronto, more than 100 years old. Pick your poison: Midway rides, the Food Building, free concerts, the international building, the agricultural show, games of skill and chance, the casino, crafts, shopping . . . Make sure to have a corn dog and a bag of Tiny Tim donuts. The final day of The Ex (Labour Day) signals the end of summer in Toronto.

    Santa Claus Parade (Sunday, November 16, 2003)
    An annual tradition. Parade down the streets of downtown Toronto. Spectators arrive early to claim the best spots along the route. Marching bands, clowns, cheerleaders and the man himself . . . Santa!
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    10. How do I learn more?
    Tourism Toronto
    Excellent site for Toronto visitors.
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The Noble Canadian Beaver
Royal Canadian Mounted Police "RCMP"
The Majestic Canadian Eagle.
Flags of Canada, Ontario & Toronto
What Would Canada Be Without Maple Syrup?
"Information Graciously Donated By:
Glenn Gabriel Of The Toronto Penguins Running Club
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