Tuesday, May 18, 2010


My dad was in Toronto for a business trip this weekend, so Ryan and I hopped in the car and made our way across the border for a getaway.

As we rolled up to the Park Hyatt hotel in downtown Toronto, we immediately noticed that our dusty Honda Civic stood out considerably from the Maserati and BMW convertible in front of us in the valet line.  Feeling a bit sheepish, we looked around in hopes that we could bypass the tuxedo-wearing valet and instead park the car ourselves.

No such luck.  This hotel's parking lot is only accessible to the valets...and for the "affordable" rate of $38 per night!  And that doesn't include the tip every time they fetch or park your car for you.

Speaking of tips, does anyone else get overcome with anxiety in situations where you are expected to give a tip?  And I'm not talking about restaurants...that's an easy 15%-20% of the bill (unless you are from Idaho, where, my husband tries to convince me, it is still socially acceptable to tip waiters 10%)...I'm talking about tipping bellboys or valets or taxi drivers or hair cutters or grocery baggers (in El Salvador) or those homeless men that try to wash your windows for you.  What in the heck are you supposed to tip these people??  This is especially unnerving in swanky, metropolitan hotels.

In the midst of his day of driving Italian luxury vehicles, I'm sure it was a real treat for the valet guy to park our Civic, with the seats covered in pen stains and crusty crumbs.

We are truly refined individuals.

As we checked into the hotel, Ryan insisted on wearing his Idaho trucker hat.  It is the most hick thing I have ever seen.  He gave the concierge a big grin and made sure to tell him that we are from Buffalo.  (I'm just grateful that he didn't use my favorite Buffalo colloquialism: "yous."  I can just picture it now: "All of yous at this hotel are very nice!")

By this point, I was completely mortified, and I was very glad when my dad informed us that, the following night (when we were no longer on his law firm's tab), we would be moving to a Best Western on the outskirts of town.

Ah, Best Western.  Now that's more like it.

Here are some photos from our trip:

We took a quick ferry trip to Toronto Island, a beautiful island of parks, beaches, boating, biking, tennis, mini-golf, petting zoo--even an amusement park with carnival rides.  It would be a super fun day trip with kids!  

We may not have kids, but we still had a blast.  I was quite thrilled when these two studs picked me up in a carriage bike:

I got to sit in the middle, so I did no pedaling.  Perfect.  

Ryan was insistent that we bike the entire island, so that we could see the Babe Ruth monument that the map showed at the end of the trail.  We were quite surprised when the much-anticipated "monument" turned out to be a measly plaque.  Oh well...Ryan appears to be pretty excited anyway.

We also went shopping in some funky and hip sections of Toronto.  I mingled with fashionistas on Bloor street, and my dad bought me some new shoes for my birthday.  Then, we headed to the grungy cool section of town, where we didn't buy anything other than the oh-so-delicious Canadian Nanaimo bars.  Oh yum.  Yum yum yum...I cannot get enough of the peanut butter ones.

Check out this store in Kensington Market...then imagine a whole street full of them! 

There were hippies everywhere!

Dad also took us to a Blue Jays game for a law firm event.  In the executive suite, we enjoyed plush, cushiony seats and all-you-can-eat junk food. Now that's my kind of baseball game!

Ryan was in heaven.

Thanks, Dad, for a great trip!


  1. Isn't hotel parking ridiculous! It makes me so mad. It's just like airlines charging for bags. We paid for the room, that should include parking! Aren't those old houses turned into shops cool? That was one of my favorite parts of our Toronto trip. :) I'm glad you had a good time with you dad!

  2. Looks fun! I agree that hotel parking should come with the price of a room. And I am also super stressed by tipping in those situations. And it is NEVER---even in Idaho---ok to only tip 10%. Not as a general rule.

  3. TEll Ryan he is not allowed to tip 10% in Idaho...maybe when he was in high school it was okay but not anymore.

  4. Why is tipping so hard? I especially get stressed for haircuts. That looks so fun! I am so jealie!!! I love traveling on the law firm's dime. And I have always wanted to ride one of those carriage bike things but Sam always says it wouldn't be a treat for him because he would have to pull both of our weight. Ha! All Westover girls are the same.

    By the way, I am checking this as one of my students takes a test, and I laughed out loud at the civic story. Now she knows I am not working. Thanks a lot. :)

  5. rachel! that trip sounds amazing. I love toronto! i used to live right outside of there on a farm in barry ontario.
    will you email me even if it is short just so i have your address. somehow i don't have it. i love you! lets not wait another two years to catch up!!!
    luv meg

  6. this is stephanie todd (now wessler). i happened upon your blog and love your witty writing! and i love this post on toronto! i love that city (it's where i served my mission) and i love nanaimo bars! and it would have been ok if ryan had said "yous." people in ontario say it too!


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