Friday, January 25, 2008

More Eh-Vegas Stuff

Because you can never post too early, here are some tips for those coming on up in February, mostly for our US friends.

- If you're flying in from the States, you need a passport. This is your fault, not ours. We were quite happy with our friendly and open borders. Your special needs government pushed this requirement.

- If you're driving in from the States, you don't need a passport. You do need some ID (it used to be a driver's license and birth certificate... might still be.)

- Bring CANADIAN MONEY. Right now the exchange rate is pretty much back to par value, but that doesn't mean it's interchangeable. Lots of places here will take US cash, but you'll get raped on their exchange rates. Find a bank or money-changer and exchange it. Yes, our $1 and $2 only come in coin form. Yes, we have $2 coins. $1 is called a Loonie, $2 are a Toonie.

- Chances are pretty good it will be a tiny bit chilly here. Remember, we do things in CELSIUS up here. Conversion is (C x 9/5) + 32 to get to F. The quick & dirty method is (C x 2) + 30, but you'll lose some degrees here and there. So -5C = 23F. The mean temp in February in Toronto is -5C, so it's not that cold. It's NOT Siberia (or Winnipeg). That said, we have that lovely "wind chill" that makes it feel like -40C sometimes, but that's unlikely in late February. In short - bring layers, a warm jacket, gloves, and a hat, otherwise a 2 minute walk will feel like 30. It's a wet cold. Of course, we're on the positive side of the thermometer next week, so who knows where it'll be then.

- It also snows from time to time. Sidewalk cleaning is the responsibility of the building owners, so sidewalks are spotty at the best of times in terms of ice. Wear boots or shoes with a good tread, or you'll be on your ass. We also use a lot of salt around here, so if you're doing leather, protect it.

- Booze is sold from specified retailers in Ontario. Liquor, wine and some beer from the LCBO stores, Beer from... The Beer Store. There are also a few winery-specific wine stores. It's not available in grocery stores, convenience stores, or anywhere else. The latest any of these places is open is 10pm, with most closing earlier on weekends (8 or 9pm). So if you want some for your own consumption while here, go early. The club is BYOB, and there's an LCBO nearby, which is open until 9 nightly.

- Bars are abundant, and last call is 2am. You're out the door by 3am.

- Sulfur dioxide is only breatheable if you've been here for at least 3 months. Otherwise, pull the mask towards you and breathe normally. Affix your own mask before helping others.

- Public transit is easy. The TTC runs 3 subway lines, you'll only be concerned with 2 at most. There are numerous streetcar routes in the core as well, and some buses as well. Generally, the subway is done by 1:30am, with most of the streetcars running all night. When the subway is done, the blue line buses start up, nicknamed the "vomit comet". Cash fare is a flat $2.75, but it's cheaper if you buy tokens.

- Taxis are also abundant, and easier to catch than in NYC. Avoid looking like a moron and realize that if the light is off, they've already got a fare. Wave down the ones with the light on.

- Generally speaking, the CN Tower is south of you. Unless you can see the water behind you, in which case it's north. It's visible from just about everywhere.

- Yes, there's water. Toronto is on the shores of Lake Ontario - one of the Great Lakes. We Torontonians take this for granted, but you'd be surprised at how many people think we're completely land-locked.

- We lose gravity at 1:45am every night for about 15 minutes. Grab on to one of the readily-available handholds to avoid floating away. The bigger problem is if you're 5000ft up when gravity returns.

- Despite the proliferation of bottled water and Britas (I have one myself), Toronto has some of the cleanest drinking water in the world. The tap is perfectly safe.

- If you're mobile on Saturday and looking for something touristy to do before the evening: The CN Tower, Greek Town, Chinatown, Skating at City Hall or Harbourfront, The Eaton Centre, The Distillery District, Yorkville (high-end shopping), St. Lawrence Market, Queen St., Kensington Market, AGO, ROM, etc.. I personally find Toronto incredibly walkable, but it depends on your cold tolerance in the winter.

- Toronto's generally safe. I don't recommend strolling down dark alleys or large parks at 2am by yourself though.

- Asking "So what you got underneath that parka?" is a perfectly acceptable pickup line. If it actually works, I want full credit.


Unknown said...

Celcius, eh?

And no Kensington love? Or ROM or AGO? Plebeian.

Astin said...

No, celsius. And Kensington, ROM and AGO are in there... what are you smoking? :)

And don't go accusing me of editing the post after the fact. No way I would do something like that. Nope!

BamBam said...

"We lose gravity at 1:45am every night for about 15 minutes.

Funny ! I always find it to be the other way 'round. I find gravity at that time has quite the pull on me. That's why I can frequently be found very close to the floor in the safest of "prone" positions.
(or at least, on my way down a'la Otis and Pauly)