Travel The World

Lost Passports & Luxury in Toronto

It started in a hostel. Or perhaps a budget hotel. A misguided gesture of love  – my boyfriend at the time doing the laundry for me. It became an unequal disaster. Two passports in a jean pocket. One pair of jeans in the laundry. One new passport just a little damp around the edges. The other passport, my passport, devoid of all information.

No photograph.

No words.

No fancy, shimmering holograph design. Nothing other than a blank burgundy shell as proof that Her Majesty and Her Government had ever vouched for my safe passage from harbour to harbour in an ever-changing world.

Just hours before my homeward flight.

That was then. Back before 911. This is now.

From Jayney at 40before30.com

Now I’m about to head off on a work trip to discover the luxury side of Toronto. Now I have friends there (so the passport dissolving disaster would have been a little less dramatic.) Now I’m travelling with friends, hand grown from seed from the original title of colleagues.

Now, I’m travelling through Toronto in luxury.

I wonder how she’s changed. Perhaps, like me, she looks exactly the same, having gained nothing but wisdom and experience over the years with barely a wrinkle in sight.

Or perhaps, I’ll see something different.

In any case, I’m excited. Like Mexico earlier this year, there’s something intriguing about meeting a former flame, a kind of (if we had them in the UK) high school reunion.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos from talented folk who have visited more recently. And drop any advice, tips or tricks you happen to know about the place into the comment boxes below…

And, as-they-say-absolutely-nowhere-but-it-sounded-like-it-would-be-fun-to-give-it-a-whirl, see you at the Shangri-La! ;-)

Don’t go just yet!

But wait, I hear you cry! How did you get home without a passport? Well, as it turned out, Air Canada wasn’t too bothered, muttering something along the lines of “well, if you get refused entry you’ll have to pay the return airfare.” On my return to London, though I faced some pretty tough questioning.

Them: “Are you from here?”

Me: “Yes.”

Them: “Well, go on then.”

As I said. Pre-911.

Disclosure – Perhaps it’s because I’m writing about a trip to Toronto that took place so long ago that when I use the word disclosure I’m reminded of that film involving Michael Douglas and Demi Moore huffing and puffing and panting and scheming in Seattle. But that’s not what I’m on about here.

The real disclosure: this trip has come about thanks to iAmbassador, the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism Toronto and the Shangri-La Toronto. I will be writing about whatever I want, regardless of what happens, as usual, as always. Even if that includes lost passports and a sweaty Michael Douglas.

You have been warned.

Oh – and don’t forget to follow along using the hashtag #LuxuryToronto on Twitter, Instagram and, well, inside my head, whenever you get the chance.

Cheers. Over and out. (OR “oot” if I’m feeling cheeky :-) )

Do you have any luxury recommendations for travel in Toronto?

Top photo credit from Cristina - www.thetravolution.com

10 Responses to Lost Passports & Luxury in Toronto

  1. Natalie T. November 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Nice pic! It’s from the Thompson Hotel. :) Wasn’t sure if it was mine at first!
    A lot of my Luxury recs are food related. Warning this is going to be a LONG comment.

    That said, even though you’re staying at the Shangri-la, the Four Seasons just opened their new flagship, which of course is in Toronto and it’s pretty stunning. I do love the Shangri-la’s bar though. And skip Momofuku. Not worth it. Templar Hotel is a under the radar luxe option and if you get a chance, try to reserve Monk’s Kitchen where you’re literally in their kitchen by the chefs getting a meal. It’s pretty cool.

    Buca: http://nearafar.com/2012/10/24/near-buca/
    Afternoon Tea: I love the Windsor Arms or Moroco (OMG you have to go to Moroco in Yorkville) but this post was from the King Eddy. http://nearafar.com/2012/10/14/near-chocolate-afternoon-tea-at-the-king-eddy/
    Nota Bene – one of the best luxe restaurants in the city and great for a business lunch.
    Part 1:http://nearafar.com/2012/01/03/near-nota-bene-part-1/
    http://nearafar.com/2012/01/19/nota-bene-part-2a-suckling-pig-and-boudin-noir-tart/
    Part 2: http://nearafar.com/2012/01/21/near-nota-bene-part-2b/

    Drinks – I personally haven’t been but BarChef is a swank place to get a cocktail. Other than that, I’d choose Cocktail Bar and it’s one of my favourites in the city.
    That post of my ten favourite bars is here:

    Scaramouche is an old school classic and they have this coconut cream pie that is to DIE FOR. Plus, an amazing view of the CN Tower in a very hidden and unusual location in the city (I’m a local and I needed someone to drive me there).
    http://nearafar.com/2012/01/11/near-scaramouche/

    And failing that, my favourite restaurants of 2011 are here. You’re prompting me to do a 2012 list.
    http://nearafar.com/2011/11/02/top-ten-favourite-restaurants-in-toronto/
    My fave recs (which could be luxe): Black Hoof, Campagnolo, Origin

    There are some pretty spectacular steakhouses here. I haven’t been but if you want a decadent meal, then I’d pick Harbour Sixty or Barberian’s. Man, those places are expensive. Fun fact: Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor at Barberian’s. Not sure which time. :)

    To shop:
    Luxe shopping is definitely going to be in Yorkville but there are other great options on Queen St. and on Ossington.
    My picks for your angle: Holt Renfrew, TNT, Jonathan and Olivia, I Miss You Vintage (high-end designer vintage) and David’s for shoes.

    That should help get you started. I need to clean up my site for sure.

    :)

    • Abi December 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

      Wasn’t sure what you meant and then I realised that the link, caption and credit have been stripped from the top picture for some reason. Argh. Must fix.

      Was good to meet you – and to at least taste some of your recommendations. Loved Nota Bene. Will have to try the rest…maybe next summer at TBEX.

      See you then? Cheers, Abi

  2. Darlene Foster November 14, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    It was so different then. My husband flew from Canada on an expired UK passport. When we got to London, they just said, “You had best get this renewed soon.” I don’t think that would happen now.

    • Abi December 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      No, I expect not! How the world has changed!

  3. Darlene Foster November 14, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    I meant to say, Enjoy Toronto!

    • Abi December 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Thank you!

  4. Nicole November 14, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Sounds like you were thoroughly interrogated!

    Have a fantastic trip. I’m looking forward to see what you and the iAmbassador crew discover before I head over there in May. =)

  5. Abi December 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    A LOT of good food! Watch these blogs…(er, and waistlines!)

  6. JoAnna January 2, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Ah Toronto, what a great post! I love cities that are like lovers for the soul. You and my hometown seem to have a rather passionate relationship. ;-)

    In terms of luxury places in good old TO there’s the Windsor Arms (hotel); Sotto Sotto, North 44 and Bymark (all restaurants) and there’s plenty of upscale shopping to be had in Yorkville and Hazelton Lanes, though everything can be found in Holt Renfrew. If you want shopping that’s a bit luxury, but also edgy/trendy there’s Queen West, the Beaches and parts of the Danforth and Queen East.

    Have a great time when you return and keep an eye on your passport. Incredible how you were able to fly anyhow. I can’t imagine that happening for any reason these days!

    • Abi King March 30, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      No, me neither! Thanks for the tips!

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