Last week the company I am working for this summer, Lenmar Enterprises, sent me to Toronto where I got into sales-mode at the Sourcefest 2010 tradeshow. I learned a lot about how these things work, and was stoked to try out business travel. While it would have been nice to have a travel buddy, I made the most of my time there and ended up seeing and experiencing a lot of things. Here are some thoughts from my trip:
- canadian culture. While Canada has a reputation of living in America’s shadow, Canada isn’t the same entirely. Canadians speak more formally, and say “eh?” non-ironically. They have their own media outlets as well (Much Music dominates instead of MTV Canada, for example). I noticed a ton of restaurants with a “North American” theme, with names like “St. Louis” “Texas Grille” and “Baton Rouge,” it was evident that one thing Canada lacks is a well-defined cuisine. At the tradeshow itself, I met people from all over Canada and enjoyed guessing which province individuals were from based on their accent. I even got asked “Parlez–Vous Français?” more than once from residents of Quebec.
- business tripping. While not exactly a rage-filled 4 days, I managed to have a decent amount of fun. Lenmar hooked it up with a suite (seriously) at a pretty nice Radisson. Plus-side: huge room, fitness center, next door to the convention center where Sourcefest was located. Down-side: Not close to downtown Toronto. Luckily, I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with public transportation so I took bus number 58 to Lawrence West metro station, and took the metro downtown. While time consuming and a little laborious, I got to see more of the city (as well as attempt to fool people I was a local). Another good thing about business travel is the fact that I got to expense every necessary expenditure: coffee? Yep. Lunch? absolutely. The double-decker bus tour I splurged on? Not so much.
Lawrence West station:
- international travel. It’d been awhile since I traveled out of the country and customs is always an adventure. The interrogation-like “What were you doing in Canada” caught me a little bit off guard, but I still made it through. I was way more impressed with Air Canada than any other airline I’ve flown recently…gotta love touch-screen individual TVs with endless movie options (as well as multiple episodes of Modern Family). Only real complaint was having babies on either side of me and a small whiny dog in the row ahead of me.
- sights. On the second day of the trip, I just had to set up our booth which took less than two hours and the rest of the day was mine! I headed to the metro station again and wound up in Yonge-Dundas square where I jumped on a tour bus and spent a couple of hours getting acquainted with the city. It reminded me a lot of a mix between Seattle and Boston (except for way more humid than either city). Here are some of my favorite spots:
Yonge-Dundas Square – very Times Square-esque
The CN Tower
Glimpse of Lake Ontario
What should I be sure not to miss the next time I’m in Canada?