Oh Canada (Greetings from the land of maple syrup, hockey and the customs department from heck)

Good afternoon everybody. I’m writing you from the Toronto airport, where I just went through easily the worst customs process I’ve ever dealt with (and that’s having gone to a dozen countries). No, I didn’t get any Midnight Express treatment, it just took way longer, and had more steps, than any process before it).

I definitely won’t hold this against the fine city of Toronto, which I have been looking forward to visiting for some time. My hopes of catching the Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Liverpool at a local pub look dim. I still have to check into my hotel and I think I’ll just do a running commentary before meeting up with some friends in this fine city.

Thanks to all of you who gave me some suggestions on places to visit while in Toronto. I will definitely be checking out some of those spots.

I will check back in for the Chelsea-Liverpool game so look out for that running commentary, eh.

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21 Responses to Oh Canada (Greetings from the land of maple syrup, hockey and the customs department from heck)

  1. Ives – no joke – last year i went to Toronto and nearly missed my flight thanks to homeland security.

    best of luck pal.

  2. C Elvis says:

    I went to the game last year and Toronto is a great city with some awesome fans. I went into the distillery district and enjoyed myself. The Mill Street Brewery was very good. Lots of beer to sample and the food was excellent. Of course CN tower was cool but I was only there 24 hours so soccer and beer were the most important things. Enjoy!!

  3. bgnewf says:

    Welcome to Toronto and I hope you take us up on our invites. And to echo some of the sentiments in the other thread, don’t sit in the press box tomorrow Ives, get down to the south end or the northwest end @ BMO and stand with the supporters groups. That way you will be able to go back home and be able to accurately explain what our matches are truly like to experience.

  4. Steve says:

    Ives is international ballin’ once again and I took off from work just to watch a soccer game… not looking like I’m on the fast road to success

  5. MetroFlip73 says:

    Let’s hope you won’t be doing any driving up there, Ives. It’s almost $5 dollars a gallon.

    Fortunately, you missed the public transportation strike.

  6. Steve says:

    I need some Crouch in this game! He’s big, he’s red, his feet stick out the bed, he’s Peter Crouch!!! Pretty decent 15 min in I think, I’m pulling for Liverpool but not a huge deal to me either way

  7. Trex says:

    Last time I was in Toronto was in 2003 to see Metallica! Great City, great time, and what a concert.

  8. Fabrizio says:

    Hey Ives, I travel to Toronto a few times a year and it is always a nightmare going in for business. I am always asked if there is nobody in Canada who can do what I do??? Once I even got called into the immigration line and was grilled for 40 minutes on what it is I go there for.. along with having my bags gone through with a fine tooth comb looking for tools and sales materials!!! Glad you made it through and looking forward to your entries after the game.

  9. andy b. says:

    Oh, Canada. Last year going into Calgary was no better– lots of grilling, extensive wait, pulled out of line with no explanation, a two-hour wait… and I was only there for vacation in Banff…

  10. seven says:

    Trust me the customs process for Canadians going into the States is just as bad. . . probably worse.

  11. Ruben Terrazas says:

    Weird…..I was in Toronto last year and customs was not something that bothered me….It was just like: “Where you coming from? What’s the reason for your visit? Welcome to Canada”. Great town. Great times.

  12. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Good to hear that youre right downtown.

    Means easy access to most places.

    You can go to La Palette in Kensington Markey (hope on the street car north on Spadina and get out on College) for some good reasonably priced french food, then go for a pint down the street at the embassy.

    If you go further north on spadina get out on harbord, youll find an amazing area filled with restaurants (its an up and coming food area), there is a great middle eastern/north african place called 93 Harbord, also im a fan of Tati Bistro.

    Whoever suggested Rosebud at queen and bathurst is also right.

    If you want some cheap pho and other vietnamese go to Pho Hung at Spadina and Dundas.

    Got plenty more where that came from…

  13. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    PS

    my buddy does that night at the social, defo dope but dunno if its your style.

    Another good place just for pints is the rhino in parkdale and you can also go to cowbell for dinner before hand.

  14. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    just go north on spadina then get out on queen and take the street car west until you pass dufferin.

  15. frank says:

    I drive across to Vancouver at least once a year, and it’s never a hassle going north (as long as you have a USA passport)…

    coming back I worry that they will get my Cubans…

  16. alex says:

    Customs department from heck?

    Just wait until you go back, you won’t be able to walk straight for a week.

  17. alex says:

    But I have to say it is pretty bad both ways. It’s not like it used to be, that’s for sure.

    places to visit … all depends what you’re looking for. There’s a little bit of everything.

  18. andrew says:

    Welcome man, u’ll have a great time here make sure you can get down into the supporters section tonight your going to see something to write about for sure. Its going to be moderately cold for sure soo make sure u dress work cause the lake makes it pretty cool on game days. enjoy the city and take in all it has to offer.

  19. fieldsy says:

    i can believe you had problems with canadian customs. we were on our way to a small town in ontario and crossed the border at niagra falls and they pulled over van and ripped it apart. we spent at least 2 hours waiting to get across. crazy!

    toronto is a really nice city. we went to a raptors game a few years ago and really enjoyed it. great arena and nice downtown area. i also enjoyed the section of town along ontario lake.

  20. Patrycja says:

    Hey Ives,

    As a Torontonian and a Canadian Citizen, I can honestly say that customs does not surprise me. Driving through with a canadian passport is easy, but flying back in from (insert any country in the world here) is a nightmare. I have been a Canadian Citizen for close to 20 years and they still make me feel like a threat as though I’ve broken the law for just travelling somewhere. But the city is fantastic – wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. TFC!!!!!!

  21. Mel says:

    TORONTO TILL I DIE

    Welcome Ives! Hope you have a great time tonight…the weather calls from rain so dress warm…should be a great game. Start time calls for 7 (i hate espn)..anyways people get to the game early…its a damn shame this is not a weekend game!