Toronto - A multicultural city with a heart
27 August 2012
Toronto is considered as one of the most multicultural and accessible cities in the world. It is served by two airports : the Toronto Pearson International Airport (Canada's principal gateway with travel connection to every continent all over the globe) and the Billy Bishop City Airport the most convenient urban airports in the world located in the Toronto island just minutes from the downtown core.
Flying from New York to celebrate my birthday, I flew to Toronto arriving at the boutique Billy Bishop Airport. I was amazed by the “chicness” of the airport lounge. I was told every traveler is treated like a business class ticket holder in the lounge for food and drinks is served all year round. Where else can you see that service ??? And it's Free!! Getting outside of the airport, everyone needs to board a 2 minute ferry crossing Lake Ontario. On my way to the ferry I was greeted by the spectacular view of downtown Toronto from the airport’s elevated tunnel.
From the ferry, I walked towards downtown using the Queens Quay Waterways, (Toronto's answer to Champ Elysees). A model streetscape with a wide pedestrian promenade, bike lanes and environmental walkway. It took me 30 mins to reach the downtown core. On Bay St (Toronto's Wall St) I was surrounded by tall buildings soaring to over 100 stories high. This area is the headquarters of to Canada's major banks - considered the best banks in the world having weather unscathed during the financial crisis of 2007.
"World class" is not only a superlative that describes the city but also the "world culture" converging on the city of 2.48 million. It is heralded as one of the most multicultural cities in the world and has over 140 languages and dialects spoken every day. With such a diverse cultural mosaic it is expected that Toronto is a bastion of world class cultural events. I went to see the "Crystal Exhibition" at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) - Lee Chin Crystal Wing (4 subway stops north from Union Station). The structure is part of the Renaissance ROM and considered one of the most challenging construction project in the world. The mere sight of the self-supporting prismatic interlocking structure that co-exist with the old ROM building is absolutely amazing. After my gallery tour went to explore the shops of Yorkville with its signature boutique fashion shop and fancy restaurants. Love the walkway here for it reminds me of the luxury shops in Milan. We walked towards south and did a little bit of shopping along Eaton Centre.
On our way to watch a Broadway show in King St along University Avenue I notice the almost completed Luxury Shangri-la Toronto being polished by construction crew. When it opens end of August it will be considered the newest luxury hotel in the world soaring 65 stories high. The 202-room luxury hotel will occupy the first 17 floors of this development, which incorporates the historic "Bishops Block"- one of the oldest remaining buildings in Toronto.
Toronto is truly a world class city having spectacular attractions and its multifaceted people. With the addition of Shangri-la Toronto in the vibrant atmosphere, the city is now welcoming a new era of “Asian inspired service” only the Shangri-La can boast off. Being a Golden Circle Jade Member I know what it takes to truly experience the finest customer service that the only the Shangri-La can provide. It goes without saying that a city can only be great if it has “hospitality from a caring heart”.