Destination: Toronto

New Documentary: ‘Neil Young Journeys’

Jonathan Demme’s third documentary about Neil Young, in select theaters now, features a solo performance Young gave at Toronto’s Massey Hall and footage of Young driving across the Ontario countryside, musing about life and his childhood.

Niagara Falls Tourism: ‘Don’t Go To Toronto’

Yep, they went there. The Falls region has unveiled a new tourism campaign, contrasting an idyllic, natural environment—that’d be Niagara, apparently—with its next-door neighbor, Toronto. The big city is presented as a “crime-ridden, graffiti-laden, gridlocked urban prison,” to quote The Globe and Mail, and visitors are urged to “shake off the city” and visit Niagara instead. Toronto’s acting mayor called the campaign “an unnecessary cheap shot.”

This local TV news spot includes some footage of the ad in question—curiously, the Niagara depicted in it is entirely free of casinos, legions of tour buses, and gridlock all along the QEW.

World Travel Watch: Violence Returns to Medellin, G20 Restrictions in Toronto and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Video You Must See: ‘The Longest Street in the World’

Video You Must See: ‘The Longest Street in the World’ Photo by purplepick via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Two photographers take a stop-motion walk down Toronto's Yonge Street, a one-time Guinness World Record holder

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Travel Headline of the Day: ‘Don’t Let the Goose Poop Fool You: Toronto’s Beaches are Squeaky Clean’

Forget Hawaii or Florida—after that ringing endorsement, I’m ready for a Toronto beach vacation. Who’s with me?

The Strange Case of ‘World Travel Watch’ and Toronto

The Strange Case of ‘World Travel Watch’ and Toronto Photo by bensonkua via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by bensonkua via Flickr (Creative Commons)

File this under “bizarre adventures in globalized media.” When Travelers’ Tales editor-in-chief Larry Habegger called out Toronto—currently enduring a garbage workers’ strike—as a place to avoid in his “World Travel Watch” column, I doubt he expected to become a player in the city’s local politics. But then CNN picked up the column, the Mayor’s political opponents got ahold of the story, and suddenly Habegger’s latest was being offered as proof that the Mayor is mishandling the strike—and “causing devastating damage to our city” to boot.

A San Francisco travel columnist wreaking havoc on Canadian municipal politics? It’s times like these I get the urge to start singing “It’s a small world after all…” (Via Adam Radwanski)

Is ‘One Week’ Canada’s ‘Into the Wild’?

Is ‘One Week’ Canada’s ‘Into the Wild’? Photo by machernucha via Flickr (Creative Commons)

For such a vast (and, like its neighbor, public-transportation-challenged) country, Canada hasn’t produced as many great road trip movies as you might expect. Sure, there’s the quirky Thunder Bay-to-New Orleans indie, Highway 61, but most of the action takes place south of the border. And Dan Aykroyd’s brief cameo in “Canadian Bacon” never gets old, but if you want to be a purist about it, that’s an American-made movie. So there’s a void waiting to be filled here—and this week, we may finally have a candidate to fill it.

One Week stars Joshua Jackson as the terminally ill Ben, who decides to give up the daily grind and ride a vintage motorcycle from Toronto to Tofino, British Columbia, visiting corny landmarks and touching random strangers’ lives in unexpected ways as he goes. (Sound familiar?) Throw in a few cameos from Canadian rockers, an inevitable hockey reference or two, and some stunning wide-angle shots of mountains and prairie, and you get—as the Globe and Mail’s Liam Lacey puts it—an “alarmingly life-affirming road movie.” The film opens across Canada this Friday. There’s no word yet on a U.S. release, but we’ll keep you posted; I’m betting the scenery alone will make this one worth seeking out. Check out the trailer and see for yourself:

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2008 Travel Movie Awards

2008 Travel Movie Awards Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

The Oscars are looming, and in keeping with the season I’m thrilled to announce my second annual Travel Movie Awards. As I noted last year, these picks rate high on the arbitrary scale and are not intended to be comprehensive: this is just a collection of movies (and movie moments) from the past year that got me thinking about travel, and about places new and familiar.

Most Adorable/Unusual Tale of Indie Love in New York
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
There is never any shortage of romantic comedies set in the Big Apple, but most directors opt to focus on the entanglements of young professionals (bewildered new-to-the-city female journalists, more often than not), and to set the action in or near Central Park. “Nick and Norah,” in contrast, follows a pair of suburban, straight-edge teenagers through the live music venues of lower Manhattan—and captures my heart in the process.

Slate’s Dana Stevens said it better than I can: “Some people really were made for each other ... and New York does look beautiful by night. You got a problem with that?”

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Morning Links: Road Tripping ‘Amexica,’ Titty Ho and More

Morning Links: Road Tripping ‘Amexica,’ Titty Ho and More Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo of Toronto by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Rufus Wainwright’s Least Favorite City?

Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

“Toronto. I can’t stand it—the place drives me mad. I’m allowed to say this because I’m Canadian. ... It’s trying to be the New York of the Midwest.” The singer-songwriter also reveals some of his more positive travel experiences and more in this Q&A with The Observer.

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