x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Go to Toronto and eat lunch in a Canoe

What to do, were to go and where to eat in the Canadian city.

A memorial tribute to shoe mogul Thomas Bata is shown at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese
A memorial tribute to shoe mogul Thomas Bata is shown at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese

As a Canadian business delegation arrives in the UAE this week exploring opportunities for innovation and commercial tie-ups, The Life takes a look at Toronto, the country’s economic and financial hub.

Toronto regularly appears near the top of global indexes for liveable and competitive cities. In 2013, it was ranked as the fourth most liveable city and 10th most competitive city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. It also ranked eighth out of the top 20 entrepreneurial hotspots worldwide , according to  Startup Genome’s Startup Ecosystem Report 2012. The city also hosts the world’s largest film festival – based on attendance and the number of films shown – every September.

Place to stay:

Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto – named for Donald Trump, a minority shareholder in the project – is the second-tallest skyscraper in Canada. Located in the financial district, the hotel gets top reviews for its architecture and design. Opinions about its service are more mixed. The Trump Toronto à la carte package includes an overnight stay in a luxurious suite and C$100 (Dh356) of hotel credit. From C$425.

Places to eat:

Canoe is considered one of Canada’s best restaurants and, with its stunning vista, locals reckon this is a good bet for out-of-town clients or business guests. Situated on the 54th floor of Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto-Dominion Centre, it offers a great view of the Lake Ontario and Toronto Islands. The superb food spotlights Canadian ingredients including venison and Arctic char.

Off hours:

This week is Canada’s National Forestry Week so go for a stroll: Rouge Park has nature, farms and trails. Set to become Canada’s first national urban park, Rouge Park lies within an hour’s drive for 7 million people. Alternatively visit the Hockey Hall of Fame (hockey and lacrosse are the national sports of Canada) and follow that up with a visit to Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut chain founded by a Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player of the same name.

Getting there:

Etihad and Emirates fly direct to Toronto three times a week. Etihad prices start from about Dh6,795.

What are Toronto’s key industries?

Toronto excels in a number of areas. The region is the No 3 financial services centre in North America, after New York and Chicago. The World Economic Forum has ranked Canada’s banking system as the most sound in the world, six years in a row. The food and beverage industry also does well with the sector having $17 billion of sales in 2010. Designers, retailers and cost-efficient manufacturers in Toronto’s fast-moving fashion hub have helped increase Canadian apparel exports to the US more than fivefold since 1994.

Ah yes. Clothes and shoes. Wasn’t Toronto home to the world’s biggest shoe retailer and manufacturer at some point?

Yes. The Bata Shoe Organisation, founded in what today is the Czech Republic, relocated to Canada after the Second World War. Bata established its headquarters in Toronto in 1964. Now headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Bata maintains the headquarters for its “Power” brand of footwear in Toronto. The Bata Shoe Museum is also located in Toronto.

A shoe museum. How curious.

The museum has more than 12,500 artefacts - though not all are on display at once - and celebrates style and function over 4,500 years of history. Footwear on display ranges from “Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamourous platforms”, says the museum’s website.

Anything else?

Baseball fans might be interested to know that the Toronto Blue Jays are the only team in Major League Baseball to be located outside the United States. The Blue Jays won the World Series twice in their history - again the only team outside the US to do so.