Prior to this trip, I had travelled before with my family, gone to friends’ cottages up north with them. I had even gone to Ottawa with my grade 8 graduating class and visited family across the country. However this trip to Toronto was my first trip without any parents, supervision and entirely on my own planning.
My favourite band of all time “The Music” was coming to play at the Kool Haus in Toronto. My friends Eric and Cameron and his girlfriend were going to take the Train to see them and spend the night in a hostel (Canadian Backpacker Inn). For all of us it would be our first experience with hostels. The day before the concert Cameron and his girlfriend bailed and left Eric and I on our own.
We arrived at the hostel, to a small room with 2 bunk beds, so cheerful-it’ll-make-you-puke yellow walls and nice staff. I dragged Eric along as we walked the streets of downtown Toronto before heading to Younge St. For an autograph signing at Sam the Record Man (now closed). It was December, and with December in Canada comes snow and lots of it. The band was stuck in a snow storm (or at least so their rep said) and couldn’t make the signing but we’re given V.I.P passes to attend a meet and greet after the concert that night. While waiting for the signing before it was called off I met a girl name Tharmika, which I began talking too. After that night I came back several times to Toronto to visit her losing touch with her after she went to Germany to study.
The band was amazing, and put on a great show. Eric ditched me, leaving me to dance alone in the front row until the end of the concert to play Halo where he grabbed me afterwards to make our way to the “backstage” area. The meet and great was a dream. There is and has always been something about this band, and meeting the people whom made the music I adore while traveling was something else.
This was the trip and the band that started my love affair with the road. After this concert I had booked two more trips across Canada to see them again in the following months. In London, a town I even to this day I am not fond of . In which the most horrible hotel I’ve ever stayed in is located. The Econo Lodge and its white Facade located down the street from the Via Rail station and smack dab in the middle of a strip club and a church. Whenever something goes wrong on a trip and it always does, it’s still better then that hotel. The city before London was Montreal where the stage at La Tulipe (4530 Avenue Papineau) towered over me and the rest of the crowed and getting to venue was like driving through the maze (thanks Dawn for driving me) of confusing one way streets and service road. I almost made it to NYC during this trip but had to cancel my plans when none of the hostel would let me book a room because I didn’t have a passport. Unlike Toronto, there was no Eric to accompany me then ditch me; I went solo meeting up with acquaintances that I knew from liking the band when I got there.
I still smile fondly at the memory of this trip. On my bookcase surrounded by hundreds of books and travel mementos is a photo in a sliver Disney princess frame of me and Robert (the lead singer of “The Music”) from Toronto.