8.29.2006

omission

Travel + Leisure magazine, in their annual World's Best awards, ranked the top 10 U.S. and Canadian destinations. Guess who didn't make the list? From the Star:
Vancouver and Victoria have the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.

Quebec City and Montreal have history and culture.

But what does Toronto have to entice tourists from around the world? Not much, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

Four Canadian cities ranked in the top 10 U.S. and Canadian destinations in the popular travel publication's annual World's Best awards.

Vancouver ranks the highest at Number 6, followed by Quebec City, Victoria and Montreal.

But noticeably absent is Canada's biggest city.

An associate editor at the magazine says Toronto shouldn't take it personally. But the omission feels like another slight for a city desperately craving "world-class" status.

"While Toronto has everything, I don't know that it has any one thing that sort of stands up and knocks you out," said Ken Wong, marketing professor at the Queen's University School of Business.

"Toronto's kind of good on everything but great on nothing."
More here, and Travel + Leisure awards here.

15 comments:

Lone Primate said...

You know something... and this is just my take on it... I don't agree with this "desperation" where being world class is considered. It wasn't that long ago that, yeah, I had that sense of Toronto. But it got to a point there were the last Olympic bid seemed... I don't know... beneath us somehow? Vaguely embarrassing? Like, "who needs it?" Sometime in the last decade or so we slipped into that small, comfortable cadre of cities who know who they are, know what they are, know they've arrived at it, and are cool with it. The yearning, the reaching, the need for attention is not what it was even in the 90s.

We're arrived in that mellow headspace that only Montreal (in Canada) has occupied, and then only since the 60s. We're finally comfortable with ourselves. We don't have to shout and wave our arms anymore. People know we're here, and what's here. The magazine's right; other places are great at something. But we're good at everything, and that's what you have to be, finally. Hamilton's great at making steel. Calgary's great at pumping oil and being a big pain in the ass about it. Vancouver/Victoria are great at scenery you can almost eat. But for all that, we still get millions of visitors every year, and every third immigrant winds up right here. This article doesn't bother me at all... which surprises me. In fact... it makes me smile.

I can't speak for the rest of you, but for me, it's finally dawned on me that we're there.

Groovy. :)

L-girl said...

Excellent take, LP!!

Also -

But it got to a point there were the last Olympic bid seemed... I don't know... beneath us somehow? Vaguely embarrassing? Like, "who needs it?"

- this is exactly what most New Yorkers felt about NYC's last Olympic bid. Plus we didn't want the additional traffic, crowds, security crackdowns and other inconveniences, in a city already chock full of inconveniences. But mostly, we felt "Who needs this".

James said...

At least the last Olympid bid seems to have spurred the city to actually start doing some of the waterfront revitalization that they've been talking about. The West Donlands are being rebuilt, the south Leslie landscaping is underway, the Queens Quay ped/bikeway trial was a success... It's a little disorienting seeing some of this. Is this really Toronto, really doing something about the waterfront?

scylla said...

Kind of like: It's a great place to live but I wouldn't want to visit.

I like doing both :)

What was ranked number 1? I checked the link at T&L but didn't see the list (in my quickish peruse).

Lone Primate said...

this is exactly what most New Yorkers felt about NYC's last Olympic bid

When I heard about NYC thinking of hosting the Olympics, I couldn't help thinking I'd heard wrong. Two cities I just cannot, cannot imagine hosting the Olympics are New York and London. First of all, where would you put them? Secondly, why would either city need the attention or covet the problems? Even Paris I can kinda see doing the Olympics, just because it seems so open and sporty. It sort of fits there, even though Paris, too, is in no need of a spotlight, more definition, or external validation. It just got to the point here where, yes, if we'd won the 1996 Olympics I'd have been thrilled (but boy I am glad Atlanta got stuck instead), but if we'd won the... what was it, the 2008 bid? that would have been a real headache. Something changed over those years, and I think that's the difference. Toronto grew up, likes it clothes and quirky jewelry, and while we still like compliments, we're not changing now for anyone. At some point, every mature city must stop asking for advice and just be true to itself.

L-girl said...

It's a little disorienting seeing some of this. Is this really Toronto, really doing something about the waterfront?

Boy does this sound like NYC. I can't begin to tell you.

What was ranked number 1?

#1 overall: Florence
#1 Canada & continental US: NYC

Top Ten overall:
1 Florence
2 Rome
3 Bangkok
4 Sydney
5 Chiang Mai, Thailand
6 Cape Town
7 Buenos Aires
8 New York
9 Beirut
10 San Francisco

Top Ten US/Canada:
1 New York
2 San Francisco
3 Chicago
4 Charleston, South Carolina
5 Santa Fe
6 Vancouver
7 Quebec City
8 Victoria, British Columbia
9 Montreal
10 Seattle

Lone Primate said...

New York was #1. No surprises there, I guess. Strange that Chicago rates, though, and not Toronto; that's like saying "Yeah, Fred Weasley, but not George Weasley, yuck!"

But Santa Fe is number five? Santa Fe, New Mexico? They beat Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Quebec City, and Seattle? Jesus, who'd they f*ck??

L-girl said...

When I heard about NYC thinking of hosting the Olympics, I couldn't help thinking I'd heard wrong. Two cities I just cannot, cannot imagine hosting the Olympics are New York and London.

Re NYC, it's very good for the (incredibly corrupt) construction industry and the hotel and restaurant industry, and both Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg were in bed with all those. It was completely driven by those forces.

L-girl said...

New York was #1. No surprises there, I guess. Strange that Chicago rates, though, and not Toronto; that's like saying "Yeah, Fred Weasley, but not George Weasley, yuck!"

Chicago is not nearly as like Toronto as people say. There may be a US/Canadian equivalence there, but they're very different.

But Santa Fe is number five? Santa Fe, New Mexico?

Have you been there? It's many people's favourite spot in North America. This was a T&L readers survey, after all, and Santa Fe is a mecca for wealthy vacationers.

I personally prefer Montreal any day, but it's not a surprise to see Santa Fe high on the list.

L-girl said...

I'm just glad not to see Boston, Philadelphia or DC on the list. All nice places to visit, but you can do a lot better.

Lone Primate said...

Chicago is not nearly as like Toronto as people say. There may be a US/Canadian equivalence there, but they're very different.

When I was there, I was struck by how similar they were. The downtowns are remarkably alike in their look, feel, and immediacy. They both quickly spill out into extensive, sprawling, and fairly affluent suburbs of, again, similar design and layout. Each has a mindset based on the fact that everything's oriented towards the lake (be it Michigan or Ontario). Both made their bones as railroad distribution hubs centred on manufacturing and agricultural belts. Now, granted, Chicago has a larger black community than Toronto because a lot of people moved there out of the American south, and Chicago went through a period of urban decay in the 1960s that didn't really have an analog in Toronto, and Chicago's sure done better with its waterfront than Toronto has, but out of all the cities I've been to in the States, Chicago was the one in which I felt most at home and identified with in more particulars than any other, including New York. No, they're not the same city, and couldn't possibly be; but for my purposes -- and I would have thought the survey's -- close enough. :)

L-girl said...

but out of all the cities I've been to in the States, Chicago was the one in which I felt most at home and identified with in more particulars than any other, including New York.

There are definitely many similarities.

Maybe why to me they seem more different than your list (all very valid points) would imply is because Chicago seems so *American* to me - so big and brash, so macho - also so very segregated. My impressions of Chicago as a dense urban environment don't match my impressions of neighbourhood-oriented Toronto.

scylla said...

Beirut at 9.

I wonder, seriously, where Baghdad was on that kind of list before 1991. Probably high. And Sarajevo at one point, too. Scary.

L-girl said...

Yes! Sarajevo was supposed to be a beautiful city, once.

And now people flock to Cape Town and Johannesburg. I'm still not comfortable with the idea of going to South Africa, even though it's supposed to be so beautiful.

West End Bound said...

As an aspiring Canadian moving (eventually) to Vancouver, I am pleased to see how we rank - Typically in these types of ratings Vancouver is quite high.

As for the Olympics issue, I know it will bring world attention and microscopes on the city which can be both good and bad.

However, as "drf" and I both lived in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics, it also brings unwanted attention by subversives/terrorists to an event well attended by people from around the world. Remember Eric Robert Rudolph and his two bombing events in the city? This kind of attention is not the kind any city needs.