Author, blogger, TV host: Jean-Michel Dufaux is very much multidisciplinary. Always with his passport in one hand and his suitcase in the other, he travels the world to tell his stories on his blog Siège Hublot. In recent years, however, he has tackled a bigger project: the writing of his book 300 reasons to love Toronto.
We met him in Toronto to talk about writing, travelling and, of course, the Queen City.
How was the writing process of this travel guide?
That book has 300 reasons, which all have sub-reasons, that sums up to almost 1000 reasons! It's a big job. You have to double-check everything. I'm glad I did it, but I would not do it again right away!
How would you describe Toronto?
Montreal is said to be a multicultural city, but I think that Toronto is even more. You walk in the street and you hear languages from everywhere around the globe, you see people from everywhere, you can eat the food of so many communities. That’s what Toronto is all about for me.
You spent a lot of time there writing this book. What would you say is the most surprising thing about Toronto?
Two years ago, I was here every month. However, I have been coming to Toronto since the mid-90s. I had a girlfriend who lived here. I can say that I have seen Toronto change over the years. It has gone from a financial, gray city to an exciting city, artistic, cultural, modern, open to the world. Before, we used to say "Thank God it's Monday" because there was nothing to do on the weekend. Now it is very different.
How will your book be different from other Toronto travel guides?
I think what's interesting and different is that there's really a glimpse of every neighborhood. We often come to Toronto and stay in the downtown area near the CN tower and walk to the Kensington Market. However, with my book, we leave the city centre and go on walking tours in several neighborhoods to discover public art, museums, little-known facts about the city, as well as day trips outside the city. You can easily get to Prince Edward County or Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Hamilton or Mississauga.
The "300 reasons to love" collection is really popular and well loved with the general public. It's a great honour to be part of it, is it not?
Yes, and I'm really happy about it. It's a great idea from Marie-Joëlle Parent [journalist and author of the first guide in the series]. It is a beautiful hybrid between the inspirational guide, information and photos. When we travel, we like to see things and it's a book that looks good. The visual appeal makes it very attractive. And almost all of the pictures in the book are mine!
Could you share a few of your favourite places with us?
I really like the Thai restaurant Pai.
When commuting, I always try to catch an old tram, it’s charming and effective!
Discover Toronto with Tessa Virtue and Jean-Michel Dufaux