Germain Hotels invites you to meet inspiring Canadians who share their passion for hospitality, gastronomy, and the art of living well.
We invite you to meet them and discover their city, not as a guest, but as a member of the family.
Fourth stop: Toronto.
Tessa Virtue's biography could be called "Confessions of a Workaholic", or something like that. The former Olympic athlete, medallist at the Vancouver, Sochi and Pyeongchang games, works all the time. She who lives in London, about a two-hour drive from Toronto, never takes the time to visit the city when she is here. "If I have time, I take the opportunity to add another meeting to my schedule", she says.
That's why today she will introduce her guest, Jean-Michel Dufaux, to some of her favourite places, but especially hopes that he can also suggest some to her in return. Because Jean-Michel, a travel journalist, author and TV host, is about to publish his book "300 reasons to love Toronto" and has seen every corner of the city.
We start the day at the Hotel Le Germain Toronto on Mercer Street, as it is Tessa's favourite hotel and one of Jean-Michel's 300 reasons to love Toronto. We could not ask for a better place to meet.
We go to the terrace on the 11th floor to admire the view of the city before embarking on our urban journey. Will Tessa be able to surprise Jean-Michel today? We'll see.
On the way to our first stop of the day, Assembly Chef’s Hall, a kind of food court served by pretty restaurants and not by fast food concessions, Tessa and Jean-Michel take the opportunity to talk about Toronto, their travels, discoveries, and, of course, sport.
While walking, Jean-Michel points to some of his favourite places, and Tessa takes notes on her phone. A good coffee shop here? She notes it. A reading recommendation? She notes it. A street where you absolutely have to go for a walk? She notes everything!
We arrive at Assembly Chef's Hall at around 10AM, a place that Jean-Michel already knows, since it is mentioned in his book.
Tessa asks if it's too early to eat a pizza Margherita (let’s remember that it is 10AM ...!) It’s what she always has when she comes here. However, we opt for a coffee for now.
While sipping their latté, Tessa takes Jean-Michel's recommendations about the best coffee shops in Montreal as well as in Toronto.
For lunch, we eat delicious poke bowls (which also allows us to talk about their common passion for Japan) before going for a walk in the busy streets of Toronto.
Tessa, who loves fashion and shopping, takes us to Bloor Street West, where we do some window shopping before we ... get another coffee!
This time, it is Jean-Michel that suggests this stop. Hidden in a tiny alley between Bloor and Critchey Lane, Sorry Coffee (what a truly Canadian name!) serves delicious lattes.
Having had another day to visit Toronto, Tessa would have liked to go for a stroll on Queen Street West and spend time at Trinity Bellwoods Park, where she likes to watch time go by.
It will be for another time!