I love contests, and I have been quite lucky ever since I was a small child at filling out contest entry forms and actually winning. Unfortunately, I am not at all lucky when it comes to the big lotteries :(. One of my more enjoyable contest wins was a weekend away for my family at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto, Ontario a couple of years ago.
The Royal York opened its doors in 1929 and was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth at the time. Their website explains that “the magnificent hotel became known as a city within a city, rising in 28 floors of architectural splendor and replete with mechanical genius and opulence never before seen in Toronto. It boasted 1,048 rooms – each with radios, private showers and bathtubs. The 1.5 acres of public rooms included a 12-bed hospital, 12,000-book library and ten ornate passenger elevators. The Concert Hall featured a full stage and mammoth pipe organ weighing 50 tons, which surpassed anything else in Canada with 300 miles of copper wire. There was a glass-enclosed roof garden, the largest hotel kitchen in Canada with a bakery that could produce over 15,000 French rolls a day, a 66-ft.long switchboard manned by 35 telephone operators, its own bank and golf course.” Since then over 40 million guests have stayed at the Royal York, and it is still one of the most luxurious hotels in downtown Toronto. Trust me when I say that I could never have stayed there without it being a free stay, so it certainly was a treat for my family. My kids were particularly thrilled by the valet service – their jaws dropped when a man in uniform drove up in our car and opened the doors for us to get in. LOL
We had a great time that weekend. You see, I grew up in Toronto, but my boys were born in a rural area, so a trip to Toronto is always a new experience for them. Whereas subways, elevators, escalators, and high rise buildings were a normal part of everyday life for me, these things are a major novelty to my kids. We showed them a lot of the sites around the hotel that weekend, and I think I will share a few of them with you over the next few days.
This particular photo just happened by chance. I was standing across the street from the hotel trying to capture its enormous size and beauty, when this flock of birds flew across. I must have had my camera in continuous shooting mode at the time (why, I’m not sure) because I have a series of very similar photos, and it just so happened that one of them caught the birds in flight which in my opinion adds to the mood or atmosphere of the scene. The same photo without the birds is just boring in comparison. Now that I think of it, I believe there was someone standing on the median in the street feeding the birds, and it was really causing a disturbance, so someone from the hotel had to come out and tell the person to move on. It was kind of humorous watching the events unfold.