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Tales From The Toronto Hockey Party

By on November 12, 2009 in Hockey Party

by Flyers Rule, Habs Tweetup

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The travel bug has officially bitten me – hard. This year I finally had a real reason to make my debut visit to our neighbor to the north, Canada, for the very first time. I was not disappointed – and that’s an understatement!

In June I trekked to Montreal for the NHL Draft Tweetup sponsored by @All_Habs, @metricjulie, @amandafortier, and @kyleroussel…it was a weekend I’ll never forget thanks to a superior Montreal Tweetup crew and all of the fun-loving, friendly hockey tweeps I met (never mind the fact that Montreal is a truly beautiful city!).

It was then that Habs Tweetup was born – hockey fans from far and wide coming together to celebrate the Habs (or whatever your team of choice is…ahem..Flyers!) and have a spectacular time doing it. I knew after that weekend that nothing would keep me from Canada or anywhere else a Habs tweetup was organized…I may be a loyal, dedicated Flyers fan, but I now foster a great love for the bleu, blanc et rouge in Montreal :)

Sure enough, @All_Habs and @kuyaz decided that a Habs tweetup should take place in Toronto during a Habs/Leafs game – how else to better celebrate this storied rivalry? And with no arm-twisting needed, I circled the date on my calendar and packed my bags for Toronto!

Toronto, although quite a different city from Montreal, is equally as beautiful – with a hometown neighborhood-like charm. I decided to drive up to Ontario a day early to give myself time to sightsee and play tourist…a decision I do not regret! There is so much to see and do in Toronto – I have quite a list compiled of more things that I need to do there!

I decided to hit 3 major “sights” in the city – Casa Loma, the CN Tower and the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF). Yes, I like to pack a lot into my vacations :)

Casa Loma appealed to the history-loving education geek in me – a majestic castle built by Sir Henry Mill Pellatt (a prominent Canadian financier and military officer) in the early twentieth century. The castle is what Sir Henry and his wife called home and is now open to the public.

Complete with gardens, a Conservatory, turrets and towers to climb, secret passageways to unveil and underground tunnels to explore, Casa Loma was the perfect way to spend a cold and rainy afternoon. Most rooms of the castle have been preserved and restored to their breathtaking original splendor. I highly recommend adding this to your list of places to see in Toronto.


I felt that I’d be pretty silly if I skipped visiting the most prominent landmark in Toronto – the CN Tower (which also happens to be the world’s tallest building). Unfortunately, it was REALLY windy that day so no one was allowed to go outside on the observation deck, and the Skypod was also closed because of the gusts. But no amount of wind can take away the breathtaking views of the city and of Lake Ontario from that height. I think I could’ve spent hours just getting lost in the landscape…it’s very peaceful up there. One other cool feature is the Glass Floor – one small section of the observation deck that you can stand on and look allllllll the way down to the ground. *gulp* YIKES! Thanks, but I prefer concrete under my feet :)

So now we get to the good stuff – the Hockey Hall of Fame! In order to get pumped up for the Tweetup, I waited to visit the HHOF til Saturday (Halloween!!) and got the grand tour with @All_Habs. Let me just say, if you’ve never been to the HHOF, put down what you’re doing and go there RIGHT NOW! It’s quite honestly the most amazing place a hockey enthusiast could ever visit.

From the antique equipment and sweaters used by the forefathers of our favored game, to the collection of trophies large and small (the pièce de résistance being the Stanley Cup of course!), to the abstract teams no longer in existence (the Trail Smoke Eaters…really?!), to the replica of the Habs dressing room in the Forum – this place has it all, and then some. You can find gear from every team in the NHL and just about every other well-known league in the world.

Of course, we made it a point to check out tons of Habs displays – but a Flyers fan like me was especially pleased to find the Philly display, Mike Richards’ Memorial Cup photograph, a Quakers jersey (the Philadelphia NHL team from 1930-1936), and an official helmet from Dave “The Hammer” Schultz’s Army (CONGRATS DAVE! He’s being inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on Monday, November 16th, 2009! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dave on a few occasions – a very nice guy and a legendary hockey player. Broad Street Bullies forever!)

If you know me well enough, you don’t have to think very hard to guess who my favorite hockey player is – Martin Biron. And yes, goaltending is my most loved hockey position. So I was challenged to channel a bit of Marty and get padded up in the interactive exhibit section of the HHOF. Sure enough, there I was in goal, suited up in very incomplete padding, while Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier fired weighted sponge pucks at me through five different mechanically-fed openings in a giant video screen. I humbly chose the “Rookie” setting and managed to stop 4 out of 5 shots. Think I’m ready for the NHL? :)

So after much ado and plenty of sightseeing, it was finally Saturday night and time for the REAL reason for this trip…the Habs Tweetup!! The location was set downtown on lively Bloor Street and THE Habs-friendly bar in the city, Kilgours. What an oasis in a sea of Leafs-happy watering holes! This cozy, friendly pub has Habs memorabilia everywhere you look – with awesome food and super-nice bartenders and servers.

Our group of about 13 people had a ton of fun (even though we were infiltrated by some die-hard Leafs fans…@Nock4Six!! lol – luckily she’s a great girl, despite her insistence upon yelling “Go Leafs Go” all the time! lol) – made up mostly of folks from Toronto…some of whom aren’t even on Twitter YET…and @sabotek with @sexyaccentguy who were in from Ottawa. Before the end of the night, other Habs fans in the bar were even pulling up a chair to join in the fun at our tables. Thank you @All_Habs and @kuyaz for organizing such a fantastic event!

All in all, the Toronto Habs tweetup was well worth the trip – quite a memorable weekend! And you can bet that I’m doing my best to make plans to be at the Habs/Sens tweetup @sabotek is sponsoring in Ottawa on November 21st!

Stay tuned to Habs Tweetup for more info on that event and many more – before you know it, they’re gonna turn this into Habs Nation! :) Except when all of you finally come to Philly, that is!!! LOL

Happy Travels! See ya at the next #HABSTWEETUP – Ottawa here we come!!

Check out more photos from the Habs Tweetup in Toronto here. Do you have any photos to share? Please send them to habstweetup@gmail.com

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About the Author

About the Author:

Rick Stephens is the Editor-in-Chief of Hockey Pub..

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