It’s Cara Schoenfeld’s 20th birthday. The LSA sophomore wants to spend the night with all of her girl friends and have a good time. She could stay in Ann Arbor and do the same things she does every other night. But why do that when she could celebrate living score years in another country where she can drink legally?
Schoenfeld said she enjoys spending nights out in Canada for many reasons. Not only does Windsor have great bars and restaurants, but the legal drinking age in Canada is 19. Although America’s legal drinking age of 21 doesn’t seem to impede upon underage students’ drinking habits, it is a lot more comforting to drink legally without the burden of rejection form bars or even worst, getting an MIP, Shoenfeld said.
“Going to Windsor was so much fun. It’s worth the 40-minute drive to not have to go through the hassle of using a fake ID, not getting into the club or bar all your friends are at and getting arrested,” she said.
LSA sophomore Brie Winn added that a trip to Windsor adds an element of spontaneity, where a last-minute decision to go to another country can actually be achieved.
It is important to remember that two pieces of government-issued identification are required to cross the border. One must be a photo ID, and the other must prove your citizenship. To prove citizenship, a passport, birth certificate or voter registration card is required.
Right after crossing the bridge or going through the tunnel is the main strip of restaurants, casinos, bars and hotels in Windsor. Visitors encounter Casino Windsor almost immediately upon entering the country, and again, the legal gambling age in Canada is 19.
“I’m not a big gambler, but I love going to Casino Windsor because it’s close, legal and there are a slot machines. You don’t even need to know how to gamble,” said Ali Schram, an LSA sophomore.
Casino Windsor also offers customers inexpensive restaurants and is very close to many hotels on the strip such as The Quality Suites, Ramada Plaza Hotel and Hilton Windsor Hotel. The Casino Windsor is located at 377 Riverside Dr. East and for admittance into the casino, government-issued identification with a photo is required, such as a driver’s license or passport for age identification. Also, a second piece of identification is obligatory such as credit card with signature, bank card with signature, social security number card, student identification with photo and signature or a birth certificate.
Besides legal gambling and drinking, Windsor offers a variety of dining options. Tunnel Barbeque, which is a three blocks away from Casino Windsor and is kitty-corner from the tunnel, is known for its ribs, roasted chicken and jumbo shrimp, all which come with a side of fries and coleslaw.
After midnight, Tunnel Barbeque is transformed from more than just a restaurant to an “after hours” for people who were at the bars and casinos and becomes more of a social atmosphere that offers good ribs as a late-night snack.
Once in Windsor, if you’re willing to take a four-hour train ride, why not visit Toronto? Downtown Toronto is known for great restaurants, cool shopping, fun bars and, as Missy Siegal, an LSA sophomore and native Canadian, puts it, “a friendlier crowd than you can ever find in America.”
Toronto is known for its restaurants. According to Kinesiology sophomore Emily Parr, “David’s By Day is absolutely unreal.” The restaurant, known for its house salads featuring chicken or tuna, is one that she makes it a point to eat lunch there whenever in the city.
David’s by Day is a lunch and breakfast restaurant located on 413 Spadina Rd., but at 5 p.m., David’s by Day transforms into Buzz by Night, which is known for its veal marsala, calamari, lasagna and warm chocolate cake.
“When I go there for lunch I get soup, a salad, and a drink, and the bill comes out to be about $10 in American money. Then again, when I’m in Canada everything seems so cheap because of the exchange,” Parr said.
Marché Market is another unique lunch spot. The restaurant serves a variety of fresh food that is prepared in front of the customers. The point of the restaurant is to pick from a variety of internationally themed stations.
Toronto also has a reputation for harboring theatrical performances including plays, musicals and festivals such as the renowned Stratford Festival. Its ethnic neighborhoods, most notably the festive Chinatown area, also celebrate diverse cutltures. Additionally, the theatre features afternoon shows that are convenient for travelers. There are also many productions put on at The Cameron House on Queen Street and The Isabel Bader Theatre on Charles Street.
“Whenever I visit Toronto, I know that I will see a fabulous play. It really is a crime to come to Toronto and not see a production. There is something for everyone to enjoy,” Siegal said.
Toronto is also known for its large variety of fun, trendy and vintage clothing stores and boutiques. Queen Street, where you will find great shopping, restaurants, and bars has a young and bohemian appeal.
LSA sophomore Marissa Greenberg, a Los Angeles native, said she loves shopping on Queen Street.
“Queen Street has the hipness and funk of L.A. and the shabby-chic touch, but it’s so much cleaner and the people are so much nicer,” she said.
Kensington Avenue offers shoppers an array of cool vintage boutiques.
“The clothes are really cute, but you have to be willing to take the time to look through everything,” said LSA sophomore Amy Eisen.
“And if you’re on Kensington Avenue, stop by Kensington Kitchen. It’s great fusion food with a Middle Eastern twist,” she added.
Toronto also offers an exceptional nightlife. The Green Room is a quaint coffee shop/bar located in an alley on Bloor Street. It’s laid-back, low key, and is furnished nicely with interesting art. Also, the drinks are pretty cheap. Some mixed drinks sell for as low as $3. The Mod Club Theatre, on 722 College St., is a scene for indie rock and pop listeners. Bands perform live concerts and the crowd is usually still going strong at the 3 a.m. closing time. Another good music scene is the Top of the Senator steakhouse, located one block east of Yonge Street.
“Top of the Senator is the perfect restaurant for someone who likes steaks and live jazz. Montreal Bistro is also great.” Eisen said.
But sometimes, after a long night, the best late night snack is pizza. If one craves pizza in Toronto, there is always one place that comes to mind — Pizza, Pizza.
“Pizza, Pizza is not in the U.S.A., and it is the best pizza around. It is fresh, delicious, and the quickest delivery service I have ever ordered from in my life. The thin crust pizza and the dipping sauces are amazing and it is eight dollars for a pizza,” Schram said.
After a weekend trip to Canada, everyone is guaranteed to be singing a new and upbeat version of “Oh, Canada.”
“When I’m in Canada, there is something about it where I feel so much happier. The people define Canada. You see people chilling, relaxing and just having a good time. Everyone is so genuine, everyone is so friendly. It’s such a scene. Such an incredible scene,” Eisen said.