Happy New Year to old friends and new! Let’s all build upon the 50th reunion celebration last October to have a great tour blending all interested alums, be they very old or very recent grads, for a fantastic tour up to Toronto this June.

Please review these preliminary plans below. Fortunately I’ve had enough positive feedback from various hard liners who have committed to make these dates …that I can assure you that there WILL be a Toronto tour on this date and we are quite likely able to handle additional people should this tour get over subscribed (we are planning on 60 attendees). I hope you will consider joining us! We may even fandangle a meeting with our own celebrity Mayor, Rob Ford….although I’m not sure he’ll be too happy as to the name we’ve chosen for the old boys side we are assembling up here to play against us (“The Toronto Crackheads”).

Dates: Wednesday June 11 to Monday June 16, 2014 A group block of rooms has been reserved (deposit paid) at the Hilton Garden Inn from Wednesday night through to Monday morning. Payments for this hotel are via your tour fees below. The group rate per night is $242 including tax (double occupancy). You can adjust your own cost accordingly if you plan on coming for less than the 5 nights – but let me know asap if so!

Preliminary Itinerary:

Wednesday June 11:
Arrive in Toronto. Check into Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Downtown (92 Peter Street) from 3pm onward. Free day/afternoon.
Dinner at venue TBD (pay as you go). Possible spots are local spots, all within walking distance called, “The Ballroom” (offers bowling), “SPIN” (offers ping pong) and “The Weslodge” (saloon).

Thursday June 12:
Bus leaves in morning for tour of Niagara Falls (1 hr drive), including a boat trip (similar to “the Maid of the Mist” but leaving from the Canadian side) which travels close to base of the Falls.
Late Lunch at Creekside Winery in nearby wine country (Jordan/Niagara on the Lake). Set menu. Please let me know any food allergies or restrictions. Winery tour and meet n’ greet with winemaker. Dinner in downtown at venue TBD (pay as you go). Perhaps one of the ones above.

Friday June 13:
Group tour of CN Tower (walking distance), lunch (pay as you go) at restaurant nearby and Ripley’s Aquarium (adjacent) in the afternoon. For the very brave, I can organize “groups of 6” to participate in the new CN tower outdoor adventure “Edgewalk”. Cost would be an additional $175 p.p.. Need to let me know if you have any interest in this. I suggest you should check this out www.edgewalkcntower.ca before you commit to this. It’s simply insane.

Bus transportation at 4pm for game out at Balmy Beach Rugby Field (30 minute ride)

HBS Alumni Old Boy Game at 4:30pm. HBS Old Boys versus The Toronto Crackheads (a “by invitation” local team). Showers, Drinks and Dinner to follow at Balmy Beach Clubhouse (10 minute drive by bus). Bus back to hotel leaves at midnight. Free time post then. Please let me know any food allergies or restrictions. FYI, “The Beach” is a cool area along the lakeshore about a 15 minute (no traffic) drive east of the downtown, core in case anyone wants to hang out for the balance of Saturday Night here or circle back to this area on Sunday.

Saturday June 14:
Morning run around Toronto (if your name is Jim Ashton).

11am tour of Steam Whistle Brewery (walking distance from hotel). Lunch at one’s own choosing (pay as you go). Food is available at the stadium (see next item below).

2:00pm: Attend International Rugby match between Canada and Scotland at BMO Field (walking distance). We have 75 tickets already bought for this match. Cost of ticket is included in tour cost.

Saturday Night: Group Dinner at restaurant downtown (TBD). Set menu. Please let me know any food allergies or restrictions. Free by 10pm to explore city and its nightlife.

Sunday June 15:
Free Day to explore city (shopping on King Street West).

Lunch within the Distillery District (20 minute cab rides) for those who want to see this area of TO and come as a group. Happy to give some advice as to other nice places to visit around the city (like “The Beach”) on this day should people want to stay downtown to visit Queen’s Quay (downtown waterfront area) instead. Queen’s Quay is walking distance.

Dinner at downtown venue TBD (pay as you go).

Monday June 16:
Checkout by 12pm. Taxi to airport as needed (complimentary bus rides if flying out of Toronto Island Airport as opposed to Pearson).

Cost estimate of entire trip, excluding airfare (including group meals but excluding pay as you go meals): $1,150 p.p. (adults estimate per person or p.p. and includes tax))

Broken out as: 5 nights downtown accommodation: $606 p.p. assuming double occupancy (reduce if coming in later and leaving Sunday as opposed to Monday). Increase/double if require single occupancy, knock off appropriate fraction if need is for less than 5 nights.

Bus Trip inc boat ride (Niagara Falls) and Lunch & Winery tour $175 p.p.
Tour of CN Tower & Ripley’s: $65 p.p
Transport, Game & Dinner at Balmy Beach: $110 p.p.
Saturday International Rugby Match & Dinner: $145 p.p.
Miscellaneous (tour swag, etc): $49 p.p.

Please let me know by email where you can make this tour and details as well as your interest and availability to play in our friendly rugby match. Please also provide your current age as that will help us set up the number of “halves” (or even matches) we play on Friday night.

Let me know now if you think you can make this tour my emailing me at jim dot pottow [at] gmail (dot) com
I would like to collect CDN $300 preliminary deposits by February 17th if you are interested in attending. Your priority on the hotel group reservation is based on my receiving your deposit.

If it’s easiest to pay using Paypal, please send me a quick email to that effect and I will respond back with a “Paypal request” for this payment, which you can then simply run via your own Paypal account. I will confirm receipt of deposits as I receive them. Please get a confirmation from me about your reservation on this tour before you book flights. I’d hate to have someone buy non-refundable tickets and then not have rooms in our hotel. If you would prefer not to pay your deposit (or full tour estimate cost) via Paypal, you can send your CDN $300 deposit (or full tour estimate cost) via a cheque, payable to “Jim Pottow” to my home address: 337 Glengrove Ave W., Toronto, ON, Canada M5N 1W5. If you are sending a US cheque (from a US account) please add 9% for the current exchange rate (i.e. US $327)

To offer a last bit of inspiration I am also attaching (to the best of anyone’s recollection) what we can best recall were the words for the song Mark Haller wrote to commemorate the last time the HBS RFC toured to Toronto, in the Fall of 1988!

HBS RFC Fall 1988 Toronto Tour Song (sung to the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo”)

Up where the cold winds blow,
There’s a place called Toronto.
That’s where we wanna go
To drink and play rugby.

We hope we get there soon,
We’ll all get drunk and howl at the moon.
That’s where we’re gonna try
To drink the breweries dry.
Way up in Toronto –

Toronto in November
Why? -We can’t remember.
We’ll see Mississauga,
come on, pretty mama
Yonge Street, go crazy,
come on don’t be lazy (oh—)
—We want to go up to Tor-on-to:
We’ll get real drunk,
And then we’ll play real slow,
THAT’S where we wanna go…
Way up to Toronto.

On this tour there will be breweries, wineries and slow playing rugby. And hopefully a good mix of both old farts and younger players/alums. There will be plenty of rugby, activities and other distractions for all!

Please let me know by February 17 whether you can join us!

-Lil’ Spoon