A savvy Rochester hipster can have an escort and an ounce of genuine "BC Bud" waiting for them at their Toronto hotel upon check-in.
Though lacking an official European-style red light district, T-Dot's booming cannabis café and lady-for-hire industries are easily accessible.
Seeking to lure the Yankee greenback, Toronto's New York State advertising campaign is billing the safe, clean metropolis of 2.4 million as "Toronto Unlimited." Tourism Toronto is taking a shellacking for thinking "Unlimited" will draw visitors. Mayor Miller claims the re-branding is an "embarrassment" --- not because the slogan may allude to the seedy scene, but because out-of-touch political pundits and politicians claim "unlimited" doesn't describe what's happening here.
Toronto luminary Robin "Mr. Fucking" Black disagrees.
"I'm into chicks," he says over beer at a Bloor Street watering hole. "But I'm sure as hell happy that my gay friends can get married to their boyfriend. And on our way out we can smoke a joint if we want to. Fuck! That's so incredibly logical. Then think for a minute about what's happening in America."
The Toronto social circuit Mr. Fucking travels nightly is fraught with "unlimited" shenanigans. Travelers are more likely to see him womanizing, drinking, or toking about town than on stage as sleazy heartthrob for Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rock Stars.
City hall is legally marrying gays and lesbians. Potheads toke herb everywhere --- including patios at three beautiful, food-department-inspected cafes. The street press is jammed with escort ads complete with photos.
A boundless vacation by crossing Lake Ontario or driving a few hours north should involve every vice US puritans will mandatory-minimum-sentence a citizen's ass for.
"What appears as tolerance is just police indifference in terms of enforcement," says lawyer Alan Young, Osgoode Hall Law School professor and author of Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers & Lawyers.
Young is an awesome advocate for people seeking adult merriment. He has defended a place the press dubbed Bondage Bungalow, a jolly hashish smuggler, and med grass patients.
There's nothing Young relishes more than a good moral legal scrap. He argued in the Bondage Bungalow case, for example, that paying to be human floor tiles in a dominatrix's kitchen isn't "sex" as defined by the criminal code.
"The law operates as a trap," he explains for those seeking guilty pleasures. Young argues Toronto's moral laws are loosely enforced, creating public perception the activity is legal.
"Booking a call girl, visiting a dominatrix, buying marijuana is on the books," Young warns. "I'd be very wary if I was from out of town, especially visible minorities."
"People come in here all the time from the US saying they heard grass is legal up here," says Zach Naftolin, an employee of the bong and hemp store Toronto Hemp Company. "We have to tell them it's not."
Grasping the wink wink, nudge nudge happenings here will unlock the potential for an Amsterdam-esque vacation.
Fourteen hundred all-nude massage parlors are licensed under the city's holistic bylaw. Visiting one might lead to something more than a naked rub. Even more than a tug.
According to daily paper The Toronto Star'sthree-part investigation, these parlors are, allegedly, predominately brothels, despite posted signs: "No Sex."
A lack of an expense account prevented verification.
Ordering in is plenty easy too.
Believing Rochester residents need a lubricated helping hand, Mr. Fucking advises. "When it comes to ordering a prostitute from the yellow pages or the papers, there are a few simple rules," he says. "Number one, if you don't like the toppings on the pizza, send it back. You ordered them. You're loaded out of your mind in Toronto. You got your last $200 and decide to order a girl to have a good 45 minutes of fun and games naked style. She gets there, and you don't like the looks of this, send it back."
Now if the agency bungles the girl, but she's still almost hot, he says, "Bang her anyway. You've been waiting. Go for it. It's 4:30 in the morning, you're in Toronto stoned out of your mind and a small boob girl shows up, and you wanted big, it'll do."
Once a big purveyor, Mr. Fucking is becoming bored --- the result of S&M mainstream acceptance around town. "You can get a secretary wife to spank you," he says about the city's ladies.
"She's seen it on CSI and she's willing to do it. If you want to drop $800 on a Toronto dominatrix I can give you numbers. But you can almost get any girl to do that these days. I think the whole dominatrix world is barely worth exploring anymore."
The flamboyant fellow with eye shadow and no eyebrows continues, "When I dated Domonique, a successful Dominatrix, people we're flying from all the around the world to get her to puke on them or kick them in the face while they're tied to the ground. I'm thinking, 'You're paying $900 an hour for getting puked on, or $2000 to get kicked in the face? You're nuts. I'll kick you in the face for free.'"
But you can find kink within the escort service industry. Dominatrices operate out of dungeons such as the Bondage Bungalow. There are male escorts for other men, but women most likely are out of luck. A Rochester woman's best bet is to go to a bar --- the Bovine Sex Club on Queen West, for example, or the Shanghai Cowgirl next door --- and pick someone up.
Whereas Mr. Fucking is dedicated to penis pleasure, Marc "Prince of Pot" Emery devotes his waking hours to cannabis consumption. The Cannabis Culture publisher possesses many Hugh Hefner qualities too.
To avoid a pot-tease situation, The Prince of Pot suggests American marijuana tourists investigate mail order. The cannabis café scene is purely BYOB --- Bring Your Own Bud.
"Cannabis mail order companies send anywhere in Canada," he says. "They do this all the time. Mail order marijuana is exploding. These businesses are willing to accommodate any situation. The mail order forum on the Cannabis Culture site (www.cannabisculture.com) is the most popular. Twenty-five people are on it at any one time discussing customer service. It's interesting having businesses discuss customer service for an illegal product."
The open debate is creating excellent buying trust.
Those comfortable making eBay purchases should be at ease using these services. Cannabis Culture's forums act as a public rating service. The site is also currently endorsing four companies that readers can be comfortable sending money to.
Upon receiving an order the mail order bud companies ship real potent grass (some of BC's best) to any Canadian location via mail --- a hotel you'll be checking into, for example, or a friend's house. They're experts at discreetly getting grass into your hands. Many parts of Canada are very rural; now these enthusiasts can experience fantastic herb too. Customers can track their orders via the websites.
Budmail (www.budmail.biz), Jays Joints (www.xmail.net/jay/index.html), Doobiedude (www.doobiedude.com), and BudBuddy (www.budbuddy.biz) peddle what drug czar John Walters warns US citizens about: potent "BC Bud."
Canadian weed is potent, but it's not flooding America. Rochester residents most likely haven't smoked real Canadian, unless they've been north. Czar Walters is misleading Congress when he says BC Bud is a "major source" of marijuana. A 2004 US-Canada Border Drug Assessment concluded, "Canadian-produced marijuana accounts for only approximately 2 per cent of overall US marijuana seizures at its border." Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) wrote in 2002, "The US are basically their own main source of marijuana."
Mail order is much safer than the streets, but The Prince of Pot has a few tips for those not planning ahead.
"Look for someone with the same background as you," he says. "Find a fellow American who is toking and politely ask them if they can hook you up. Find out where they hooked up and go there. Don't buy into the dealer's paranoia. Don't let them rush you. That just means they're selling schwag."
Before taking the stash on a city cannabis café tour, become familiar with the self-regulation to avoid looking stoner stupid.
"Be cool or don't come," advises Kindred Café owner Dom Cramer.
His fantastic organic-beans-delivered-twice-a-week coffee, scrumptious affordable menu, and beautiful upscale atmosphere attracts people unaware. Only those venturing up a flight of stairs experience Kindred Café's (7 Breadalbane Street) liberal rooftop patio, which adds to the heavenly feel.
Visitors might even be able to view their hotel from the second-floor patio. Both downtown's Sutton Place and Marriott are some of the background eye candy.
Cannabis cafe proprietors design their businesses to the vibe of the surrounding communities. This ain't no ghetto tour. These relaxing hotspots are all in districts promoted by the Toronto Unlimited campaign.
"Our area is more like Vancouver," says Suzy, the owner of a café called G-13. "The Beaches [neighborhood] has that Vancouver feeling. We are designated a tourist area. Come out here to breathe. Go on the boardwalk, have a walk, come here, then leave with a better headspace."
Firing up a doobie in Kensington Market's Hot Box Cafe (Baldwin Street), The Beaches' G-13 (1905 Queen Street East), or downtown's Kindred Café won't get you tossed, if you follow the house rules.
"The biggest rule is no dealing, fishing, mooching, asking, and begging to get a toke off someone," says Chris "Goodster" Goodwin. "Sometimes these moochers are blatant. Others are subtle. Worst are the people fishing in ashtrays. I'll throw you out on your head for that."
Goodwin operates the Up In Smoke Café in Hamilton, a city on route to Toronto for those driving. A weekend visit August 20 and 21 would be extra delightful.
Goodwin is celebrating his first anniversary, or "cannaversary," on August 20 with a "Call to Bongs."
Instead of a lame 20-percent-off sale, he intends to give away free THC ingestion ingredients. His quarter pound worth of ingredients should serve 1000. The Prince of Pot is flying in for the 4:20.
Rallies are excellent to meet friendly like-minded Canabians engaging in public acts of disobedience. Make friends here and grass is easily available every visit.
Goodwin lays down the top cannabis café rule. "Don't come in here asking, 'Can I buy a dime?'" he says. "We don't sell. No one sells. I get asked a 1000 times a day."
Patrons of Kindred Café, explains owner Cramer, "Come here to learn all about free trade coffee. We offer fresh organic coffee. The beans are delivered twice a week. We have fantastic food. We're extra classy, without being pretentious. We're a kind, friendly place."
With your freshly roasted coffee, fruit smoothie, chunky salad, or grilled sandwich, if you happen to bring your own bud, then by all means, get a day pass, and head to the rooftop patio.
Cramer, a dedicated cannabis advocate, doesn't discriminate against people who choose one plant over another. "We're not encouraging marijuana use, but we're not discriminating against it," he says. "Don't come here anticipating overt marijuana use. We support compassion club members using their medicine."
As cofounder of the longest-running not-for-profit compassion club, Toronto Compassion Centre, he understands the need for somewhere to peacefully puff.
"There's a lot of wow going on here," he smiles and says on the patio over tasty blueberry smoothies.
G-13 proprietor Suzy echoes the medicinal marijuana aspect. "We look at G-13 as somewhere people can take their medicine in peace," she says. "I play a lot of jazz. We have the old Rochdale crowd hanging around here. Plenty of people come from the medical clubs. We have the pride flag flying. This place is like the U.N. You leave all your problems and issues at the door. Come here to chill and relax."
Before making a run for the border to experience Toronto Unlimited, ponder: Are you prepared to be a responsible glutton at the all-you-can-eat buffet?
Many Canabians have unfavorable views of Americans after President George Bush tarred the nation with the reference "brother."
Here's why: Minister of Justice Martin Cauchon ran and floated proposed marijuana legislation to Attorney General John Ashcroft before the bill was introduced --- raising accusations of bowing to US meddling. The Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut, spent $62,262 to print 2 million anti-gay-marriage "save the family" postcards, distributed to Canadian politicians. Newt Gringrich still claims, despite no evidence, some terrorists were in Canada before 9/11. The Canadian Ambassador wrote him a reprimand letter. Oh, and stop pretending to be us abroad, too.
Former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation political commentator and longest-serving cannabis convict Rosie Rowbotham, who previously smuggled hashish into the country by the ton and was once referred to as the jolly hashish smuggler, loses his inner Buddha thinking about US-Canada relations and the prospects of plenty of Americans coming out to a café he visits weekly.
"They suffer from trickle-down idiocy," Rowbotham rants about Americans.
"Even the liberal ones. Republican, Democrat, I can't tell the difference," he says. "You can have your Coney Island fries, I'll take French Fries any time. Don't come up here to smoke our pot. Grow it at home and get 25 years."
More than any Canadian Rowbotham knows how Canada can be an occasional target in the US war on drugs. Canadians face extradition for their cross-border smuggling activities these days.
As this issue was going to press, the DEA did just that. On Friday, July 29, Canadian police picked up The Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, and two employees for extradition. The Vancouver Sun's headline screamed, "Uncle Sam Orchestrates Vancouver Pot Bust." Editorially the Sun unleashed, "outrageous infringement of Canadian sovereignty," in paragraph one.
"We're big ass kissers. We're going to get nailed and I'm mad," Rowbotham says. "What has America done right since the Marshall plan? If you can make a list of 10, argue it, then come up here and smoke our pot," he hangs up all wound-up.
Matt Mernagh is a ferret parent who contributes the weird and crazy for Toronto's alt-weekly NOW from the safety of his home.
BC Bud: Generic term for potent grass.
The Beaches: Spend a carefree afternoon strolling the boardwalk in this neighborhood.
Bondage Bungalow: A safe, no-complaining-neighbors suburban home turned into a dominatrix queendom. Gained press fame for Alan Young's "S&M is not sex" defense.
Budmail, Jay's Joint Delivery, Doobie Dude, and BudBuddy: Booming marijuana mail order companies that send green securely anywhere in Canada. Check the online forums for endorsement.
Cannabis Culture: think High Times, but with real marijuana. Based in Vancouver.
Compassion club: A medicinal marijuana clinic where clients can obtain a safe, clean supply of cannabis.
Downtown: Yonge Street is a schmaltzy tourist shopping zone with some grit. Stop before Wellesley.
Hamilton: aka "The Hammer." Radical grass guys here.
Kensington Market: Gorgeous fruit stalls, secondhand thread shops, and Hot Box Café create a passport-free ride to Amsterdam.
Rochdale: Free university where draft dodgers and potheads (often one in the same) used to attend classes back in the day.
T-Dot: One of the many terms used to describe Toronto. Same as Big Smoke.
Toronto Hemp Company: Yonge Street hemp shop that eliminates all unsavory elements when buying shirts, glass pipes, and bongs.