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Those Bostonites are full of beans

Who says Americans know nothing about Canada? On a recent trip to Boston, the locals wanted to know if I lived anywhere near Parry Sound.

Parry Sound? Everyone has heard of Bobby Orr’s hometown. Orr played on the Bruins from 1966 to 1976 and led the team to the Stanley Cup in 1970 by scoring a goal in overtime in the fourth game against the St. Louis Blues.

Thirty years to the day, May 10, 2010, a bronze statue depicting the famous scene of Orr flying through the air after scoring “The Goal” was unveiled outside TD (as in Toronto-Dominion bank) Garden, home of the Bruins and the Boston Celtics.

Beantown is still celebrating the Bruin’s recent Stanley Cup win and fans like to tease Canadians. We just smile because we know many of the Boston players are Canucks.

Canadian sports fans will feel very much at home in this sports-mad city that feels much more relaxed than New York City or Toronto. Boston offers the opportunity to see major league baseball in legendary Fenway Park as well as NHL hockey, NBA basketball and the NFL football. Boston teams have all won league titles in the past five years.

Located at the mouth of the St. Charles which empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Boston Harbour, Boston is a clean and attractive city. Certainly there must be poverty, homeless people and crime, but tourists won’t notice on a quick weekend visit.

The city has a population of 617,594 while Greater Boston is home to 4.5 million people. A decade ago, the John F. Fitzgerald Expressway, which cut the city from the waterfront, was replaced with a series of tunnels known as the Big Dig (Central Artery/Tunnel) project. (Imagine Toronto without the Gardiner.)

Boston is progressively pedestrian and bicycle friendly. This may have to do with the fact that a large percentage of the population is between the ages of 18 and 45. The Boston metro area is home to 80 colleges and universities including Boston College, Berklee College of Music, Harvard University. Tufts University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The student population is about 375,000.

The central area of the city is alive with shops, bars and restaurants. The most famous bar is Cheers, which inspired the television show that ran for 11 seasons. Devotees can sip a Sam’s Grand Slam, a virgin drink made with orange and cranberry juice, at the original Cheers. Located at 84 Beacon St., its exterior facade was used in the television series. Tourists will want to get a photo. There is also a replica Cheers, which has recreated the bar’s television set, in the extremely popular Quincy Market.

There are lots of historical places to visit including the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, and Paul Revere’s House. The Freedom Trail is a walking trail that leads to 16 nationally significant historic sites. Even Canadians like me who do not share the American dream will enjoy a visit to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library and Museum. It is not a shrine but rather a museum of Camelot. Visitors will learn about the late president’s contribution to space travel, civil rights and the Peace Corp.

A visit to any city or region is an opportunity to indulge in the local cuisine. Clam chowder, lobster and Boston cream pie are worth the calories. The “pie” is actually a custard-filled layered cake with chocolate icing.

Boston is an eight-hour drive from the Buffalo/Fort Erie border. My bus trip was booked through Sears Travel with Great Canadian Tours. The four day-trip, which included three nights’ accommodation, breakfast and an escorted tour of Boston, cost just under $600 and was worth every penny.

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