Given the short time he would be spending in the hotel it was almost a waste to have such a large and comfortable room but a large cooked breakfast in Wilfrid’s restaurant, overlooking the Parliament buildings , soon sorted him out.
After his tedious Government meeting he had lunch with G, his long time associate, in a trendy restaurant in a courtyard behind the Chateau Laurier. It was nice to sit outside in the sunshine and his tomato and goats cheese salad followed by mascarpone and wild mushroom risotto were very good. He took only a glass of Niagara Riesling as he wasmaking a speech that afternoon.
By 16.45 he was on his way back to the airport and managed to get onto an earlier flight to Toronto. Apart from a rather horrible 20 seconds of turbulence half way through the flight he made good time and checked into the Royal York Hotel on Front Street by 8.45pm. He had last stayed in the Royal York in 1995 when he had found it rather a faded relic of its former glory.
Famously the largest hotel in the British Empire when it opened it was now dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the financial district. But now he found it beautifully and sensitively restored.
The grand, central lobby was back to its magnificent best. Having fallen out of love with the even more venerable King Edward he knew, within a few minutes, that the Royal York would become his new favourite in Toronto.
This was particularly true when he saw the spacious suite the reception girl had upgraded him to. He dropped off his bag, showered, changed and was in the Library Bar by 9.00pm.
The Library Bar at the Royal York Hotel is the sort of bar that all hotel bars should be. Wood panelling, crimson wallpaper, dim lighting, deep comfortable chairs and shelves filled with old books. He was due to meet C, a lawyer, at 21.00 but he knew that she was always late and, also, that she would arrive straight from the office. She eventually arrived at 21.25 which, for her, was positively early. C was an Indian Canadian (her family were from the Sub-Continent, not the tepee dwelling kind) who changed her look more often than Madonna. The last time he had seen her she had waist length hair and was affecting an ethnic look. This evening she was wearing a white leather micro-skirt, matching white leather jacket and white knee length boots. Her hair had been cut short in what was sometimes known as the gamine style.
“Fine. Order me one of your Martinis and I’ll go to the business centre and send my e-mail. Have you got any condoms? If not I’ll get some in the store downstairs.”
C was not what one might call a romantic.