Story by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor
TORONTO, ONTARIO — David Frum’s political commentary that informs millions of CNN viewers doesn’t just come from reading insider reports or studying academic works. Frum is a world traveller, who has been to global hot spots that aren’t likely to be on your vacation bucket list. They are, however, some of the most fascinating and important places in the world at the moment. Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are only three of the dangerous countries that Frum, a Torontonian whose columns appear in the National Post and the Daily Beast, has visited in the past decade.
He says a 2010 trip to Venezuela sticks in his memory because of the extreme level of violence in that South American country.
“The trip began with a visit to the US embassy and the public safety officer looked at my bio and my passport and saw where I’d travelled and he told me, ‘This is the most dangerous place you’ve ever been,'” Frum said during a conversation with Vacay.ca at the Park Hyatt Toronto. “I took precautions and I didn’t experience anything bad, but just to put it into context, Venezuela is a country that has a smaller population than Canada with more murders than the United States.”
While international travel has been a significant part of Frum’s career, his schedule these days keeps him mostly in Canada and the United States, with frequent visits to Toronto and his home in Prince Edward County. Along with being one of the most influential thinkers on conservative politics during the past 20 years, the author and former speechwriter for George W. Bush has become an unofficial ambassador for his homeland.
CNN Analyst David Frum Talks Travel
He and his wife, acclaimed journalist Danielle Crittenden, host their friends from Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, introducing them to the wines from the Ontario region known for its vineyards, boutique shops, and easy-going lifestyle.
“Prince Edward County in the United States is not very well known, unlike Muskoka, which has an international reputation. It is very much a local treasure,” Frum says of the county that is south of Kingston and about 200 kilometres northeast of Toronto. “You can bicycle through high grasses and through fields of lavender, and it feels like the south of France.”
While convincing Americans of that fact may be a challenge, Prince Edward County is indicative of the broader appeal of Canada. It is more upscale than visitors might expect and has expanded during recessionary times, when so many other places were forced to contract.
“Canada is very much in style right now,” Frum says. “Having one of the most successful experiences through this global economic downturn, a lot of people in America are curious as to how Canada has done it.”
Like many business travellers, Frum doesn’t have much leisure time in the destinations he visits. As he says, he tends to go from one aluminum tube (re: airplane) to a box (automobile) to “a hotel that is one of the hotels that I always stay at” and then he attends his conference that’s often hosted at the hotel and after a day or two he is at the airport again.
“You get back into the aluminum tube and you go home and people ask you how was name of city and you say, ‘I have no idea. I was barely there.’ But sometimes you get to do some pretty interesting things,” he notes.
That’s particularly true in Toronto, a city where Frum was born and where his mother, Barbara Frum, made her mark as a broadcaster for CBC. He names Philospher’s Walk, a lovely path on the University of Toronto campus, as one of his favourite spots, along with the Park Hyatt in Yorkville.
“There was a time when this was the heart of literary Toronto,” he says of the hotel and in particular its famed rooftop bar. “Literary Toronto has now moved but the bar is still there and it is very popular.”
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