Emily Baillie

This week we profile Untapped city correspondent Emily Baillie, who has showed us 10 Tombs to Visit in Buenos Aires’s Recoleta Cemetery, given us a tour of Toronty’s Distillery District, and helped us explore Havana’s Historical ‘Hoods.

What’s your “day job”?

I work in Marketing and Communications. I develop multi-platform marketing and communications campaigns for various initiatives.  For the past few years, I’ve been working for a law and social justice organization. I’ve just accepted a new position with a luxury travel company. I’m really excited about it.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?

 The Dakota Tavern is a live country music venue located just a few blocks from where I live. It’s a small, friendly place where the walls are littered with old guns, boomerangs, band posters and snowy Canadian hunting scenes. Almost every night there are performances by some of the best country and western, bluegrass and folk bands around. On Sundays the Dakota Tavern has an awesome Bluegrass Brunch for all ages. Platters of sausages, eggs, pancakes and bacon are served up at communal tables while kids and their parents dance it up in front of the stage. The community atmosphere there makes me feel like I’m back in the rural Ontario town that I grew up in. 

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped:

One of the first posts I did for Untapped Cities was called 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Miami. I was inspired to write the post after traveling to Miami with a group of friends and checking out the city’s neighborhoods and arts scene.  I had been surprised by a lot of quirky facts about the place and felt like I had to share them. Miami installed the first bank ATM specially designed for rollerbladers…who knew?

What’s the most memorable thing that happened while at Untapped Cities?

Through Untapped Cities I connected with fellow contributor Tracy Zhang in Toronto. We became fast friends. It’s great to connect with creative, like-minded people.

What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you learned at Untapped Cities?

I’ve learned a lot about architecture through researching Untapped blog posts.  Until recently, I had never been much of an architecture buff, but being aware of different architectural styles has added more depth to my recent travel experiences.

What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?

A couple of months ago I traveled through Argentina and was dazzled by the country’s diverse landscapes, culture and climates. In the space of a couple weeks I rappelled down a desert mountain in Mendoza, partied until dawn in a speakeasy in Buenos Aires and spotted monkeys and toucans in the rainforest in Iguazu Falls National Park.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel through over 25 countries including Morocco, Peru, Croatia and France.  Right now Israel and Jordan look pretty enticing to me—I’m fascinated by the culture in that part of the world.

What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?

According to official city documents, Toronto is as far south as the French Riviera. It seems hard to believe but I think it’s true. Now if only our climate was more similar to the south of France! Winter temperatures in Toronto can dip below -5 °F (-20 °C) and it can feel even colder with the wind chill.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

In 2006 I quit my government job and moved to Dublin, Ireland. I had never been outside of North America and I didn’t know anyone in Ireland. I got a working holiday visa and hopped on the plane. I stayed for a year and  traveled through scores of European countries. I made some lifelong friends and really taught myself to be independent. Moving to Dublin was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Best Celebrity Sighting:

Every year dozens of A-list celebrities descend upon my city for the Toronto International Film Festival. And every year I miss them! 2014 is the year I’m going to try to get a ticket for a premiere.

What are some of your favorite websites?

I like a good mix of international news, travel, photography and lifestyle websites.  I get my fill of international news regularly from BBC News and Al-Jazeera English. For some more lighthearted fare I read Garance Doré,  A Cup of JoTravel + Escape blog, and the New York Times Lens blog. I also love Jezebel, Matador Network,  Elephant Journal, BlogTO (Toronto’s top weblog that I freelance for) and National Geographic.