Each year the Economist magazine reviews 140 cities globally and assesses each one with regard to its stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Not surprising is that of all the cities in the top ten, six are made up of Australian and Canadian cities with Melbourne at number 2, Sydney at 3, Calgary at 5, Vancouver at 6 and Toronto at 7 and finally Adelaide at 10th spot.

I must admit I feel very fortunate in that I live in one of the most liveable cities in the world on the Global Liveability Index. Even better is that I’ve been able to spend time in Melbourne for the past couple of weeks as well.

A huge bonus is that I have two very good friends from Toronto who now reside in Melbourne, after Glenda accepted a senior role with one of Australia’s premier banks. Martin, ever the entrepreneur is still investigating his next big gig.

Over the course of my corporate career I had the pleasure of working with both Glenda and Martin in a variety of roles over the years.

This past week I was able to spend time with them and catch up on the life they have created here in Melbourne. As you can imagine moving 8,000 kilometres to the other side of the earth, away from friends and family to start a new life has its challenges, but they have fearlessly embraced their new lives down-under.

It was fabulous to chat and catch up over dinner, plus they were super generous as I stayed over in preparation for a business meeting I had the following morning.

Luckily for me, over the course of my two weeks here in Victoria I was able to spend three days exploring Melbourne. I must admit it’s changed significantly since my youth, but in a great way.

Not surprisingly it has an incredible cafe and foodie culture that is also ranked as one of the top destinations in the world. With a population of just on five million people, and the second largest Greek city in the world after Athens it is a thriving and multi-cultural mecca.

Seriously when did Melbourne get so incredibly cool??? 🙂

As I strolled with my camera and explored (as you do) it was apparent that this vibrant and cosmopolitan city and blessed with fabulous weather, is a must see on a visit to Australia.

In fact I personally find that Toronto and Melbourne share a lot of similarities, except that the weather is the polar (no pun intended) opposite in Toronto. Lol!

One of the striking things about Melbourne is the cafe culture, well in fact the food culture in general.

It truly is a foodie paradise in that you have a breadth of incredible places to eat and drink that it just boggles my mind. Almost entirely unique and bespoke to a degree is that there are few large chains, but mostly small boutique types of places. You know the one, where you feel immediately at home.

Eclectic, tasty and full of charm!

Check out these list of eleven Melbourne food trails, yes you heard…eleven! There is no question it’s a diverse group, so take your time and check them out.

When I was a kid Lygon Street in Carlton was the foodie strip, however it’s been overshadowed by the likes of Chapel Street (Prahran to South Yarra) or the Smith and Gertrude junction in Fitzroy. These once working class inner city neighbourhoods have been revitalised…not gentrified. Still with its rough and tumble exterior these locales are now havens to some of the best chefs, restaurants and cafes in Australia!

Another of the great things about Melbourne is the free tram zone (streetcar for those of you in North America) in the CBD (central business district).

It’s a totally “hop on, hop off” service anywhere in the downtown core and covers about 20 square blocks. How very civilised!

A fabulous benefit to both locals and international visitors alike, not to mention taking away any of the enforcement issues that this would normally come into play with to a busy, world class city like Melbourne.

Definitely something Toronto can learn from…if I say so myself! 🙂

All in all, it’s been a wonderful stay here in Melbourne. Strangely each time I come back I fall a little more in love with it.

Until next week