As tempting as it was to fly Emirates to Dubai, their pricing was not competitive... throw in a alternative to fly business class instead via Air Canada's shiny new 787's and the decision was an easy one.
The hard product-- the seat-- was disappointing, especially finding that it wasn't quite flat, instead there was a bit of a dip between the seatback and seat cushion when flat, and my head hit the top of the wall. Privacy wasn't quite as good as expected, either. I couldn't scoot down because then the dip killed my back. I know, I know, definitely first world problems.
That said it mostly made up for it with a really freakin' good in-flight map, a nice enough screen, a decent selection of movies, and yes, the food was served on real plates with real glasses and actual silverware. The food itself was nothing special, maybe a marginally better than what United serves for the fish, the chicken was about the same level, the french toast was pretty but not particularly tasty.
The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto, while spacious, has definitely suffered due to COVID-19 service cutbacks. Toronto is also still decidedly not the best place to transit through either, but at least they have employees at one end of the hallway to tell you that yes, the signs suck, but you gotta walk all the way back to the other end of the hallway for your connection.
Finally, the haul from Toronto (YYZ) to Dubai (DXB) itself wasn't too bad. Left the gate quite late (even had to refuel again before pushing back, we ran so late) due to some flight plan issues, but once we got off the ground the flight plan looked normal? ~12.5 hours, routed over Europe, Ukraine, the Black Sea, and Iran to the Persian Gulf. However, after taking a nice nap after dinner, woke up and found we had instead cut further south via western Turkey, the Mediterranean, Egypt, and then over Saudi Arabia-- adding something like 90 minutes to the flight. Not quite sure why, according to Rick, his earlier flight a few weeks ago had taken the typical, more direct routing over Iran.