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Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Vacation Travel

The Best Destinations for 2015

January 23, 2015

Best Destinations for 2015 As we settle into 2015, we may be thinking about our travel plans for the year and our vacation plans or island escapes. Our list is based on destinations that have dominated travel magazine headlines; places that are newsworthy, have flown under the radar for the past few years, and are booming with new hotels, attractions, events or dining scenes.

Nashville, Tennessee
No longer solely the destination for starry eyed country musicians, Nashville has become a mecca for foodies; less honky-tonk and more Music City, home to popular musicians like the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Taylor Swift. Until the ACE Hotel comes along in 2016, try The 404, a hotel and restaurant hybrid, housed in a former garage (very similar to Chicago’s Longman & Eagle). Get acquainted with the burgeoning hip neighbourhoods and food scene with Walk Eat Nashville! tours. Don’t forget to get a reservation at the new outpost of Husk, from famed chef Sean Brock, who interprets Southern cuisine in a modern way. Late night? Check out hipster-themed Pinewood Social, where you can drink, eat, lounge by the pool, bowl and sing karaoke. If you’re looking for an alternative to Los Angeles or Charleston for a fun weekend escape, this is your ticket.

Toronto, Ontario
This year, your home away from home, Toronto welcomes the Pan Am Games from July 10-24. The metropolis is gearing up with the games with new facilities, including the Best Destinations for 2015 revitalization of the West Don Lands. Explore the Corktown Commons park (with a picturesque view of the city skyline) and a pit stop at new, upcoming cafe, Odin. New restaurants and bars are opening up at a rapid pace. Look out for Bar Isabel’s second outpost, Bar Raval on College Street and try the sleek Rush Lane if you haven’t had a chance. DelSuites has furnished apartment rentals in Toronto for short-term stays, including a review of our 300 Front Street West property. We also have guides to North York, Mississauga, and Etobicoke, if you need a place on the edges of the city. Here are ten photos and ways to get inspired to see the beloved T Dot.

Portugal

Situated on the western edge of Europe, Portugal is a great country to explore independently and solo. Travelers are now taking advantage of its coastal delights (by the beach and on the table); its stylish hotels; and more affordable prices than its European neighbours. Ride the historic tram 28 through the city of Lisbon; take a day trip to the Unesco-world heritage site, Sintra, with its glorious mountains and architecture; or head north to Porto, with its golden beaches, its first Michelin-starred restaurant at the Yeatman hotel, or a wine tour of the Duoro Valley. Don’t forget to bring home some port!

Best Destinations for 2015 Taiwan
Off the radar of other Asian countries, Taiwan is a clean, active and filled with delicious and affordable eats. Taipei has experienced growth in the past five years and is expecting a few new hotels like the W, Mandarin Oriental, and Citizen M to open in the next two years as it ramps up to be named the World Design Capital in 2016. Taiwan is more than its capital. The ideal R&R can be found in the idyllic Sun Moon Lake. With its hot springs hotels and meandering bike paths, it’s a nice 1-2 day getaway. Take the high speed trains down south to the majestic Taroko Gorge (ideally, if you can get a guide to drive you there, it is a drive of a lifetime). Further south, you’ll find another food capital: Tainan. Tainan is known as the city of snacks and is as chock full of street food as it is Taipei, whether it’s tofu, chicken chop or those addictive steamed dumplings (xiaolongbao).

Myanmar
This country formerly known as Burma until 1989 feels like going back in time. That said, now at the helm of democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi and with a change in government in 2010, Myanmar is rising to the top of traveler’s wish lists. E-visas make the process to explore a little bit quicker too. As a result, travel magazines list Burma at their top destinations and consequently, a flurry of hotels, restaurants and other trappings of western civilization will result in places like Yangon and Bagan to meet tourism demands. Like any good traveler, do your research, and try to glimpse at this magical place and meet the locals while you can. There are quite a number of tours here including Woodland Travels, G Adventures, and Kensington Tours.

What are your travel plans for 2015? What would you include on your best destinations for 2015?

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Events, Toronto Family Travel

Best Places in Toronto for New Years Eve

December 30, 2014

best places in toronto for new years eveSometimes, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to lounge at home — whether you’re in your temporary housing in Toronto or in a suite for an extended stay– or host friends for a house party. Other times, you may want to kick up your heels, dress up, and dance the night away. Here are our picks for the best places in Toronto for New Years Eve –whether you’re with friends or the family.

Gladstone Hotel’s Lower West Side event is an affordable ticket ($50 in advance) and is your chance to dress up to a theme. This year’s theme is the roaring twenties, so don your finest vest or sparkle and shine in sequins, gold, or silver to bring in 2015 in style.

Fun for the whole family and a quick walk away from our apartment and best places in toronto for new years evesuites, Nathan Phillips Square is the best free event happening in the metropolis on the last day of the year. The free event kicks off at 8pm with street performers. Bring your skates for a spin around the ice rink. Fuel up at the various food trucks on-site and continue the night with musical performances. At midnight, Toronto’s new mayor, John Tory will lead the countdown to 2015 before a magnificent fireworks display.

Another family-friendly New Year’s Eve event is at the Toronto Zoo. The celebratory activities begin from 5pm and end at 8pm. They include live music, a magic show, a special countdown, and of course, the chance to be see the animals!

best places in toronto for new years eveIf you wanted to get out of town for the New Year, ET Canada hosts their free concert event in Niagara Falls. Performers this year include Keith Urban, Nick Jonas, and Lights. Don’t miss the fireworks over the falls. This is a great excuse to stay in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Wherever you may be for this year’s festivities, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!

Downtown Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Top Shops in Toronto for Christmas Shopping

December 23, 2014

Top Shops in TorontoWhether you’re a corporate traveller or a local, finding that perfect present for your loved ones can be a challenge. You may want to find a unique shop that isn’t in the mall or an excuse to explore the different neighbourhoods to support local businesses. Here are our favourite top shops in Toronto customized for your Christmas or holiday shopping needs.

Drake General Store
As an outpost of the Drake Hotel, the Drake General Store set the trend for shops where you could find quirky treasures with a Canadinana twist and has since expanded to locations at the Hudson Bay Company across Ontario. (Also known as the ideal store for holiday shopping.) Vintage Canadian postcards and engraved key chains with popular song titles like “That’s the Way Love Goes” are perfect stocking stuffers; the Areaware Harry Allen piggybank is a design item worth the splurge; and Canadian brands –from Drake’s own signature cross items to Share and Aborist– factor heavily into the Drake’s eclectic and curated selection. These novelty goods are ideal for the playful, curious person in your life.

Kid Icarus top shops in Toronto
For the person who loves paper, Kid Icarus offers a selection of quirky handmade cards and paper products. Want to make your own? Screenprinting and linoleum carving workshops are available. This is a great option for someone who wants an experience. Shop and explore in two locations: Kensington Market and now, Parkdale.

Love the Design
Located in the tony Summerhill neighbourhood, no-one has a better selection of vintage decor finds that will add that extra flair to your home. That perfectly weathered cabinet, kooky light, or second-look accessory is all available in the equally gorgeous set-up of the store. Owner Christine Flynn also makes her own customized artwork and custom stationary, some with a Toronto twist (the linoleum streetcar piece comes to mind or list of Toronto street names and subway stops come to mind). A destination in itself.

Cambie Design
If you’re looking to add flair to your furnished suite or apartment rental or a piece that you can take home with you, Cambie’s home accessories are good options. Cambie is famous for their coloTop Shops in Torontourful, hand-spun alpaca wool and acrylic-made blankets sourced from Peru. Beyond the blankets, rugs, housewares, and vintage furniture are available for purchase. It is a great way to support local shops and local communities around the world.

Advice from a Caterpillar
Located in the tony Summerhill and Rosedale neighbourhood, this children’s store has everything your family needs. Designer clothes, decor, toys, nursery, travel, and lifestyle products for the parents are all available in this curated and sophisticated shop. Our picks include:Janod Story Box Farm, Hansa deer bambi and the Hoppop bato child plastic bath.

BYOB Cocktail Emporium
This cool and eclectic emporium to cocktail and bar resources is your one-stop shTop Shops in Torontoop for your home bar needs. Also ideal for a unique holiday gift, stock up on funky glassware, DIY beer and wine making kits, hard-to-find Japanese cocktail shakers, and much more. If you need to host a party in your furnished suite, this truly is one of the most niche shops in Toronto.

Though these are incredible stores for your holiday shopping needs, they are great stores to visit year-round. So if you are in Toronto for a short term stay, these are some of the most unique top shops in Toronto. It’s also a great way to explore the different areas of the city from Parkdale to Uptown.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Top Food and Drink Festivals in Toronto

December 17, 2014

food and drink festivals in torontoIn the past couple of years, Toronto has become a destination for food and drink enthusiasts. In addition to the number of innovative and ethnic offerings available (not to mention those cheap eats), there have been just as many creative food festivals and events. Here are a few of our favourite food and drink festivals in Toronto that’s happening this holiday season into 2015:

Drake Does Chrismukkah
December 19, 2014 6pm
Before the Christmas crunch, feast on the best of various cultural traditions of the holiday season at The Drake Hotel. The hearty meal (including prime rib, yorkshire pudding, latkes, and apple crumble among the samplings) is only $29.95. Reserve in advance before December 19 to participate in this cheerful occasion.

Guest Chef Pop-Up Series at Drake One Fifty
January 20-21, 2015
This fun injection of the Drake Hotel in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District hosts some of the best chefs from North America and beyond. The first pop-up dinner of 2015 will feature a Portuguese fusion menu from David Santos, ex Per Se, and now of Louro in NYC.

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival
January 31, 2015 11am-5pm
Just steps away from our 300 Front Street property, sample craft brew from over 20 breweries at the Winter Craft Beer Festival. Hosted by the Steam Whistle Bfood and drink festivals in torontorewery and just outside its doors at the Roundhouse Park, warm up over the outdoor fires with beer in glass sample mugs from great breweries like Oast House Brewers, Flying Monkeys, and Lake of Bays. Food trucks will also be on site if you get hungry. The first 500 attendees at the gates will get a free festival toque.

Recipe for Change 2015
February 26, 2015, 6-9pm
Recipe for Change is FoodShare Toronto’s annual fundraiser for innovative school food programs and sustainability within the food industry. This party brings together over 30 exciting chefs, two craft brewers and four wineries at the historic St. Lawrence Market. It’s a fun party for a great cause.

Whether you’re in town for a quick visit or on business, or you are staying in a furnished apartment rental or suite for the long term, these festivals are a tasty way to stay warm throughout the winter.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1970s

December 12, 2014

Toronto PanoramaSome Torontonians joke that many of the buildings in Toronto look like they are from the 1970s and it’s because they were. Toronto in the 1970s was one that set up its future, now a construction boom of modern glass and steel buildings.

Many of our most recognizable landmarks were built in the 1970s. The Eaton Centre, the CN Tower, Ontario Place (under a current transformation of revitalization), and the Toronto Reference Library (also recently renovated in parts) are the buildings we know and love from this era.

It’s hard to believe now but Yorkville in the 60s was the hippie capital of Toronto, where legends like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young were singing in coffee houses through those brick-laned alleys. Toronto in the 1970s ushered in its change to its tony status today with the introduction of high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen in addition to art galleries and cafes. High-rise office towers replaced the low-rise buildings at major intersections.Toronto in the 1970s

The Yorkville scene of folk music was being ushered out and the rising scene of rock and roll and punk on Queen Street West was gaining prominence. Bands like the Rolling Stones were playing at notable venues like the now historic venue, the El Mocambo.

As writer, Shawn Micallef, notes, “Torontonians generally like their public areas all on one level and in a straight line in contrast to Asian cities like Hong Kong, where street life can easily rise many floors above the sidewalk.” Despite our underground pathways and current consistent construction, this trend hasn’t really changed.

Check out this collection of photos of Toronto in the 1970s here.