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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.

 

Business Travel, Customer Service Experience, Downtown Toronto, Feedback and Reviews, Insurance Housing, Relocation

DelSuites Review: 300 Front Street West

December 3, 2014

Our resident blogger, Natalie Taylor, recently stayed at our 300 Front Street West location. Here’s what she had to say.

300 Front Street WestYou never know when you’re going to need an apartment until you least expect it. In my case, my home is undergoing renovations and I needed an alternative place to stay. Luckily, DelSuites invited me to stay at their newest furnished rental at 300 Front Street West. Before I got into the building, I was impressed by its location. Located at the corner of Front and John, the condominium is across from CBC’s headquarters, a ten minute walk from Union Station and five minutes from the trendy King Street West strip at King and Spadina. On the weekends, you can walk over to the Rogers Centre for a game or a concert; or walk over to the ferry terminal to explore the Toronto Islands. In the detailed booklet provided on the living room table, there are recommendations for local activities, services, and how-to’s for TV repair, garbage instructions, etc.

The building is very secure and you need key access to get into the building. The concierges are friendly, helpful, and 300 Front Street Westavailable 24 hours. Once I got into the apartment, I immediately felt at home. Everything is not only furnished but nicely decorated in a modern and minimalist style and it all felt so comfortable. From the modern artwork and orchid in the living room to the rock and grass filled glass vases in the dining room, I have gotten some inspiration to decorate my renovated space at home. The separated desk area was ideal to get work done. After a long day, it was nice to kick back and watch the Food Network under a provided blanket on the sophisticated yet soft couch. The bedroom is a private oasis and also has a TV if you want to watch a movie late night under the covers. One of my favourite features in the bedroom was the option to open up the screened lower window to the balcony for fresh air. Usually most condos are enclosed glass cases so this was a welcome attribute!

300 Front Street WestI was surprised at all of the little details that were provided in the kitchen, especially. Utensils, plates, cups, bowls, baking items (mixers, baking sheets), a kettle, bowls, dish soap, dishwashing detergent, and towels are all available so you don’t have to worry about buying cooking equipment. I didn’t have to bring anything with me! I think my favourite feature had to be the red magnetic cabinets that close on their own. All you have to do is push the door.

The bathroom was just as relaxing. An advanced shower head has a massage feature, and there are plenty of extras like towels and toilet paper so you don’t have to call on housekeeping (which is provided once a week). DelSuites even provides you with a shower kit filled with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, soaps, and body lotion. They even provide a bathrobe for you in the bedroom closet, which I now want to purchase for myself. In that sense, it felt close to staying in the hotel. That said, you don’t have to pay for any laundry service because there is a washer and dryer (with a starter laundry detergent kit provided) available for your use right beside the bedroom.

300 Front Street WestThe balcony was also another favourite feature of mine. Not only could I get a birds eye view of the pool area but I was face to face with Toronto’s icon, the CN Tower. As a local, there’s something that makes me feel proud about that. The recreation area, complete with a pool, cabana, billiards area, and fully equipped fitness area (including yoga and spinning rooms) added to the impressiveness of my stay.

DelSuites furnished apartments and suite rentals took care of all of the small details. I have never felt more at home at 300 Front Street West! Whether you’re in town for business, or are displaced and covered by insurance, they are their to take care your living needs.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Toronto in Ten Photos

November 25, 2014

Capturing Toronto in ten photos is not an easy task because this city is so vast. There are a number of things to do and a number of icons that define the city. We have illustrated the city from a local viewpoint with a mix of those icons that make Toronto just what it is. Luckily, our landmarks are within walking distance of your furnished apartment in Toronto. Hopefully, this provides inspiration for you to photograph your Toronto.

Toronto in Ten Photos1. Evergreen Brickworks
The Brickworks, as it’s affectionately known, is an old brick factory which provided bricks for the construction of some iconic Toronto landmarks such as Massey Hall and Casa Loma. The Brickworks is now used as a cultural space and for events. Check out the kilns and the interesting graffiti on the walls; the farmer’s markets on the weekends; and Cafe Belong, for a leisurely brunch. Around the site, you can sit by the pond or hike behind the area over to Rosedale through Milkman’s Lane or north to St. Clair via Moore Park.

2. Toronto StreetcarsToronto in Ten Photos
These trolleys are a signature icon of Toronto. Concurrently, they’re offer one of the best ways to see our massive metropolis from east to west for $3. Just hop on the Queen Streetcar and it will take you all the way from Roncesvalles where King and Queen intersect, past through Parkdale, Queen West, Corktown, Leslieville, and to the Beach all the way to Neville Park. Make sure you check out the old streetcar yard at Queen and Greenwood, which will move to Leslie and Lakeshore. The streetcars have also gotten an upgrade and are currently of use along Spadina Avenue.

Toronto in Ten Photos3. Kensington Market
One of the most colourful, eclectic, and bohemian neighbourhoods in Toronto, Kensington Market is also designated a National Historic Site. Once populated by Jews and Italians who sold items and gifts. After the recession in the 80s, Latin American immigrants began to move in and this habitation is reflected in the many Latin American stalls and grocery stores in the market. Now you’ll find more modern cafes, restaurants and shops (from vintage to modern) in the neighbourhood. Don’t forget to check out Pedestrian Sundays, when the market closes its streets to pedestrian traffic and celebrates on the last Sunday of every month from May to October.

4. Queen Street WestToronto in Ten Photos
Queen Street West is considered one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in Toronto and was recently rated by Vogue as the second coolest neighbourhood in the world. This section of Queen, which expands past University to Lansdowne Avenues, is a hodge-podge of trendy boutiques, an eclectic mix of restaurants, vintage shops, bars, art galleries, Trinity Bellwoods Park, and two hotels (the Drake and the Gladstone). It is the perfect street for an afternoon stroll.

Toronto in Ten Photos5. Trinity Bellwoods Park
Aforementioned, Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of the mainstays of the Queen Street West scene. Whether you’re biking, running, playing tennis or partaking in other activities at its adjacent community centre, this is one of the best people-watching spots in the city. Grab a blanket, some homemade food, or head over to one of the local cafes across the street for the ideal picnic spot.

6. Graffiti Alley
Toronto in Ten Photos Located just south of Queen Street West, this alley filled with local graffiti and artwork is not only an alternate route away from the people traffic, it’s an underrated destination in Toronto. Expanding from Spadina close to Bathurst, this alley is just a glimpse at the growing graffiti scene in Toronto, whose walls have now been marked by icons Banksy and Sheppard Fairey. Want to learn more or meet others while checking out great art? Check out the local tour by the Tour Guys.

Toronto in Ten Photos7. Great Food
Toronto’s food scene is eclectic, multicultural and always evolving. You can get great deals but you do need to know where to go. Some great areas to dine in the city are Queen Street, King Street, Ossington, Kensington Market, and Dundas West. The Junction, St. Clair West, and Leslieville are underrated for their dining scenes and you should explore and dine in these areas if you have the chance. One of my favourite spots is Fresh, the healthy food chain, which has a great lunch special of their soup, salad, and cornbread combo for $10!

8. CN Tower ViewsToronto in Ten Photos
It’s hard not to try to find the best spot of this view. From our 300 Front Street West furnished apartments in downtown Toronto, you’ll feel so close to the tower, you can almost touch it. Head over to Fort York or the BMO Exhibition field for that landscape view. Downtown, you’ll get a good glimpse from OCAD (and some great architecture to photograph as well right near the AGO). Further east, Polson Pier and Ashbridge’s Bay are your best bets to get that skyline shot.

Toronto in Ten Photos9. Toronto’s East End and the Best Skyline View
If you have a chance to head east, Riverdale Park East is your best bet for stunning skyline views. A few blocks south of the Danforth on Broadview, it’s a quick streetcar ride or 15 minute walk down to the park. Make sure to go to the best coffeeshop in town, Rooster Coffeehouse to help take in the view. Across the park, head to Riverdale Park West and up the stairs, you’ll find the free Riverdale Farm, Toronto Necropolis, and the historic Cabbagetown district.

10. The St. Lawrence MarketToronto in Ten Photos
Ranked as the world’s best market by National Geographic, the St. Lawrence Market definitely lives up to its reputation. Whether you’re looking for meat, fish, cheese, bread, or produce, it’s all here. Specialty items like mushroom truffle dip, oils, or gorgeous bouquets are all here too. You won’t be starved for lunch. Check out the famous Carousel Bakery for its peameal bacon sandwiches, St. Viateur for those famous Montreal bagels, or Buster’s Seacove to satisfy that fish craving (lobster, halibut, shrimp, and much more!). There’s nothing like it on a Saturday morning.

Hope you enjoyed our photos! If you could choose ten photos to describe Toronto what would they be?

Photos: Complimentary of Natalie Taylor