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Great Christmas Activities for Kids in Toronto

December 8, 2015

Christmas Activities for Kids in TorontoThe city of Toronto really lights up around Christmas time and becomes a dazzling, sparkling winter wonderland with a magical and festive atmosphere.
If you are visiting the city with your children, there are many fun and exciting things that you can enjoy during your time in Toronto. Here are some of the best Christmas activities for kids that the city has to offer:

12 Trees of Christmas
At the Gardiner Museum you can check out the beautiful display of Christmas trees, enchanting for children of all ages. The event begins on November 12th with the lighting ceremony of an enormous tree and afterwards you can walk around the museum and check out the trees- each decorated with a unique theme. Each of the 12 trees has been designed by one of the city’s top designers and will be on display at the museum.Christmas Activities for Kids in Toronto

Toronto Christmas Market
Get some Christmas shopping done and get lost in the magical atmosphere of the Toronto Christmas Market, taking place in the historic Distillery District from November 20th to December 20th. This charming event captures all of the heritage, charm and tradition of a European Christmas Market and it is a great place to pick up some unique local hand crafted products. There will also be family friendly entertainment there including carollers, children’s choirs and musicians.

Black Creek Pioneer Village
Visit this historic 19th century village and you will feel like you have stepped back in time – it is filled with actors in period garb recreating what life is like for early settlers. It’s especially fun to visit this attraction during the holidays, as the village will be decorated for ChriChristmas Activities for Kids in Torontostmas and there will be horse drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa, Christmas tours and a Gingerbread Village contest.

Outdoor Skating
Get out in the fresh air, strap on your skates and spend a chilly afternoon gliding across a frozen rink. Skating is a great activity for kids of all ages and it will really get everyone in the holiday spirit. When your little ones need a break they can warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Two of the most popular free outdoor skating venues in the city are the Natrel Harbourfront Centre rink and Nathan Philips Square.

These are just a few of the fun Christmas activities for kids you can do in Toronto during the holiday season, so why not plan a winter getaway with your family to this exciting city this year?

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History, Vacation Travel

Toronto Neighbourhood Guide: Kensington Market

November 20, 2015
Kensington Market

Photo Credit: Rina Pitucci

One of Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhoods, Kensington Market, is within walking distance of our downtown furnished rentals. Settled by Eastern Europeans, the neighbourhood –which spans from College to Dundas, north to south; and Kensington to Denison, east to west– has had fluctuations of different ethnicities from Jewish, Portuguese, and Latin American, which is now an important landmark in Toronto. It has also developed certain trends: homes behind homes and stores on the first floor of homes, which has since been retained today. Here are our favourite places and things to do in the Market.

1. Casa Acoreana. Located at the corner of Augusta and Baldwin, Casa Acoreana has been one of the Market’s longest standing institutions in business for 50 years. Comprised of a cafe and a store that sells coffee, candy, and nuts, it is one of the best people-watching spots in Toronto.

2. Pedestrian Market Sundays. Every last Sunday of the month from May to October, Kensington Market’s streets are closed off

Kensington Market

Photo Credit: Joey deVilla

to traffic for their annual Pedestrian Sundays. There’s music, food, and many street performances. It’s a lively event that you can’t miss if you’re visiting or living in Toronto.

3. Produce, Meat, Fish, and Cheese. If you like to do your shopping at local markets, Kensington Market is the best place to do it. It’s the perfect pit stop for your picnic needs if you’re heading over to the park at Denison or further along, at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Some of our favourites: Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Hooked for Fish, Oxford Fruit Market, and Global Cheese. Happy shopping!

4. Seven Lives Tacos. There are plenty of options for lunch and dinner in the Market. Though you’ll always see lines for this taqueria, Seven Lives

Kensington Market

Photo Credit: Ian Irving

arguably has some of the best fish tacos in the city. Get the Gorbernador and thank us later!

5. Vintage Shopping. Vintage stores that scatter the market lend to its bohemian vibe and are one of the best ways to explore the market. Check out the long standing Courage My Love for jewellery and great clothing finds and Flashback for jackets. You’ll likely stumble upon racks and racks of clothing on the sidewalks outside of the stores and may unexpectedly find a good garment.

What are your favourite places in Kensington Market?

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

Toronto Neighbourhood Guide: Distillery District

November 11, 2015
Distillery District

Photo Credit: Alonso Inostrosa Psijas

The Distillery District, a national historic site in Toronto, is a neighbourhood and village of its own, a distinctly unique area in the city, just east of Old Town (King East) and south of Corktown. It’s a great mini-escape from the hustle of downtown Toronto and outside of our downtown properties while still being in the downtown area. Though it’s much quieter during the weekdays instead of the weekends, it’s a lovely way to explore more of the city, get connected to its roots, and escape the hustle of downtown. Here are our favourite places and events to explore the Distillery District.

Distillery District

Photo Credit: Tasting Toronto

1. El Catrin
As one of our top patio picks in Toronto, El Catrin’s bright outdoor display is one you can’t miss in The Distillery. Sun yourself alongside a margarita amongst the bright yellow lamps on the heated patio or stay awhile under the large scale murals and comfy benches inside over Mexican inspired fare. It’s our pick for a date in the area.

2. SOMA Chocolate
SOMA has been known as the best chocolate maker in the city and it’s a treat to visit its original location in the distillery (just past El Catrin). Taste test a truffle (or ten), savour the gelato, or sip on SOMA’s famous drinking chocolate on the back wooden stairs. At this location, you can also watch the chocolate-making process through the glass windows. Of course, this is one of the best places to get a “Made in Toronto” gift. Closer to our downtown locations is SOMA’s second King Street location.

3. Events Year round, The Distillery District provides ambiance with its open area in the main square for performances among its cobblestones and unmarked green doors. Stroll for fresh produce and other made in Ontario products at the Sunday Summer Market; Lounge in the main square during the numerous festivals like the TD Jazz Fest; Art Fest is a more unique festival in September; and the most famous event–rounding out the end of the year– is the Toronto Christmas Market, ideal to find unique gifts and warm up under the fire with some mulled wine.

4. Pikto When is the last time you pDistillery Districtrinted a photo? Professional services still exist and Pikto is the place where photography enthusiasts and the pros get their prints and photobooks done. Peruse the photobooks, sign up or inquire about a photography workshop, or even print your instagram photos.

5. Soulpepper Theatre Though the Distillery is known for its art galleries, tucked in the back of the district on the east side, you’ll find this treasure trove of a theatre. Watch a new play or check out their concert series when in season. The theatre is a strong supporter of youth and has many free programs and initiatives in this area (great for your child who has a creative or dramatic streak).

There are so many other reasons to visit the Distillery District. Not too far from your furnished suite in Toronto, we hope that you check out the Distillery when you are in Toronto. What is your favourite thing in or about the Distillery District?

Business Travel, Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Holiday Events, Lifestyle talk

Best Restaurants for Groups in Toronto

October 22, 2015

Group DinnerThough we think that the best place to have a group dinner is at your furnished apartment rental in Toronto, sometimes, it’s nice to take your friends out to a meal.  The trouble can be finding a restaurant that caters to large groups or groups, in general. Here are our top five restaurants for groups in Toronto. Also ideal for small work holiday dinner parties and team outings.

1. Momofuku Daisho. It can be difficult to find fine dining for a large group and Daisho excels in that. One of the three restaurants at Momofuku in the Shangri-la Hotel (close to your short or long term rental apartment or suite), Daisho specializes in large format menus with a niche in one item. (You can also order off the a la carte menu for more variety). If you want to celebrate a special occasion with 10 people, this is the place. Reservations are required.Restaurants for Groups in Toronto

2. Bestellen. If you want a casual atmosphere but upscale dining experience, Bestellen is a good bet and known to serve menus for groups. You can get a whole roasted suckling pig with all of the fixings, for a minimum of 8 people (and you must give 72 hours notice); or you can choose between a 3 and 5 course tasting menu. A Sunday night chicken dinner is another option for $25 per person. A great option in the Dufferin Grove/College area.

3. Wvrst. Located in the heart of the King Street West district and a short walk from our downtown short and long term rental properties, the modern beer hall is a casual stop, whether it’s after a baseball game or if you want to socialize late into the night over long, picnic-style benches. Various types of sausage are on offer as is a curated selection of craft beers. Don’t forget those duck fat fries!

Restaurants for Groups in Toronto4. The Sultan’s Tent. Transport yourself to the souks of Marrakech at this Moroccan restaurant. One of many ideal restaurants for groups in Toronto, every table is inside a tent, and on weekends, you have a choice of a 3 course prix-fixe menu. The highlight of the meal will be to test out your dance moves with the belly dancers who dance for and with you in the evening! This is a popular choice for bachelorette parties on the weekend.

5. Far Niente. Located in the heart of the Financial District, this is a great choice for a business lunch or dinner. Choose from two different lunch menus or three dinner menus. Don’t overlook their extensive wine cellar if you want an accompaniment to your meal.

What is your favourite place or recommendation for a restaurant for a group in Toronto?

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Lifestyle talk

October Events in Toronto

October 7, 2015

October Events in TorontoOctober is a very exciting month to be in Toronto, as there are a number of exciting events taking place. Here are some of the hottest October events in Toronto:

Big City Improv Fest – October 16th-24th
Laugh until you can’t breathe at the wonderfully goofy Improv Fest, a celebration of improvisation comedians who are witty and quick on their feet. This festival brings many of the best improv stars to the city, including Deb McGrath, Colin Mochrie and Scott Adist.October Events in Toronto

Cask Days – October 23rd – 25th
This celebration of ale is the best beer event of the year in Toronto and it is returning for its 11th year. There will be 150 breweries participating in the event and over 300 beers for you to sample. As well as delicious beer there will also be food from some of the best restaurants in Toronto including 416 Snackbar, Brando’s Fried Chicken and Porchetta & Co.

Art Toronto – October 23rd – 25th
October Events in TorontoIf you are an art lover you will have a blast this weekend when Art Toronto takes over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to present a collection of contemporary and modern art from all over the world. For this year’s festival it will be focusing on Latin America, with a collection of projects from all over South and Central America. There will also be a fascinating series of lectures and discussions from prominent figures in the Canadian art world.

Toronto Fashion Week – October 19th – 24thOctober Events in Toronto
If you are a fashion designer or simply a fashion enthusiast, the Toronto Fashion Week will be one of the most thrilling events of the year. Some of the biggest names in Canadian and international fashion will come from around the world to show their amazing creations during the exciting week long event. Book early to see the fashion shows – they sell out quickly!

These are just a few of the most exciting events that Toronto has in store for October, so there is plenty to look forward to in this great city!