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Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk

Visiting Toronto in Winter

November 28, 2016

Visiting Toronto in WinterVisiting Toronto in winter might send a shiver down your spine, but as long as you bundle up there are a lot of things to enjoy in this chilly city during the winter months. Plus, there will be fewer tourists, flights and accommodation will be less expensive. You may even have the opportunity to get to know the locals. Here are some of the reasons visiting Toronto in winter can be enjoyable.

There’s Always Somewhere to Skate when Visiting Toronto in Winter

Toronto has approximately 50 skating rinks run by the city, which means that no matter where you are you can always find somewhere to strap on your skates and glide gracefully across the ice (or crash awkwardly into the boards). Check out the rink at Nathan Phillips Square, the Colonel Samuel Smith Park skateway in Etobicoke or the covered rink at Greenwood Park.

You Can Feast at WinterliciousVisiting Toronto in Winter

When you have worked up an appetite with all of that skating, you can warm up inside and enjoy the fantastic culinary scene that Toronto has to offer. Winterlicious will run in the last week of January for two weeks and during this time many restaurants throughout the city offer a menu of discount fixed price dinners. Each menu showcases starters, entrees and desserts and features the specialties of the restaurant. The 2017 event will take place from January 27th to February 9th and more than 200 restaurants will be taking part.

You Can Warm Up Inside a Museum

When the weather outside is chilly, you can stay warm within some of Toronto’s fantastic museums and art galleries. The Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario are the big names, but there are also many others to explore including the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the Toronto Dominion GalleryVisiting Toronto in Winter of Inuit Arts, the Ontario Science Centre and the Bata Shoe Museum.

You Can Do Some Underground Shopping

Want to be able to shop until you drop without having to brave the freezing temperatures? The underground PATH system has 19 miles of retail shops and restaurants, making it the largest underground shopping complex in the world. You can spend all day shopping, eating and exploring without ever having to venture outside.

Hockey Season will Be in Full SwingVisiting Toronto in Winter

Cheering along with the roaring crowd at a Toronto Maple Leafs game is an essential Canadian experience to have during your visit to this great city. Winter is the best time to do this, as you will be visiting right in the middle of the hockey season. If you want to learn more about the sport before the game, you can visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and learn the stories of the best players in the NHL.

These are just a few of the many reasons why visiting Toronto in winter is great, even during the coldest months of the year. Wear a toque, breathe the crisp cold air, stop for regular hot chocolate breaks at Tim Hortons and enjoy!

Business Travel, Entertainment, Lifestyle talk, Relocation, Vacation Travel

Enjoy Your Destination on Business Travel

October 18, 2016

Business TravelSo you’re visiting a really cool city – but the reason why you are there is for business travel; to attend an important conference, business meeting or complete a work project. You’d love to visit this city on a vacation, but this time your visit is professional… which means that you won’t get a chance to enjoy it. Or will you?

When you are visiting a destination for  business travel it is possible to be a tourist as well, it simply takes a little bit of planning ahead and creative thinking. If you do it right you can enjoy a visit that encompasses both business and pleasure.

Here are some tips for squeezing a little vacation into your next business trip:

  • During lunch breaks and after meetings, instead of eating the food at the conference take the Business Traveltime to hit up some of the local restaurants that get the best reviews and see what they have to offer. You can get a chance to taste the cuisine of the area, which is one of the best parts of business travel.
  • Bring along a travel daypack with you so that you can take it with you when exploring the city.
  • See if you have any friends or family living in the city you are visiting. You could possibly arrange to meet them in between business activities and let them show you around the city.
  • See if you can book your trip with a couple of extra days so that you have more time to explore. For example, if you are attending a conference from Monday to Friday, book your flights so that you return on Sunday so you have the weekend to sightsee. (If your business trip is being covered by your company you might have to pay for the extra two nights yourself.)
  • Most destinations will have walking tours of the city for free or a for a small fee. This is a great way to walk around the city and learn about the history and culture of the area.
  • If you are in a major cultural hub such as NBusiness Travelew York, Toronto or London, consider taking the opportunity to go to a performance. You can find a huge selection of plays, musicals, operas, concerts and other experiences. Since the evenings are usually when you have time to spare when travelling for business, this works out quite well.
  • Take a walk in nature at one of the lovely parks or natural areas within the city. It will help you to relax, recharge and be more focused and  productive in your business dealings.
  • Read travel blogs written about the city you are visiting and see what they recommend.
  • You can also reach out on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and ask people to suggest things you should check out on your visit.

When it comes to having fun on a business trip, you’ll will be much more comfortable in a furnished apartment rather than a hotel. You’ll have so much more space, the convenience of amenities such as laundry and a fully equipped kitchen, so you will feel much more relaxed and recharged on your business trip. Read here to find out more details on how staying in a furnished apartment has many more advantages to staying in a hotel.

Business Travel, Customer Service Experience, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Tipping Etiquette in Toronto

September 23, 2016

Tipping EtiquetteIf you are visiting Toronto and you are from a culture where tipping is not the norm, you might be wondering what the appropriate local tipping etiquette might be. Who should you tip, and how much money should you give?

In Canada the tipping culture is similar to in the USA – tips are expected for many staff in the service, hospitality and food and beverage industry. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when it comes to tipping etiquette while visiting Toronto.

In a Restaurant

Unlike some destinations in Europe, a gratuity is not included in the bill at most Canadian restaurants. Instead, you should calculate approximately 15-20% and add that onto your bill. If the service was unsatisfactory, you caTipping Etiquetten give less and if the service was exceptionally good you can give more. You essentially tip based on the service experience.

Sometimes if you have a table with a large group, usually 8 or more, the restaurant will add an automatic gratuity to the bill. Some servers may rely on tips to bump up their wage and may feel frustrated by a large group who take a lot of time and effort to serve but don’t tip.

If you have a poor restaurant experience and you are considering not leaving a tip as a response, consider whether your experience was the fault of the server. If the food was bad or the service was slow because there weren’t enough staff, this is the fault of the kitchen and the manager. Consider asking to speak to the manager so that you can voice your complaints in a constructive way – you might even be offered a discount or a free meal as an apology.

Other Places to Tip

Tipping is also customary in other situations in Canada. You would be expected to tip your taxi driver, valet parking attendant, hotel room attendant, hotel concierge, hairdresser and manicurist. If you visit a spa during your visit to Toronto it is expected that you will tip your spa service provider around 10% of the cost of your treatment. Also, if you go on a guided tour and your guide offers you great service it is good to tip them around 10-15% to show your appreciation. When you are drinking at one of the many great bars in Toronto it is customary to leave around $1 per drink for the bar tender, depending onTipping Etiquette the cost of the drink.

In some situations, there will be a “Tip Jar” on the counter of a business, such as in a coffee shop, cafeteria and sometimes even in retail stores. However, in these situations the tip is optional. You can put a tip in these jars if you have enjoyed great service but you don’t have to – and it won’t be considered rude not to.

It can be tricky at first to remember who to tip while visiting in Canada, but if you are unsure you can always ask a Canadian friend or colleague about the appropriate tipping etiquette. Make sure to carry around a few small bills, loonies and toonies so that you have the right change whenever you need it!

Remember to tip on the sub-total, and not on the taxes!

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History

Cool and Quirky Toronto Markets

September 2, 2016

Toronto MarketsToronto is an intriguing and multi-faceted city with a lot of different layers to uncover. One of the most interesting aspects of the city is its abundance of quirky and unique markets. These Toronto markets have a fascinating collection of everything from locally grown produce to antiques to handmade jewellery and much more. You can spend hours searching through, finding treasures and chatting to the friendly local sellers.

Here are some of the most interesting Toronto markets to check out during your stay in your furnished rental nearby:

Brick Works Farmer’s Market

This Saturday morning market is the ideal place for foodies to scout out delicious local treats. It offers a great selection of eggs, produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, tea, preserves and much more. It is one of the largest farmer’s markets in the city and is only 6KM from the Republic furnished apartments in Toronto. It’s a fantastic place to find your next favourite treat, whether that is a Toronto Marketshomemade vegan brownie, a strawberry basil ice pop or fresh gluten free spicy Mexican salsa.

Parkdale Flea Market

Parkdale is a cool and quirky west end neighbourhood and this great market features beautiful handicrafts made by the creative locals. There are many great finds here, such as handmade jewellery, antiques, locally designed clothes, vegan baked goods and so much more. It has a lively and welcoming atmosphere and runs the second Sunday of the month from 10am until 5pm.

Withrow Market

The Withrow Market happens every Saturday from 9am until 1pm rain or shine at Withrow Park. It has a fantastic selection of regionally grown produce and baked goods, as well as yummy treats such as preserves and ice cream sandwiches. Shopping here is a great way to support the local farmers around Toronto and buying locally grown pToronto Marketsroduce is so much better for the environment. The James Cooper Mansion short term rentals is only a 10 minute drive.

Sunday Antique Market

If you love antiques you will be in heaven at this Sunday Market, a treasure trove of old fashioned finds from vintage jewellery to old books to home décor and much more. There is a great collection of items that is ever changing and you can find everything from quirky retro items to pieces that are quite old and valuable. It takes place at the historic St. Lawrence Market which is only about a 5 minute drive from the 300 Front St. West furnished rentals.

Junction Flea Market

Every second Sunday of the month from 10am until 5pm from June 8th to October 12th you can check out the Junction Flea market, a very trendy hipster hotspot. There is a lot to discover here, from food to vintage clothing to records to antiques and much more. There’s something for everyone and a great friendly and laid back atmosphere.

These are just a few of the coolest and quirkiest markets that Toronto has to offer. Give yourself lots of time to explore these Toronto markets so that you can meander through slowly, taste all of the yummy treats, hunt for a vintage treasure and chat to some of the local sellers. It’s not just a market, it’s a Toronto cultural experience.

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Family Vacations in Toronto, Toronto Family Travel, Toronto History

Toronto Art and Culture

July 29, 2016

Toronto Art and CultureIf your idea of the perfect day is spent within the walls of a museum or an art gallery, contemplating the creative works of humanity, then you’ll love Toronto. A destination in Canada when it comes to the quality and diversity of Toronto art and culture. There’s an impressive abundance of great museums, galleries and much more – so here are some Toronto art and culture attractions to check out if you are visiting and staying in your furnished rental. Or, better yet, be a tourist in the city you live in!

The Art Gallery of Ontario

Let’s start with the main art institution in the city – the Art Gallery of Ontario aka the AGO. It is one of the biggest art museums in North America and is housed within a cutting edge building designed by architect Frank Gehry. This impressive gallery features a collection of works that totals over 80,000, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs by artists such as Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Brian Jungen.

Casa LomaToronto Art and Culture

Now a museum, this Gothic Revival house and gardens in Toronto was built as a residence for the incredibly wealthy financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in 1911. The castle-like architecture seems strangely out of place in a Canadian city and at the time it was built it was the largest private residence in Canada. Sir Henry imported several artisans from Europe to design Casa Loma, taking his inspiration from castles from across the pond. Take a tour of this fascinating building and imagine what life would be like enjoy its lavish excesses, including a pool, three bowling alleys and an oven large enough to cook an ox.

Angell Gallery

Since it opened in 1996, Angell Gallery has been known for representing cutting edge artists who take bold risks in their work. You’ll see a wide range of thought provoking work in several different mediums including painting, sculpture, video art and digital art.

Stephen Bulger Gallery

Founded in 1994, this gallery has an impressive collection of over 15,000 contemporary and historical photographs. Several international and Canadian photographers are represented, including Sunil Gupta, Pete Doherty and Jeff Thomas. Make sure that you check out the gallery bookshop, which has over 3,000 titles on photography.

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Toronto Art and CultureHistory buffs will love this historic village, carefully recreated to depict life in early Ontario in the 1800s. It’s an opportunity not just to see history, but to smell it, taste it, hear it and experience it first-hand. Within the 40 restored heritage homes you will find artisans and costumed interpreters recreating the lifestyle of the early settlers.

Daniel Faria Gallery

Located within a converted warehouse in Bloordale Village, Daniel Faria Gallery is a contemporary art space that has exhibited some of the biggest names in Canadian Art. The gallery showcases work from some superb Canadian artists including Kristine Moran, Chris Curreri and Shannon Bool.

These are just a few of the art and history attractions you can enjoy for Toronto art and culture.