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How to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

December 28, 2016

Healthy Over the HolidaysStaying healthy over the holidays can be a challenge. The weather outside is cold and we spend most of our day indoors, breathing in recycled air and possible germs. The abundance of alcohol and sugary treats over the holiday season reduces our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness. The stress and pressure of preparing for New Years events can decrease your health even more – making you a target for flu bugs to colds and much more.

However, there are a number of ways that you can keep yourself healthy over the holidays.

Keep Up Your Exercise Routine

It’s tempting to ditch your workouts and let your days fill up with parties, errands and holiday preparations. However, it is important to keep your exercise routine as much as possible. Staying active will give you more energy, help you deal with added stress, boost your immune system and help you manage your weight during the holiday season. Squeeze in a visit to the gym whenever you can and try to enjoy active holiday activities such as going for a walk in the snow with your family. When staying in your furnished rental in Toronto, you can utilize the gym in the building which is included in your rate, so you dont have to pay extra to work out.

Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption

Healthy Over the HolidaysThe holidays bring with them a number of situations where alcohol is consumed, from a mug of mulled wine to cocktails and drinks at the New Years party. It’s fine to have a few festive drinks, but be careful not to go overboard. When you drink too much it will reduce your immune system function, put a strain on your liver, raise your blood pressure and add a lot of empty calories. Try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones at a party or an event so that you can cut back and stay healthy over the holidays.

Fill Up on Healthy Food

If you are going to a holiday get-together where you know there will be a lot of sweets, cookies, candies and other unhealthy treats, make sure that you eat a full meal of healthy, nourishing food first. Then, you will be less likely to eat as many unhealthy treats.

Take Time to De-Stress

The holidays can be a stressful time. There are a lot of commitments to friends and family, a lot of events to attend and plan for as well as the financial stress of gifts. You might find yourself being stretched thin and feeling stressed. Make sure that you give yourself time to take a break and recharge. Allow for time for yourself to enjoy activities that reduce stress, such as going for a walk, practicing yoga or listeniHealthy over the holidaysng to some calming music.

Stay Warm

When the weather outside is frightful, make sure that you keep yourself warm and bundled up. A warm coat is important, as well as a hat and gloves to reduce heat loss through your head and hands where you lose the most heat.

Keep these tips in mind so that you can stay healthy and make the most of this holiday season.

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

Things to Do in Toronto At Christmas

December 21, 2016

Toronto At ChristmasToronto at Christmas is a very merry place to be during the winter holidays.

If you are planning to spend Christmas in Toronto – you’re in luck. You’ll be surrounded by plenty of holiday cheer and there will be no shortage of joyous events and seasonal activities to get you in a festive mood. Here are some of the best things to do in Toronto at Christmas time.

The Toronto Christmas Market

Inspired by the Christmas markets in Germany in the 1400s, the Toronto Christmas Market creates the ideal festive atmosphere with craft maker stalls, mulled wine, street food, dancers, brass bands and carollers. Set within the Victorian-era cobblestone streets of the Distillery Historic District, this annual event is a great opportunity to shop for hand-made treasures and get in the Christmas spirit. Tomorrow is the last day so make sure you hurry there and visit!Toronto at Christmas

Christmas at Casa Loma

Casa Loma is a unique architectural wonder. Built over three years between 1911 and 1914, it was constructed in the style of a Gothic castle, complete with battlements, secret passageways and over 98 incredibly ornate rooms. Visit between December 1st and January 8th to see the castle decked out in its Christmas finest, with several stunning sparkling trees throughout the castle decorated by celebrity designers. Visitors can go on a scavenger hunt through the historic castle, listen to carollers and enjoy sitting down with Santa.

Public Skating Rinks

Skating on one of the public Nathan Phillips Squarerinks in Toronto is an essential Christmas experience, so lace up your skates and go for a spin. There are three public rinks in Toronto available for skating – the Evergreen Brick Works, The Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre and Nathan Phillips Square. The Nathan Phillips Square might be the most iconic rink, underneath the beautifully lit arches, but the Natrel Rink has a DJ spinning live tunes on a Saturday night.

The holiday season is one big long party in Toronto and there are so many great activities and events to enjoy. Pack a warm coat, a toque and a scarf and bundle up for a great holiday season in this lively Canadian metropolis.

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!