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10 Things to do in Downtown Toronto

March 20, 2015

Things to do in Downtown Toronto Downtown Toronto is one of the most vibrant parts of the city. That said, with so many choices of activities and restaurants, it can be difficult to know where to begin to figure out what to do. Here are our top picks of things to do in downtown Toronto, all close to your furnished apartment!

1. Eat! The quality and number of options of where to dine and drink in Toronto has ranked as one of North America’s great food cities. Our current favourites include Thoroughbred for upscale food in a casual environment, a great after-work option; Real Sports Bar, right near our 300 Front Street building is always a good alternative Things to do in downtown Torontoto watching the game at the ACC. Montecito is the new fancy restaurant in town, with a California-inspired menu. Thai options are readily available in the downtown core, including the popular Pai. For healthier fare, Fresh has a number of locations in Toronto (many downtown) and now serve cold pressed juice. Rush Lane is our pick for classy cocktails. For brunch, the Swan or the Drake Hotel never disappoint. Thor Espresso is our pick for grab and go coffee (and do check out their new location, Odin Hus, opening in Corktown in February. Little Nicky’s is irresistible for those mini donuts, and for your craft beer needs, Bellwoods Brewery on Ossington offers some of the finest in the city.

2. See live music. There are a number of fantastic venues to see live music, usually most days of the week. You will also get a senThings to do in Downtown Torontose of Toronto’s history through these old buildings. Massey Hall is one of those classic venues. On Queen Street, The Cameron House and the legendary Horseshoe Tavern are great for rock and roll and a cheap drink. Try Sneaky Dee’s on Bloor for a mix of concerts and dancing. For a more traditional experience, check out the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or an opera at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. Of course, if you want to see a big concert experience, The ACC or the Rogers Centre are your best bets.

3. Explore a new park. Toronto’s park system is expanding with the advent of the Pan Am Games. Downtown, there are a number of trails and parks near your furnished apartment or condo. Trinity Bellwoods is the perennial favourite, ideal for a downtown picnic and people watching. The Harbourfront Trail is a great option near the lake and if you walk or bike far enough, you can visit a number of little parks along the way. Further east, try Cherry Beach for its secluded spots near the water, but up the street near the Distillery District and the upcoming athletes village of the Pan Am Games, you’ll find the Corktown Commons, Toronto’s newest interpretation of an urban park with a phenomenal view of the city skyline.

4. Shop! Downtown Toronto isThings to do in Downtown Toronto our shopping mecca. You can check out our favourite stores for your Christmas Shopping needs here, though they are great shops year round. Our main shopping centre is the Eaton Centre, which is anchored by the Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen Street. King Street East is the main furniture shopping strip (you can go further west to the Junction for furniture stores as well). Queen Street is your best bet for clothing boutiques. Kensington Market is a fun area to shop for vintage. Ossington also has some interesting vintage finds. If you’re a book collector, check out some interesting bookstores like Monkey’s Paw on Dundas West and Type on Queen Street West.

5. Art Galleries We have listed our favourite art galleries in Toronto but it’s also one of our favourite things to do downtown. The AGO consistently has a number of thought-provoking exhibitions and distinct Canadian collections. MOCCA, the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, is a wonderful alternative if you’re strolling along Queen Street. Plus, it’s free!

6. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Now into its centennial year (100 years!), the ROM has been a beacon of education and discovery for kids and adults alike. Make sure to take a walk along Philosopher’s Walk at the back of the musuem to the neighbouring University of Toronto after your visit and for a chance to gaze at the architecture of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

7. Ripley’s Aquarium One of Toronto’s newest attractions and one of our favourite activities for families, Ripley’s Aquarium will keep you occupied for hours. The dangerous lagoon is the highlight of the aquarium. On the moving walkway, you can get up close and personal with marine life swimming above you, including a varitey of sharks aThings to do in Downtown Torontond stingrays. The aquarium now offers live jazz every second Friday of the month as well as interesting events for the kids like daycamps, sleepovers, and a stingray experience.

8. The CN Tower Edgewalk if you’re a thrill seeker, walking around the outer edges of one of the world’s tallest towers will elevate your adventures to another level. There is no view like it in Toronto and you get a video and photo as a souvenir at the end of the experience!

9. Festivals and Events Year round, there’s always things to do in downtown Toronto whether it’s in January or August. Aside from the buzz-worthy TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and its neighbouring year-round exhibitions at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street, try Hot Docs in March if you’re into film. Canadian Music Week and NXNE are a riot for music fans; beer lovers love the craft beer festival in January; and though sports fans are always at The ACC for a basketbaThings to do in Downtown Torontoll or hockey game if not at the Rogers Centre for a baseball game, the Pan Am Games will bring an extra jolt to the city this July.

10. Laugh! Canada is not short of incredible comedians. Check out Yuk Yuk’s where Russell Peters got his start or for a more participatory experience, try the Second City for improv just steps away from our central properties downtown.

Whether you’re in Toronto for a short term period or extending your visit to a long term stay, you won’t run out of things to do while you’re downtown. Have a great time!

Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, North York

Top 10 Restaurants in Toronto, 2015

March 6, 2015

Top 10 Restaurants in TorontoWith Spring just around the corner, getting out on the town made us think of our favourite restaurants in Toronto. It’s a mix of those classics you might find on a list like Winterlicious mixed with newer restaurants and cafes. If you’re looking to get out of your furnished apartment in Toronto or try something new at one of Toronto’s many diverse and delicious restaurants, look no further to our comprehensive top 10 restaurants in Toronto. Our list is in no particular order.

1. Bar Isabel. It’s no surprise that this Spanish-inspired restaurant with a Black Hoof twist (owner Grant Van Gameren used to co-own the Black Hoof) is on many top ten lists. We love the chorizo, grilled octopus, and basque cake with sherry cream. Be on the lookout for Van Gameren’s anticipated opening, Bar Raval, this year. Reservations are recommended.

2. Canoe. Canoe remains one of the best restaurants in Canada and a homage to haute Canadian cuisine. It is the perennial place for a special occasion with views of the Toronto Islands and CN Tower to match from the 54th floor of the TD Tower. You’ll be lucky to sit at the chef’s table and interact with Chef John Horne. It is a treat! It is also one of our picks to drink with your fellow corporate executives.

3. Big Crow. Big Crow is the city’s answer to a backyard BBQ, complete with an Algonquin and Canadiana theme year-round (in winter they bring out the blankets and heaters). Chow down with your friends over ribs smothered in pesto sauce, steel-trout poke nachos, and s’more ice cream sandwiches in the summer.

4. Fat Pasha. Another extension of Anthony Rose’s empire (including Big Crow, above), Fat Pasha is your excuse to eat through the MiddleTop 10 Restaurants in Toronto Eastern trend. We love the dips (especially labneh and hummus) and the nutella babka cake. A must if you’re looking to venture out of your usual tastes.

5. The Black Hoof. Since 2008, The Black Hoof has set Toronto on the charcuterie trend and remains the best place for the boards. It has since expanded its menu so you can more adventurous parts of an animal (whether it’s offal or horse) and never fails to impress the tastebuds. We love the staples of charcuterie, bone marrow, and cheese but give the horse tartare a try. Try its intimate cocktail bar across the street, aptly named Cocktail Bar, pre or post meal.

6. Electric Mud BBQ. Owned by Black Hoof alum, Colin Tooke and Ian McGrenaghan, Electric Mud BBQ is their second outpost of the Electric empire (Grand Electric around the corner on Queen West slinging out tacos). Chow down on good ol’ BBQ, bourbon alongside a great soundtrack at picnic tables with your friends. The ribs are classic but we return for the chicken, crack rolls, and $2.50 pints of Great Lakes Beer on Monday nights. They also now deliver. We love a good deal!

7. Origin. Tapas has become one of Toronto’s biggest culinary trends and Origin executes it in an original fashion. The restaurant is so popular it has expanded from its original location at King and Church to Origin North at Bayview and Sheppard (a sophisticated option near our furnished apartments in North York). We love the deviled eggs, tostones and guacamole, hand rolls, miso glazed cod, and dulce de leche. Look for chef Claudio Aprile to expand his repertoire of fresh, global dishes to the Toronto PeTop 10 Restaurants in Torontoarson Airport soon.

8. Eastside Social. One of Leslieville’s newest additions to the neighbourhood, Eastside Social is casual enough to sit and chat with someone at the bar over a dark n stormy yet sophisticated enough for a date. Share their inventive fish charcuterie platter. Their oyster special is every Tuesday and Wednesday.

9. Campagnolo. Our pick for Italian cuisine, chef Craig Harding, continues to deliver the classics that make us feel like it’s okay we can’t hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to Italy. You’ll salivate over his burrata with roasted grapes, spaghetti all’matricana, rabbit saltimbocca, and his famous budino.

10. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. For the brunch lovers, Mildred’s Temple is large enough to accommodate your group but popular enough for you to be waiting in line even 15 minutes after opening. It’s worth the trek to Liberty Village. If it’s one thing to order it’s those fluffy, blueberry pancakes.

It’s difficult to add our all of our top 10 Restaurants in Toronto (honorary mentions go to Lady Marmalade for brunch, Porchetta & Co. for lunch, and Chantecler for dinner).

What are your favourite restaurants in Toronto? What are the restaurant openings in Toronto you’re looking forward to?

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Markham

Five Romantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day, 2015

February 11, 2015

Romantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines DayToronto is a chock full of places to get romantic but if you wanted to get creative, go beyond the restaurant. If you’re not snuggling up in your furnished suite in Markham this year, opt to take your date to one of these great events just in time for February 14 (or opt to go when there are no crowds!). Here are our favourite romantic things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day.Romantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day

1. A Helicopter Tour. What better way to cozy up to your significant other than up high in the sky with a different vantage point of the beloved TDot? Toronto Heli Tours has special discounts for your special one for a private flight for two.

2. Paint! Maybe you were inspired by that movie Big Eyes. Or maybe you’re inspired by your lover. Take the inspiration to the canvas in this creative way for a date. Paintlounge has three different locations near our furnished apartments in Markham and Downtown Toronto. Their special packages for valentines run from February 12 to 15, 2015.

3. Board Games. Popular board game cafe, Snakes and Lattes has taken date night to another level with its second location, Snakes and Lagers. Board games, beer, and a speciRomantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Dayal someone. What better way to get to know someone (and how competitive they are!)

4. A Tasty Tour. What better way to surprise your sweet than with a sweets tour? Toronto’s only sweets tour, Tasty Tours, will help you explore the best places to get those chocolate truffles for your loved ones and are running tours on Valentines Day.

5. The Toronto Zoo. Not just for the family, the Toronto Zoo’s So You Think You CaRomantic Things to do in Toronto for Valentines Dayn Romance event has you discussing the romantic habits of animals over dinner (next year you can book the sold out dinner at Ripley’s Aquarium, another one of our favourite places in Toronto). This event is on both February 13 and 14, 2015.

What are your favourite romantic things to do in Toronto for Valentines Day?

Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Condos

Top 5 Restaurants and Cafes for Comfort Food in Toronto

February 6, 2015

Restaurants and Cafes for Comfort Food in TorontoAs the winter continues to chill Toronto’s city streets, we seek comfort in our favourite foods. Those childhood classics are popping up throughout Toronto’s eateries. Here are a few of our favourite restaurants and cafes for comfort food in Toronto.Restaurants and Cafes for Comfort Food in Toronto

1. Cheesewerks. If you’re looking for a twist on all things cheese related like grilled cheese sandwich, Mac N’ Cheese, and fondue it’s here. Located near many of our properties downtown including the Element location, the eatery also offers cheese-related events for you and your family.

2. Ravi Soups. Ravi’s curried lentil and apricot soup offers a warm and cozy escape away from Toronto’s frigid temperatures. Our pick for a sandwich for their valuable soup and sandwich combos is the curried lamb wrap.

Restaurants and Cafes for Comfort Food in Toronto3. The Queen and Beaver. This gastropub and its sister pub, The Oxley in Yorkville, are known for its Sunday Roast. In many variations (traditional roast beef, beef wellington, slow cooked lamb shoulder), this is a great alternative to cooking a big Sunday dinner for yourself and your family and friends.

4. Pizzeria Libretto. Our favourite place for pizza is also one of our favourite comforts and noone does it better than Libretto with its authentic Neapolitan ovens. A great place for the family, do check out its newest location in the financial district.Restaurants and Cafes for Comfort Food in Toronto

5. Poutini’s and Smoke’s Poutinerie. Though Quebec will always reign king to the classic Canadian staple of poutine, Poutini’s and Smoke’s Poutinerie are our favourite places to get it in downtown Toronto. If you can’t get it after a late night out, Poutini’s now offers lunch delivery service to your office with Foodee and Smoke’s has new locations in Mississauga.

This post is making us hungry! What are your favourite comfort foods? What are your favourite restaurants and cafes for comfort food in Toronto?

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?