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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!

Energy Conservation, Lifestyle talk

Ways to Be Environmentally Friendly in Your Furnished Condo

September 9, 2016

Environmentally FriendlyYou might think that any impact you have on the environment is pretty small in the grand scheme of things – so does it really make much of a difference if you try to adjust your habits? However, if everyone made some small adjustments then a big difference could be made. So, how can you be more environmentally friendly in your furnished condo? Here are some tips that you can keep in mind.

  • Open the blinds in the morning. It will let the sunlight in which will help to heat your furnished apartment in Toronto.
  • Switch to an environmentally friendly cleaner. It will ensure that fewer harsh chemicals are released into the environment and into the air you breathe. You can find one at a natural grocery store or even some of the mainstream ones – just read the labels carefully.
  • If you wash dishes in the sink under running water, you’re wasting a lot of water. Instead, fill up one tub with Environmentally Friendly soapy water (look for eco-friendly bio-degradable soap) and then one with plain water for rinsing.
  • If you use a dishwasher, remember that thanks to the modern technology of most dishwashers it is no longer necessary to pre-rinse the dishes before you put them in. This saves you from wasting water – because sometimes you use more water to pre-rinse than you would for a full wash cycle.
  • When washing your clothes, try to use cold water and only wash during non-peak hours, such as 6-8am or 8-10pm.
  • Only run a full load in the washing machine. You use the same amount of energy to power the washing machine whether you are washing a full load of clothes or a half load.
  • Use a drying rack rather than using the clothes dryer to save energy. If it is sunny outside, put the clothes on a clothes line – they will smell amazing if you let them dry iEnvironmentally Friendlyn the fresh air.
  • Did you know that energy escapes from your electronic devices, such as microwaves, televisions, video game consoles, and coffee makers, even when they are off and you are not using them? Use a power strip to plug them in and then flip the switch to the off position when these appliances are not in use.
  • When it comes to food shopping, try to buy from local farmer’s markets as much as possible. It reduces the carbon footprint because the produce doesn’t have to travel as far. Plus, it supports the local farmers and benefits the community.
  • When you get around, try to walk or take public transit rather than drive if possible. Toronto has a great public transit system that will get you to anywhere in the city.

These are just a few of the ways that you can be more environmentally friendly when you are living or staying short term in your furnished condo.  In addition, here are 5 ways to go green. These are small changes that won’t make too much of a difference to your lifestyle but when they add up they can make a big difference to the environment.

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.

Business Travel, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Tips to Maximize Space in Condo Rentals

August 12, 2016

Maximize Space in Condo RentalsStaying in a furnished condo rental offers a lot of advantages compared to staying in a hotel room – with increased space being one of the biggest perks. You’ll have a bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, dining area and living room – rather than being cramped into one room. Having these separate areas means that multiple people can relax, sleep and eat without disturbing each other.So, since you have all of this space during your stay – how can you make the most of it? Here are some tips to maximize space in condo rentals.

Unpack Properly

No matter how neatly they might have been packed, backpacks and suitcases have a tendency to “explode” all over the room. As you hunt for a particular piece of clothing, all of the items in your bag will get taken out and will start to take up floor space.Maximize Space in Condo Rentals

In order to give yourself more room, a tip to maximize space in condo rentals is to stay organized and make your condo look less cluttered. Its worth taking the extra time to properly unpack. Most condos will have a closet, a wardrobe or a chest of drawers which you can use to organize your clothes. Once you are unpacked, tuck away your luggage somewhere and you’ll have much more room.

Use Every Part of the Condo

It’s tempting just to eat dinner in front of the TV and leave the table unused, but it’s there so you may as well take advantage of it. Separating your actions into their appropriate spaces can have a lot of benefits. For example, if you take the time to properly set the table and sit down to your meal, you’ll focus on the food and enjoy it a lot more than you would if you ate it while distracted as you watch TV.

Don’t Forget the BaMaximize Space in Condo Rentalslcony

If your condo has a balcony, this is a huge perk so don’t ignore it! Even just taking 10 minutes every morning to sip your coffee in the fresh air while admiring the view will start your day off on a positive note. You’ll be more likely to use the balcony if there is somewhere to sit, so if there isn’t a chair out there already you can put one out there.

Utilize the Sofa Bed

Many condos will offer you the option of a pull out sofa bed. This can be a really smart solution that will allow you to sleep extra people in your condo. For example, a couple travelling with a child can save money by renting a one-bedroom furnished apartment with a sofa bed rather than a two-bedroom condo. In the morning, simply take five minutes to fold up the bed and it becomes part of the living room space.

Your furnished condo offers you a lot of space, so make sure you use these simple tips to maximize space in condo rentals to its full potential and make the most of it!

Business Travel, Family Vacations in Toronto, Fitness and Health, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Quick Healthy Snacks when You are Busy

August 8, 2016

Quick Healthy SnacksIt can be incredibly challenging to eat healthy when you are travelling. Whether you are on a long flight, a bus journey or an epic road trip, often the only food available is from convenience stores and fast food outlets. Greasy fast food will not only pack on the calories, it will make you feel bloated and tired when you are in transit. If you can bring along some quick healthy snacks on your trip, you can refuel with nutrients that will give you energy and help you feel great.

Looking to prepare some healthy foods for your next trip but don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas of some quick healthy snacks:

Dried Fruit

This travel snack ticks all the boxes – it is healthy, tasty and extremely portable. It is also great for kids because it won’t make a mess or cause stains in the car or the plane. There are many great tasting types of dried fruit including dried bananas, apple rings and dried peaches. Look for fruit that has doesn’t have any additives like sugar, colour, flavor or preservatives.

Hard Boiled EggsQuick Healthy Snacks

Having travel snacks that are high in protein is important, because the protein will keep you feeling full for longer. Hard boiled eggs are a great travel snack, so boil up a few before you go and keep them in a container. They can last a long time if you don’t peel the shell, as the egg itself is the perfect wrapper.

Trail Mix

Another great portable healthy snack is trail mix. You can bring it along in a Tupperware container or Ziploc bag and grab handfuls whenever hunger strikes. There are lots of different types of trail mix out available out there in the bulk section of the grocery store. Or, you could make your own by combining the nuts, seeds, dried fruits and other items that you prefer.

Granola BarsQuick Healthy Snacks

A store bought granola bar can be the perfect item for keeping you fueled up when you are on the road. However, when choosing your granola bar be aware that some brands are loaded with sugar that you may as well be eating a chocolate bar! Look for these quick healthy snacks with low sugar and plenty of natural ingredients.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a fantastic food! It offers lots of protein and energy and it’s very portable. You could bring along a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter on a road trip and stop for sandwiches whenever you are hungry. You can also bring along some crackers or celery sticks for spreading peanut butter on – whatever tastes good to you. Finally be sure to check out some healthy on the go snacks children love.

These are just some ideas for portable quick healthy snacks that are great to bring with you when you are travelling, so you can satiate your hunger without filling up on junk food and arrive at your destination or furnished apartment in Toronto feeling great.