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Lifestyle talk, Markham, Toronto Family Travel

Things to do in Markham

November 12, 2014

Located northeast of Toronto, Markham is a thriving, vibrant and multicultural community. Our Circa furnished apartments, located at Warden and Highway 7, are close to Unionville, Markham Centre, and the Markham Theatre. Here are a few more of our favourite things to do in Markham. For more information on special events, please check the City of Markham’s official website.

Things to do in MarkhamEat Delicious Chinese Food
According to the 2011 census, 32.9 percent of residents in Markham speak Chinese and 11.6 percent of residents speak Mandarin.
SOURCE: Markham Economic Profile (page 9).  There are a multitude of good quality Chinese and Dim Sum restaurants in the city. Some recommended restaurants include: Dayali Beijing Roast Duck, Din Tai Fung (a separate entitiy from teh popular Taiwanese chain), 369 Shanghai Dim Sum, Sun’s Kitchen, and Ten Ren’s Tea Time, Source: Globe and Mail

Rouge Park
This 40 square kilometer park extends from Scarborough and the Toronto Zoo all the way up to Markham. There are a variety of activities you can complete in the park from hiking, biking, and wildlife watching to canoeing and camping (in the southern part of the park). It is said that FH Varley, one of the painters in the Group of Seven, captured the beauty of the banks of the Rouge River in Markham on canvas.

Things to do in MarkhamPacific Mall
Known for its bargains and the chance to barter for knock-off items, Pacific Mall has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in Markham. With over 500 stores and a food court, hawking Asian street-food, this is a great way to spend the afternoon.

Explore Unionville
Unionville is one of the villages that encompasses the larger part of Markham. Stroll past the historic buildings, shops, old mills, and churches of Main Street. Many festivals take place here as well. For more information visit www.unionvilleinfo.com

Varley Art Gallery
The gallery honours one of Canada’s renowned Group of Seven Artists, Fred Varley, who lived in Unionville for many years. View historical and contemporary exhibitions at the acclaimed gallery. Explore new ways of appreciating art through dynamicThings to do in Markham hands-on activities, designed for audiences of all ages and interests.

Markham is a great alternative city to Toronto but close enough via car or GO Train. If you are living in furnished housing and here for short term, enjoy your stay and try out these fun things to do in Markham!

Entertainment, Lifestyle talk, Living In Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto Family Travel

Things to do in Mississauga

October 16, 2014

Things to do in MississaugaLocated less than an hour from downtown Toronto and a half hour from the Toronto International Pearson Airport, the city of Mississauga is also Canada’s sixth largest city. As part of the Greater Toronto Area, many people are relocating here to live and work. As a result of the city’s growth, there are a number of activities and culture to enjoy here. If you are working on the border of the city, this is a great location to consider for corporate housing. Here are just a few things to do in Mississauga that you dont want to miss out on trying.

The Living Arts Centre
Since 1997, The Living Arts Centre has been Mississauga’s central performance venue. You can see a variety of shows here from opera and symphony to drama and dance. The whole family can also explore the arts, crafts, and visual arts studios year-round. LIVE Cuisine restaurant is also on site for pre-performance meals.

6020630352_08e0897a2b_zCelebration Square
Located across from Square One Shopping Centre and City Hall, Mississauga Celebration Square is the central location for free outdoor events. Lounge on the lawn and relax by the interactive water feature (fountains in the summer; an ice rink in the winter). Activities that feature arts, culture, and heritage are celebrated year-round from the farmers markets to the Imagination Park where the whole family can play various games featuring blocks and technology.

Port Credit and Streetsville
These quaint villages add a little flair to the greater region of Mississauga. Streetsville offers historical walking tours as well as regular events like yoga in the square. Popular festivals like the Bread and Honey Festival and the Taste of Streetsville attract locals and visitors alike. By the lake, Port Credit is a seaside getaway from the city. Ride your bike along the trails near the harbourfront, stop for an ice cream at the infamous Diary Cream, or indulge in a nice dinner at Snug Harbour with a lakeside view by the lighthouse.

Square OneShop!
Mississauga offers some of the best shopping in the Greater Toronto Area. From the ever-expanding and central Square One Shopping Centre to outlet malls Heartland Town Centre and Dixie Outlet Mall, there are a variety of choices and prices for all of your shopping needs. Bonus: Our Grand Ovation and Skymark West furnished apartments are a short walk from the Square One Shopping Centre.

Skyzone and Scooters Roller Palace
Not just for kids, Skyzone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. The park offers an open jump, a SkySlam court, SkyRobics fitness classes, Ultimate Dodgeball (when available) and a Foam Zone. For those who would like to keep their feet closer to the ground, Scooters Roller Palace offers inline and roller skating lessons in addition to all-ages open skates. These are great activities for the whole family!

Cycling and Fitness Trails
There are plenty of trails and parks if you want to get active in Mississauga!

Mississauga is a thriving and expanding community. Whether you’re here for on a project or assignment or simply vacation, it’s a great place to stay within close distance of Toronto and other suburban communities.

 

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

Tips for Travelling with Kids

October 8, 2014

Family TravelTravelling with kids can be an overwhelming experience, especially for the first time. However, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience to discover a new city with your family. Here are a few of our tips that will make the journey easier.

1. Prepare your child for the airport. As your kids may not understand the full experience of traveling, prepare them before the trip by reading books like “Airport” to educate and excite them about their upcoming journey.

2. Consider What to Bring, Flying Times, and Keeping Your Child Entertained on the Flight.
Being prepared can make the flying experience for your family easier. Have a backpack prepared with everything for the flight so it’s easy to find. Bring snacks that will take your child a long time to eat (like raisins) since in-flight options are limited or cost extra. Time your flights to your child’s sleeping schedule or try the red-eye flight. Consider buying a seat for your child, especially on longer flights for ease and comfort. In addition to having portable electronics amped up with your child’s favourite apps and games, surprise your child. Buy a new book or toy for the plane and wrap it up in tissue.

3. Consider renting an apartment, suite or condo. Though hotels have their perks, rentals can give you more space as well as the amenities or perks you may not find in a hotel. For instance, you may have a better supplied kitchen, watch movies without the pricey hotel tag, or invite friends over to dinner in your dining room. DelSuites is a great option if you’re in Toronto. DelSuites will help make the transition easy by providing a FREE ‘Kids Care’ gift for every child ages newborn to 14. Items including bath toTravelling with Kidsys, children’s books, playing cards, itunes gift cards and more.

4. Stay in an area where there is lots to do within walking distance. Being in a central area will keep you close to the action but nearby your accommodation. This will be helpful for those scheduled nap times and dealing with jet lag. It also helps if you are having meals at your short-term rental apartment for lunch or dinner. Location is key when planning your family vacation.

5. Get your child involved in the planning process. When considering activities, show your little one pictures of what he or she might like to do in location. Being involved in the process makes them more excited about the decisions they made. Look at local playgrounds, parks, and outdoor spaces. Not only are these a great way to see a new city like a local but also free!

Traveling with kids can have its moments but it can also be revitalizing. What are your tips for travelling with kids and your family? We would love to hear!

References:
Joanna Goddard – 10 Tips for Traveling with a Baby
Joanna Goddard – 10 Ways to Entertain a Toddler on a Plane
Oh Joy – Traveling Abroad with a Toddler

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

Top Ten Essential Travel Apps

October 1, 2014

Essential Travel AppsA smartphone can be your most convenient tool and resource, especially when you travel. Here are a few of our favourite travel apps to save you time, money, and frustration when you’re on the road.

Whats App Text anyone anywhere without having to pay for those pricey SMS charges. It works across different smartphones, and users can create groups, and send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

Hotel Tonight
If you’re booking a last minute trip, Hotel Tonight compiles hotel rooms that are available that day, starting at noon. Not only can you get a room at a curated hotel for less but the new “Look Ahead” feature shows availability for the week ahead in select cities. Those cities are: NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas.

Airbnb This popular home-stay travel apps enables you to save money on pricey hotels and stay in local neighbourhoods. Of course, if you are in Toronto for a longer stay, book our furnished apartments, suites, or corporate housing. Our guest services department can also give you local tips.

Icoon Picture Dictionary  Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. (Especially when you don’t speak the language!) Icoon’s Picture Dictionary takes all of the fuss out of trying to explain your message by categorizing pictures in sections such as body parts, foods, lodging, and more.

Maps.Me Search detailed maps from all over the world offline (translation: no roaming fees from other Map apps like Google Maps). Auto suggestions around your Essential Travel Appslocation and a bookmark feature for your highlighted places makes this a must-download.

Hop Stop This all-in-one app lets you get door-to-door transit, walking, biking, and taxi directions in over 300 cities worldwide. Some of its features enable you to find nearby subway stations and bus stops, estimate travel time and cost for a taxi, and find wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly routes.

VSCO An acronym for Visual Supply Co., this photography app has several filters which will make those scenic snaps more visually appealing and up amplify your instagram game.

XE Currency This currency converter makes it easy for you to figure out how much something costs immediately. It may come in handy when you’re negotiating with taxi drivers.

Curb (formerly Taxi Magic) Speaking of taxis, Curb is a good alternative to Uber if a car isn’t available or you don’t want to pay the Uber price. The app estimates the cost of your trip and you can pay from your phone. You can book a nearby taxi or schedule a ride for later. It is available in 45 American cities.

Word Lens This quirky app lets you translate those foreign signs via use of your phone’s video camera. A favourite among frequent travelers.

Tell us: What are your favourite travel apps?

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

Art Galleries in Toronto

September 5, 2014

Art Galleries in TorontoIn recent years, Toronto has become a major center for culture. Centres funded by corporations such as the Four Seasons Center for Performing Arts or the Rogers Center, have been renovated or erected in recent years. However, you can experience culture, especially art, on a smaller scale in Toronto while on your extended stay. It is the smaller art galleries that may have some of the best and most local art out there. Here are some of our top picks of Art Galleries in Toronto:

1. Art Gallery of Ontario – Located in central downtown, the AGO is a nice walk from your furnished apartments in Toronto. In addition to one of the largest and most coveted Canadian collections (featuring the artwork of the members of the Group of Seven) as well as interesting and provocative exhibitions, the AGO holds interactive events every month such as First Thursdays and AGO Next (for members under 40). The AGO is also a regular venue for yearly festivals like Nuit Blanche. You can visit the gallery for free, after 5pm every Wednesday.

2. MOCCA, also known as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Here you will find it tucked away just west of Shaw St. in the heart of the Queen West Art and Design District with the large mural in the parking lot as a signpost. The murals are created for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography festival every year. Inside, find thought-provoking exhibitions in its minimalist space. It is a must-stop on your Queen West art gallery crawl.Art Galleries in Toronto

3. Angell Art Gallery – Jamie Angell was one of the pioneers in Queen West’s art gallery development. His gallery is one of the most eponymous and sets the standard for daring and original artwork by risky artists locally. Check out the video installation in the back as you continue along Ossington and Queen Street West for art gallery, restaurant and bar pitstops.

4. Koffler Centre of the Arts is a dynamic contemporary art gallery providing exciting exhibitions, and programs (educational and beyond). The gallery fosters new work by Canadian and international artists and for those who reside in a short term rental in Downtown Toronto. The Qwest, Element, Icon, 300 Front and James Cooper Mansion buildings are a short drive away.

5. Dadashi Gallery – Check out original oil and acrylic paintings in addition to sculptures in North York. You can buy paintings as well as furniture and rugs at this hybrid retail space. If you’re truly feeling inspired, art classes are available.

If you are staying in Toronto for an extended stay, art galleries in Toronto are a great way to check out the local culture and maybe even give you inspiration to decorate your temporary residence.