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Upcoming June and July Toronto Events, 2015

June 8, 2015

June and July Toronto EventsThe summer of 2015 is going to be an exciting one in Toronto with a number of special events this year. Many of these events are located in downtown Toronto, centrally located and not too far from your furnished apartment. This is an ideal time to be in the city for your short-term stay or an extended stay. Here are a few of our favourite June and July Toronto events happening this year.

1. North By Northeast Festival (NXNE) (June 17-21, 2015). This festival has gone beyond just music to converge creatives artists into five different event-packed streams: Music, Film, Interactive, Comedy, and Art. Toronto will be a buzz with shows (and secret shows) at concert venues littered across town as well as free concerts at Yonge and Dundas Square. Discover your favourite shows and plan in advance so you can use your pass well.

2. The Toronto Jazz Festival (June 18-27, 2015). If you’re a fan of jazz, you’ll get a choice to hear over 1,500 musicians

June and July Toronto Events

Photo Credit: Mark Watmough

and 350 performances in over 40 locations around Toronto. This year, the festival will celebrate Oscar Peterson’s 90th birthday and welcome back Jamie Cullum to the stage. Festival headquarters are at Nathan Phillips Square, which features a fully licensed Mainstage Marquee and outdoor stage, where you can see some performances for free. It’s always a great way to introduce the summer!

3. Luminato (June 19-28, 2015). Luminato celebrates Toronto’s vibrant arts and culture scene in Toronto, via this 9 day festival across the downtown core and at the festival hub in David Pecault Square. See performers like Jason Collett revive his basement revue; view the imaginary rose garden, a visual arts display; or dance the day away at a Brazilian block party! There are many events everyday, so do check the website to see which one appeals to you.

June and July Toronto Events

Photo Credit: US Embassy Canada

4. Taste of Toronto (July 2-5, 2015). This food event takes over the grounds of Fort York in its second year. Food enthusiasts are drawn to sample dishes from some of the best eateries in the city, including Montecito, Barque, THR & Co., Splendido, Bosk, and Richmond Station. Exciting food events will be on offer, as well, including the Toronto Life Chef’s Table, a series of interactive discussions with chefs; and the Metro Masterclass, a hands-on cooking session from the popular chefs (and a visiting chefs, including Christina Tosi, of Momofuku Milk Bar). The best part? You can walk home from your food coma!June and July Toronto Events

5. Fringe Festival (July 1-12, 2015). This is the best way to see theatre for cheap with over 150 shows at over 30 venues in the city. The shows are performed at unexpected places in the city, as well, from waiting rooms to the back parking lot of Honest Ed’s. Now that there’s Fringe Kids in place, this is also a great way to introduce grassroots theatre to your children.

6. Pan Am/Parapan Am Games (July 10-26, 2015). The most anticipated event for this year, the Pan Am and Para Pan Am games will bring in over 7,000 athletes from the Americas and the Caribbean to compete in 36 Pan Am sports and 15 Parapan sports all over Toronto and within Ontario. If you’ve never gone to the Olympics, this is your chance to see some sports of that caliber as well as many athletic facilities being upgraded in time for the games. Many events surrounding the games are forthcoming, including Panamania, a 35-day arts and cultural festival. Many exciting musicians will be performing for free at Nathan Phillips Square including Janelle Monae, The Flaming Lips, The Roots, and Tanya Tadaq.

What June and July Toronto events are you looking most forward to?

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

5 Benefits of Travelling Light While on Business

June 3, 2015

Travelling LightAs the cost of travelling continues to rise (especially in air-travel), it becomes more essential to pack light and smart, especially if you are on a business trip and on-the-go. Whether you are staying with us for a short-term stay in our furnished apartments in Toronto, we’ve come up with five benefits of why travelling light will help you.

1. Travelling Light Saves You Time and Money When you only have one carry-on, you don’t have to pay the $25 + checked baggage fee nor do you have to wait at baggage claim for your carry-on (which reduces your time to transfer in destination). At check-in, you can also reduce your time in long lines by pre-checking your boarding pass and entering in your info at a kiosk rather than waiting to get your baggage tagged.Travelling Light While on Business

2. Lost Luggage Worries are Gone When you only have one bag or carry-on, you don’t have to worry about it getting lost, delayed, damaged (or worse, stolen). According to the L.A. Times, The total number of bags that were lost, delayed or damaged by airlines around the world were 22 million in 2013 (a 17% reduction from 2012 but there is still a long way to go).

3. Easy Navigation Within Big Cities In a large metropolis like Toronto, you can easily get to the airport via public transport. If you have a bigger bag or more than one bag, however, it will be a more difficult to navigate on a crowded bus or subway. Travelling light enables you to walk through busy train stations, airports, and downtown streets with ease. In many train stations, you also have to take the stairs, which is a simpler task than with a heavy bag or more than one bag/suitcase. Luckily, we do have complimentary airport transportation services as part of our services if you chose to stay with us.

4. You Pack the Essentials PackiTravelling Lightng light forces you to decide which items are necessary for your trip in addition to simplifying your daily routine of figuring out what to wear each day. If you are traveling on business, choose neutrals to build a base. For instance a crisp white shirt which you can easily iron in your suite, a suit, and a black pair of shoes. You can tuck socks into your shoes to save room when packing and keep your toiletry kit to one simple bag either in the corner of your bag or in an easy to find-pocket of your luggage. (Remember: any liquids in your carry-on can be no more than 100 ml.) Packing smarter also enables you to find your things more quickly. A messenger back or lap-top bag is also efficient when you have to take it out during the customs and security check.

5. Flexibility If your flight or trip gets cancelled or delayed, you don’t have to worry about where your luggage is located. You also don’t have to worry about being able to navigate somewhere nearby because you packed light. For a business traveller, you can immediately take your belongings with you if you have to go straight to the office.

Packing light enables efficiency, cost-savings and flexibility. Do you pack light? What are your favourite benefits of packing light?

Business Travel, Downtown Toronto, Toronto Family Travel

Where to Shop When Relocating to Toronto

May 14, 2015

Relocating to TorontoRelocating to Toronto can be daunting if you’re not prepared. If you are travelling for business and relocating to Toronto, and moving into a furnished rental in Toronto, you may want to add some personal touches to your home away from home. Here are a few of our favourite shops in Toronto.

1. Cambie
If you need to keep warm on your couch at night, we recommend the local shop, Cambie, where owner Camille Byrne has sourced blankets from Peru. Not only are the blankets gorgeous and a great accompaniment to your living space, you are supporting two local communities. Though the blankets are Cambie’s most popular selling item, there are other decor items to add to your home including rugs and cushions.Relocating to Toronto

2. BYOB
If you are entertaining in your place, the best place to source all of your needs for bespoke cocktails is at BYOB. From intricate glassware to beer kits and bitters, this place has it all for your party needs. Anything from BYOB also makes a great hostess gift (and is one of our top shops for gifts).

3. CB2
In close distance to our downtown properties, CB2 is a modern and stylish one-stop shop for all of your decor needs. There are a great selection of chairs and chaises to add to your living room, should you be staying with us long-term. They also have a great selection of affordable bedding and accessories.

4. Hudson’s Bay Company
Relocating to TorontoLocated right across the street from the Eaton Centre at the heart of downtown at Yonge and Queen Street, The Hudson’s Bay Company literally is the oldest shopping and trading post in Canada. The department is your one stop shop for basic decor and kitchen items as well as clothing and accessories. Everything you need will be here and an excuse to explore the Eaton Centre later on. Don’t forget to get one of their signature striped items as a memorable Canadian souvenir.

5. Kol Kid
If you are looking for bespoke toys, clothes, and other items for your children (from growth charts to decor for their room), Kol Kid is the place to go. In the heart of Queen Street West, this children’s store is a staple for stylish items for your kids and a Toronto treasure.

What are your favourite stores for design and decor in Toronto? Are you thinking of relocating to Toronto? Find out more information here on how we can assist.

Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Alternative Travel Destinations in Canada

April 24, 2015

CanadaMention the words Canada and travel and immediately, and a few cities and images come to mind: Toronto; Montreal; Quebec City; Vancouver; the great outdoors. Indeed, these places are integral places on the Canada tour but if you’re looking to get off the beaten path, here are some new travel destinations in Canada, whether you are here for a short or long-term stay.

1. Manitoba
Ontario’s next door neighbour is starting to get the attention it deserves. In addition to being one of the best places in Canada to get up front and close with wildlife like polar bears, beluga whales, caribou, and grey owls, you can also have a more urban experience in the evolved Winnipeg. The city is home to Canada’s first Museum for Human Rights; the Assiniboine Park Zoo; and a thriving dining scene thanks to events like the Raw & Almond pop-up dinners on the Assiniboine River every January. For those who love culture, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and if you need to relax, try the new Thermea by Nordik-Spa nature experience.

2. The Eastern Townships
A quick two hour drive from Montreal, the Eastern Townships is one of Canada’s lesser-known weekend getaways and one of its best. Book a night or two at theTravel Destinations in Canada quaint yet sophisticated Relais et Chateaux property, Manoir Hovey, and don’t miss their delectable cheese cart as part of their dining experience, which is just as popular as their lakeside view. For an idyllic experience, visit the Bleu Lavande lavender fields which are in season in July and August. The Eastern Townships is a nice complement to your time spent in Quebec City or Montreal.

3. Alberta
Not many think of the Prairies as a vacation destination beyond the Calgary Stampede in July; or Jasper or Banff for skiing in the winter or lakeside in the summer (make sure not to miss the stunning glacial lakes of Lake Moraine). Beyond the ski hills of Jasper, you can now visit the Glacier Skywalk, which hovers above the Sunwapta Valley along Alberta’s Icefield Parkway. There is also so much more for those who want an outdoor adventure in the province. For the family, follow the dinosaur trail in the Badlands, with a visit to the UNESCO world heritage site, Dinosaur Provincial Park, 200 km west of Calgary. And on the archeological theme, check out the Indiana Jones exhibition at the TELUS World of Science centre in Edmonton. Edmonton has become a cultural hub in Alberta and is an alternative to Calgary as an urban travel destination.

Travel Destinations in Canada 4. St. Pierre et Miquelon, Newfoundland
Newfoundland is quickly becoming one of the world’s best travel experiences thanks to Gros Morne as the default hiking destination, and a lot of press attention to Fogo Island for its stunnering scenery and luxury hotel, the Fogo Island Inn. However, not many know about the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, North America’s last piece of French territory. Actually a part of France, the islands have its own airport, use euros and is your chance to go to Paris without crossing the Atlantic!

5. The North West Territories
Yellowknife is one of the most remote destinations for some of the most idyllic Canadian adventures you can have like dog sledding; catching a glimpse of the Aurora lights; ice fishing, and hunting. Consider the Northwest Territories if you want an off-the-beaten path adventure in Canada beyond British Columbia.

We hope this post has provided you with some inspiration to get into the lesser known parts of Canada.

What are your favourite travel destinations in Canada?

Business Travel, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Under the Radar Cities to Visit in the USA

April 14, 2015

Toronto is a great hub to our neighbour to the south but sometimes the more popular cities are just too…popular or expensive. While you’re in Toronto for a short or long term stay, we found these cities to visit in the USA that are quick jaunts which are alternative destinations to the more celebrated cities you may know and love.

Cities to Visit in the USA  1. If you like San Francisco, try San Diego You can still leave your heart in San Francisco but if you want a change of pace, go south of Los Angeles to San Diego. There’s tons of surf, sunshine, and fish tacos; the ideal combination for an idyllic getaway. As a stopover it’s much closer to cruise port destinations like Mexico. Plus, there’s over 90 craft breweries in the city. If you’re with the family, there’s plenty to such as exploring Legoland, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and whale watching (over 20,000 whales migrate here from December to April.)

2. If you like Nashville, try Savannah  though Tennessee is experiencing a Cities to Visit in the USA resurgence beyond Music City (we even named it one of our top destinations for 2015). Home to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the city is full of design shops and good eats, just like Nashville. Affordable hotel and flight packages are also in reach so you can stroll amongst the oak trees and fountains, the ideal weekend getaway that may not be as busy as Nashville.

3. If you like New York City, try New Orleans We’ll admit that there really is no place like NYC in the United States but as an alternate destination full of great Cities to Visit in the USAfood, lively entertainment, great shops, and strong cocktails, New Orleans is a great second choice. Likely, it may be friendlier on your wallet and an opportunity to continue to support its residents 11 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Check out its food and drink festivals like the French Quarter Festival in April; the New Orleans Wine and Food Festival, May 20-23; the Oyster festival on May 30, and the boozy Tales of the Cocktail festival in July, which attracts the nation’s best bartenders.

4. If you like Austin, try Oklahoma City Twenty years ago, the only thing Oklahoma City was known for was its downtown bombings. Now, it’s on the verge of attracting a similar young and vibrant demographic to Austin or Portland (Oregon). Artistic types will love the Paseo Arts and DeadCenter film festival in May and June, respectively, without the big crowds and high prices of Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival phenomenon. In late May, don’t miss out on the H&8th night festival, where live music and food trucks merge together for one night. And if you think you’re missing out on that famous Texan BBQ, chow down on Backdoor BBQ’s “Beastwich,” for fare compare. An hour drive from OKC is the BBQ ‘N Blues festival in Cushing, not something that would be unlikely in Austin. OKC may be the weekend escape you’re looking for this summer that’s a bit closer to your home away from home in Toronto.

5. If you like Portland, try Detroit Though Portland, Oregon easily wins our hearts for its enviable food and beer scene (and Cities to Visit in the USA  multitude of food trucks); easy navigation, and quirky characters, Detroit can offer the same experience without the plane ticket if you’re staying with us for a short or long term stay in Toronto. It has a thriving microbrewery scene; an art scene and many abandoned buildings that are great for photographers; and quaint neighbourhoods like Corktown, home to boutique hotels like Honor & Folly. Give it a try. You might be surprised!

What’s your favourite under-the-radar cities to visit in the USA? Where would you like to travel to in the United States this summer?