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Happy Birthday – Canada Day 150 Years Old

June 30, 2017

Canada DayThis year’s Canada Day celebrations will certainly be a once in a generation event. We mark 150 years since Confederation and this landmark birthday is being celebrated all over the country with huge events, fireworks shows and much more.
The Canadian Federal Government announced that it would be spending approximately half a billion dollars on the 150th anniversary- which means it will be a massive party!

Canada Day 150 Events Happening in Toronto

The theme of this year’s celebrations will be TO Canada with Love and the city will also be hosting Canada 150 Mosaic, which is an exhibition of over 80,000 paintings and 150 individual murals across the country. Here are some of the exciting things that will be happening in Canada this weekend:

This exciting celebration will include arts, dance, food and musical performances from the Barenaked Ladies, Ron Sexsmith, Belly, Dvsn and Buffy Sainte Marie.Canada Day

Celebrate Canada’s Birthday and your love of delicious barbequed ribs at this festival. The event will also feature live music, midway games, pony rides and much more.

Admission is free and celebrations will be taking place from 10am to 10pm, including roaming performers, music and dance performances, games, children’s activities and much more.

While you are out and about, check out some of our favorite places to eat for brunch!

What Does Canada 150 Mean?

The year 2017 marks the 150 year point since Confederation. In 1867 the Dominion of Canada was created as per the British North America Act. This brought together the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Canada Dayand the Province of Canada into one country – merging together English and French speaking Canada. The new Dominion of Canada was composed of four provinces, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario and New Brunswick.

However, it could be argued that Canada as we know it is only turning 35 this year. It was in 1982 that Canada “patriated” the constitution, which allowed us to amend it without Britain’s approval. This was the event that enacted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it is when July 1st changed from “Dominion Day” to “Canada Day.”

But of course, this land is older than 150 and people lived in North America long before 1867. It was in 1142 that the Iroquois Confederacy was formed, which brought together five nations over the area which is now Canada, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia and formed a “Great League of Peace.”

Even before that, the first evidence of human inhabitants in Canada has been dated back to 30,000 BCE – when people crossed over the Siberian land bridge as the Ice Age ended. A village discovered in British Columbia is one of the oldest human settlements in North America and pre-dates the pyramids.

Indigenous people have been living on this land for thousands and thousands of years and the ownership of the land is a contentious issue still not resolved, which is why many choose to celebrate Canada Day alternatively.

No matter how you measure it, these days the modern nation of Canada is a cultural melting pot that celebrates diversity and is home to a mosaic of different ethnicities and traditions.  What does it mean to be Canadian? It’s more than just beaver and maple syrup and snow shovels and hockey: it’s our identity of kindness, politeness, inclusion, acceptance and understanding – which is certainly something to celebrate. Happy Canada Day!

Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Toronto History

Advice for First Time Toronto Visitors

April 27, 2017

First Time Toronto VisitorsA visit to Toronto is a thrill – there is so much to discover in this exciting Canadian metropolis. Here are some very important things that you should know for first time Toronto visitors.

First Time Toronto Visitors : Make the Most of Public Transit

When you are visiting Toronto you will probably not want to rent a car, unless you want to be able to go on road trips outside of the city. Inside the city it is possible to get around quickly and easy using public transit. Plus, you will save money on parking fees and you will avoid getting stuck in rush hour. The city is a giant grid pattern, so it’s pretty easy to navigate.

The transit system in Toronto includes subway lines, streetcars and buses and it will take you to anywhere in the city that you want to go, including well out into the suburbs. You can get a day pass for $12 that will allow you unlimited travel on all TTC services

Stay in a SerFirst Time Toronto Visitorsviced Furnished Apartment

Staying in an furnished apartment for first time Toronto visitors many advantages compared to staying in a hotel. You will have much more space to relax, a fully equipped kitchen so that you can cook your own meals and you will be able to use the building facilities such as swimming pool, fitness centre, bowling alley and much more. This is especially advantageous if you are travelling as a family or staying for a while.

No One Pronounces the Second T

The name of the city is pronounced “Torono” or “T’rana” by the locals. This is due to the Canadian accent, which causes the consonant between two unstressed vowels to be silent. If you pronounce the second T in Toronto it will be clear to all of the locals that you are not a Torontonian.

Don’t Forget About Sales Tax

You will notice that the price tag of an item in the store doesn’t always correspond to the final price when the cashier rings it up. That’s because a 13% harmonized sales tax is added to almost all of the goods and services purchases in the province of Ontario. Sometimes purchases are tax exempt and some have the tax already built into the price, so if you aren’t sure you can always ask the store staff to clarify.

First Time Toronto VisitorsIf You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait 20 Minutes

The weather in Canada is extreme and in Toronto it can fluctuate wildly, especially in the spring and fall. You might have a sunny morning, which turns into freezing cold rain by the afternoon. The weather in the summer is hot and humid and the winters are snowy and cold. Be prepared with many different layers so that you can adjust your clothing to the situation and do some research into the weather forecast before your trip.

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.

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Family Vacations in Toronto, Toronto Family Travel, Toronto History

Toronto Art and Culture

July 29, 2016

Toronto Art and CultureIf your idea of the perfect day is spent within the walls of a museum or an art gallery, contemplating the creative works of humanity, then you’ll love Toronto. A destination in Canada when it comes to the quality and diversity of Toronto art and culture. There’s an impressive abundance of great museums, galleries and much more – so here are some Toronto art and culture attractions to check out if you are visiting and staying in your furnished rental. Or, better yet, be a tourist in the city you live in!

The Art Gallery of Ontario

Let’s start with the main art institution in the city – the Art Gallery of Ontario aka the AGO. It is one of the biggest art museums in North America and is housed within a cutting edge building designed by architect Frank Gehry. This impressive gallery features a collection of works that totals over 80,000, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs by artists such as Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Brian Jungen.

Casa LomaToronto Art and Culture

Now a museum, this Gothic Revival house and gardens in Toronto was built as a residence for the incredibly wealthy financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in 1911. The castle-like architecture seems strangely out of place in a Canadian city and at the time it was built it was the largest private residence in Canada. Sir Henry imported several artisans from Europe to design Casa Loma, taking his inspiration from castles from across the pond. Take a tour of this fascinating building and imagine what life would be like enjoy its lavish excesses, including a pool, three bowling alleys and an oven large enough to cook an ox.

Angell Gallery

Since it opened in 1996, Angell Gallery has been known for representing cutting edge artists who take bold risks in their work. You’ll see a wide range of thought provoking work in several different mediums including painting, sculpture, video art and digital art.

Stephen Bulger Gallery

Founded in 1994, this gallery has an impressive collection of over 15,000 contemporary and historical photographs. Several international and Canadian photographers are represented, including Sunil Gupta, Pete Doherty and Jeff Thomas. Make sure that you check out the gallery bookshop, which has over 3,000 titles on photography.

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Toronto Art and CultureHistory buffs will love this historic village, carefully recreated to depict life in early Ontario in the 1800s. It’s an opportunity not just to see history, but to smell it, taste it, hear it and experience it first-hand. Within the 40 restored heritage homes you will find artisans and costumed interpreters recreating the lifestyle of the early settlers.

Daniel Faria Gallery

Located within a converted warehouse in Bloordale Village, Daniel Faria Gallery is a contemporary art space that has exhibited some of the biggest names in Canadian Art. The gallery showcases work from some superb Canadian artists including Kristine Moran, Chris Curreri and Shannon Bool.

These are just a few of the art and history attractions you can enjoy for Toronto art and culture.

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History, Vacation Travel

Toronto Neighbourhood Guide: Kensington Market

November 20, 2015
Kensington Market

Photo Credit: Rina Pitucci

One of Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhoods, Kensington Market, is within walking distance of our downtown furnished rentals. Settled by Eastern Europeans, the neighbourhood –which spans from College to Dundas, north to south; and Kensington to Denison, east to west– has had fluctuations of different ethnicities from Jewish, Portuguese, and Latin American, which is now an important landmark in Toronto. It has also developed certain trends: homes behind homes and stores on the first floor of homes, which has since been retained today. Here are our favourite places and things to do in the Market.

1. Casa Acoreana. Located at the corner of Augusta and Baldwin, Casa Acoreana has been one of the Market’s longest standing institutions in business for 50 years. Comprised of a cafe and a store that sells coffee, candy, and nuts, it is one of the best people-watching spots in Toronto.

2. Pedestrian Market Sundays. Every last Sunday of the month from May to October, Kensington Market’s streets are closed off

Kensington Market

Photo Credit: Joey deVilla

to traffic for their annual Pedestrian Sundays. There’s music, food, and many street performances. It’s a lively event that you can’t miss if you’re visiting or living in Toronto.

3. Produce, Meat, Fish, and Cheese. If you like to do your shopping at local markets, Kensington Market is the best place to do it. It’s the perfect pit stop for your picnic needs if you’re heading over to the park at Denison or further along, at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Some of our favourites: Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Hooked for Fish, Oxford Fruit Market, and Global Cheese. Happy shopping!

4. Seven Lives Tacos. There are plenty of options for lunch and dinner in the Market. Though you’ll always see lines for this taqueria, Seven Lives

Kensington Market

Photo Credit: Ian Irving

arguably has some of the best fish tacos in the city. Get the Gorbernador and thank us later!

5. Vintage Shopping. Vintage stores that scatter the market lend to its bohemian vibe and are one of the best ways to explore the market. Check out the long standing Courage My Love for jewellery and great clothing finds and Flashback for jackets. You’ll likely stumble upon racks and racks of clothing on the sidewalks outside of the stores and may unexpectedly find a good garment.

What are your favourite places in Kensington Market?