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

Things You Should Know About Living in Toronto

April 17, 2015

Living in TorontoToronto is a great city in which to live (welcome!) and according to the Global Liveability Report (2014), Toronto has been recognized as being one of the five most liveable cities in the world. We have a rising economy, a good mix of nature along the edges of our downtown core, a good standard of living, and are one of the most multicultural-friendly cities in the world. However, as with other major urban centres, Toronto has its quirks that you have to navigate as a resident. Talking to our team is a good start to help you learn more about Toronto living. Here’s our guide to what you should know about living in Toronto.

1. Harsh Winters and Hot Summers
What you hear about Toronto’s winters are true: they can be extremely cold. Lately, however, temperatures fluctuate. One day the temperature can be a balmy 10 degrees celsius; another day, they can drop to minus 25 degrees celsius. Dressing in layers is crucial when living in Toronto. Equally, summers can be hot and humid and downtown smog permeates the air in the downtown core. Another reminder to keep your umbrella handy as Toronto’s rainfall has increased in the past few years. Having a humidifier or air purifier will keep the air fresh in your furnished apartment in Toronto.

Living in Toronto

2. Transportation
Other than driving, there are a few ways to get around the city, a very large one at that, and depending on where you go, it’s an average of 30 minutes to get anywhere in the city. The Toronto Transit Commission, also known as the TTC, is one of the most central ways to get around the large metropolis. It extends from Scarborough to Etobicoke (east to west) and Finch/Steeles to Union Station at Front Street (north to south). An average fare on the TTC is $3.00. If you’re looking for a quicker alternative, you can take a taxi in the city, with a starting rate at $4.50. Cabs in Toronto can be notoriously expensive so be careful. An average ride from outside the downtown core can cost $20 to $25. Uber or Uber X is also another alternative. If you are traveling to the suburbs such as Markham, Mississauga, or Brampton, the GO Transit system (via bus or train) will help you get there efficiently if you don’t drive. Prices vary based on your destination; however, an average price to Mississauga one way is $7.Living in Toronto

3. Rush Hour
Rush hour in Toronto lasts from 6:30am to 9:30am during morning weekdays and around 4:00pm to 6:30pm during weekday evenings. It is at its peak during 8am and 5 to 6pm, respectively. Traffic congestion is one of the major issues as Toronto has expanded. If you live downtown or near your workplace in one of our central locations, the best alternative is to walk or bike to work to avoid the crowds altogether. On the TTC, do expect to wait one or two trains, especially on the Yonge/University line due to congestion. Union Station is also in a state of significant transformation with new exits so give yourself time to navigate in the morning. Alternatively, you can commute in less peak hours to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

Living in Toronto

4. Construction
Toronto continues to expand significantly as it has done so over the past 10 to 15 years. Over 100,000 condominium units are currently being constructed (source) and according to a report in the Toronto Star, our metropolis is home to more than 44 high rises exceeding 150 metres. As the city gears up for the Pan Am Games, you’ll see a lot of delays on major routes, the main one being the Lakeshore between Yonge and Spadina, which is slowly but surely improving in terms of development. Always map out your route and double check the TTC website before you travel anywhere in the city if you don’t know it well. Downtown, it may be easier to walk certain places than it is to take the TTC.

Living in Toronto

5. A City of Neighbourhoods
Toronto is known as a city of neighbourhoods (complete with our own toques!) and the best part of this city is feeling like you’re constantly a tourist, whether it’s trying a new, ethnic restaurant or going to a cultural event. If you like to be near the water, The Beaches, Scarborough Bluffs, or Lakeshore West might be good options for you. Downtown, you are close to the funkiest areas complete with shopping, restaurants and nightlife downtown or by Queen, King, or Kensington Market. Yorkville and Rosedale/Summerhill are a bit more lush. North York is right by the subway line with plenty of parks and dining options. For those wanting more family-friendly neighbourhoods, Roncesvalles, High Park, The Danforth, and Leslieville are great options.

Living in Toronto

6. It Can Be Difficult to Meet People
Living in a big and constantly changing urban centre like Toronto can make it difficult to meet people. The best solution to this urban issue is to join a club. There are plenty of interesting clubs out there depending on your interest. The Toronto Sport and Social Club is a great addition to your workout routine, or you could join a quirky club like an axe throwing league (yes, that exists!). Volunteering is another way to meet new friends while giving back to the community. Sites like Charity Village can help you find what interests you. Likely, there is a club for whatever your interest happens to be.

Of course, do check out any events happening where you can meet other residents in your DelSuites condo.

A big city like Toronto can take a bit of getting used to but once you settle into the city (and your short term rental in Toronto, which will make life a bit easier for you), you’ll find yourself calling it home sooner than later. Just make sure you pronounce it “Toronna” and not “Tore-on-tow.”

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?

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes

Top 5 Favourite Bars for Craft Beer in Toronto

April 7, 2015

Craft Beer in TorontoCraft beer is big business in Toronto. According to the Ontario Craft Brewers Association, “there are currently over 100 craft breweries in Ontario employing over 1,000 people in direct brewery jobs across the province. This represents over 30 per cent of the direct brewery jobs in Ontario.” Now that grocery stores will now have the opportunity to sell beer and wine, this will not replace your visit to your local bar to taste test brews. If you don’t want to stay in your furnished suite or apartment to drink, here are our favourite places in Toronto for this niche experience.

1. Bellwoods Brewery. The popular indie brewery on Ossington Ave–with its white picket fence and prime people-watching patio– is listed as one of the 100 best breweries in the world by Rate Beer. Sip and savour on IPAs, stouts, single hop series, Belgian saisons, and a variety of ales. There’s a good selection of charcuterie to nibble alongside your pints. The brewery is dealing with its line-ups with a next door bottle shop (you’ll also want to save those beautiful labels for your home collection) and are opening a new location at Dupont and Dovercourt. Currently, you can quench your thirst by participating in a spring guided tasting.

2. Bar Volo. Bar Volo is the craft beer bar that was ahead of the trend and now 25 years old. It’s a great centralCraft Beer in Toronto location if you are living in our furnished suites downtown or North Toronto. The dim-lit, intimate, wooden space gets crowded early. It’s a casual process: look at the list on the walls for over 30 rotating regional beers on tap, casks, more than 75 international types of bottles, and a hectolitre nano brewery. You then find your own table, and order/pay at the bar. Though known for beer, there are two VQA wines served on tap, and over 60 bottles of bourbon and rye for non-hopheads. In the summer, there are DJ nights and during those times, cans of Howe Sound Lager is available for $5 (as previously stated on their site, last year).

3. Bar Hop. Located a short walk away from our 300 Front, Icon, and Element locations, Bar Hop is the ideal unpretentious after-work spot on King West. The bar has over 36 rotating taps plus tap takeovers, gluten-free beers and ciders, aCraft Beer in Torontond two casks. Special deals like Sunday Sessions ($5 for select craft beers); Mussel Mondays (2 pounds of mussels and fries for $9.95); and Buck-a-Shuck Tuesdays ($1 Oysters) make this a bustling place. Fret-not, a second location is in the works around Richmond and Peter.

4. Indie Ale House. If there is one reason to head over to the Junction, it’s for its noteworthy brewery. There’s a variety of beers here, including their speciality of bold ales. Peruse their menu for collaborations and their original brews with fun flavours and names like the Broken Hipster, Zombie Apocalypse, and the Breakfast Porter. Add a flavourful, varied menu of healthy options and bar staples with a twist; tours, and tastings, and you’ll never want to leave (unless you go here first and then dance the night away at 3030 down the street).

5. Amsterdam Brewery. Though it now feels like a tourist attraction due to its Harbourfront location, Amsterdam Brewery has bCraft Beer in Torontoeen in Toronto since 1986 and come a long way from its first location on John St. Now the brewery is a short walk away from our temporary housing Toronto. Amsterdam Brewery is known for its Boneshaker unfiltered IPA and has other original brews like the Sweetwater Squeeze Radler, the 416, and the all natural Blonde. Sip lakeside on a muskoka chair with an unparalleled view of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands. A bonus if you can’t grab a seat on the patio is that you can grab your favourite beer from their bottle shop, which is open 7 days a week until 11pm.

Honorable mentions go to some of Toronto’s newer breweries like the soon-to-open Left Field Brewery (which is hosting tastings and pop-ups to buy select bottles from time to time); East York’s new Muddy York brewery; and the established Granite Brewery at Eglinton and Mount Pleasant.

What is your favourite bar for craft beer in Toronto?

Business Travel, Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment

Upcoming Events in Toronto for Corporate Travelers

April 2, 2015

TorontoLately, Toronto has lived up to its reputation as fourth best liveable city in the world and in 2015, Toronto has been at its most inviting. Construction is still inevitable as the demand for Toronto living is at its peak. We’ve got some of the most central and best locations across the Greater Toronto Area for your needs with furnished suites for a short-term or long-term rental. If you’re staying with us, please check out these upcoming events in Toronto.

1. Blue Jays Home Opener
The Jays take on the Tampa Bay Rays for their first game of the season. There’s nothing like the open Upcoming events in Torontoroof of the dome and watching our home team win to bond with your clients and colleagues. (April 13)

2. Hot Docs
Discuss your favourite documentaries this year at Toronto’s other film festival, including some interesting selections, including the much-buzzed film, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck; and the ode to Canadiana, Being Canadian.(April 23-May 3, 2015)

3. Titanic The Musical and Mamma Mia! The Musical
If you’ve missed the movie that was made 18 years ago (or you have already seen the musical Once, then now is your chance to bond with yoUpcoming Events in Torontour clients over its return to the stage and possibly break out into a rendition of Celine Dion’s “My Heart WIll Go On.” Or if you just want to sing along to a whole show, we recommend the popular show, Mamma Mia! who is making its return to the Princess of Wales Theatre for 5 days only. ( Mamma Mia!: May 5-10, 2015; Titanic: May 19-June 21, 2015)

4. Canadian Music Week
This upcoming events in Toronto celebrate Canadian Music which is now in its 32nd year and consists of a comedy festival, film festival, and its infamous music festival, Canadian Music Fest. If your clients are musical, this is a great way to see the city with over 1,000 artists at over 60 venues in a span of five nights. (May 1-10,2015)

Upcoming Events in Toronto5. Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Not only is this festival located all over the city–in cafes, art galleries, and shops– it is also free! The best parties are always during the first weekend this monthly event occurs. (May 1-31, 2015)

6. Doors Open
Learn the secrets and history of some of Toronto’s most exclusive buildings. If your clients love architecture and photography, this is an ideal way to learn more about the city and your clients or colleagues as well. (May 23-24, 2015)

What are your favourite events in the Spring and early Summer in Toronto? Luckily, many of these events are close by your furnished rental in downtown Toronto. Enjoy the city!

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment

Film Events in Toronto

March 31, 2015

Film Events in TorontoWith the advent of video streaming services like Netflix and now Shomi and Crave, you may think that the era of going out to see a movie is dying (we don’t blame you for wanting to stay in your furnished apartment after a long week). That said, Torontonians are fierce fans of movies and are keeping the film industry alive with these events, services and stores, year-round, long after TIFF is over. If you are in town for TIFF or related film events in Toronto or you are filming here with your production studio, DelSuites can assist you with your accommodation needs.

1. TIFF Bell LightBox
Now headquarters for all things for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Bell Lightbox is also home to daily screenings, film exhibitions, a gift shop, and two great restaurants, Luma and Canteen. It is a must-see on the Toronto tour, especially if you’re a fan of film. Luckily, it’s just around the corner from our suites at 300 Front, The Element, and The Icon. This year, Andy Warhol’s exhibition, Stars of the Silver Screen debuts on October 30, 2015. Save the date!Film Events in Toronto

2. Hot Docs
From April 23 to May 3, 2015 enjoy Toronto’s other film festival, this time of international documentaries, which you usually won’t see anywhere else, invoking in-depth conversation. Doc Soup is Hot Docs’ monthly screening series from October through April at the Bloor Cinema. Guest directors are available at selected screenings to introduce their work and answer questions from the audience. Early bird packages and passes are now available on sale online.

3. Repertory Cinemas.
Rep cinemas bring back the by-gone era of going out to the movie theatre. The difference at a rep cinema is that you can see older films, usually a one-off or as part of a theme. The Bloor Cinema is festival headquarters for Hot Docs but others we know and love are The Royal on College Street and The Fox in the Beaches (worth the trek to the end of the streetcar line on Queen Street East).

4. The National Film Board.
Located in the heart of downtown acroFilm Events in Torontoss from the Scotiabank movie theatre at Queen and John, is the National Film Board (affectionately known as the NFB). The NFB is Canada’s National film producer and distributor. This is your place to watch free films and documentaries, and animations, available in both English and French. Here’s a guide of films for your first visit.

5. Quirky Video Stores.
Yes, video stores still exist and some of them offer some unique services. We love the Film Buff for its selection of under-represented independent, foreign, documentary and classic films in addition to its tasty ice cream (Roncesvalles location only) and Queen Video for its art film selections. Super-8 Filmmaker John Porter continues to add to his useful creation of a handmade map and directory for visiting filmmakers and artists in the city, including those video stores. This is a great link for those wanting a more comprehensive directory for their film needs.

Do you know any hidden gems on where to see a movie or get your film fix in Toronto? What are your favourite movies?