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 stunning 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?

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Downtown Toronto Condos

Events in Downtown Toronto for April and May

April 22, 2015

Spring is finally upon us in Toronto as the weather has warmed up after a long winter. Here are our favourite events in Downtown Toronto for April and May that may be close to your furnished apartment, whether you are in the city for a short-term or long-term stay.

Events in Downtown Toronto1. Hot Docs (April 23- May 3)
Located across the city, Hot Docs is the Canadian International Documentary festival and North America’s larger documentary film festival. Films in over 25 topics are guaranteed to spark discussion and best of all, many of the theatres are in short walking distance to our downtown Toronto properties such as the Icon, the Element, and 300 Front Street.

2. CONTACT Photography Festival (May)
The world’s largest photography festival continues to excite and engage every May for the entire month. Pick your favourite exhibits and spend an afternoon with a friend, whether the photography is at a cafeEvents in Downtown Toronto or an art gallery. The May 1 Festival launch party at MOCCA is one of the highlights. The best part? It’s free and a great way to explore the city, even if in walking distance to your short-term or long-term furnished suite.

3. Canadian Music Week (CMW) (May 1 -10)
The highlight of CMW is the music festival which showcases some of Canada’s top talents in the music industry. Catch a show at one of the many venues across the city, a short stumble away from our downtown suites (conveniently located).

Events in Downtown Toronto4. Doors Open (May 23 and 24)
This is your chance to see Toronto’s historical buildings, many of which are normally closed to the public. Bring your camera to capture some fantastic architecture the city has to offer. Many museums and buildings are close to all of our furnished apartments and suites across the city, including our Midtown Toronto and Etobicoke locations.

What events in downtown Toronto are you most looking forward to this spring?

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?