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Tips for a Hassle-Free Winter Holiday

December 19, 2014

hassle-free winter holidayAs we enter the busiest season of the year, we can all feel frazzled and stress. Here are a few of our best tips to ensure that if you can’t at least have a hassle-free winter holiday season, that it’s at least a bit more manageable.

Holiday Shopping
If you have left your holiday shopping to the last minute and can’t get your orders via online shopping to be shipped on time, make sure you get to the stores as soon as they open. This way, you’ll avoid not being able to find a parking spot, long line-ups, or hurried customer service.

If you want to save money and get a head start for next year, do your shopping for holiday essentials like decorations, cards and hosting resources during the boxing day period. This way, you’ll save yourself the time for these tasks next year and get up to 70% off the retail price.

Holiday Meals and Parties
One of the best times to have a holiday day party is after the holidays! While your furnished apartment rental in Toronto is in tip-top shape, invite your friends over when the chaos of the holiday or Christmas season is over. January is usually a time when everyone is in hibernation, so this is a good time to catch up wtih friends and loved ones for a casual and relaxing soiree.  Check to see if your condominium building offers a party room with more space and cooking facilities.hassle-free winter holiday

Plan and prepare in advance. Though you may not be able prepare the main courses for your Christmas or Hanukkah meal in advance, there are certain things you can do. For instance, you could make your desserts –such as pies and cakes–a few days or weeks before the big meal and freeze them. Somes sides or meal preparation can be done two days before and then frozen. This is also a good time to take stock of your fridge and make room for all of the leftovers to come!

When grocery shopping, make sure to get extras of some of the items you are buying, either for unanticipated guests or for leftovers, just in case. This way, you don’t have to make a second, unnecessary trip to the store.

Gifts
Timeless gifts like a bottle of wine or a candle are great hostess gifts if you are attending a holiday or Christmas party.

If you are on a budget this holiday season, consider a gift exchange for a certain amount of money with extended family or co-workers. A secret santa exchange adds a bit of mystery to the holiday gift process. It’s always fun to receive a surprise!

Holiday Travel
Whether you are traveling for the holidays with family or friends, it’s important to be flexible on your dates. This way, you can avoid increased costs for popular times to hassle-free winter holidaytravel and hopefully, avoid inevitable delays around this period.

Prepare for your flight to be delayed or cancelled due to unpredictable weather. Make sure you are patient during these times and bring plenty of things to be distracted during this period.

Miscellaneous
Good Housekeeping has a great article on how to keep your Christmas Tree fresh.

At this time of the year, it is important to remember those who are less fortunate than us. It is a great time to give back, whether it is to donate to the local Food bank or to volunteer within the community, even for a few hours.

The holidays are a busy period for all of us. Hopefully, these tips will ensure you have a hassle-free winter holiday in your extended stay in Toronto or wherever you may be this holiday season.

What are your favourite tips and tricks for making sure you have a happy and cheerful winter or Christmas holiday?

Happy holidays from DelSuites!

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Top Food and Drink Festivals in Toronto

December 17, 2014

food and drink festivals in torontoIn the past couple of years, Toronto has become a destination for food and drink enthusiasts. In addition to the number of innovative and ethnic offerings available (not to mention those cheap eats), there have been just as many creative food festivals and events. Here are a few of our favourite food and drink festivals in Toronto that’s happening this holiday season into 2015:

Drake Does Chrismukkah
December 19, 2014 6pm
Before the Christmas crunch, feast on the best of various cultural traditions of the holiday season at The Drake Hotel. The hearty meal (including prime rib, yorkshire pudding, latkes, and apple crumble among the samplings) is only $29.95. Reserve in advance before December 19 to participate in this cheerful occasion.

Guest Chef Pop-Up Series at Drake One Fifty
January 20-21, 2015
This fun injection of the Drake Hotel in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District hosts some of the best chefs from North America and beyond. The first pop-up dinner of 2015 will feature a Portuguese fusion menu from David Santos, ex Per Se, and now of Louro in NYC.

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival
January 31, 2015 11am-5pm
Just steps away from our 300 Front Street property, sample craft brew from over 20 breweries at the Winter Craft Beer Festival. Hosted by the Steam Whistle Bfood and drink festivals in torontorewery and just outside its doors at the Roundhouse Park, warm up over the outdoor fires with beer in glass sample mugs from great breweries like Oast House Brewers, Flying Monkeys, and Lake of Bays. Food trucks will also be on site if you get hungry. The first 500 attendees at the gates will get a free festival toque.

Recipe for Change 2015
February 26, 2015, 6-9pm
Recipe for Change is FoodShare Toronto’s annual fundraiser for innovative school food programs and sustainability within the food industry. This party brings together over 30 exciting chefs, two craft brewers and four wineries at the historic St. Lawrence Market. It’s a fun party for a great cause.

Whether you’re in town for a quick visit or on business, or you are staying in a furnished apartment rental or suite for the long term, these festivals are a tasty way to stay warm throughout the winter.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1970s

December 12, 2014

Toronto PanoramaSome Torontonians joke that many of the buildings in Toronto look like they are from the 1970s and it’s because they were. Toronto in the 1970s was one that set up its future, now a construction boom of modern glass and steel buildings.

Many of our most recognizable landmarks were built in the 1970s. The Eaton Centre, the CN Tower, Ontario Place (under a current transformation of revitalization), and the Toronto Reference Library (also recently renovated in parts) are the buildings we know and love from this era.

It’s hard to believe now but Yorkville in the 60s was the hippie capital of Toronto, where legends like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young were singing in coffee houses through those brick-laned alleys. Toronto in the 1970s ushered in its change to its tony status today with the introduction of high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen in addition to art galleries and cafes. High-rise office towers replaced the low-rise buildings at major intersections.Toronto in the 1970s

The Yorkville scene of folk music was being ushered out and the rising scene of rock and roll and punk on Queen Street West was gaining prominence. Bands like the Rolling Stones were playing at notable venues like the now historic venue, the El Mocambo.

As writer, Shawn Micallef, notes, “Torontonians generally like their public areas all on one level and in a straight line in contrast to Asian cities like Hong Kong, where street life can easily rise many floors above the sidewalk.” Despite our underground pathways and current consistent construction, this trend hasn’t really changed.

Check out this collection of photos of Toronto in the 1970s here.

 

Community Events, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1950s

December 10, 2014

Toronto in the 1950s The Toronto in the 1950s was still growing and pre-dated the era of skyscrapers which started to boom in the 1960s. After the Second World War, many British children were sent to Toronto for safety while their fathers were in the war. The city continued to expand into the suburbs and it was officially a major city in this era. A mark of Toronto’s prosperity was the construction of the Yonge Subway–it opened to the public in 1954– and a highway to the suburbs, which were located in Don Mills, at the time.

With the end of the war and the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1947 (LINK TO 1920s post here), Toronto boomed and made way for an influx of immigrants. Germans, Italians, and Eastern Europeans were our first major wave of our multicultural community. British immigration was on the decline by 20 percent. This pattern continued into the 1960s, with an exotic mix of newcomers including more Europeans, West Indians, South Asians, and Vietnamese.

Residents moved back downtown from the suburbs in the 1960s and this is when the core started to thrive. Yorkville was not the tony neighbourhood of affluent people it is now. Rather, it was the hippie capital of the metropolis, chock full of coffeehouses where legends like Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot performed.

Though Toronto in the 1950s might have not been as exciting as the Toronto of other eras, it was still a definitive period of the growth of our urban landscape, which thrived into the 60s and 70s.

Photos

 

Community Events, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1920s

December 5, 2014

Toronto in the 1920sIf you take a look at Toronto’s skyline today, it is hard to imagine what it was like back in the 1920s when there wasn’t a skyline along Lake Ontario. Toronto was a port city and became the chief aviation centre for Canada during the first World War.

Its mining boom fueled Bay Street, renowned as being the centre of the city’s financial district. An influx of immigrants were starting to settle here, mainly from the British Empire. Far from being the multicultural and diverse metropolis it is today, there was a lot of hostility towards immigrants. The most famous example of this was the Chinese Immigration Act, better known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese immigrants were denied entry into the country from 1923 until 1947. Into the 1930s, discrimination continued for other immigrants including the Jews, at the height of the Great Depression. People were still coming to the town known as Muddy York and it’s population doubled to over a half million in the 1920s from its previous decade.

Another law passed in Ontario was the Ontario Temperance Act in 1916. The law prohibited the sale of alcohol in the province but smugglers were still importing alcohol illegally. Prohibition also increased drug use in Ontario, notably morphine. The Act was discharged in 1927.

Notable landmarks were built in Toronto in the 1920s. Though the area down by Lakeshore west is home to Sunnyside Pavillion and entertainment venue Palais Royale, in the 1920s Sunnyside Beach was the site for the Sunnyside Amusement Park, which opened on June 28,1922. Our main train station, Union Station, which transports passengers within Canada, opened on August 6, 1927. The TTC –the Toronto Transit Commission–opened in 1921 and was created as a result of a referendum. Its first streetcar was erected onto city streets the same year.

Toronto was far from the thriving metropolis it is today but it in the 20s, it was on its way.