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Feedback and Reviews, Lifestyle talk

A Guide to Decorating Your Furnished Condo

April 30, 2015

Decorating Your Furnished CondoWhether you’re a business traveler in Toronto on an extended stay, a family looking for a longer city vacation, or a film or TV industry pro moving in for the summer shooting season, part of what makes a furnished rental great is the unique character you can’t get from a hotel room. But part of the draw of furnished rentals is the ability to personalize that space you’ll be living in for weeks or months into a home away from home.

Here are a few low-cost, simple tips on decorating your furnished condo décor—and creating a gorgeous Toronto nest that truly feels like it’s yours.

Start With Colour, and Texture, and Light…

The simplest antidote to a furnished rental that’s not yet found its voice is texture and colour. Most Toronto furnished rentals come with a very clean look that makes adding your own personal touches easy, without having to break out paintbrushes or power tools. Patterned rugs, couch cushions or throws and small lamps can all bring a condo space to life without much investment—and portably enough to bring home with you!

Want a warm, rich, South Asian-meets-bistro feel? Visit Morningstar Trading, which specializes in Rajasthani imports, for hand-carved wooden vases, bright fabric, plush embroidered cushDecorating Your Furnished Condoions, and small furniture pieces that bring colour into a room.

If you love the clean, rustic, and airy feel of reclaimed-wood furniture and eggshell-white walls? The Drake General Store, an offshoot of the Drake Hotel specializing in Canadian designers and brands, has a wide selection of log-cabin Canadiana, including carved-stone coasters, soft throw blankets, and needlepoint cushions.

For a clean, minimalist aesthetic, check out Harbord Village’s Things Japanese, a cozy source for everything from shoji screens to soften the afternoon light to wood-and-paper table lamps, vases, decorative boxes, and rollable, portable inked wall scrolls.

Bring the Spring In

Decorating Your Furnished CondoOne of the simplest ways to put your mark on a space is by bringing something green home. Most Toronto fruit markets will have a selection of potted herbs once the warm weather hits, and a spilling, vibrant mint in a brightly coloured hanging planter from Roncesvalles Village’s Scout or your local hardware store can both brighten up your space and contribute materially to a homemade mojito.

If you’d rather smell your plants than taste them, small florists like Church-Wellesley Village’s Ladybug and Yorkville’s Sweetpea’s not only take online orders for long-lasting floral arrangements, but deliver to your door. And for the budget-minded, there’s nothing better than a tall Mason jar and a handful of daffodils from the corner variety store.

Beautiful and Useful

There’s a reason coffee table books were so popular in the sixties: They were objects, almost carelessly placed, that told your guests a story about what you love. Small, useful objects like coasters, cushions, handmade notebooks, and more make your mark on a space, and help you inhabit it completely.

Almost every neighbourhood in downtown Toronto has a monthly flea full of the useful-and-beautiful, with vendors offering vintage, handcrafted, quirky, and just fun items in their own neighbourhood. There’s a flea in Leslieville,  The Annex, Parkdale, and more. Admission rarely goes above two dollars, and they’re an increasingly grDecorating Your Furnished Condoeat source for good décor finds—and a fun day out.

Having a few old favourites on the nightstand can also go a long way, and specialty Toronto bookstores like Ben McNally Books for literary fiction mavens, The Sleuth of Baker Street for mystery hounds, Bakka-Phoenix Books for science fiction, fantasy, and horror fans, or TYPE for lovers of art and design can supply you with your best-loved bedtime stories to reread or shelve prominently—and make your space feel that much more like home.

Ultimately, decorating your furnished condo rental in Toronto is halfway about the experience: Each object you bring home to brighten your space is a piece of Toronto you’ve gotten to know, a walk you took, or a neighbourhood you’ve discovered. And it’s a great way to enjoy the time you spend here—and build a few great memories when it’s time to head home.

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?

Lifestyle talk

Things You Should Know About Working in Toronto

March 3, 2015

As Canada’s largest financial center and a population of 2.7 million (and 6 million in the Greater Toronto Area/GTA), Toronto is a vibrant city in which to work and live. This can be illustrated by the number of short term rentals DelSuites has, across the GTA, now currently ranked number one by TripAdvisor in specialty lodging in Toronto and fifth consecutive winner of the Consumer’s Choice Awards in the Furnished Condo Rental category. We have touched upon the quirks of living in the city but here are a few things you should know about working in Toronto.

1. Industries Working in Toronto
The main industries in Toronto are finance, technology, and construction. It is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) and to the third largest concentration of private IT companies after San Francisco and New York. Due to the 2015 Pan Am Games, construction has boomed in the metropolis for building of facilities and condominiums. According to a report in the Toronto Star, the surge in new jobs has been in health care, education, public administration, trades, finance, real estate, insurance, professional services, scientific and technical services, transportation and warehousing, accommodation and food services, and information, culture and recreation.

2. Education
According to the World Atlas (2014), Canada is the most educated nation in the world. 51% of the population has tertiary education and most jobs require a post-secondary diploma or degree. Toronto has one of the most prestigious universities in the world, University in Toronto. However, education with co-operative education or practical work-terms are gaining in popularity and success to working in theWorking in Toronto city. Examples include: George Brown College (known for hospitality and culinary arts); Ryerson (known for its media and journalism program); Humber College (known for its Public Relations program) and Sheridan College (known for its animation arts program).

3. Unemployment Rates
As of December, 2014 the unemployment rate is 7.2 percent, according to Statistics Canada. The labour market is very competitive and should you move to the city, it is important to make sure you have savings in case your job hunt takes longer than usual (on average four to five months).

4. A Shift from Full-Time to Part-Time
As part of shifts in the economy, employers are increasingly hiring workers on a part-time or contract basis, according to this report in the Toronto Star.  This helps employers budgets by not paying for extensive benefits or pensions. As a result, many woWorking in Toronto rkers in Toronto have more than one job or are becoming entrepreneurs.

5. Networking
In an urban center like Toronto, where 40% of Canada’s jobs are situated, getting a job here is more about who you know rather than what you know with the competition of skills and education among its workforce. Networking is key, especially at trade conferences in your industry as well as informal meetups according to interest. LinkedIn and social media are also key tools for employers to find you.

To help you with your job search working in Toronto, do check out this section of job boards on the city of Toronto’s website in its Employment and Social Services category.

Downtown Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Top Shops in Toronto for Christmas Shopping

December 23, 2014

Top Shops in TorontoWhether you’re a corporate traveller or a local, finding that perfect present for your loved ones can be a challenge. You may want to find a unique shop that isn’t in the mall or an excuse to explore the different neighbourhoods to support local businesses. Here are our favourite top shops in Toronto customized for your Christmas or holiday shopping needs.

Drake General Store
As an outpost of the Drake Hotel, the Drake General Store set the trend for shops where you could find quirky treasures with a Canadinana twist and has since expanded to locations at the Hudson Bay Company across Ontario. (Also known as the ideal store for holiday shopping.) Vintage Canadian postcards and engraved key chains with popular song titles like “That’s the Way Love Goes” are perfect stocking stuffers; the Areaware Harry Allen piggybank is a design item worth the splurge; and Canadian brands –from Drake’s own signature cross items to Share and Aborist– factor heavily into the Drake’s eclectic and curated selection. These novelty goods are ideal for the playful, curious person in your life.

Kid Icarus top shops in Toronto
For the person who loves paper, Kid Icarus offers a selection of quirky handmade cards and paper products. Want to make your own? Screenprinting and linoleum carving workshops are available. This is a great option for someone who wants an experience. Shop and explore in two locations: Kensington Market and now, Parkdale.

Love the Design
Located in the tony Summerhill neighbourhood, no-one has a better selection of vintage decor finds that will add that extra flair to your home. That perfectly weathered cabinet, kooky light, or second-look accessory is all available in the equally gorgeous set-up of the store. Owner Christine Flynn also makes her own customized artwork and custom stationary, some with a Toronto twist (the linoleum streetcar piece comes to mind or list of Toronto street names and subway stops come to mind). A destination in itself.

Cambie Design
If you’re looking to add flair to your furnished suite or apartment rental or a piece that you can take home with you, Cambie’s home accessories are good options. Cambie is famous for their coloTop Shops in Torontourful, hand-spun alpaca wool and acrylic-made blankets sourced from Peru. Beyond the blankets, rugs, housewares, and vintage furniture are available for purchase. It is a great way to support local shops and local communities around the world.

Advice from a Caterpillar
Located in the tony Summerhill and Rosedale neighbourhood, this children’s store has everything your family needs. Designer clothes, decor, toys, nursery, travel, and lifestyle products for the parents are all available in this curated and sophisticated shop. Our picks include:Janod Story Box Farm, Hansa deer bambi and the Hoppop bato child plastic bath.

BYOB Cocktail Emporium
This cool and eclectic emporium to cocktail and bar resources is your one-stop shTop Shops in Torontoop for your home bar needs. Also ideal for a unique holiday gift, stock up on funky glassware, DIY beer and wine making kits, hard-to-find Japanese cocktail shakers, and much more. If you need to host a party in your furnished suite, this truly is one of the most niche shops in Toronto.

Though these are incredible stores for your holiday shopping needs, they are great stores to visit year-round. So if you are in Toronto for a short term stay, these are some of the most unique top shops in Toronto. It’s also a great way to explore the different areas of the city from Parkdale to Uptown.

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.