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Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Top 10 Places to Visit in Toronto

June 26, 2014

From cultural to historical, educational or whimsical – Toronto offers a multitude of attractions suitable for any day of the week. All of these attractions are either within walking distance of Union Station in downtown Toronto, or a short ride on the city’s transit system. For visitors planning to see multiple attractions, a City Pass offers admission discounts and VIP access. Whether you’re in town for vacation, or enjoying a short term rental on a business trip, we highly recommend the following top 10 places to visit in Toronto.

Toronto Eaton Center
One of the city’s largest shopping attractions – the Eaton Centre – features an arched glass ceiling that not only allows natural light to filter through, but is also of architectural interest. From bargain hunters to high-end shoppers, the shopping centre houses more than 250 stores making for an enticing shopping experience.

CN TowerCN Tower

Although it’s no longer the tallest spire in the sky, at more than 1,800 feet, the CN Tower is a classic way to see the heights of Toronto. Rather than opting for the price of admission, book a reservation at the Tower’s 360 restaurant and enjoy exceptional dining with the view.

Casa Loma

Step back in time to an era of European splendor at Casa Loma. The home of former financier Henry Pellat, the majestic Canadian castle features exceptionally decorated suites, hidden tunnels and passageways and a five-arcre garden perfect for exploring. Open May through October, you’ll find Casa Loma also features special events on weekends including musical performances.

Centre Island

Rest and relaxation is the theme at Toronto’s Centre Island. Take the 10-minute ferry across to the Island where you’ll bask in peace and tranquility while enjoying the view of the cityscape. Whether going solo or with the family, pack a picnic, rent a bicycle and take time to recharge.

Royal Ontario MuseuEntrance Royal Ontario Museum In Torontom

Celebrating its second century, the Royal Ontario Museum is home to feature exhibitions curated from around the globe along with galleries including Natural History and World Culture. Those who enjoy hands-on experiences can view galleries such as the Kid’s Discovery Zone, which encourages interactive learning through a variety of displays and games. Guided museum tours, along with walking tours of Toronto are also available through the Museum’s guest services.

Art Gallery of Ontario

From European to Canadian and Modern to Contemporary, the Art Gallery of Ontario houses an incredible diversity of collections. Whether you wander through the galleries solo or by a guided tour, you can reserve a spot at the Gallery’s restaurant Frank, which offers a menu incorporating global cuisine.

Chinatown

With crowds of people and a buzz of activity, Toronto’s Chinatown is the second largest in North America. Situated in the heart of Toronto’s fashion district, the Dragon City Mall offers elegant Asian fashions and restaurants. From the corner of Spadina Avenue, fresh food markets run along Dundas Street West as well as restaurants featuring Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai fare..

Ripley’s Aquarium of Ripleys AquariumCanada

Situated at nest to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium boasts 15,000 different types of sea creatures, including what many find most appealing – the wide scope of shark species. Swimming above you in observations decks, this sea spectacle appeals to a range of audiences. Avoid the mad rush on weekends and check the place out during a summer week night.

Hockey Hall of Fame

Home to the Stanley Cup, the Hockey Hall of Fame is an interactive attraction that allows you to experience Canada’s game while learning more about the legendary hockey teams that changed the face of the sport. From taking shots on goal to calling the play-by-play on some historic goals, hockey fans of all ages will feel as though they’re standing at centre ice.

Bata Shoe Museum

Featuring collections from historic time periods, geographic regions and cultural groups, the Bata Shoe Museum is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. With more than 12,000 artifacts, the Museum’s permanent collection highlights the diversity and scope of footwear while time-limited exhibitions feature fashion and style icons. The Museum also offers family-friendly programs for children including fairy tale themed exhibits.

With these top 10 places to visit in Toronto in mind, we hope you will have a wonderful stay in Ontario’s capital.

Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk

Tips for Traveling with Your Family

May 16, 2014

Happy family going on holidays and traveling by airplaneTraveling with a family is unlike traveling solo. In fact, it’s unlike traveling as a couple. Whether you’re traveling for business and bringing the family or relaxing on vacationing with them, keeping everyone in good spirits takes a little added planning. These days logging frequent flyer miles with your whole family has become a lifestyle and for many families, here are some ways to ensure the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.

Be Kind to Fellow Travelers: Just because you’re traveling with your family, doesn’t mean that everyone else is too. While your family takes priority, being aware of travelers en route to your destination makes the experience pleasant for everyone. Extending a little advanced courtesy to fellow passengers while on your flight or train ride will make them more accommodating should your children burst out into tears or a full-on sibling squabble.

011-A-Brand-New-KitchenFind Family-Friendly Accommodations When you’re traveling with the whole family, budget friendly stays are essential, which makes a hotel stay nearly unaffordable. But choosing extended stay accommodations means that you’ll save big by having the flexibility to purchase groceries and prepare some meals in the rental’s fully-equipped kitchen. 

Walk Everywhere: Sure renting a vehicle may seem like a great idea, but nothing beats touring a new city on foot to soak up the local culture. Although you may not cover as much ground as you would in a car, your family will truly get to experience a new city in a very up close and personal way. For families with older children, bicycle rentals are also a great way to get around and explore.

018-Master-BedroomA Room of Your Own: Hotel rooms are short on space and when you’re traveling with your family, a little extra wiggle room can be essential to keeping the peace. A short term apartment rental offers additional living space, along with the option for separate bedrooms. In addition, amenities that families may require during their stay including swimming pools, fitness areas and other recreational facilities will keep everyone occupied even when you’re not out exploring. What’s even better? These amenities are included in the cost of your rental. 

Enjoy the Adventure: Without a doubt, things will go wrong.  But family vacations aren’t about perfection but rather about enjoying life as it happens. Missing some spots on your tourist map? Relax, that just means you’ll have more to explore the next time. Keep it simple and enjoy the journey!

Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Uncategorized

Tips for Traveling on a Budget

April 14, 2014

Two young sons watching parents load luggage in car trunk      Whether you’re taking your family on vacation or traveling solo, your next holiday doesn’t have to empty your bank account.
Here are five tips for traveling on a budget.

 1) Make a Budget. From transportation and accommodations to meals and entertainment, decide the amount you want to spend and plan your vacation accordingly.
009-Kitchen-and-Dining-Area

2)    Choose Accommodations Wisely. Renting from a short-term housing provider adds value to your vacation in more ways than one. By offering you a fully equipped kitchen to prepare some meals as well as having access to on-site fitness centers and swimming pools, you’ll enjoy value-added entertainment without spending extra money.

 3)    Be Adventurous. Considering destinations that are a little off-the-beaten-path will help you maximize your budget as these locations are often looking to attract more tourists. For instance, traveling to smaller towns close to metropolitan cities, give you the opportunity to explore lesser-known areas while still enjoying tourist hot spots.

4)    Make A Deal. Contact the travel and tourism board in the city you’re traveling to. This is a great resource for scoring deals on everything from theatre and sports tickets to finding out about the latest restaurant openings and family-friendly dining spots.

Music Festival       5)  Go Local. Be on the look out for music festivals, street parties and carnivals that are often held during the summer months. These events are often free to the public and offer a variety of entertainment for all ages. Check the municipality’s online calendar before you travel to find out more about events wherever you’re heading.

Inevitably you can’t plan for every situation when you’re traveling the open road. That said, plan for those extra expenses by keeping a few dollars stashed in a safety fund. You’ll be happy you did when you find for those last minute concert tickets you just can’t pass up.

Downtown Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Uncategorized

Your Holiday Shopping in Toronto Guide

December 18, 2013

ShoppingWith the holiday season now in high gear, the mad retail rush has taken hold. And no matter what you’re celebrating, you’ve likely already got your list written, it’s just a matter of knowing where to begin. When you’re staying in an unfamiliar city, navigating the best shopping spots can be a challenge, let alone finding those truly thoughtful gifts for family and friends. Here are four shopping hot spots that not only offer a host of unexpected gifts, but you’ll also discover they provide a pleasant shopping experience too. As an added bonus, each shopping spot is easily accessible to our Qwest short term rental location.

The Drake General Store. With a carefully curated collection, the Drake General features an eclectic mix of lifestyle gifts including clothing, food and home décor. When you want to give an off-beat gift, you’ll find something for just about anyone on your list from cozy pajamas for your nieces and nephews to comfy, handmade pillows for your best friend. With gift packs available at nearly every price point, it’s also a great place to find a little something for colleagues or clients.

The Art Gallery of Ontario. While you may have caught the David Bowie exhibit this past fall, Art gallery of ontarioyou might not consider the Art Gallery of Ontario as a shopping destination; yet it is. From adult art enthusiasts to creative children, the AGO’s gift shop is packed with inspiring gift ideas. Whether you’re looking for contemporary art pieces for your spouse or art supplies for a pint-sized Picasso, be sure to put the AGO on your hot spot, shopping list.

Kensington Market.  From vintage finds to one-of-a-kinds, Toronto’s Kensington Market includes a collective of local retailers, many of whom have been in business for generations. Here you’ll find you can please your fashion-minded daughter with a few vintage accessories, along with that deliciously perfect item for the foodie on your list. And don’t forget to check out the Festival of Lights, an annual event held on December 21st celebrating the ethnically diverse Market culture.

bigstock-Christmas-Shopping-Woman-6457015(1)Hudson’s Bay Company. Your holiday shopping is not complete until you’ve shopped at the Bay’s Queen Street location. Here you’ll find detailed, animated window displays that inspire the spirit of the season. While the number of high-quality brands are endless, the current Olympic collection will please the sport enthusiast on your list. The Hudson’s Bay Company Collection, offers a selection of toys, blankets and clothing that provides a touch of pure Canadian heritage; making it all the more inviting to cozy up during a cold winter’s night.