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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 stunnering 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, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Toronto Condos

10 Things to do in Downtown Toronto

March 20, 2015

Things to do in Downtown Toronto Downtown Toronto is one of the most vibrant parts of the city. That said, with so many choices of activities and restaurants, it can be difficult to know where to begin to figure out what to do. Here are our top picks of things to do in downtown Toronto, all close to your furnished apartment!

1. Eat! The quality and number of options of where to dine and drink in Toronto has ranked as one of North America’s great food cities. Our current favourites include Thoroughbred for upscale food in a casual environment, a great after-work option; Real Sports Bar, right near our 300 Front Street building is always a good alternative Things to do in downtown Torontoto watching the game at the ACC. Montecito is the new fancy restaurant in town, with a California-inspired menu. Thai options are readily available in the downtown core, including the popular Pai. For healthier fare, Fresh has a number of locations in Toronto (many downtown) and now serve cold pressed juice. Rush Lane is our pick for classy cocktails. For brunch, the Swan or the Drake Hotel never disappoint. Thor Espresso is our pick for grab and go coffee (and do check out their new location, Odin Hus, opening in Corktown in February. Little Nicky’s is irresistible for those mini donuts, and for your craft beer needs, Bellwoods Brewery on Ossington offers some of the finest in the city.

2. See live music. There are a number of fantastic venues to see live music, usually most days of the week. You will also get a senThings to do in Downtown Torontose of Toronto’s history through these old buildings. Massey Hall is one of those classic venues. On Queen Street, The Cameron House and the legendary Horseshoe Tavern are great for rock and roll and a cheap drink. Try Sneaky Dee’s on Bloor for a mix of concerts and dancing. For a more traditional experience, check out the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or an opera at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. Of course, if you want to see a big concert experience, The ACC or the Rogers Centre are your best bets.

3. Explore a new park. Toronto’s park system is expanding with the advent of the Pan Am Games. Downtown, there are a number of trails and parks near your furnished apartment or condo. Trinity Bellwoods is the perennial favourite, ideal for a downtown picnic and people watching. The Harbourfront Trail is a great option near the lake and if you walk or bike far enough, you can visit a number of little parks along the way. Further east, try Cherry Beach for its secluded spots near the water, but up the street near the Distillery District and the upcoming athletes village of the Pan Am Games, you’ll find the Corktown Commons, Toronto’s newest interpretation of an urban park with a phenomenal view of the city skyline.

4. Shop! Downtown Toronto isThings to do in Downtown Toronto our shopping mecca. You can check out our favourite stores for your Christmas Shopping needs here, though they are great shops year round. Our main shopping centre is the Eaton Centre, which is anchored by the Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen Street. King Street East is the main furniture shopping strip (you can go further west to the Junction for furniture stores as well). Queen Street is your best bet for clothing boutiques. Kensington Market is a fun area to shop for vintage. Ossington also has some interesting vintage finds. If you’re a book collector, check out some interesting bookstores like Monkey’s Paw on Dundas West and Type on Queen Street West.

5. Art Galleries We have listed our favourite art galleries in Toronto but it’s also one of our favourite things to do downtown. The AGO consistently has a number of thought-provoking exhibitions and distinct Canadian collections. MOCCA, the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, is a wonderful alternative if you’re strolling along Queen Street. Plus, it’s free!

6. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Now into its centennial year (100 years!), the ROM has been a beacon of education and discovery for kids and adults alike. Make sure to take a walk along Philosopher’s Walk at the back of the musuem to the neighbouring University of Toronto after your visit and for a chance to gaze at the architecture of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

7. Ripley’s Aquarium One of Toronto’s newest attractions and one of our favourite activities for families, Ripley’s Aquarium will keep you occupied for hours. The dangerous lagoon is the highlight of the aquarium. On the moving walkway, you can get up close and personal with marine life swimming above you, including a varitey of sharks aThings to do in Downtown Torontond stingrays. The aquarium now offers live jazz every second Friday of the month as well as interesting events for the kids like daycamps, sleepovers, and a stingray experience.

8. The CN Tower Edgewalk if you’re a thrill seeker, walking around the outer edges of one of the world’s tallest towers will elevate your adventures to another level. There is no view like it in Toronto and you get a video and photo as a souvenir at the end of the experience!

9. Festivals and Events Year round, there’s always things to do in downtown Toronto whether it’s in January or August. Aside from the buzz-worthy TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and its neighbouring year-round exhibitions at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street, try Hot Docs in March if you’re into film. Canadian Music Week and NXNE are a riot for music fans; beer lovers love the craft beer festival in January; and though sports fans are always at The ACC for a basketbaThings to do in Downtown Torontoll or hockey game if not at the Rogers Centre for a baseball game, the Pan Am Games will bring an extra jolt to the city this July.

10. Laugh! Canada is not short of incredible comedians. Check out Yuk Yuk’s where Russell Peters got his start or for a more participatory experience, try the Second City for improv just steps away from our central properties downtown.

Whether you’re in Toronto for a short term period or extending your visit to a long term stay, you won’t run out of things to do while you’re downtown. Have a great time!

Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Events, Toronto Family Travel

Best Places in Toronto for New Years Eve

December 30, 2014

best places in toronto for new years eveSometimes, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to lounge at home — whether you’re in your temporary housing in Toronto or in a suite for an extended stay– or host friends for a house party. Other times, you may want to kick up your heels, dress up, and dance the night away. Here are our picks for the best places in Toronto for New Years Eve –whether you’re with friends or the family.

Gladstone Hotel’s Lower West Side event is an affordable ticket ($50 in advance) and is your chance to dress up to a theme. This year’s theme is the roaring twenties, so don your finest vest or sparkle and shine in sequins, gold, or silver to bring in 2015 in style.

Fun for the whole family and a quick walk away from our apartment and best places in toronto for new years evesuites, Nathan Phillips Square is the best free event happening in the metropolis on the last day of the year. The free event kicks off at 8pm with street performers. Bring your skates for a spin around the ice rink. Fuel up at the various food trucks on-site and continue the night with musical performances. At midnight, Toronto’s new mayor, John Tory will lead the countdown to 2015 before a magnificent fireworks display.

Another family-friendly New Year’s Eve event is at the Toronto Zoo. The celebratory activities begin from 5pm and end at 8pm. They include live music, a magic show, a special countdown, and of course, the chance to be see the animals!

best places in toronto for new years eveIf you wanted to get out of town for the New Year, ET Canada hosts their free concert event in Niagara Falls. Performers this year include Keith Urban, Nick Jonas, and Lights. Don’t miss the fireworks over the falls. This is a great excuse to stay in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Wherever you may be for this year’s festivities, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!

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, 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.