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Community Events, Entertainment, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, North York, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Top 5 Things to do on Family Day

February 12, 2015

Family DayAs one of Ontario’s statutory holidays, Family Day is a time to connect with the ones you love. This year Family Day falls on the Monday after Valentines Day on February 16. Whether you’re hanging out in your furnished suite in Etobicoke or want to go somewhere nearby, here are our ideas on some things to do on Family Day.

1. DJ Skate Night. Harbourfront’s Natrel Rink is just steps from our 300 Front Street property and a great activity to spend with the whole family. On Valentines Day they are hosting the last of their weekend DJ SkaThings to do on Family Dayte nights and this event is a queer-friendly theme.

2. Get Away for the Weekend. There are tons of choices for great weekend getaways near Toronto in the winter (we wrote about that here!). If you want a soak not too far from Toronto, try the Nordik Spa at Gatineau Park, 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa. It is the largest spa in North America and features baths (hot, cold and temperate), 8 unique saunas, infinity pool, outdoor and indoor relaxation areas as well as a restaurant & lounge with terrace.

3. Play ToThings to do on Family Dayurist. Visit an iconic Toronto tourist attraction for the first time that you haven’t been to or look at it from different eyes the second or third time around. Check out our top ten things to do in Toronto. Toronto in Ten Photos for exploration inspiration is here.  Or you may want to check out our ten fun family activities in Toronto. Another option is to check out some of the incredible exhibitions at one of our many art galleries downtown and in North York.

4. An in-night. Sometimes, staying in and relaxing can be one of the most enjoyable weekends. Get a board game, order-in, have a movie or TV marathon, plan your next vacation, or oThings to do on Family Dayrder your groceries from Grocery Gateway to cook dinner for your loved ones. (It is one of the many services we offer.)

5. Specific Family Day Events. Toronto Tourism has a great round-up of events from iconic attractions and landmarks in the city. There are also a lot of things to do on Family Day in Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, and Markham.

There are plenty of things to do on Family Day. Enjoy your Monday off with the people you love.

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

The Best Winter Getaways Near Toronto

January 5, 2015

When the snow falls during our long winters, your first inclination may be to stay warm underneath the blankets in your furnished apartment at DelSuites. But there is a winter wonderland out there for you to explore only a few hours away from Toronto. Here are our favourite winter getaways near Toronto for you to get outside and enjoy the snow (or stay somewhere else fireside).

Winter Getaways Near TorontoScandinave Spa, Blue Mountain
The Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain offers the best of both worlds: ski through the snowy hills with a chance to soak in a hot spring at the end of day. Minutes away from downtown Collingwood and Blue Mountain resort, the baths include thermal and nordic waterfalls, hot bath, cold plunges, a Finnish sauna and an eucaplyptus steam room (so you can smell just as good as you feel). Massage treatments are also available in addition to an onsite bistro with healthy options. Located in the heart of the Bruce trail, this is another relaxing option after a long winter hike (should you want to opt out of a ski adventure). The resort offers a number of creative weekend packages.

Deerhurst Resort
Muskoka is just as serene and relaxing for a weekend escape in the winter as it is in the summer. Deerhurst Resort, in the heart of Muskoka, is the place to rejuvenate. There’s plenty to do nearby such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating, included in your resort fee. For a true adventure, hop on a dog sled through Northern Ontario Wildnerness or take the family along on sleigh ride. Snowmobiling and snowboarding are more activities to choose from at the nearby Hidden Valley Highlands and Arrowhead Provincial Park. (Algonquin Provincial Park is also relatively close to the resort.) At the end of the day, cozy up by the fireplace in the renovated rooms, or look out out on to the icy lake from the comfort of your bed, an ideal time to sleep in.

Winter Getaways Near Toronto

Niagara Falls Icewine Festival
Niagara Falls wine (and icewine) region, Niagara-on-the-Lake, is extra special in the winter when it celebrates its icewine festival, now in its 20th year. Throughout three weekends in January (January 9-11, 16-18, 23-25), tour the wine route with a discovery pass. The pass lets you explore the best of eight different wineries where you can sip and savour on local icewine, table wines, and cuisines, without paying the $10 surcharge at each winery. There are lots of activities during the festival including gala evenings, ice Street Villages to explore, and finding a fire to roast marshmallows along the wine route. In Twenty Valley, don’t miss the dinners with famed chef, Michael Smith.

Hockley Valley
Located less than two hours away from our furnished apartment rentals in downtown Toronto, Hockley Valley near Orangeville is an ideal ski and stay escape plan. A perfect weekend winter getaway near Toronto. Ski or snowboard the different terrains (four day packages for holiday lessons are available). Not a ski bunny? Try the varied spa services on site, which include packages for men as well.

Prince Edward County
The “other” wine country located near Belleville, Ontario is a quick two hour drive away from Toronto. This year’s big draw? The Drake Hotel’s stylish county outpost, The Drake Devonshire Inn. Complete with a stylish Canadiana farmhouse theme, this is the perfect place to cozy up over Hudson Bay blankets on Muskoka chairs and look out over the lake. The inn has two packages this winter: the Winter Warrior Package (including a seat at chef Matthew De Winter Getaways Near TorontoMille’s table) and the Indoor Indulger Package, which includes a $100 credit towards in-room spa services or a Drake Devonshire wine tour. Speaking of wine tours, if you like to do-it-yourself, check out the Taste Trail, where you can sip and nibble throughout some of Ontario’s best wineries. Our picks are: Norman Hardie, Closson Chase, and Karlo Estates.

You don’t have to go far to feel far away from your suite or apartment in Toronto. Winter is just as fun outside of the city!

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.

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

Toronto in Ten Photos

November 25, 2014

Capturing Toronto in ten photos is not an easy task because this city is so vast. There are a number of things to do and a number of icons that define the city. We have illustrated the city from a local viewpoint with a mix of those icons that make Toronto just what it is. Luckily, our landmarks are within walking distance of your furnished apartment in Toronto. Hopefully, this provides inspiration for you to photograph your Toronto.

Toronto in Ten Photos1. Evergreen Brickworks
The Brickworks, as it’s affectionately known, is an old brick factory which provided bricks for the construction of some iconic Toronto landmarks such as Massey Hall and Casa Loma. The Brickworks is now used as a cultural space and for events. Check out the kilns and the interesting graffiti on the walls; the farmer’s markets on the weekends; and Cafe Belong, for a leisurely brunch. Around the site, you can sit by the pond or hike behind the area over to Rosedale through Milkman’s Lane or north to St. Clair via Moore Park.

2. Toronto StreetcarsToronto in Ten Photos
These trolleys are a signature icon of Toronto. Concurrently, they’re offer one of the best ways to see our massive metropolis from east to west for $3. Just hop on the Queen Streetcar and it will take you all the way from Roncesvalles where King and Queen intersect, past through Parkdale, Queen West, Corktown, Leslieville, and to the Beach all the way to Neville Park. Make sure you check out the old streetcar yard at Queen and Greenwood, which will move to Leslie and Lakeshore. The streetcars have also gotten an upgrade and are currently of use along Spadina Avenue.

Toronto in Ten Photos3. Kensington Market
One of the most colourful, eclectic, and bohemian neighbourhoods in Toronto, Kensington Market is also designated a National Historic Site. Once populated by Jews and Italians who sold items and gifts. After the recession in the 80s, Latin American immigrants began to move in and this habitation is reflected in the many Latin American stalls and grocery stores in the market. Now you’ll find more modern cafes, restaurants and shops (from vintage to modern) in the neighbourhood. Don’t forget to check out Pedestrian Sundays, when the market closes its streets to pedestrian traffic and celebrates on the last Sunday of every month from May to October.

4. Queen Street WestToronto in Ten Photos
Queen Street West is considered one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in Toronto and was recently rated by Vogue as the second coolest neighbourhood in the world. This section of Queen, which expands past University to Lansdowne Avenues, is a hodge-podge of trendy boutiques, an eclectic mix of restaurants, vintage shops, bars, art galleries, Trinity Bellwoods Park, and two hotels (the Drake and the Gladstone). It is the perfect street for an afternoon stroll.

Toronto in Ten Photos5. Trinity Bellwoods Park
Aforementioned, Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of the mainstays of the Queen Street West scene. Whether you’re biking, running, playing tennis or partaking in other activities at its adjacent community centre, this is one of the best people-watching spots in the city. Grab a blanket, some homemade food, or head over to one of the local cafes across the street for the ideal picnic spot.

6. Graffiti Alley
Toronto in Ten Photos Located just south of Queen Street West, this alley filled with local graffiti and artwork is not only an alternate route away from the people traffic, it’s an underrated destination in Toronto. Expanding from Spadina close to Bathurst, this alley is just a glimpse at the growing graffiti scene in Toronto, whose walls have now been marked by icons Banksy and Sheppard Fairey. Want to learn more or meet others while checking out great art? Check out the local tour by the Tour Guys.

Toronto in Ten Photos7. Great Food
Toronto’s food scene is eclectic, multicultural and always evolving. You can get great deals but you do need to know where to go. Some great areas to dine in the city are Queen Street, King Street, Ossington, Kensington Market, and Dundas West. The Junction, St. Clair West, and Leslieville are underrated for their dining scenes and you should explore and dine in these areas if you have the chance. One of my favourite spots is Fresh, the healthy food chain, which has a great lunch special of their soup, salad, and cornbread combo for $10!

8. CN Tower ViewsToronto in Ten Photos
It’s hard not to try to find the best spot of this view. From our 300 Front Street West furnished apartments in downtown Toronto, you’ll feel so close to the tower, you can almost touch it. Head over to Fort York or the BMO Exhibition field for that landscape view. Downtown, you’ll get a good glimpse from OCAD (and some great architecture to photograph as well right near the AGO). Further east, Polson Pier and Ashbridge’s Bay are your best bets to get that skyline shot.

Toronto in Ten Photos9. Toronto’s East End and the Best Skyline View
If you have a chance to head east, Riverdale Park East is your best bet for stunning skyline views. A few blocks south of the Danforth on Broadview, it’s a quick streetcar ride or 15 minute walk down to the park. Make sure to go to the best coffeeshop in town, Rooster Coffeehouse to help take in the view. Across the park, head to Riverdale Park West and up the stairs, you’ll find the free Riverdale Farm, Toronto Necropolis, and the historic Cabbagetown district.

10. The St. Lawrence MarketToronto in Ten Photos
Ranked as the world’s best market by National Geographic, the St. Lawrence Market definitely lives up to its reputation. Whether you’re looking for meat, fish, cheese, bread, or produce, it’s all here. Specialty items like mushroom truffle dip, oils, or gorgeous bouquets are all here too. You won’t be starved for lunch. Check out the famous Carousel Bakery for its peameal bacon sandwiches, St. Viateur for those famous Montreal bagels, or Buster’s Seacove to satisfy that fish craving (lobster, halibut, shrimp, and much more!). There’s nothing like it on a Saturday morning.

Hope you enjoyed our photos! If you could choose ten photos to describe Toronto what would they be?

Photos: Complimentary of Natalie Taylor

Business Travel, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Top Ten Essential Travel Apps

October 1, 2014

Essential Travel AppsA smartphone can be your most convenient tool and resource, especially when you travel. Here are a few of our favourite travel apps to save you time, money, and frustration when you’re on the road.

Whats App Text anyone anywhere without having to pay for those pricey SMS charges. It works across different smartphones, and users can create groups, and send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

Hotel Tonight
If you’re booking a last minute trip, Hotel Tonight compiles hotel rooms that are available that day, starting at noon. Not only can you get a room at a curated hotel for less but the new “Look Ahead” feature shows availability for the week ahead in select cities. Those cities are: NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas.

Airbnb This popular home-stay travel apps enables you to save money on pricey hotels and stay in local neighbourhoods. Of course, if you are in Toronto for a longer stay, book our furnished apartments, suites, or corporate housing. Our guest services department can also give you local tips.

Icoon Picture Dictionary  Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. (Especially when you don’t speak the language!) Icoon’s Picture Dictionary takes all of the fuss out of trying to explain your message by categorizing pictures in sections such as body parts, foods, lodging, and more.

Maps.Me Search detailed maps from all over the world offline (translation: no roaming fees from other Map apps like Google Maps). Auto suggestions around your Essential Travel Appslocation and a bookmark feature for your highlighted places makes this a must-download.

Hop Stop This all-in-one app lets you get door-to-door transit, walking, biking, and taxi directions in over 300 cities worldwide. Some of its features enable you to find nearby subway stations and bus stops, estimate travel time and cost for a taxi, and find wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly routes.

VSCO An acronym for Visual Supply Co., this photography app has several filters which will make those scenic snaps more visually appealing and up amplify your instagram game.

XE Currency This currency converter makes it easy for you to figure out how much something costs immediately. It may come in handy when you’re negotiating with taxi drivers.

Curb (formerly Taxi Magic) Speaking of taxis, Curb is a good alternative to Uber if a car isn’t available or you don’t want to pay the Uber price. The app estimates the cost of your trip and you can pay from your phone. You can book a nearby taxi or schedule a ride for later. It is available in 45 American cities.

Word Lens This quirky app lets you translate those foreign signs via use of your phone’s video camera. A favourite among frequent travelers.

Tell us: What are your favourite travel apps?