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Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Mississauga, North York, Toronto Family Travel

Statutory Holidays in Toronto, 2015

January 15, 2015

Statutory Holidays in TorontoAs we begin the new year, one of our plans may be to organize our schedules to our statutory holidays. As most Torontonians get two to four weeks of vacation on average, stat holidays are a great way to maximize that time whether it’s buying new furniture for your apartment or suite or getting out of the city for the weekend. Here is a list of statutory holidays in Toronto for 2015:

New Year’s Day: Thursday January 1, 2015
If you’re not staying at one of our furnished apartments to watch the specials on television, New Year’s Day is a great way to lounge around and think of your goals for 2015 or plan to go take advantage of January’s winter festivals in Toronto if you have an extended stay in Toronto.

Statutory Holidays in TorontoFamily Day: Monday February 16, 2015
This Monday off is a great way to take advantage of a long weekend or a winter weekend escape just away from the city. You may use this time to get some sun on an island escape or take advantage of the staycation by soaking up local culture or seek out some new restaurants or cheap eats in Toronto.

Good Friday: Friday April 3, 2015
A Catholic religious holiday which extends into Easter Sunday and Monday (check with your employer to see if you get this day off) to extend into a long weekend.

Victoria Day: Monday May 18, 2015
Celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, Queen Victoria’s birthday is an unofficial way to mark the start of summer. The weekend is also unofficially known as “May 2-4.” This is the perfect time to go somewhere near the city (like Etobicoke, Mississauga, or Brampton), explore the city (like watching the fireworks), or planning your next vacation. We recommend these apps if you’re traveling.

Statutory Holidays in TorontoCanada Day: Wednesday July 1, 2015
Celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday in Toronto (maybe relaxing by our pool at 300 Front Street West), or in our Nation’s capital, Ottawa. July also marks the inauguration of the Pan Am Games in Toronto. If you’re embarking on a road trip, can we suggest our Great Canadian Roadtrip Playlist for the ride? It will be an exciting summer for Torontonians!

Civic Holiday: Monday August 3, 2015
Also known as Simcoe Day, which was to honour the first Lieutentant-Govenor of Upper Canada, John Simcoe, this statutory holiday is celebrated the first Monday of every August. August is prime time for a number of festivals in Toronto. Here are our must-dos in Toronto in August.

Labour Day: Monday September 7, 2015
Labour Day marks the unofficial last day of summer, the day before school starts and many companies go into their last quarters of the year. Perhaps, there is a need for corporate housing for executives who are coming into Toronto for an short term stay or an extended stay in the city. Or you want to spend as much time with your family to sStatutory Holidays in Torontooak up the summer rays. Here are our top ten family fun activities in Toronto. September is the lead up to fall and fall activities including our famous Toronto International Film Festival. Here is our guide to Toronto in Autumn.

Thanksgiving Day: Monday October 12, 2015
Thanksgiving Day is traditionally the day we go home to spend time with our families. It’s also a great time for a weekend getaway if you decide to eschew tradition. October is also the mark of low season in places like Europe and the Caribbean if you are planning to travel. Perhaps, it’s time to take that solo trip? Here are our tips.

Christmas Day: Friday December 25, 2015
Christmas Day is a popular statutory holiday. As it falls at the beginning of a weekend, you’ll have the week to prepare for the festivities. Here’s our guide to a hassle-free holiday and our guide to the top shops in Toronto for your Christmas shopping needs.

Boxing Day: SaturdaStatutory Holidays in Torontoy December 26, 2015
Whether you’re braving the crowds at the malls for shopping deals (or some discounted furniture for your apartment or suite) or just staying in to enjoy a day off post-Christmas celebrations, Boxing Day this year will be the ideal Saturday. Another year has come and gone and now is the time to start getting ready for New Year’s Eve!

How do you use your statutory holidays in Toronto? Do you use them as a way to tag on extra vacation time? Or do you use them to maximize a staycation?

Feedback and Reviews, Lifestyle talk

Ten Tips for Travel Writing

November 20, 2014

Tips for Travel WritingTravel writing seems like a dream: you can travel to any possible location–your dream destination–and write about it! But it is also hard work and requires strategy, like any other job. If you are looking to take the next step in your travels and write about your journey, here are a few tips.

1. Travel! I know this sounds like simple advice but the best way to get into travel writing is to actually travel. Pick your dream trip and your topics of interest (this is key) and go on a quest in search of those topics. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find and who you will meet. When you travel your own way, your story becomes more interesting because it’s genuine.

2. Read. To be the best writer you can be, you must read. Whether it’s a guidebook about your destination/topic or fiction related to your destination, you’ll become more enriched in your trip by reading everything you can about it. Reading all types of genres also enriches your vocabulary. Read great travel writing if this is your chosen genre. By reading magazines or books like The Best American Travel Writing, you will get a sense of what a good story is and this could help you with your style or give you ideas.

3. Have a quest. When you pick a particular focus, this will help shape your story. Looking for a story in your destination and taking a vacation are two very different trips and unfortunately, often get confused with each other.

4. Try to pitch your story to a publication before your trip. Having a secure outlet or publication will help you with deadlines and also help you if you’re trying to find interview subjects for your story. Pitching your story will also help you focus on what your story is.

5. Observe. Take a step back and observe every detail when you’re on the ground. Whether it’s the cuff links on the waiter’s sleeves, the sound of someone’s voice, or the smells in the air, tapping into your senses will really help bring your story to life.

6. Ask Yourself “What am I learning?” As veteran travel writer, Don George, says this question is another way of asking yourself “what is the story?”

7. The Four Pillars of Engagement. As Don George mentions, these are the points of the story where you check in with your subject, with yourself, with your audience, and with your writing. What is your subject? Who are you writing for? Who do you want to see this piece? Why is this story personal to you? Is your story touching on these points? Is your story precise? Is your story meaningful? Does the story flow?

8. Keep a notebook and write during your trip. When to write will vary for everyone but writing down the details as they are happening or soon after they happen will help Tips for Travel Writingyou remember the vivid details that will make your story pop. When you are in the moment, jot down those notes. Having a notebook with you or an app like Evernote will help you with this. Use your smartphone to record conversations as well, so you can go back and transcribe them later. Try to make the time during the trip to write down what you have learned and try to write your story right after your trip so it is fresh in your memory.

9. Step away from your story. After you have finished writing, take a day or a few days to let your story breathe. When you go back to it, you may have a different perspective and you may also catch details that you want to remove or add to.

10. Kill your darlings. The editing process is an essential process of making sure your story comes together in the best possible way. The first draft will never be perfect and though there may have been a great anecdote or detail, if it doesn’t fit in with the overall theme or big picture of the story, as difficult as it may be, it must go. Get someone to read over your story and edit it and then go back and edit it again if you have the time. This will make your story stronger and the best possible version of itself.

Travel writing is about research, observation, and telling a great story. Hopefully, these tips for travel writing will help you in getting your stories –travel or non-travel related–published.

Lifestyle talk, Markham, Toronto Family Travel

Things to do in Markham

November 12, 2014

Located northeast of Toronto, Markham is a thriving, vibrant and multicultural community. Our Circa furnished apartments, located at Warden and Highway 7, are close to Unionville, Markham Centre, and the Markham Theatre. Here are a few more of our favourite things to do in Markham. For more information on special events, please check the City of Markham’s official website.

Things to do in MarkhamEat Delicious Chinese Food
According to the 2011 census, 32.9 percent of residents in Markham speak Chinese and 11.6 percent of residents speak Mandarin.
SOURCE: Markham Economic Profile (page 9).  There are a multitude of good quality Chinese and Dim Sum restaurants in the city. Some recommended restaurants include: Dayali Beijing Roast Duck, Din Tai Fung (a separate entitiy from teh popular Taiwanese chain), 369 Shanghai Dim Sum, Sun’s Kitchen, and Ten Ren’s Tea Time, Source: Globe and Mail

Rouge Park
This 40 square kilometer park extends from Scarborough and the Toronto Zoo all the way up to Markham. There are a variety of activities you can complete in the park from hiking, biking, and wildlife watching to canoeing and camping (in the southern part of the park). It is said that FH Varley, one of the painters in the Group of Seven, captured the beauty of the banks of the Rouge River in Markham on canvas.

Things to do in MarkhamPacific Mall
Known for its bargains and the chance to barter for knock-off items, Pacific Mall has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in Markham. With over 500 stores and a food court, hawking Asian street-food, this is a great way to spend the afternoon.

Explore Unionville
Unionville is one of the villages that encompasses the larger part of Markham. Stroll past the historic buildings, shops, old mills, and churches of Main Street. Many festivals take place here as well. For more information visit www.unionvilleinfo.com

Varley Art Gallery
The gallery honours one of Canada’s renowned Group of Seven Artists, Fred Varley, who lived in Unionville for many years. View historical and contemporary exhibitions at the acclaimed gallery. Explore new ways of appreciating art through dynamicThings to do in Markham hands-on activities, designed for audiences of all ages and interests.

Markham is a great alternative city to Toronto but close enough via car or GO Train. If you are living in furnished housing and here for short term, enjoy your stay and try out these fun things to do in Markham!

Lifestyle talk, Vacation Travel

Ten Tips for Travelling Solo

October 14, 2014

Tips for Travelling SoloTravelling alone, especially if you haven’t done so before, can be an intimidating experience. What if you don’t meet anyone? What if you forget something? What if you’re lonely? However, solo travel, whether for business or pleasure can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of all. Here are ten tips to ease into the transition of solo travel.

1. Safety first. One of the biggest myths – especially for women – is that solo travel is not safe. As at home, use common sense. Research your destination. Don’t go down dark alleyways alone at night. Stay in public areas if you don’t feel comfortable venturing out. Don’t drink excessively if you’re alone. Keep your valuables at home. Trust your intuition. You can go anywhere if you are alert and keep your wits about you.

2. Try a solo weekend trip. If you’ve always wanted to take a longer vacation or self-exploration period but are afraid of being lonely for an extended period of time, try a weekend away. This short escape can ease you into feeling comfortable Tips for Travelling Soloalone in another place. Big cities are great because there’s always so much to do and you’ll be so busy exploring and having fun that you’ll forget you’re alone!

3. Try a Tour. If you want to socialize, tours are a great way to combine your interests with meeting new people. Most big cities have bike tours, walking tours, or general interest tours. You can also find niche tours like the Sex and City Tour in New York City or cooking classes in Italy. If you’re more adventurous, there are entire trips dedicated to interests, like surfing or yoga where you’ll meet new like-minded souls. And group tours (like G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, and Trafalgar) are a great transition into a longer solo trip. Don’t forget to chat up your tour guide: they are a wealth of information and can point you to other tours or points of interest/people, or even accommodation in your cTips for Traveling Solohosen destination.

4. Try Furnished Rentals. Staying in a furnished rental is a great way to connect with the residents and locals and not feel as alone on the road. If you are in the city, we have a variety of furnished suites and apartments for rent in Toronto. If you are in a condo, try to look for social mixers to meet those in the building.

5. Sit at the bar. The bar is not only where the drinks are, but it’s where the singles and other people solo are, and easily one of the best places to meet others who are solo (mainly because the other solo diner is sitting beside you). Talk to the bartender. They are the invisible tour guides who are always on the pulse of restaurant and bar openings, trends, and of course, the best places to eat and drink in your chosen destination.

6. Pack Light and Smart. The best tip is to figure out how long are you are travelling and create outfits out of the least possible items of clothing you have. Pack garments you always wear that can easily be rolled in your carry-on/backpack that you can use more than once. Packing smart will enable you to get around your Tip[s for Traveling Solodestination more easily and safeguard you against the loss of luggage. For instance, in Europe, many train stations don’t have elevators, so the easier it is to carry what you have, the more seamlessly you can navigate your locale. Another tip: if you have a bag and a carry-on, make sure you have at least one night’s worth of clothing in your separate bag in case your luggage is lost or stolen. Keep your cash in more than one place (your wallet and a money belt, for example).

7. Plan but don’t Overschedule. Planning will help you get excited about the activities, attractions, and restaurants that interest you. However, you never know what you’re going to find or who you’re going to meet when you allow yourself to just wander.

8. Be a Good Samaritan. Even if you’re opening the door for a stranger, or venturing out on a volunteer vacation, random acts of kindness go beyond the borders of language. It may even help you meet new people.

9. Build a Vacation withiTips for Traveling Solon your Vacation. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget about the day-to-day tasks we need to catch up on after our vacation or during a long trip. Schedule in “off-days” to do laundry, send correspondence, or just relax and breathe. This goes for those on business travel too, and really helps if you need to recharge before tackling that email inbox.

10. Just Go! As cliche as it might seem, abide by Nike’s mission: “Just do it.” There may be doubts, or naysayers (including yourself) but you don’t know unless you try. Best of all: you don’t have to wait on anyone else. You can travel when you want and how you want. Who knows? You might meet someone along the away. You might even enjoy solo travel!

We hope these tips helped. What are some of your tips for travelling solo? Do you perfer to travel alone or with someone else? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

For sites on solo travel, we recommend solotraveler.com and legalnomads.com

Business Travel, Customer Service Experience, Downtown Toronto, Family Vacations in Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Relocation, Uncategorized

Grocery Delivery Services Offered by DelSuites

August 26, 2014

Grocery Delivery ServicesSometimes, life gets so busy that there isn’t time to grocery shop. Luckily, as a guest of DelSuites, you can take advantage of our grocery delivery services via Grocery Gateway.

Here are a few of the benefits that this service can offer you:

1. Saves you Time. If you are a busy professional and meetings take up most of your days (or nights), Grocery Gateway gives you the convenience of delivery to your executive suite. You can order items online or via phone with “DelSuites” as the password.

2. Convenience. In addition to your groceries being delivered straight to your suite, you can also choose the delivery date and time to suit your needs. Your order can be delivered as soon as the next day within a two hour window of your choice. Groceries can also be delivered prior to your arrival. Win win!

3. FREE delivery on your first order. As a guest of DelSuites, the $9.95 delivery fee is waived from your first order when you enter the promo code QTDS at checkout.Grocery Delivery Services There are also specials on delivery fees from time to time. Please note that a minimum $45 order is required and 30% service charge added to regular purchases.

4. Healthy Options. With over 8,500 items, Grocery Gateway prides itself on giving you the choice of healthy options when you shop. Whether it’s Healthy Planet Organic Juice or environmentally friendly soap product, Method, this grocery service doesn’t skimp on quality or what on your values. Everything is also fresh when delivered to your door, and ordered directly from Longo’s supermarket the day of your delivery.

5. Satisfaction Guaranteed. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, your money will be refunded.

Whether you’re in town for vacation, or enjoying a short term rental on a business trip, DelSuites has the amenities and grocery delivery services to make you feel at home.