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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!

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!

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1970s

December 12, 2014

Toronto PanoramaSome Torontonians joke that many of the buildings in Toronto look like they are from the 1970s and it’s because they were. Toronto in the 1970s was one that set up its future, now a construction boom of modern glass and steel buildings.

Many of our most recognizable landmarks were built in the 1970s. The Eaton Centre, the CN Tower, Ontario Place (under a current transformation of revitalization), and the Toronto Reference Library (also recently renovated in parts) are the buildings we know and love from this era.

It’s hard to believe now but Yorkville in the 60s was the hippie capital of Toronto, where legends like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young were singing in coffee houses through those brick-laned alleys. Toronto in the 1970s ushered in its change to its tony status today with the introduction of high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen in addition to art galleries and cafes. High-rise office towers replaced the low-rise buildings at major intersections.Toronto in the 1970s

The Yorkville scene of folk music was being ushered out and the rising scene of rock and roll and punk on Queen Street West was gaining prominence. Bands like the Rolling Stones were playing at notable venues like the now historic venue, the El Mocambo.

As writer, Shawn Micallef, notes, “Torontonians generally like their public areas all on one level and in a straight line in contrast to Asian cities like Hong Kong, where street life can easily rise many floors above the sidewalk.” Despite our underground pathways and current consistent construction, this trend hasn’t really changed.

Check out this collection of photos of Toronto in the 1970s here.

 

Community Events, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1950s

December 10, 2014

Toronto in the 1950s The Toronto in the 1950s was still growing and pre-dated the era of skyscrapers which started to boom in the 1960s. After the Second World War, many British children were sent to Toronto for safety while their fathers were in the war. The city continued to expand into the suburbs and it was officially a major city in this era. A mark of Toronto’s prosperity was the construction of the Yonge Subway–it opened to the public in 1954– and a highway to the suburbs, which were located in Don Mills, at the time.

With the end of the war and the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1947 (LINK TO 1920s post here), Toronto boomed and made way for an influx of immigrants. Germans, Italians, and Eastern Europeans were our first major wave of our multicultural community. British immigration was on the decline by 20 percent. This pattern continued into the 1960s, with an exotic mix of newcomers including more Europeans, West Indians, South Asians, and Vietnamese.

Residents moved back downtown from the suburbs in the 1960s and this is when the core started to thrive. Yorkville was not the tony neighbourhood of affluent people it is now. Rather, it was the hippie capital of the metropolis, chock full of coffeehouses where legends like Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot performed.

Though Toronto in the 1950s might have not been as exciting as the Toronto of other eras, it was still a definitive period of the growth of our urban landscape, which thrived into the 60s and 70s.

Photos

 

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