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Business Travel, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk

Things You Should Know About Living in Toronto

April 17, 2015

Living in TorontoToronto is a great city in which to live (welcome!) and according to the Global Liveability Report (2014), Toronto has been recognized as being one of the five most liveable cities in the world. We have a rising economy, a good mix of nature along the edges of our downtown core, a good standard of living, and are one of the most multicultural-friendly cities in the world. However, as with other major urban centres, Toronto has its quirks that you have to navigate as a resident. Talking to our team is a good start to help you learn more about Toronto living. Here’s our guide to what you should know about living in Toronto.

1. Harsh Winters and Hot Summers
What you hear about Toronto’s winters are true: they can be extremely cold. Lately, however, temperatures fluctuate. One day the temperature can be a balmy 10 degrees celsius; another day, they can drop to minus 25 degrees celsius. Dressing in layers is crucial when living in Toronto. Equally, summers can be hot and humid and downtown smog permeates the air in the downtown core. Another reminder to keep your umbrella handy as Toronto’s rainfall has increased in the past few years. Having a humidifier or air purifier will keep the air fresh in your furnished apartment in Toronto.

Living in Toronto

2. Transportation
Other than driving, there are a few ways to get around the city, a very large one at that, and depending on where you go, it’s an average of 30 minutes to get anywhere in the city. The Toronto Transit Commission, also known as the TTC, is one of the most central ways to get around the large metropolis. It extends from Scarborough to Etobicoke (east to west) and Finch/Steeles to Union Station at Front Street (north to south). An average fare on the TTC is $3.00. If you’re looking for a quicker alternative, you can take a taxi in the city, with a starting rate at $4.50. Cabs in Toronto can be notoriously expensive so be careful. An average ride from outside the downtown core can cost $20 to $25. Uber or Uber X is also another alternative. If you are traveling to the suburbs such as Markham, Mississauga, or Brampton, the GO Transit system (via bus or train) will help you get there efficiently if you don’t drive. Prices vary based on your destination; however, an average price to Mississauga one way is $7.Living in Toronto

3. Rush Hour
Rush hour in Toronto lasts from 6:30am to 9:30am during morning weekdays and around 4:00pm to 6:30pm during weekday evenings. It is at its peak during 8am and 5 to 6pm, respectively. Traffic congestion is one of the major issues as Toronto has expanded. If you live downtown or near your workplace in one of our central locations, the best alternative is to walk or bike to work to avoid the crowds altogether. On the TTC, do expect to wait one or two trains, especially on the Yonge/University line due to congestion. Union Station is also in a state of significant transformation with new exits so give yourself time to navigate in the morning. Alternatively, you can commute in less peak hours to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

Living in Toronto

4. Construction
Toronto continues to expand significantly as it has done so over the past 10 to 15 years. Over 100,000 condominium units are currently being constructed (source) and according to a report in the Toronto Star, our metropolis is home to more than 44 high rises exceeding 150 metres. As the city gears up for the Pan Am Games, you’ll see a lot of delays on major routes, the main one being the Lakeshore between Yonge and Spadina, which is slowly but surely improving in terms of development. Always map out your route and double check the TTC website before you travel anywhere in the city if you don’t know it well. Downtown, it may be easier to walk certain places than it is to take the TTC.

Living in Toronto

5. A City of Neighbourhoods
Toronto is known as a city of neighbourhoods (complete with our own toques!) and the best part of this city is feeling like you’re constantly a tourist, whether it’s trying a new, ethnic restaurant or going to a cultural event. If you like to be near the water, The Beaches, Scarborough Bluffs, or Lakeshore West might be good options for you. Downtown, you are close to the funkiest areas complete with shopping, restaurants and nightlife downtown or by Queen, King, or Kensington Market. Yorkville and Rosedale/Summerhill are a bit more lush. North York is right by the subway line with plenty of parks and dining options. For those wanting more family-friendly neighbourhoods, Roncesvalles, High Park, The Danforth, and Leslieville are great options.

Living in Toronto

6. It Can Be Difficult to Meet People
Living in a big and constantly changing urban centre like Toronto can make it difficult to meet people. The best solution to this urban issue is to join a club. There are plenty of interesting clubs out there depending on your interest. The Toronto Sport and Social Club is a great addition to your workout routine, or you could join a quirky club like an axe throwing league (yes, that exists!). Volunteering is another way to meet new friends while giving back to the community. Sites like Charity Village can help you find what interests you. Likely, there is a club for whatever your interest happens to be.

Of course, do check out any events happening where you can meet other residents in your DelSuites condo.

A big city like Toronto can take a bit of getting used to but once you settle into the city (and your short term rental in Toronto, which will make life a bit easier for you), you’ll find yourself calling it home sooner than later. Just make sure you pronounce it “Toronna” and not “Tore-on-tow.”

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment

Film Events in Toronto

March 31, 2015

Film Events in TorontoWith the advent of video streaming services like Netflix and now Shomi and Crave, you may think that the era of going out to see a movie is dying (we don’t blame you for wanting to stay in your furnished apartment after a long week). That said, Torontonians are fierce fans of movies and are keeping the film industry alive with these events, services and stores, year-round, long after TIFF is over. If you are in town for TIFF or related film events in Toronto or you are filming here with your production studio, DelSuites can assist you with your accommodation needs.

1. TIFF Bell LightBox
Now headquarters for all things for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Bell Lightbox is also home to daily screenings, film exhibitions, a gift shop, and two great restaurants, Luma and Canteen. It is a must-see on the Toronto tour, especially if you’re a fan of film. Luckily, it’s just around the corner from our suites at 300 Front, The Element, and The Icon. This year, Andy Warhol’s exhibition, Stars of the Silver Screen debuts on October 30, 2015. Save the date!Film Events in Toronto

2. Hot Docs
From April 23 to May 3, 2015 enjoy Toronto’s other film festival, this time of international documentaries, which you usually won’t see anywhere else, invoking in-depth conversation. Doc Soup is Hot Docs’ monthly screening series from October through April at the Bloor Cinema. Guest directors are available at selected screenings to introduce their work and answer questions from the audience. Early bird packages and passes are now available on sale online.

3. Repertory Cinemas.
Rep cinemas bring back the by-gone era of going out to the movie theatre. The difference at a rep cinema is that you can see older films, usually a one-off or as part of a theme. The Bloor Cinema is festival headquarters for Hot Docs but others we know and love are The Royal on College Street and The Fox in the Beaches (worth the trek to the end of the streetcar line on Queen Street East).

4. The National Film Board.
Located in the heart of downtown acroFilm Events in Torontoss from the Scotiabank movie theatre at Queen and John, is the National Film Board (affectionately known as the NFB). The NFB is Canada’s National film producer and distributor. This is your place to watch free films and documentaries, and animations, available in both English and French. Here’s a guide of films for your first visit.

5. Quirky Video Stores.
Yes, video stores still exist and some of them offer some unique services. We love the Film Buff for its selection of under-represented independent, foreign, documentary and classic films in addition to its tasty ice cream (Roncesvalles location only) and Queen Video for its art film selections. Super-8 Filmmaker John Porter continues to add to his useful creation of a handmade map and directory for visiting filmmakers and artists in the city, including those video stores. This is a great link for those wanting a more comprehensive directory for their film needs.

Do you know any hidden gems on where to see a movie or get your film fix in Toronto? What are your favourite movies?

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Family Vacations in Toronto, Holiday Events, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Five March Break Activities for the Family

March 17, 2015

Schools Out! March BreakIf you are not one of the 116,000 people traveling during the March Break period (March 16-20), this is your time to explore Toronto with your family. We have written about our favourite family-friendly activities in Toronto previously here, but here are a few March break activities and ideas to keep your children entertained during the week.

1. Disney Classics at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Watch some of the famed movie maker’s classics on the big screen and relive your childhood too! If you’re staying in one of our furnished suites downtown, there is no excuse not to go to these special screenings. There are also March Break camps and to start planning early, summer camps for your kids.

2. The Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) March Break Program. The TPL has a variety of activities for both kids and teens, including a Lego program and a first-aid babysitting course.

March Break Activities3. A Day Trip. One of  our favourite March Break activities for the day would be to the Kortright Centre for Conservation, where you and your kids can learn about sustainability, hike, and also participate in their maple syrup programs. Nearby, is the McMichael Art Gallery, a great alternative from the Art Gallery of Ontario to learn about Canadian art. March Break camps are also available here. The Toronto Zoo is another great idea for a day trip if your kids love animals; they have special programming for the week.

4. Stay In. Sometimes, a day at home is overrated. Cook with the kids. Break out the arts and crafts. Watch a favourite or new movie on the couch or have a sleepover for your kids and their friends. Many of our locations also have a pool so this might be a fun way to break up your days.

5. Visit the Aga Khan Museum. One of Toronto’s newest attractions, the architectural masterpiece is also your gateway to learn more about Muslim civilizations. The museum and all of its exhibitions are free every Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. There is also a special March Break camp for your kids. If you are brave enough and have the energgroup students jumping end of exam yeary, you could also plan an excursion afterwards to the Ontario Science Centre, which is located nearby.

What are your favourite March break activities to do with your family in the city? However, if you are traveling with your family, here are some of our tips to handle the journey with ease.

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

How to Avoid Expensive Holiday Airfares

March 12, 2015

Save on AirfareAs many of our guests are, you may be on the go and expected to travel frequently, whether for business or pleasure. (Check out our tips here on how to get the best deals.) But sometimes, the only time you can get is over the holidays –when everyone else is traveling. Here are some ways how to avoid expensive holiday airfares.

1. Do not book last minute. More likely than not, the closer you travel to your desired date of departure, the higher the price of your flight. You may be lucky and get a last minute fare -if others are not going to your destination or it’s not a popular destination – but the best advice is to book as far in advance as possible. This advice is especially useful for summer travel to Europe and the recommended time to book is around three to six months in advance, if possible. Rumour has it, however, that the ideal number to book in advance is 49 days or 7 weeks in advance.avoid expensive holiday airfares

2. Be flexible with your dates and times. Inflexibility could result in a higher airfare. If you cannot budge on your date or time or if you’re traveling on a weekend, this will increase the costs of your flight. But if you can travel on an early weekday (Monday to Wednesday or even a Saturday, as some experts say) or in the early mornings/nights or nudge your date a day or two, it could be worth the change in savings.

3. Track your fare. Services like Yapta and airfare watchdog enable you to track and analyze when your flight price will increase, which can help you make decisions.

4. Alternate modes of tranAvoid Expensive Holiday Airfaressportation. If your flight is too expensive, consider driving to your destination or taking an alternate airport like Buffalo (a popular option in recent years). What you will lose in time, you will make up in savings.

5. Points. If you can’t get around the cost for an airfare, using your airline points (if you are loyal to one airline), Air Miles, or a co-branded credit card that will accumulate points for you, will help towards the cost of your flight.

How do you avoid expensive holiday airfare or save on flights? We’d love to hear your tips! Do check out our top ten essential travel apps for your next trip here. Of course, if you’re staying in Toronto, check out our properties.

Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, North York

Top 10 Restaurants in Toronto, 2015

March 6, 2015

Top 10 Restaurants in TorontoWith Spring just around the corner, getting out on the town made us think of our favourite restaurants in Toronto. It’s a mix of those classics you might find on a list like Winterlicious mixed with newer restaurants and cafes. If you’re looking to get out of your furnished apartment in Toronto or try something new at one of Toronto’s many diverse and delicious restaurants, look no further to our comprehensive top 10 restaurants in Toronto. Our list is in no particular order.

1. Bar Isabel. It’s no surprise that this Spanish-inspired restaurant with a Black Hoof twist (owner Grant Van Gameren used to co-own the Black Hoof) is on many top ten lists. We love the chorizo, grilled octopus, and basque cake with sherry cream. Be on the lookout for Van Gameren’s anticipated opening, Bar Raval, this year. Reservations are recommended.

2. Canoe. Canoe remains one of the best restaurants in Canada and a homage to haute Canadian cuisine. It is the perennial place for a special occasion with views of the Toronto Islands and CN Tower to match from the 54th floor of the TD Tower. You’ll be lucky to sit at the chef’s table and interact with Chef John Horne. It is a treat! It is also one of our picks to drink with your fellow corporate executives.

3. Big Crow. Big Crow is the city’s answer to a backyard BBQ, complete with an Algonquin and Canadiana theme year-round (in winter they bring out the blankets and heaters). Chow down with your friends over ribs smothered in pesto sauce, steel-trout poke nachos, and s’more ice cream sandwiches in the summer.

4. Fat Pasha. Another extension of Anthony Rose’s empire (including Big Crow, above), Fat Pasha is your excuse to eat through the MiddleTop 10 Restaurants in Toronto Eastern trend. We love the dips (especially labneh and hummus) and the nutella babka cake. A must if you’re looking to venture out of your usual tastes.

5. The Black Hoof. Since 2008, The Black Hoof has set Toronto on the charcuterie trend and remains the best place for the boards. It has since expanded its menu so you can more adventurous parts of an animal (whether it’s offal or horse) and never fails to impress the tastebuds. We love the staples of charcuterie, bone marrow, and cheese but give the horse tartare a try. Try its intimate cocktail bar across the street, aptly named Cocktail Bar, pre or post meal.

6. Electric Mud BBQ. Owned by Black Hoof alum, Colin Tooke and Ian McGrenaghan, Electric Mud BBQ is their second outpost of the Electric empire (Grand Electric around the corner on Queen West slinging out tacos). Chow down on good ol’ BBQ, bourbon alongside a great soundtrack at picnic tables with your friends. The ribs are classic but we return for the chicken, crack rolls, and $2.50 pints of Great Lakes Beer on Monday nights. They also now deliver. We love a good deal!

7. Origin. Tapas has become one of Toronto’s biggest culinary trends and Origin executes it in an original fashion. The restaurant is so popular it has expanded from its original location at King and Church to Origin North at Bayview and Sheppard (a sophisticated option near our furnished apartments in North York). We love the deviled eggs, tostones and guacamole, hand rolls, miso glazed cod, and dulce de leche. Look for chef Claudio Aprile to expand his repertoire of fresh, global dishes to the Toronto PeTop 10 Restaurants in Torontoarson Airport soon.

8. Eastside Social. One of Leslieville’s newest additions to the neighbourhood, Eastside Social is casual enough to sit and chat with someone at the bar over a dark n stormy yet sophisticated enough for a date. Share their inventive fish charcuterie platter. Their oyster special is every Tuesday and Wednesday.

9. Campagnolo. Our pick for Italian cuisine, chef Craig Harding, continues to deliver the classics that make us feel like it’s okay we can’t hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to Italy. You’ll salivate over his burrata with roasted grapes, spaghetti all’matricana, rabbit saltimbocca, and his famous budino.

10. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. For the brunch lovers, Mildred’s Temple is large enough to accommodate your group but popular enough for you to be waiting in line even 15 minutes after opening. It’s worth the trek to Liberty Village. If it’s one thing to order it’s those fluffy, blueberry pancakes.

It’s difficult to add our all of our top 10 Restaurants in Toronto (honorary mentions go to Lady Marmalade for brunch, Porchetta & Co. for lunch, and Chantecler for dinner).

What are your favourite restaurants in Toronto? What are the restaurant openings in Toronto you’re looking forward to?