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What You Need to Know About Traveling On Canada Day

February 13, 2020

If you’re heading to Canada on July the 1st, you should know that you’ll be there for one of the biggest celebrations of the year. Keep reading to learn more about Canada Day and what you can expect during your visit.

What is Canada Day?

Wait a minute… when is Canada Day? WHAT is Canada Day? Why does Canada even have a day?

To put it simply, Canada Day is somewhat like the Fourth of July is for Americans – but it’s a little different. Here’s a bit of history:

Canada Day marks the day when the nation was officially “born” via the signing of the Constitution Act on the first of July, 1867. This act brought together the three provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the province of Canada – which then split into Quebec and Ontario.

It’s not exactly Canada’s “birthday” (although it’s often called that) – it’s more of a major milestone in the journey to full independence from the British Empire.

This holiday was originally known as Dominion Day, and it wasn’t really celebrated much until 100 years later. Canada’s 100th birthday sparked a growth in Canadian patriotism and it started to become popular to celebrate on July 1th. The new name of “Canada Day” wasn’t officially adopted until 1982.

Canada Day has become a day for Canadians to be proud of the true north strong and free. Over the years the day has come to stand for the things Canadians love about Canada – such as friendliness, camaraderie, diversity, acceptance and natural beauty. (And of course, toe-tappin tunes and the smell of barbeque in the sultry air of a warm July night!)

Typical Canada Day Celebrations

What does a typical Canada Day celebration look like? The answer is, there’s no one specific way to celebrate this holiday, but it will almost always include food, music, drinks and lots of fun. It’s a day off for the general population and most schools and businesses will be closed.

First of all, a popular tradition is a pancake breakfast, where delicious pancakes, waffles and bacon are served for free or by donation. Often a city or town will stage an all-day event, featuring live music, children’s entertainment, games, activities and performances. There may be face-painting, parades and even ceremonies to induct new Canadian citizens.

When evening falls, it’s tradition to light up the sky with fireworks and play the National Anthem. The dancing and celebrating may go on late into the night! Canada is one of the best nights of the summer and many people will be in great spirits – feeling patriotic and ready to have a good time.

Where to Celebrate Canada Day 2020

If you’re heading to Canada to take part in the festivities of Canada Day 2020, where’s the best place to wave the flag?

Well, the truth is that there will be Canada Day celebrations taking part on July 1st in almost every village, town and city in the country. However, these are a few examples of the biggest and best celebrations you can attend on this very Canadian day:
Canada Day 2020

Ottawa

One of the biggest Canada Day celebrations takes part at the nation’s capital. There are huge celebrations taking part on Parliament Hill, with live music, a live broadcast of CBC’s The Evening Show, fireworks and so much more. There will also be festivities taking place in Major’s Hill Park, located only a few minutes walk from Parliament Hill. You can even celebrate at the Canadian Museum of History, located just across the river from the other sites in Gatineau, Quebec.
Canada Day 2020 Toronto

Toronto

Toronto has another one of the liveliest Canada Day celebrations. Throughout the entire weekend there are celebrations taking part at Ontario Place, including an Indigenous arts and culture performance. The Waterfront Festival takes part at Sherbourne Common, featuring tall ships and other Maritime fun. Many people will be heading to Downsview Park, where there will be games, music, entertainment and much more. And of course, the fireworks will light up the night for the culmination of the Canada celebrations.
Vancouver Canada Day 2020

Vancouver

The first of July is a fantastic party in Vancouver and there are several events to mark this Canada national day. At Canada Place you’ll find the second largest Canada Day celebration in the country, with 13 solid hours of activities, performances, music, exhibits, food and much more. Plus, you don’t want to miss the spectacular firework display over the harbour. Also, don’t miss the chance to check out vibrant Granville Island, packed with food trucks, art and a multicultural fair.
Canada Day 2020 Montreal

Montreal

Celebrate La Fête du Canada French Canadian style. In the Old City of Montreal you’ll encounter lots of celebrations, including a performance by the Canadian Forces brass band, workshops, sporting events and food stalls. The highlight of the evening is the stunning fireworks display from Jacques-Cartier Pier.

Happy Canada Day, and safe travels!

Vacation Travel

Christmas Vacation Ideas

December 13, 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, that special season is coming up again. Twinkling lights, Christmas carols, cookies, presents and jolly, smiling Santas are everywhere you turn. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – but are you going to spend the holidays at home or away this year?

Christmas vacations have become a popular trend in recent years. After all, it’s a pretty appealing idea to spend the holiday in a resort or a hotel where your every need is catered to and you can simply relax and enjoy. Plus, Christmas can be a wonderful time to enjoy certain destinations – as the twinkling lights of the season will create a magical atmosphere.

Looking for some inspiration for your next Christmas getaway? If you are looking for ideas for Christmas trips, here are some destinations that are absolutely magical at this time of year.

Unforgettable Christmas Vacation Ideas

christmas vacation ideas

Helsinki, Finland

The capital of Finland calls itself the “Christmas City” and it’s fully decked out for the holidays. The streets of the downtown are lit up with sparkling decorations and the shop windows are spectacular. Take a stroll out in the crisp, snowy air and then warm up with a mug of Glogi – which is a special Christmas-time beverage made with spiced wine, raisins, almonds and vodka. You could even take the opportunity to make a trip up to Lapland, where you can visit the official hometown of Santa Claus and meet St. Nick himself.
christmas vacation ideas

Krakow, Poland

Krakow is a charming city no matter what time of the year you visit, but it’s especially magical at Christmastime. The Christmas Market takes up most of the Main Market Square and it’s filled with delicious holiday treats, from roasted chestnuts to smoked cheese to warm and steamy pierogi. Once you’ve had your fill, you can go shopping for gifts at the artisan stalls. You’ll find everything from jewellery to home decorations to knick knacks and so much more. If you’re in Krakow on Christmas Eve, you can even watch the famous Live Nativity Scene – a tradition that has been around for 25 years. (Plus, if you are looking for cheap Christmas vacations, you’ll be delighted by how affordable it is to travel in Eastern Europe.)
christmas vacation ideas

Toronto, Ontario

This vibrant, multicultural Canadian city sure knows how to celebrate the holiday season! You can’t miss the 50 foot tall Christmas Tree in the Distillery District, adorned with 40,000 lights and over 1 km of ribbon. Also, be sure to check out Christmas at Casa Loma, a stunning Gothic-inspired castle that dates back to 1911. Also, from November 22nd to January 5th you can experience the Aurora Winter Festival. It’s like a hidden village near the North Pole where you’ll find amusement rides, magical characters and beautiful light displays. Toronto would also be one of the best Christmas vacations for families, as there are so many great kids activities and family friendly things to do in the city.

Photo by traveljunction via Flickr CC

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany

Close your eyes and picture a German village out of a fairy tale. Chances are, you’re picturing something very similar to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This simply adorable 800 year old town is perfectly preserved and looks like it was ripped straight of the pages of The Brothers Grimm. Around Christmastime it is even more wonderful, when the Christmas market is in full swing. Make sure you treat yourself to a “schneeball” (snowball) while you are there. It’s a dessert made from a centuries-old recipe that features shortcrust pastry dough rolled into a ball and deep-fried, then dipped in chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar. Yum!
christmas vacation ideas

Barbados

Okay, let’s imagine that you want to skip the snowy cold and sink your toes into the hot sand of a tropical beach on Christmas instead? If you are in the mood for a warm and sunny Christmas, Barbados is a fantastic destination. You can enjoy festivals, delicious feasts with cake and baked ham, craft fairs, live music and so much more. Instead of a sleigh ride on Christmas Day, you can go for a swim in the surf and read a book on the beach. Sounds pretty nice, right? When it comes to the best places to spend Christmas, relaxing in the Caribbean is pretty far up there.

Christmas Vacation Ideas: Where will you go on your Christmas getaways?

When it comes to where to go for Christmas, these are just a few of the many exciting options. Of course, the best Christmas vacation ideas aren’t really about where you go. They are about choosing to slow down and enjoy the holiday season and really spend time with your loved ones. So, an unforgettable Christmas can happen anywhere in the world- it all depends on who you celebrate it with!

Vacation Travel

Great Ideas for Midwest Vacations

November 29, 2019
midwest vacations

There’s something so friendly and welcoming about the American Midwest.

The wide open prairies, the peaceful river valleys and the thriving cities – this region invites you to explore. Whether you’re looking for a chance to hike the great outdoors, enjoy the nightlife, visit historic sites, celebrate Spring Break or enjoy interesting museums – the Midwest has a lot to discover.

If you’re looking for inspiration for the best Midwest vacations, keep reading. We have some great ideas for Midwest family vacations that will make you fall head over heels in love with this region.

Where is the Midwest?

The area known as the Midwest encompasses the center of the United States. It stretches from the state of Ohio in the east, all the way to Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas in the west.

Diving deeper into the region, you have the Great Lakes States and the Great Plains States. The Great Lakes States are the ones that border the Great Lakes, including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. The Great Plains States include Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa.

These states make up the heart of the USA – yet a great deal of tourism in America is focused along the East and West Coast and the South. It’s definitely worth taking the time to explore these midwestern states, so you can experience life in America’s heartland.

Midwest Getaways You’ll Love

midwest vacations

Indianapolis, Indiana

If you’re a sports fan, Indianapolis is one of the best Midwest cities to travel to. It’s known for car racing basketball, football and much more. You can visit the world-famous Indianapolis 500 racetrack, then see the 1930s gymnasium at the NCAA Hall of Champions. If you are traveling with little ones, they can take part in the interactive exhibits at the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

But Indianapolis isn’t just all about sports. It also boasts a thriving art scene, excellent restaurants and beautiful local hiking trails in Eagle Creek Park and Schoen Creek Trail. It’s no wonder so many Midwest vacations include this great city.
midwest vacations

St. Louis, Missouri

Standing high above this city, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, is a towering steel arch. It symbolizes the position of St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West.” A vibrant and youthful midwestern metropolis, there are a lot of reasons to explore St. Louis.

This thriving city keeps popping up on “Best Of” lists – thanks to the fantastic parks, excellent zoos and botanical gardens and high quality museums. Be sure to check out the Delmar Loop, which is a six block stretch of Delmar Boulevard – known as one of the best urban streets in America. It’s backed with great attractions like Blueberry Hill (Where Chuck Berry used to play), the old Tivoli Theatre and plenty of superb restaurants, lounges and pubs.
midwest vacations

Chicago, Illinois

When you travel the Midwest, you can’t miss Chicago. After all, it’s the most populous city in the Midwest and the third most populous in the entire country.

It has everything you could want from an exciting city getaway, from world-class museums to stunning architecture to a legendary theatre and stand-up comedy scene. Not to mention, there are 7,000 restaurants to choose from serving everything from hearty deep dish pizza to high end cuisine.

Chicago is most enjoyable in the summer months between June and September, when the locals flock to the parks, Lakefront beaches and public squares to enjoy picnics, live music and festivals. In fact, during the summer it feels like there’s a festival happening every weekend! Check out the events calendar and plan your visit you can join in on the fun.
midwest vacations

Traverse City, Michigan

Located close to the Canadian border, this city overlooks Lake Michigan and is one of the best Midwest travel destinations for outdoor lovers. On a long summer day here you can head out onto the lake on a fishing trip, or go trekking through the trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If you are here in the winter, you can enjoy the abundant snowfall. It’s perfect for snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding. At any time of the year you can visit the many wineries and craft breweries to sample locally made tipple.

If you’re looking to experience a bit of luxury with your nature, there are several beautiful Midwest resorts in this area – such as the Tamarack Lodge, the Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn and the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel.

Where will you go on your Midwest road trips?

These are just a few of the best weekend getaways the Midwest has to offer. This may be one of the most underappreciated regions in the USA, so why not get out there and see what the Midwest is all about?

If you’re keen to travel Midwest destinations, you’ll have a lot to see and do in this region!

Vacation Travel

Things to Know Before You Travel to Canada

November 26, 2019
travel to canada

Oh, Canada! The second largest country in the world is packed with so many great things to see and do. It’s home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, from the dramatic cliffs and stormy seas of the Maritimes to the vast prairies and the snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes of the Rocky Mountains.

Plus, Canada also boasts world-class cities that are alive with excellent nightlife, superb museums and galleries, delicious and diverse cuisine and fascinating history. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find something to love in Canada. Plus, you’ll also find plenty of friendly and welcoming people.

So, what should you know when visiting Canada? Keep reading for some important information you’ll want to be aware of before you embark on a trip to the True North Strong and Free.
travel to canada

Tips for Traveling to Canada

  • ➤ In Canadian airports, you’ll hear all announcements repeated in both official languages – French and English. So, if you don’t understand the announcement don’t panic – it will cycle back around to English again.
  • ➤ Be aware of how cold it can be in the winter. In the prairie provinces, it is not uncommon for the temperature to dip down to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) during the depths of winter. Dress appropriately and don’t plan to spend long hours outdoors.
  • ➤ Speaking of what to wear, layers is the best option when travelling to Canada. You can adjust to your comfort when walking outside or entering a building. Also, don’t forget a scarf, gloves and a hat (known locally as a toque).
  • ➤ The tipping culture in Canada is similar to that of the USA. Generally, the accepted range is between 15-20% of the final bill.
  • ➤ When you visit Canada you’ll notice right away that there is a federal sales tax added to all goods and services. Plus, in addition to this many of the provinces have their own tax. So, keep this in mind if your bill comes to more than you were expecting – even when shopping in a store.
  • ➤ Canada is a huge country and the distances between destinations are vast. Be realistic about how much you can cover during your trip. For example, don’t plan to visit Vancouver one day and then Calgary the next. There is over 10 hours of driving in between these two cities (even though they look relatively close on a map!)
  • ➤ If you are not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need an Electronic Travel Authorization if you are visiting Canada by air. It costs $7 and is valid for five years.
  • travel to canada

    Entering Canada: Travel to Canada from the US

    Wondering what you need to know about US citizen travel to Canada?

    If you are visiting Canada from the United States, you’ll definitely need to bring your passport to cross the border – or a “passport equivalent.” This can be an enhanced driver’s licence, or a NEXUS card. Ever since 9/11, visitors from the USA are no longer allowed to cross the border into Canada with a simple driver’s license.

    A tourist visa is not required for stays under 180 days. Children under the age of 16 may only need to present proof of U.S. citizenship – which can be a birth certificate.

    It’s also important to know what you can bring with you when you cross the border. For example, if you have proper documentation you can bring your pet with you. However, you should never take fresh fruit with you across the border, and there are limits on how much liquor and cigarettes you can bring.

    The good news is that your US driving license is still valid when you cross the border into Canada. However, be aware that the speed limits will be displayed in kilometers, not miles. So, figure out the conversion rate and don’t drive too fast!

    Some towns on the border will accept American dollars. However, you’ll want to change your money into Canadian currency as soon as you can. Also, keep an eye on your mobile phone settings. Your U.S. cellphone will work in Canada, but your carrier may apply roaming charges that can really add up quickly.

    It’s also important to know that although Canada has a wonderful universal healthcare system – it’s only for Canadians. As a visitor, you’ll want to get travel insurance coverage in case you hurt yourself or become ill during your stay. (That is, unless your U.S. health provider covers you outside of the USA.)

    Any questions about visiting Canada?

    If you’re going to Canada, feel free to reach out to us and ask any questions you might have about what to expect. Also, if you’re coming to Toronto, check out our furnished suites – ideal for families or couples who want the comforts of home plus a convenient location in the heart of the city.

    Vacation Travel

    Best Vacation Spots for Couples

    November 22, 2019

    When is the last time you went on an adventure with your partner? 

    If you’ve been together for a while, you may have fallen back into a pattern of Netflix binges and takeout on the weekends. It’s nice to be cosy and comfortable – but traveling somewhere new with your special someone can bring a thrill and excitement back into your relationship. So, why not consider a getaway to one of these great vacation spots for couples? 

    It doesn’t even have to be Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or any type of special occasion. It can be wonderful to travel with your sweetheart just because.  

    When you’re looking for ideas for your next couples vacation, these are some of the best romantic spots where you can spend some time with your special someone: 

    Vacation Ideas for Couples

    Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio, USA

    If you and your beloved are the type of people who enjoy hikes out in nature, you’ll fall in love with the waterfalls, cliffs and dense forests of the 
    Hocking Hills region of Ohio. Located 50 minutes away from Columbus, it feels peaceful and serene. Although it’s incredibly beautiful, it’s not as crowded as some of the other national parks. So, there’s a good chance you’ll have the hiking trails to yourself (especially if you visit during the shoulder season.)

    Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

    In the desert town of Scottsdale, a romantic getaway will be packed with days at the spa, wine tastings, great cuisine, hikes in the hills. Perhaps you’ll even enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the Superstition Mountains. This sunny spot, with luxurious resorts and golf courses, is one of the most popular best vacations for couples. Make sure to bring your sunscreen – it’s warm and sunny throughout the year here. 

    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

    There’s a reason why Niagara Falls is so popular as a honeymoon destination – attracting millions of couples from around the world. First of all, there’s the spectacular natural wonder of the falls, which will truly take your breath away. Plus, there’s the nearby Niagara wine region, where you can enjoy a tasting with your special someone. With several great restaurants, hotels with couples packages and so much more – it’s a great option for a romantic getaway. (Plus, it’s quite 
    easy to get to from Toronto.)

    Savannah, Georgia, USA

    The oldest city in Georgia, Savannah is known for its romantic elegance and charm. It’s hard not to fall in love when you are surrounded by so much friendly classic Southern charm and beauty. Take a stroll with your special someone through the lush green city squares and parks. Each peaceful park is shaded by huge trees draped in cascading Spanish moss. You can go on a history tour to learn the stories behind the stately mansions and historic homes. Then, treat yourselves to some classic Southern barbeque. 

    Tribune Bay, Hornby Island, British Columbia

    One of the best beach vacations for couples in Western Canada is Hornby Island. This peaceful and naturally beautiful spot is quite far off the beaten track. You have to take two ferries to get there. But, the effort is well worth it if you want to get away from it all with your sweetheart. You can stroll along the stunning white sandy beach at low tide, enjoying the warm summer sunshine. To sunbathe without tan lines, check out the nude beach at Little Tribune Bay on the southern part of the island. 

    vacation spots for couples

    Tips for Planning the Best Couple Vacations

    • Be sure to incorporate things that you and your partner like. The best couples vacations include activities that you enjoy. But, they also include things your partner enjoys and things you can do together. Listen to what your partner wants to do and what’s important to them about the trip. 

    • Also, you’ll want to plan in some personal time on your vacations for couples too – especially if you are traveling together for multiple days. Being together 24/7 can be a lot and you and your partner might need a moment to take a break and recharge. 

    • Try something new. Going outside of your comfort zone can be a fantastic bonding experience. Why not try a new activity – like bungee jumping, a cooking class or horseback riding? 

    • If you can, book your romantic getaway outside of high season. You’ll find better prices and fewer crowds at the popular vacation spots for couples if you can travel in the slower seasons. 

    • Call up the hotel before you arrive. Ask them for a little something special in the room to surprise your partner. Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of champagne, it will be a special moment they will never forget. 

    • Avoid the restaurants packed with tourists and head to the lovely local spots instead. You’ll have a more authentic meal at a better price. 

    vacation spots for couples

    Where will you go on your couples vacations? 

    If you have any other best vacations spots for couples in mind, let us know your suggestions in the comments below.