All posts filed under: Canada

Gifts for Her: Unique Stores for Last Minute Shoppers

The holidays are in full swing and between the office parties and potlucks with friends, it can be hard to allocate solid time for gift shopping!  If you are still looking for a special something for a special someone, I’ve got just the stores for you.   Jonathan + Olivia For: The high fashion gal who loves her sleek all black outfits with badass ankle boots and structured leather bags Where: 49 Ossington Aveunue On Sales? YES! If your girl is into high fashion, this is the place to be.  Think of this store as a condensed Holt Renfrew (focusing on black and leather pieces) with a healthy variety of designers like Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant. COS For: The minimalist girl who rocks the shapeless look and loves solids and structured pieces Where: 85 Bloor Street West A Swedish clothing label that has recently planted a flagship in the heart of Yorkville amongst a sea of other high fashion and trendy retail stores.  I first encountered COS in Berlin and fell in …

Cheap and Cheerful – Ideas for getting out of the City during the Holidays

Everyone can appreciate a breather from the daily grind during the Holidays when stress levels can run high.  If booking expensive flights and hotels during the holidays is not your cup of tea, here are some ideas for having fun in and around Toronto without breaking the bank. Montreal City A 6 hour drive East of 6ix, Montreal is a Toronto road trip favorite and there’s plenty of reason why you should consider crossing over to Quebec to join in some winter favorites. Enjoy a culinary experience at the Nordic Terrace under a yurt! Let the Foodlab grace your senses with a eclectic blend of digital and nomadic traditions. Sample smoked fish, grog, hot wine, cheese and more!  December-February : Tuesday to Friday – 5pm to 10pm Ready to get your party on?  Buckle up and join one of the biggest winter music sensations – Igloofest!  This outdoor festival runs from January 16 – Feb 8, 2015.  Get your tickets here. Montreal has a great selection of bars.  Check out favorites like Loïc, Datcha and Chez Dallaire  …

10 Fun Things to do in November [Toronto]

Now that I am back in Toronto, it’s hit me that there are an overwhelming amount of events, concerts, and activities to do in the city. I looked into what was happening in the month of November and thought I’d share some interesting ones with my readers. Concerts/Shows/Exhibits The Weeknd Scarborough born multi-platinum selling artist returns home with The Madness Fall Tour. Nov 3 – 5 at the Air Canada Center Buy Tickets Sleeping Beauty on Ice Watch elegant skaters dance to the classic fairytale on ice Nov 20 – 21 at the Sony Center for the Performing Arts Buy Tickets Calvacade of Lights Bundle up and head outside to watch fireworks, the lighting of the Christmas Tree and free performances Nov 28 at Nathan Philips Square More Info Andy Warhol Revisited A Toronto Warhol exhibition of iconic paintings and prints opening Canada Day.  The exhibition includes over 120 works from Revolver Gallery. Tues – Sun 10am – 8pm Buy Tickets Getting into the Spirit Santa Clause Parade Gather in the heart of Toronto to watch the …

Canadian Rockies: The Ultimate Road Trip [Part 2]

Part 2 of Kittie and Samiha’s Rockies experience in Canada!  Here’s Part 1 in case you missed it. Rockies Heli Canada We also made a stop and did a helicopter ride over the mountains with Rockies Heli Canada! It was a 20-minute ride called the “6 Glaciers Tour” and was simply breathtaking. The views were incredible and it feels completely different when you’re up at over 9,000 ft! We flew over 6 different glaciers and through the valleys, but also over the Cline River. The road you see below there is the David Thompson Hwy, which is another incredible drive that takes you to Edmonton, instead of Banff. Off the David Thompson Hwy and along the Cline River, we stopped near the Kootenay Plains and had a little picnic. It was the perfect spot and gave us a moment to sit, relax and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Banff Banff is home to the famous Lake Louise, but rarely do people talk about Moraine Lake, which is just a few minutes drive away. Both are beautiful …

Canadian Rockies: The Ultimate Road Trip [Part 1]

Today I have a special guest post from fellow Excapers Kittie and Samiha!  If you enjoyed my previous post on my Yosemite trip, you’ll love what these two travelers have in store for you on their Rockies experience! Living in Canada, we’ve all heard about the Rockies, but few of us rarely get the chance to see them in person. Until you’re there, you wouldn’t believe the grandeur of it all. You feel like a tiny speck in the universe against the backdrops of these gorgeous and majestic mountains. We took the ultimate road trip through the towering mountains of British Columbia and Alberta, accumulating in: +2,500 km (+32 hrs) of driving, 8 cup noodles, 1 heli-tour, 0 grizzly bears, 10 lakes and probably over 100 mountains. Squamish & Whistler Our first stop was driving up through the popular Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish and Whistler, BC to visit the Sea-to-Sky Gondola and Whistler Village’s PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. It was a test of acrophobia (fear of heights) that day, but the views were definitely worth every bit! …

Quebec City – Canada’s own Paris

As I was preparing to recap my recent weekend trip to Quebec City, I stumbled upon Huffington Post’s recent article entitled “Quebec City: A Closer Pick Than Paris.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Although not nearly not the same scale as the capital of France, Quebec City has its own unique charm and is much cleaner than it’s European counterpart.  It offers some spectacular views of the St.Lawrence river and a taste of it’s French roots in Old Quebec. I literally felt like I wasn’t in Canada anymore.  We were welcomed with stunning views after a short walk up from the Plains of Abraham where Britain won its battle over France.   The European style architecture adds such character to the city, especially the iconic Chateau Frontenac which was previously the residence of British Colonial Governors and now converted into a grand Fairmont Hotel and currently a National Historical site in Canada. You can take a scenic ferry ride across the St. Lawrence river to capture the beautiful skyline with the Frontenac for just a few …

Toronto Summerlicious – Sassafraz Review

Toronto hosts two very popular culinary events annually – Summerlicous & Winterlicuous.  Restaurants across the GTA participate by offering a 3-course prix fix meal to encourage diners to try out new cuisines and get a taste of the culinary talent in the T.O. Usually I’d end up going to about 3 restaurants on average but because I’m spending this summer in Ottawa, I was lucky enough to sneak in one meal.  I dined at Sassafraz with my family for lunch – an upscale French inspired restaurant in the heart of Yorkville.  Click here to see their $28 lunch and $45 menu. The service in Sassafraz is very good.  The waitors are attentive and are there when you need them, and out of sight when you don’t.  They provide fresh, warm bread and generously re-fill throughout the meal. For the Appetizer, I had the Bay Scallops with new potato, chorizo, and sumac roasted cauliflower.  I was a little disappointed at the size of the scallops, I’m not a fan of these tiny ones at all.  The chorizo …

Ottawa Photo Diary 2

Summer in Ottawa is a great time to just roam around discover new neighborhoods and good eats.  Ottawa also does a very good job of keeping their public gardens and trees very well groomed.  I love jogging the canal and just taking in the scenic views. Fraser Cafe – A neat little cafe featuring fresh produce.  I had their Cobb Salad and it was actually so good!  They added small twists of flavor from pickled radishes and crispy chips on top and a light dressing which complimented the crumbles of blue cheese very well.  Great place for a light, healthy meal. I’m quite a fan of LavAzza coffee, their beans produce a really good strong brew and I love using it for making espresso.  They have a cute little cafe on Lansdowne which also serves gelato and some prepared foods.  Iced Americano is my go-to summer caffinated drink and LavAzza makes a really one – none of that watered down crap. Took a stroll down to Victoria Island to check out the views there.  Nothing special …

Summer in the Capital

Surprisingly, there is a lot of events happening in Ottawa in the summer.  Almost anything you’d normally find in Toronto, there’s something similar (granted, on a smaller scale).  Although, there is one thing that Toronto is lacking – Nordstrom.  I’ve found some great deals on their summer and anniversary sale.  Their built in restaurant, Bazille, is actually a great spot to dine after a good shopping haul.  They have a lovely patio area, delicious food, and great service.  Bonus: the menu is very affordable so you don’t have to choose between that pair of sunglasses or a satisfying dining experience. I like to stick in scenic shots of my jogging routes in all my Ottawa related posts because… I mean, look how soothing this is. Bluesfest – another huge event in Ottawa that runs multiple weeks with dozens of artists coming to perform including the likes of Keith Urban and Hedley and many more in between.  I had the pleasure of attending courtesy of my company.  We had a gorgeous two tiered booth with an open …

Ottawa First Impressions

Although just four hours away from Toronto, my move to Ottawa was not an easy one.  There is a  very noticeable distinction in culture and way of life in the Capital.  My initial impressions of the city is how quiet and slower it is compared to Toronto.  People simply move at their own pace and there is rarely a sense of urgency.  Downtown Ottawa consists mostly of government buildings and everyone disperses after work hours, leaving the premise pretty deserted for the most part.  However, there are some gems that I’ve uncovered so far. The Parliament buildings are always a sight to behold.  The mixture of old and new architecture in Ottawa brings character into the city.  And the canal and bridges are lovely and peaceful to stroll across. The Annual Tulip Festival is held in Ottawa which stems from Princess Juliana’s token of gratitude for her stay in Canada while in exile.  10,000 tulips are gifted each year and attracts upwards of 500,000 tourists. I was shocked at how many exotic breeds of Tulips …