TORONTO BUZZ ALERT


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CANADA BLOOMS

Canada Blooms opens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 14 to 23, 2014. Canada Blooms is an annual world-class garden festival in its 18th year. Canada Blooms at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto (CNE Exhibition grounds near the waterfront in the west end of the city) highlights professional landscape, garden architects, designers, builders, feature gardens, chances to win flowers, and lecture events with the theme of “Go Wild at Canada Blooms.”   If you have ever wanted to learn about native plants, you’ll get the latest information at Canada Blooms.  “Our floral and garden designers will go WILD this year to create acres of fantasy gardens that will capture the imagination,” says Colomba Fuller from Canada Blooms.  www.canadablooms.com

Redpath Waterfront   

 http://towaterfrontfest.com/2014 Flyboard!   This is going to be Wet and Wild in Toronto

Cycle For Sight in Toronto June 21, 2014!   http://www.cycleforsight.ca/toronto.html   Cherie DeLory is a top fundraiser and rider in the cycle for sight Toronto event.  Please donate to support her 2014 cycle efforts.

Looking for hotel accommodation? The Toronto Centre Intercontinental hotel is Canada Blooms exclusive and official hotel for Canada Blooms.  Check out the special rates.   http://www.torontocentre.intercontinental.com/   http://canadablooms.com/getting-here/hotel-intercontinental-toronto-centre/

Smoothwater of Temagami

Smoothwater of Temagami

Live in or visiting the city of Toronto and want to venture north into a winter wonderland?  Check out Smoothwater of Temagami on James Lake. Smoothwater Eco Lodge is a year-round intimate lodge that can accommodate  up to 35 guests, offering guided and unguided Cross-Country ski trails (45-km of X-Country trails) and snoweshoe trails.  The sauna comes in handy after a day on the trails. Smoothwater also offers art, culinary, photography, music, and yoga programmes. Intimate wedding receptions and honeymoon accommodation available.

What Smoothwater has to say:

Explore Smoothwater Wilderness Trails Over 45 km of wilderness trails await you from your door — after a good breakfast of course. Some say (and we agree), these are the some of the best cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails in the world. No recreational snowmobiles are allowed and no motor boats allowed on James Lake. Pure and simple peace and quiet and a place to uncoil  and smooth out the mind, body and soul.

Some private rooms with full bathroom allow for doggies. Your pet will just love his/her own doggie bed and bowl. The lodge accommodates up to 35 people.  Small weddings are arranged at Smoothwater.

Want to rough it in the snow out back the lodge?  Just pitch your tent and use Smoothwater’s bathroom amenities.  Very low cost winter adventure.

Meals lean towards organic and locally sourced ingredients and are home-made —  taste like the best healthy-for-you  cuisine you’ve ever encountered.  1-888-569-4539   http://www.smoothwater.com/html/about.php

FREE NOON CONCERTS: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street west.  Canadian Opera Company, Piano Virtuoso Series: The Colours of Passion.  Works by Rachmaninov, de Falla, Prokofiev and Messiaen.  Mehdi Ghazi, piano. Noon concert held in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  Info. 416-363-8231. Check their website for current music events. Location: Queen and University streets area.

FREE organ concerts at St. James’s Cathedral, Toronto. Sunday 4:PM. & Tuesday 1:PM.  Visit  St. James’s website for exact dates and details for events and church services as well as additional special events.  65 Church Street, Toronto (Church & King streets, north east corner). TTC gets you here.   http://www.stjamescathedral.on.ca/

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Holiday Swing, December 20, 2013 at Palais Royale.  Free parking, wheelchair accessible, cash bar, dancing, live entertainment, 19+ event. Dress to impress! Purchase tickets: 416-533-3553  extension #22

I’ve music on my mind.  http://www.youtube.com/embed/Gw8P8L1LfDM?rel=0

Be a Big Fish

Toronto hotel, InterContinental Toronto Centre (Front and just west of Simcoe streets. One block walk to Ripley’s Aquarium).

To celebrate the opening of the neighbouring, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, InterContinental Toronto Centre will be making a tiny splash of its own with a welcoming pet fish in a bowl amenity — appropriately called ”Ripples” – to guests enjoying the “Be a Big Fish at InterContinental Toronto Centre” fall package, starting Monday October 21.   Local telephone:  416-597-8139  Reservations: Toll Free Worldwide:  1-800-327-0200  Canada/US:  1-800-422-7969  http://www.torontocentre.intercontinental.com/

Be a Big Fish at InterContinental Toronto Centre” Package starting from $399 per night plus taxes:

* Overnight accommodation in a King Feature Room for two adults or Double Feature Room for up to two adults and two children under 18 years old.
* Two anytime adult entrance tickets at Ripley’s http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/  (Additional entrance tickets are available for purchase at the hotel’s concierge desk or Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and children under three  years old enter free).
* $100 Spending Voucher at Azure Restaurant & Bar or Spa InterContinental.
* Pet fish in a bowl for guest room or to take home.   Local telephone:  416-597-8139  Reservations: Toll Free Worldwide:  1-800-327-0200  Canada/US:  1-800-422-7969  http://www.torontocentre.intercontinental.com/
For guests who wish to take Ripples home, the InterContinental Toronto Centre hotel in downtown Toronto will thoughtfully provide a special container and fish accoutrements – travel container, water conditioner, fish food and protective wrap for the fish bowl, all thoughtfully at-the-ready for safe travels. Leah Neal, Senior Aquarist, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has provided guests simple take-away care instructions. To share the “guppy love”, the InterContinental Toronto Centre has partnered up with the Education and Sustainability Department of Ripley’s Aquarium in a pet fish gifting program in which guests can donate their fish to Toronto schools as classroom pets.  225 Front Street, West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Local telephone:  416-597-8139  Reservations: Toll Free Worldwide:  1-800-327-0200  Canada/US:  1-800-422-7969  http://www.torontocentre.intercontinental.com/

ANIMAL STORIES at the Gardiner Museum (across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum)

Toronto: October 10, 2013 to january 12, 2014 the Gardiner Museum (111 Queen’s Park)  celebrates friends, foes, fables and fantasy created in clay. Meet Peter Rabbit, Jumbo the elephant, Clara the rhinoceros, and a menagerie of colourful animals in a family-friendly exhibition!  Fun for the entire family. Presenting sponsor: Lindy Barrow. Family Days: Every Sunday 11 am – 4 pm. Free with Admission.   Guided tours daily at 2: P.M.  Children 12-years-old and under get free admission to the Gardiner Museum when accompanied by an adult with paid admission.  www.gardinermuseum.com

The Royal Ontario Museum

The Forbidden City from Saturday, March 8 to Monday,  September 1, 2014

While China’s last emperors called it home, their subjects called it The Forbidden City. Tales of China’s last emperors living within the Forbidden City compound have captivated us for centuries. The ROM’s exploration of life inside this mysterious enclave, the world’s largest imperial palace, uses many creative devices to summon up the Palace’s great halls, courtyards, terraces and roofs. Before visitors even enter the Forbidden City exhibition, they will preview the massive architectural complex of the Emperors’ heavenly palace on earth. The Forbidden City from Saturday, March 8 to Monday,  September 1, 2014 in the Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall on Level B2 of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. (info supplied by ROM media.)

http://ebw.evergreen.ca/  Learn to skate at Toronto’s famous Brickworks. Saturdays & Sundays January 4–February 23, 2014

Children learn the basics of skating, while building their skills and confidence in the crisp outdoors! Skating lessons are offered Saturday and Sunday mornings on the Brickworks’ outdoor Ice Skating Trail. 8 lessons per session. Restaurant, cafe, gift shop, garden centre, outdoor ponds and walking trails…and more!

House of Tea (near Rosedale subway station). Try the X’Mas blend to secent the house with Holiday cheer and for a delish cup of tea. www.houseoftea.ca

November 14 – 17, 2013 Gourmet Food and Wine Show. Annual event in Toronto.

http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/sitepages/

Join the Square Dancing Competition

Interested in competing in the Royal’s Square Dancing competition held in Toronto? Contact the Agriculture Show Office at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for more information:  Agricultural Show Office phone: 416-263-3418 fax: 416-263-3468 or email:  agriculture@royalfair.org   Sunday Nov. 10th, 2013.

ZONED COMIC CONTEST

Here’s your chance to write a comic book story and have it published by Marvel!  Contest still open for a limited time after the fair closes.   www.greenzonemovement.com/contest   You heard it first here! Isn’t the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair fabulous! You never know what you’ll learn.

If you love celebrity chefs and food, check out Bob Blumber at the Royal Culinary Theatre and many more chefs and food samples. Check out the Royal Vineyard & Brewhouse for a sample of your fav beer or wine or sample a new brew! You’ll find the this meeting spot near the Royal Culinary Theatre/Heritage Court (west end of the Direct Energy building).
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Admission to the Royal Agricultural Fair offers a lot of bang for the buck!  Check out the free samples at Hydro One; VitaLife; Canola Oil (in the food education section) and SRC PLUS booth. Kids love the free rides, too!
You needn’t travel to London, England for the best in riding equipment or riding outfits whether for personal use or professional use. Check out the Greenhawk store at the Royal Agricultural Fair, Direct Energy building.  Fashion at the Fair is always top notch. Need a water proof winter coat? The “Fair” has many fashion booths from which to choose the perfect coat, boot, hat and other equestrian-inspired items.
Fri, November 1, 2013.  (Final: Round Two – Saturday Nov 2, 2013)     See the top Canadian Riders compete for the title of Canadian Show Jumping Champion and a share of the $75,000 purse!
Opening weekend:  Ontario Toyota Dealers Royal Rodeo, Sunday, November 3, 2013 - Bull riding, bronc riding and barrel racing are just a few of the highlights of this exciting afternoon. The much loved star of CBC’s Heartland, Amber Marshall returns to host the Rodeo. Many more Horse Show events. Check for show/event details here:   www.royalfair.org
Kids love the rides (near President's Choice Animal Theatre/Exhibit Hall D/Direct Energy Buidling).

Kids love the rides (near President’s Choice Animal Theatre/Exhibit Hall D/Direct Energy Buidling).

A small section of the 48 Highlanders at The Royal Horse Show in the Ricoh coliseum/Heritage Court  (west end of Direct Energy building)

A small section of the 48 Highlanders at The Royal Horse Show in the Ricoh coliseum/Heritage Court (west end of Direct Energy building)

Just one of the jumps a horse and rider jump at The Royal Horse Show.

Just one of the jumps a horse and rider jump over at The Royal Horse Show.

Guy McLean, Australian horse-whisperer, performs November 1-3 in the Royal Horse Show as well as the President’s Choice Animal Theatre  Monday November 4, 2013 at the 91st Royal Agricultural Winter Fair,  November 1 - 10 at the Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, Ontario.  www.GuyMcLeanUSATour.com  www.royalfair.org

Weekday matinee performances in the horse show are FREE with general admission to the Fair, as is Sunday November 10th. Thursday evening’s performance offers a double-bill featuring International show jumping as well as the $20,000 Royal Invitational Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle to Music competition.

Guy McLean: world renowned Australian horseman and bush poet. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair /2013

Guy McLean: world renowned Australian horseman and bush poet. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair /2013

Elizabeth Gilbert , author of Eat, Pray, Love, visits Toronto to celebrate her latest book

#1 New York Times bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, gets all serious and insightful about her past, present and future; and, most of all, shares with the audience ideas for her next book during the August 15th 2013  The Signature of All Things pre-release book launch held at Victoria College in the chapel. You would have snagged a seat and an advance copy of The Signature of All Things had you checked with Penguin Canada twitter account: it pays to tweet!

ELIZABETH GILBERT, author of EAT, PRAY,LOVE

ELIZABETH GILBERT, author of EAT, PRAY,LOVE

2nd Annual Canadian Italian Open golf gala. Register by August 15, 2013 for a chance to be entered in a draw for a week all Inclusive Package* for two, generously sponsored by CIT Tours, at the Barcelo Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic for February 2014! Register today for the Lionhead Golf & Country Club gala event held Tuesday September 17th, 2013 in Mississauga, Ontario (near Toronto).

Otherwise, get a hole-in-one on September 17th and win $1,000,000.00 from the Gene Giordano
Private Wealth Team at
ScotiaMcLeod 
Tickets:
416-789-7169 x. 28 or
Diana Panacci at
416-782-4445

The ICCO is proud to present the launch on November 4, 2013 of its latest publication:

Buon Appetito Toronto!

The Impact of Italian Food on the City

Contact Elena Dell’Osbel at dellosbel@italchambers.ca, 416-789-7169 x.28 for information on “Buon Appetito Toronto!

“The ICCO is delighted to announce this new initiative, which consists of a collection of interviews with restaurateurs, chefs and food importers; columns telling the stories of Italian eateries, Espresso bars and food boutiques; and fun culinary aphorisms. The book will provide an overview of how Italian people, dishes and places have become icons of the culinary culture and transformed the scenery of the restaurants and food business in the city.”  - Corrado Paina, Executive Director, Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario.

Blood & Beauty by Sarah Dunant

Blood & Beauty by Sarah Dunant

Love the food and history of Italy?  Check out Sarah Dunant’s latest bestseller published by HarperCollins: Blood & Beauty. Dunant’s book is set in ancient Rome, Italy.  Facebook:  /HARPERCOLLINSCANADA  Twitter:  @HARPERCOLLINSCA  @SAVVYREADER

Are you ready for Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” Toronto aquarium near CN Tower.  http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/  Read the book A Curious Man: the strange and brilliant life of Robert Ripley by Neal Thompson. www.crownpublishing.com

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.  New and spectacular!  Making a splash in the heart of downtown Toronto at the foot of the CN Tower, Toronto.   RipleysAquariumOfCanada.com   Believe It! (April 18, 1906 California earthquake.) Millions of gallons of wine, stored in casks in warehouses, ruptured and spilled, turning Santa Rosa’s streets into red rivers of wine, whose bouquet attracted the discerning noses of farm animals. Residents soon found drunken pigs and dogs staggering in the streets. Read the book:  A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley by Neal Thompson. www.crownpublishing.com

The IRIS app begins June 1, 2013 and ends at the end of summer 2013. Hurry! Get the FREE app.

“Using transit shelter locations and IRIS Augmented Reality, CN Tower delivers a taste of the thrills that await visitors”, says Debbie Drutz, Director, Media, Markets & Innovation at Astral OOH. “With a simple point of the IRIS app from a mobile device, to the transit shelter poster, you find yourself at the top of the Tower peering over the infamous EdgeWalk and viewing a 360 degree pan of the entire cityscape.”  While in the app, users also have the option to take pictures of the view they see and either add it to their camera roll, email it to a friend or share it socially on Facebook.

http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/

Checking out the fab cafes, health food stores, Tim Horton’s, flower shop and organic butcher shop on Parliament Street  (couple of blocks east of the old Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton and Church streets)  just about bumped into a couple of Beauty and the Beast film stars. Yeah, maybe it was my fault. What a gal will do for a bit of star dust.

http://bit.ly/ZpZck0

Holmes Makes It Right with Randy  Backman.  Check out his song: “…the roof is leakn’ the basement is sinkn’…”    http://youtu.be/HXY0ImSg72Q  Mike’s new episode: Labour of Love @ 9pm ET on HGTV  www.makeitright.ca

Toronto Zoo

Giant Pandas from China arrive to Toronto’s zoo.  March 25, 2013

As part of a long-term conservation partnership agreement between China and Canada, signed by Hu Jintao, President of China and Mr. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, China will loan two giant pandas to zoos in Canada. The good news is that Toronto Zoo will be home to the breeding pair for a minimum of five years, beginning in the spring of 2013. The pandas will then relocate to the Calgary Zoo sometime in 2018. If the breeding is successful while the pair are at the Toronto Zoo, the pandas and offspring would remain in Toronto until such time it is approved to move them. The Giant Pandas arrive by FedEx to Toronto March 25, 2013.  www.torontozoo.com

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Okay, so I’m walking casually along King Street  just a stone’s throw west of Bay Street and I see a really cool-looking outdoor patio.  Turns out the place is Earl’s Restaurant where there is a steak bonanza going on in the month of May.  Elegant outdoor patio. Casual elegance indoors with swanky cocktail bar.  Great views of King Street.  www.earls.ca

Palais Royale 

Faith, Hope and Charity Luncheons. See you on Toronto’s waterfront (spectacular views!) Wednesdays at noon.  $15.00 buffet and know that you are helping all of our charities!  Palais Royale, 1601 Lake Shore Blvd. West,  Toronto, Ontario. M6K 3C1.   416-533-3553 x 22  www.palaisroyale.ca     For more information on the Faith, Hope and Charity Luncheons please go to http://www.palaisroyale.ca/toronto-events/public-events-in-toronto 
 

Name Calling!  Yup… www.theaircanadacentre.com  loves to do it and sometimes twice.  RIHANNA, second show announced for March 19, 2013.  Bon Jovi, second show announced for Feb. 18, 2013.  Performers who have headlined at The Air Canada Centre:   Lady Gaga; Pink; Carrie Underwood; Katy Perry; Glee in Concert; Barbra Streisand; The Who; One Direction; Bryan Adams; Madonna; Lenard Cohen; Cirque Du Soleil; Avril Lavigne; Peter Gabriel; Britney Spears; Aerosmith and a whole lot more at The Air Canada Centre at Maple Leaf Square.  Hungry after a performance…try ARIA RISTORANTE at 25 York Street in Maple Leaf Square…around the corner from The Air Canada Centre  http://ariaristorante.ca  or the biggest TV sports screen in Canada — two-stories high.  http://www.realsports.ca/bar

ARIA RISTORANTE, 25 York St.

Toronto is in the midst of a building boom for all structures heading skyward. The new Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville is creating quite a stir and not only in the dbar cocktail lounge. If you like getting stared at…pull up a chair here.  “It” Factor:  New York-style street views & soaring ceilings.  All the immediate landscape needs now is a very, very high-end shoe shop. Check out this skyscraper (55-stories –  meek by Toronto standards) soon. Keep your eye tuned for Café Boulud. www.fourseasons.com/toronto 60 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4W 0A4 CANADA  Telephone 416-964-0411 FAX: 416-964-2301

At the other end of town in the financial district you’ll find the Trump Hotel at 325 Bay Street (just north of King Street on the east side of Bay Street) at 65-stories. Stock is Trump’s 31st-floor restaurant.  The swanky cocktail lounge is street level and very busy with dollar-sign for eyes and ears Bay Streeters.  www.trumphotelcollection.com/toronto

One of the widest streets in the city boasts a flower-lined streetscape and the recently opened Shangri-La hotel/condo at 188 University Avenue soaring to  214 m (65-stories) designed by  James K. M. Cheng, architect. Tour groups always mention the unique  immense sculpture at the exterior of the hotel. Art Deco-style 1930s cocktails and just about anything else you desire to help soak up the rarified atmosphere. I’m going to check out their sake menu. Japanese kaiseki cuisine in Bosk restaurant.

Here is a boutique hotel worth its title. Le Germain is tucked away on a Toronto side street in the live theatre and sports areas of the city; but, do not let this boutique hotel sidestep you into thinking Le Germain on Mercer Street offers anything less than excellent.  The hotel is within walking distance of the financial district, the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower and the Convention Centre, Toronto’s best theatres, boutiques and restaurants.  David Chrystian, Executive Chef, was recognized by The National Post as one of Toronto’s top 10 chefs. See Chrystian in action at Victor Restaurant.  Le Germain has hotels in Quebec City and Montreal.  http://www.germaintoronto.com/en/home

Toronto vs Montreal  –   http://bmofield.com/

Indulge in wines from Veneto, Italy and Puglia, Italy

Indulge in wines from Veneto, Italy and Puglia, Italy

Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibition at the  Royal Ontario Museum.     www.rom.on.ca   Biggest show in town.  http://www.rom.on.ca/dinos/channel/videos.php  ROM: 100 Queen’s Park Toronto (Bloor street & Avenue Road. Walk a couple of streets west of Yonge & Bloor streets), Ontario   M5S 2C6.  Contact:  Telephone: 416.586.8000 Bell Relay Service : 711 info@rom.on.ca

A little bite of Toronto:

If you arrive in the city of Toronto by train at Union Station  http://www.viarail.ca/, you’ll be in the hub of things for a great time in the city.  Take care of business en route using VIA’s wireless Internet service.  (note:  road construction in the area of Union Station).   Across from the train station (Union Station) at Toronto is the Fairmont Royal York Hotel http://www.fairmont.com/. There is an underground connection to the hotel from Union Station.

If you are already outside and want to see the lakefront, walk south on Bay Street (Bay St. runs from north to south) from the Fairmont Royal York hotel or Union Station to Harbourfront http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/where entertainment/cultural public events take place lakeside –  many are free. Check out the canoe and larger boat rentals/lessons near HTO park.  Many restaurants are in this area as well as public transportation (look for the red TTC signs for streetcar and bus travel. Also some streets closed for repairs. Inquire at the TTC website.).  There are vintage ferryboats to the Toronto Islands at the foot of Bay Street south www.toronto.ca/parks/islands.

A few blocks east of the Fairmont Royal York is the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum http://www.hhof.com/  at 30 Yonge Street at Front Street.   Another time honoured attraction in Toronto takes place in the fall in the west end of the city at the waterfront. Canada’s largest annual fair, the Canadian National Exhibition http://www.theex.com/, has over a 130-year history and attracts approximately 1.25 million visitors over 18 days; it’s home to the first urban wind turbine in North America and host to the Canadian International Air Show for three days showcasing The Snowbirds flying precision aerobatics over Lake Ontario.  2013 sees a new and very big ride. The CNE begins the third week in August.

Of course a visit to Toronto’s CN Tower is a Must-Do.  Face the Edge is the newest high adrenalin activity at the CN Tower. Hang from 356m above Toronto and live to tell the tale.  It was a mega helicopter Sikorsky Skyrane that put the icing on the CN Tower cake as it were. In the spring of 1975 Erickson Air-Crane put the communications antenna on top of the CN Tower.   553.4 metres (1,815 feet, 6 inches.  http://www.cntower.ca/Intro.html

East of Harbourfront (about ten minutes by car (city buses get you there, too), is the hip & chic historic Distillery district http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/ for artisan bread, organic coffee and sandwiches, up and coming fashion designers, world-class art exhibits and openings, live demonstrations, ice cream and flower shops, oyster and beer pubs, and jazz festivals. The Distillery district is used by film production companies for period location filming due to the 100+years buildings.

If you enjoy world-class opera http://www.coc.ca/ the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Artsa spectacular glass-enclosed building on the corners of Queen & University Streets at 145 Queen Street west (Toronto City Hall is just east of the Four Seasons Centre)–is about a ten-minute cab ride from Harbourfront and closer still if you begin at the Fairmont Royal York.  The new opera centre opened in Toronto just a few years’ ago and is regularly 99% sold out for major performances. On site there is a last minute ticket booth, so you may get lucky on a whim.  There is also direct walking access to the Four Seasons Centre from the subway station at St. Andrew station at Queen Street West.   http://www3.ttc.ca/Subway/Stations/St_Andrew/station.jsp

Shopping at Hudson’s Bay Company http://www.hbc.com/ department store, where just about everything under the sun is available, including Official Canadian Olympic Games merchandise, is well worth a visit to the Queen & Yonge Streets location, just east of the opera facility. There are additional store locations throughout the city. On Queen Street east you’ll also be near City Hall http://www.toronto.ca/ at Queen & Bay Streets where many free events are held outdoors. In winter the pond is converted to an outdoor skating rink.

Need something to eat in a hurry and want to use a credit card? Just take one of the elevators in The Bay to one of the restaurants (some are licenced for liquor/beer). There is a designer Food Court at basement level. The TTC subway directly links at Queen and Yonge Streets to The Bay’s basement level. I buy presents at this location due to the fine culinary selections and equipment. It’s not Harrods by a long shot but quite suitable and very tidy. Don’t forget to check out the Christmas windows at Hudson’s Bay Company, Queen Street location. This is an annual window-shopping event.  The decorations and holiday displays are remarkable.  Hats off to the window display people!

Earls.ca 150 King Street West, Toronto

Earls.ca 150 King Street West, Toronto

Okay, so where to eat and sleep if you’re not into grand hotels of the century and still want to be near great shopping, theatre and dining?

Hoof it over to some of Toronto’s excellent boutique hotel locations.  Hotel Le Germain http://www.germaintoronto.com/, a contemporary-style boutique hotel in the King Street & University Avenue theatre district, won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007.  You’ll be within easy walking distance to the CN Tower http://www.cntower.ca/, Union Station, and the Rogers Centre http://www.www.rogerscentre/ , with its retractable Dome roof and major league baseball, continue to be great meeting spots and tourist attractions. What I most enjoyed about Le Germain was the main dining room, Chez Victor http://www.victorrestaurant.com/ , presided over by executive chef David Chrystian. Check out the complementary wine tasting events on the rooftop vineyard terrace given by Chez Victor’s certified sommelier. Hotel Le Germain has other locations including Montreal and Old-Quebec city in the province of Quebec, Canada.

Actually there are so many interesting places to eat at in Toronto you need a guidebook to set you straight. So go buy one at one of our many small book stores or at a chain store http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/, but if you choose to wing it, instead, give one of my suggestions a try for what I believe will be a grand city adventure in the heart of Toronto: a world within a world for you to explore and savour. We’re a liveable city.  www.citytraveler.com    www.wheretraveler.com We even have a castle!  Casa Loma.   Castle tours, special event buffets in the stunning Casa Loma great library and atrium, garden tours, cafe, gift shop, secret rooms, organ concerts, underground tunnel to grand stables, and special events. www.casaloma.org

Toronto’s  only Castle

Casa Loma / Toronto

Casa Loma / Toronto

Outstanding turkey at Casa Loma's brunch.

Outstanding turkey at Casa Loma’s brunch.

The castle serves ups another wonderful Thanksgiving Day brunch with all the trimings, including a tour of the castle, gardens and horse stables.  Enjoy brunch in the stately elegance of Toronto’s famous Casa Loma.  Desserts are a poem. After brunch, enjoy a self-guided tour of the castle. Full payment required upon booking (credit card or cash payment).  Call Pegasus Hospitality Group at 416-533-1573 or email for reservations. After brunch don’t forget to try the Blushing Geisha and Ty Ku Sampling (a sweet cocktail or shot of the “The All Natural Asian Liqueur made with 20 odd botanicals and fruits to spark your romantic senses”) Orange, Apple & Cranberry Juice, Water, Coffee and Tea included (2012 menu. Check for current menu).  Casa Loma is open year-round. Organ concerts (additional cost and scheduled dates). Lovely outdoor gardens surround Casa Loma and are open for free self-tours. Must-Do: walk beneath the castle grounds to the magestic horse stables at Casa Loma.  Don’t forget to check for current dates/times for Thanksgiving Day brunch. Don’t forget to check out the ghost events at the Castle! Or Christmas Brunch or Dinner at the “Castle.”

FYI

Remember world renowned Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on Carlton Street, just east of Yonge Street?  Want a free skate?   NAME YOUR SEAT! NHL-size rink now located on the third floor of the the redesigned building.  Your name permanently engraved on the seat of your choice in the Toronto landmark. Name a seat in the new Mattamy Home Ice arena at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (Maple Leaf Gardens).   www.ryerson.ca/nameyourseat

Spadina House, Toronto (rebuilt 1835)

The current city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada once was known as York (nicknamed “Muddy York,”), with but a few hundred people in 1804. The year 1834 renamed York (1793 – 1834) to Toronto.  The city had many great houses to its name, one such house was Spadina House with views to Lake Ontario built by the Baldwin family in 1818 in what was considered the country. The estate was approximately 4.4 kilometres to the north of the Baldwin’s city place at Front and Bay Streets. The manor is now owned and operated by the city of Toronto as a museum with original period furnishings.   Spadina Museum’s gardens are part of the VIA Rail Garden Route. Visit www.viarail.ca/garden for more information.    You may be interested to read: A Biography of Robert Baldwin by Michael S. Cross, published in Canada by Oxford University Press.   www.oupcanada.com  Michael S. Cross has published widely on Canadian social, labour, and political history and has written for the Globe & Mail, Books in Canada, and the Canadian Historical Review.  Having taught at Dalhousie University for many years, he now lives in Halifax with his wife Patricia De Meo and their two Cavalier spaniels.

A few good books!

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is available for pre-order at Indigo books. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca

http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/publishers/adult/viking.html

Elizabeth Gilbert author of The Signature of All Things at Victoria College chapel in Toronto

Elizabeth Gilbert author of The Signature of All Things at Victoria College chapel in Toronto

Sarah Dunant was in Toronto a couple of weeks’ ago to talk about her latest book published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Author of the international bestsellers Sacred Hearts, The Birth of Venus and In the Company of the Courtesan, Blood & Beauty takes the reader to a brutal and corrupt world of 15th-century Italy.  Dunant’s Blood & Beauty should make for a wonderful gift for anyone planning a trip to Rome, Italy. If you enjoyed The Godfather, Sarah Dunant will not disappoint her fans with Blood & Beautyhttp://www.rcgs.org/about/fellows/docs/FellowsDinner_JF13.pdf

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Conrad Black, Toronto Reference Library, 2013. Photo copyright May DeLory

Conrad Black, Toronto Reference Library, 2013. Photo copyright May DeLory

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Austin Clarke at Toronto's annual  WORD ON THE STREET literary fair, 2013

Austin Clarke at Toronto’s annual WORD ON THE STREET literary fair, 2013

Want the inside story on how the Victorians wore a corset in the 1850′s?  Today’s stilletos have nothing on women and their vanity.  Check out Ruth Goodman’s latest book entitled: How To Be A Victorian. 2013. 458 pages with extensive index. Hardcover. www.penguin.com

Another book I suggest your reading, especially if you’re interested in a visit to Toronto’s recently opened aquarium located near the CN Tower is Neal Thompson’s  A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Randon House publisher.   405 pages with an excellent index. Hardcover.

www.cntower.ca  301 Front Street West (near the DOME) You can always look up for the tower and the multi-coloured lights at night. EdgeWalk:  416-601-3833 (Monday to Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm)  1-855-553-3833. Dress for the weather!  edgewalkinfo@cntower.ca  www.edgewalkcntower.ca

http://www.sickkidsfoundation.com/home/  Kids are a good cause!

www.salutetovienna.com

www.ontariosciencecentre.ca  770 Don Mills Road (north/east section of Toronto near Eglinton Avenue & Don Mills Rd.).

www.rom.on.ca  Bloor & Avenue Road (couple of blocks west of Yonge & Bloor streets).

www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com

www.torontozoo.com  Highway 401 and Meadowvale Rd. (exit 389) north/east section of Toronto.

www.ttc.ca  public transportation info:  416-393-INFO.

www.fairmont.com  100 Front Street, Toronto, Ontario.  Bee hive on the hotel’s roof for fresh honey used in Afternoon Tea.

www.trumphotelcollection.com 325 Bay Street.

www.windsorarmshotel.com  18 Saint Thomas Street.

www.thedrakehotel.ca 1150 Queen Street West.

www.ritzcarlton.com   181 Wellington Street.

http://www.germaintoronto.com/en/home  30 Mercer Street. (Toronto’s world renowned live theatre district.)

http://www.torontotourism.com/

www.viarail.ca    Take care of business en route using VIA’s wireless Internet service.

www.flyporter.com

www.westjet.com

www.aircanada.com

http://bit.ly/M6nLz9

www.therectorycafe.com

www.royalfair.org

http://travelglossary.wordpress.com/  Cycle routes in Quebec, Canada.

Photos  & Text Copyright © by May DeLory  

Note: Photo of Spadina House is rear view of building showing a small section of garden.

All Rights Reserved.

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