Tag Archives: Canada

NEAR: My Ten Favourite Places to Drink or Have a Cocktail in Toronto

11 Apr

Cold Tea

So lately, I’ve been going out a lot (no, this is not new news if you know me). I guess I’ve been drinking more than usual too. And while I won’t go on about how alcohol can be draining on the budget, Toronto has some great places to drink. I’ve stumbled upon a few new places (to me) and thought I’d share. The full Yelp list is here.

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The Best View of the CN Tower: The Thompson Hotel

26 Mar

The classic CN Tower shot. And The Thompson is practically the only place you can comfortably get the shot without any other buildings blocking the way.

The CN Tower is Toronto’s icon and landmark. And everyone has their spot for the best view. There are a few that I’ve mentioned in the  I Heart My City series on National Geographic Traveler’s website.  But now that a condo has been erected around every inch of downtown and the waterfront, the view is blocked. Until The Thompson Hotel took real estate.

I had the golden opportunity on a sunny day to explore the Thompson Rooftop which is infamous for its view. It’s true. I could stay up there for HOURS. I’m kind of jealous of the bartenders that get to work there. Seriously, what a VIEW. They have a Sundown Sunday to hang out on the roof but it’s for hotel guests and residents.  Thanks again to the Thompson for a very fun time!

This was also an opportunity to use my new Olympus E-PL3. It’s a great little camera to travel around with and I was able to get these shots using it. Continue reading

#FriFotos: Green

16 Mar

Vancouver's Cliffwalk across from the Capilano Cliffwalk. Can't you just smell that fresh air?!

A little photo essay of my “green” photos for #FriFotos. This was fun to seek out. It made me miss Ireland and the forests of British Colombia, but I also realized there is a lot of  “green” in places other than Ireland. Come take a peek!  Continue reading

NEAR: Dear McMichael Gallery

25 Oct

Me in front of the McMichael Art Gallery

You are a Canadian icon, yet I have never visited you before.  So I was excited to see if it was worth the drive to Kleinberg, Ontario with I Backpack Canada to see if it was worth it. It was. Your grounds were immaculate.  Your air crisp, only an hour and a half outside of Toronto.

McMichael sculpture garden

McMichael Sculpture Garden

Those outside Canada may not know about you. That you’re one of the foremost Canadian art galleries in the world offering Canadian art, exclusively. That in the collection, there are 6,000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to Canada’s artistic heritage.  And that you are the ultimate day trip, with an outdoor sculpture garden and walking trails, perfect with the fall foilage. Across the street you can picnic and hike at the Kortright Centre, as well.

Personal works by the Group of Seven are very important to you and not only did the owners Robert and his wife Signe McMichael have personal friendships with the members, they were able to display the works in the McMichael, which was their former estate. The friendship was so close that the burial grounds for the Group of Seven members (minus Tom Thomson) are viewable to the public outside of the gallery.

A.Y. Jackson's tombstone at the McMichael Gallery . All other members (excluding Thomson) are buried here.

Quick history lesson on the members of the Group of Seven (as their artwork is now being showcased globally including the exhibition Painting Canada at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, England).

Corbin and I in front of Tom Thomson's original sketch and painting (s) Photo: Sabrina Savoy

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of  Ontario Tourism, we were able to get a private tour of the Group of Seven’s works, specifically those influenced by Algonquin Park (what lucky ducks were we?!). Avril, our guide was the consumate professional and encyclopedia of information on The Group of Seven and honorary member Tom Thomson.

Triva time: Thomson, who is one of the most celebrated Canadian artists, died in 1917 before the group’s inception in 1920, but is still considered an honorary member due to his contribution to recognizing our vast Canadian landscape, including Algonquin Park.

Tom Thomson's original house at the McMichael.

Thomson lived in Toronto and his shack was taken piece by piece and is now on display on your grounds. There is even a replica of his living quarters inside. It’s amazing to see all of this history come to life.

There must have been a horseshoe around somewhere because we were even able to get pictures alongside the Group of Seven’s paintings in the gallery. This was because a photographer (the wonderful Sabrina Savoy) was taking some pictures of those touring the gallery that day. So you may see us featured in an Ontario brochure near you! We specialize in cheesy and posed photos (a nudge and a wink to those tourist boards out there).

I highly recommend the McMichael to those who haven’t been and are wanting the quintessential Canadian art experience.


19 Oct

Le menu at Biff's

It’s no surprise that I love trying new restaurants and in my city, it’s no exception. So I was excited to hear that Biff’s was the choice of restaurant when the lovely Sarah March from Diamond PR invited me for a press lunch in Toronto.

Part of the Oliver & Bonacini Group–you may have heard of their restaurant, Canoe?– Biff’s is a French bistro.

Though we had a private dining room, the decor was absolutely lovely and intimate. I highly recommend this bistro for a date place if you’re going to the theatre downtown or the ACC nearby.  They have a prixe fixe lunch menu, which is affordable.  I’d definitely go back. I just need a date. 🙂 Continue reading

NEAR: Bangkok Garden

9 Oct

Bangkok Gardens Atmosphere

The Thai food scene in Toronto is pretty straight forward. It’s either good or it’s not. I haven’t been to Thailand, but I know good food. And Bangkok Garden is good food. Straight Up Paula Abdul styles.  The only other Thai food restaurant that I crave is Khao San Road (or KSR for short). It has now changed. Continue reading

Planet Traveler Hostel Review

6 Oct

This guy isn't a traveler at Planet Traveler but he's pretty cool looking so BOOM: feature picture.

Recently, while my friend Corbin of I Backpack Canada was in town, I told him he had to stay at the Planet Traveler Hostel, the newest hostel in Toronto.   This was because I had the opportunity to see the hostel firsthand at the Toronto Travel Massive tweetup, where we had our one year anniversary (Goo Toronto Travel Massive!). I will say this:  it offers one of the best views of the CN Tower in the city. Continue reading

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