I Backpack Canada » Ontario http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Fri, 15 May 2015 19:13:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Why Niagara Falls Isn’t Totally Overrated for Young Adult Travelershttp://ibackpackcanada.com/why-niagara-falls-isnt-totally-overrated-for-young-adult-travelers/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/why-niagara-falls-isnt-totally-overrated-for-young-adult-travelers/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:36:27 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7165 Young travelers today tend to look for the road less traveled — the exciting, the enriching, and (perhaps most importantly) the inexpensive. They want to be culturally stimulated and naturally awed, and they want the opportunity to forge their own paths in unknown country. Niagara Falls, which has been a major travel destination for centuries, […]

Why Niagara Falls Isn’t Totally Overrated for Young Adult Travelers is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Young travelers today tend to look for the road less traveled — the exciting, the enriching, and (perhaps most importantly) the inexpensive. They want to be culturally stimulated and naturally awed, and they want the opportunity to forge their own paths in unknown country.

Niagara Falls, which has been a major travel destination for centuries, doesn’t exactly fit the bill. During the last few decades, the city around the natural wonder has developed into a tacky tourist trap, where overpriced hotels, restaurants, and attractions squeeze money out of well-meaning visitors. Travelers who come expecting breathtaking views are more likely to catch their breath on the seemingly unjust prices and copious crowds.

Yet, Niagara Falls is a unique destination in the world, utterly unlike any other waterfall or Canadian city, which means it absolutely should be a stop on any world traveler’s itinerary. Here are a handful of Niagara Falls activities sure to enchant even the purest of young travelers during a short trip to the falls and surrounding region.

Niagara Falls

Stage Productions

Though the region may not be as well-known as Italian opera houses or Broadway stages, Niagara actually boasts one of the most highly regarded theater festivals in the world. Every year, Niagara-on-the-Lake produces the Shaw Festival, a tribute to the brilliant, iconic works of George Bernard Shaw and his like-minded contemporaries. Shaw was known for his biting wit and social commentary, as well as his magical talent for making theater an absolutely immersive experience. And to feel the sensations of a Shavian play, thousands of travelers purchase cheap plane tickets on Flights.com between April and September to catch a weekend showing.

The shows change every year, but in 2015, the Shaw Festival is presenting the following productions:

  • The Lady From the Sea
  • Light up the Sky
  • Peter and the Starcatcher
  • Pygmalion
  • You Never Can Tell
  • And more!

Niagara Wine Country

Wine Country

Nothing quite says “excellent vacation” like free wine, and Niagara Falls’ superb wine trail certainly has plenty of it. Hundreds of vineyards knit the fertile landscape into a paradisiac quilt for wine-lovers, and nearly every winery offers visitors tastings of their award-winning wines. Travelers should stop in at these top-notch cellars to sample the best of the region:

  • Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery
  • Tawse Winery
  • Flat Rock Cellars
  • Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowry Vineyards
  • Peller Estates
  • Inniskillin

Small Towns

Much of the joy of romping around Central America or Southeast Asia is the opportunity to visit small villages and come face-to-face with a different cultural identity. Believe it or not, travelers can have the same experience in the Niagara Region, which is full of quaint communities that welcome visitors with open arms — and an added benefit is that they all speak perfect English.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is the most popular small town of the region, and it is just a short 20-minute ride from Niagara Falls proper. The town seems stopped in time, as the architecture in the town square is centuries-old and horse-drawn carriages are common on streets and parks. The shops around town are all locally owned boutiques, which brings travelers closer with the culture of the place. Niagara-on-the-Lake has frequently been voted the prettiest town in Canada, so it is a good stop for travelers looking for charm.

However, Niagara-on-the-Lake isn’t the only place where travelers can venture away from the hustle and bustle of touristy Niagara Falls. Nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario, dozens of small communities are worth visiting, including Jordan, St. Catharine’s, and Port Weller with the fascinating Welland Canal.

Beautiful Niagara

Hiking Trails

While the city may be overdeveloped, Canada and the United States have taken strides to make sure that ample natural space remains around the park for outdoor adventure. Thus, there are dozens of day hikes that take travelers deep into Niagara country for unforgettable views of the landscape. Here are some of the best hikes around the falls:

  • Niagara Glen Gorge Trail
  • Whirlpool Rapids and Devil’s Hole Trail
  • Niagara River Recreation Trail
  • Bruce Trail

Travelers who aren’t quite up to a forest trek — who perhaps are worn out by their earlier excursion on the wine trail — might prefer a leisurely stroll around Niagara Falls’ extensive parks and gardens. Absolutely beautiful when blooming during the spring and summer months, the Botanical Gardens are perfect for a picnic lunch. Alternatively, tired travelers can lie down in Queen Victoria Park and people-watch against the background of Niagara Falls, which is breathtaking in its natural beauty no matter how touristy the area has become.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? What did you think? Comment below!

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Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companieshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:47:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=4480 There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian […]

Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companies is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian backpacker tour companies are definitely worth checking out.

Moose Travel Network Backpacker Tours

moose-travel-network backpacker toursI’m going to start with Moose Travel Network, because they’re the only one I’ve had a chance to experience. Their staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgable. When you book a tour with them, you can pick from several routes, allowing you to see a variety of regions throughout BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. You’ve got a ton of flexibility as well, as they allow you to setup hop on and hop off style itineraries. If you decide mid way through your trip that you want to explore Banff a little while longer, it’s just a matter of letting your driver know, and then you take care of your hostels and you’re set. When you’re ready to pick up where you left off, just inform Moose Travel Network and you can hop back on the tour.

Their drivers ensure that they break up the drives between destinations with fascinating stops at stunning panoramic views, random trips and excursions, and some of the best food and drink joints along the way. Good music, laughs, and company are easily found on their trips.

Check out my interview with a Moose Travel Network Guide.

Read my experiences in the Rocky Mountains with Moose Travel Network.

Salty Bear Adventure Travel Tours

Salty-Bear-tours canadaSalty Bear Adventure Travel was started by a local Nova Scotian backpacker who was keen on showing off the maritimes to people from across the world. Salty Bear hires local Canadian drivers with a passion for their locale, ensuring you’ll know that what you’re seeing and experiencing authentically Canadian. Salty Bear is similar to Moose Travel, as they do drop offs at hostels, but will accomodate anyone if you’re staying elsewhere. They also supply tours along the way, ensuring that you get to experience the best tours along the way.

West Trek Tours

West trek tours backpackerWest Trek provides high quality adventure tours to backpackers both young and old, interested in seeing and experiencing the best of Canada. Explore the Rocky Mountains, mountain bike in Whistler, Surf in Tofino, Explore Victoria, Vancouver, and even parts of USA. Their award winning tour company is rated highly by visitors across the world.

Am I missing any other awesome Canadian Backpacker Tour companies? Don’t hesitate to share below in the comments.

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The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show is Back in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver!http://ibackpackcanada.com/outdoor-adventure-travel-show-is-back-in-toronto-calgary-and-vancouver/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/outdoor-adventure-travel-show-is-back-in-toronto-calgary-and-vancouver/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 16:15:59 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7032 Want to get caught up on the latest products and services in the Outdoor Adventure industry? Over the next few months, The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show will be arriving in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Outdoor Adventure show is one of the biggest consumer shows in Canada. This exhibit brings together buyers and sellers from […]

The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show is Back in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Want to get caught up on the latest products and services in the Outdoor Adventure industry? Over the next few months, The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show will be arriving in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Outdoor Adventure show is one of the biggest consumer shows in Canada. This exhibit brings together buyers and sellers from across Canada to showcase the best upcoming products, and travel/tourism services that appeal to anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

Update: The folks at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show are giving away a few tickets to I Backpack Canada readers. Find out more below!

outdoor-adventure-travel-show

This multi-day event will provide some awesome learning about new destinations and products, with over 200 exhibitors set to show up. Exhibitors will be showcasing everything from camping, water sports, hiking, biking, climbing, outdoor gear and apparel, nutrition, education, destinations, clubs, associations and a whole bunch more!

I Backpack Canada has partnered up with The Outdoor Adventure show to encourage you to take part and check out what this whole event is all about. Adult tickets are already super affordable, but you can save a between $3.00 and $4.00 off your ticket (based on location of your choice) from that price by using the Promo Code: ibackpack when purchasing your ticket online.

Toronto Outdoor Adventure Travel Show 2015Toronto Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show 2015

Dates: February 20, 21 & 22, 2015
Location:  International Centre, Toronto, ON

Toronto Show Hours

Friday, February 20, 2015, 11am – 8pm
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 10am – 6pm
Sunday, February 22, 2015, 10am – 5pm

Vancouver Outdoor Adventure Travel Show 2015Vancouver Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show 2015

Dates: March 7 & 8, 2015
Location: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver Show Hours

Saturday, March 7, 2015 ~ 10am – 6pm
Sunday, March 8, 2015 ~ 10am – 5pm

Calgary Outdoor Adventure Travel Show 2015Calgary Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show 2015

Dates: March 21 & 22, 2015
Location: Stampede Park, BMO Centre, Calgary, AB

Calgary Show Hours

Saturday, March 22, 2014 ~ 10am – 6pm
Sunday, March 23, 2014 ~ 10am – 5pm

Facebook

More info

Use promo code ibackpack & save on your tickets!

Win A Free Ticket to the Outdoor Adventure Travel Show

Let’s keep this easy. Comment below and you’ll be automatically entered to win. Please also indicate which city you’d like a pass to. Something along the lines of “Hey Corbin, I want in on that ticket to the place city here Outdoor Adventure Travel Show. Also you’re handsome.

Or Tweet: “@ibackpackcanada – Enter me in for a ticket to the @outdooradvshow #contest in #Toronto” (Please replace Toronto with Calgary or Vancouver if you’d rather attend those)

Contest closes: February 12th, 2015

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6 Best Casinos In Canadahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/6-best-casinos-in-canada/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/6-best-casinos-in-canada/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 00:16:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6933 As a travel destination, Canada is known primarily for its awesome blend of natural beauty and wonderful cities. But for those looking for specific means of entertainment, the country also offers a number of great casino experiences every bit as enjoyable as those in U.S. destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. If betting on black, […]

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As a travel destination, Canada is known primarily for its awesome blend of natural beauty and wonderful cities. But for those looking for specific means of entertainment, the country also offers a number of great casino experiences every bit as enjoyable as those in U.S. destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. If betting on black, or chasing that royal flush is up your alley, here are six of Canada’s best casinos to check out.

jade-room

River Rock Casino Resort

Where It Is: Richmond, British Columbia

Why It’s One Of The Best: The River Rock Casino Resort offers all of the traditional perks of a top-notch casino destination. There are endless gaming options, luxury accommodations, and great restaurants on site, including the Sea Harbour that boasts its own demonstration of Richmond’s status as the “Asian food capital of North America.” But it’s the setting that gives the River Rock an edge. Situated on the Fraser River, it’s a stunning destination that looks equal parts ski lodge and casino resort.

dawson-city-diamond-tooth-gerties-gambling

Casino Niagara

Where It Is: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Why It’s One Of The Best: Like the River Rock Casino, Casino Niagara excels due to the natural beauty of its surroundings. Located a block away from the picturesque Rainbow Bridge near Niagara Falls, the casino naturally draws tourists who are already in the area to see the landmarks. As a result, it tends to have a particularly lively crowd.

Caesars-Windsor-Art-5

Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino

Where It Is: Windsor, Ontario

Why It’s One Of The Best: Like the Casino Niagara, the Caesars Windsor benefits from close proximity to the U.S., in this case drawing on tourism from Detroit, Mich. Beyond that, it’s a reliable destination in that the Caesars Entertainment group tends to be at the forefront of advances in gaming. The company has a firm hold on many of North America’s top casinos, and even partnered with the Betfair Casino to work toward bringing the online gaming industry into parts of the U.S. This sort of progressive ownership tends to keep the Windsor, and Caesars’ other locations, updated with the best in gaming and entertainment.

Casino-Montreal

Casino de Montréal

Where It Is: Montréal, Quebec

Why It’s One Of The Best: Casino de Montréal may offer the grandest casino tourism destination in all of Canada. According to USA Today’s own countdown of some of Canada’s finest casinos, Casino de Montréal is one of the largest casinos on the planet. It is home to over 3,000 slot machines, 100 gaming tables, and its own street outside the venue. Combine all of that with the fact that Montréal itself is considered by many to be the most fascinating Canadian city for tourists, and this is a must-see casino for travellers.

casino-nova-scotia

Casino Nova Scotia

Where It Is: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Why It’s One Of The Best: It’s somewhat off the beaten path for a major casino, but its gorgeous location right on the Atlantic makes it well worth a visit. As you’ll find reading through Trip Advisor’s reviews on the casino, it’s not the biggest gambling experience in Canada, but many visitors appreciate the cosier and friendlier quality of the casino. If you’re looking to visit a smaller or even somewhat-quaint casino in Canada, Casino Nova Scotia is definitely one to consider.

casino-cree

Photo by Rishad Daroowala – CC Licensed via Flickr

River Cree Casino Resort

Where It Is: Enoch, Alberta

Why It’s One Of The Best: While technically in Enoch, this is essentially the main casino for the Edmonton area, which makes it an exciting venue. There are lots of gaming options and there’s generally a strong crowd of visitors and gamers. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the River Cree, though, is that it offers a glimpse of Canada’s hockey enthusiasm for foreign travellers. The venue includes full-sized hockey facilities, and many fans hope to see Edmonton Oilers players from time to time.

Where to find these casinos in Canada?

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My favourite Canadian Architectural Wondershttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-architectural-wonders/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-architectural-wonders/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 16:03:37 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6798 Canada is known by most to be scenic view after view of wild and rugged nature. Surprisingly enough though, this nation is also home to some incredibly designed buildings. A couple of which were even included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, a list started by The American Society of Civil Engineers. I’ve always had a strange […]

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Canada is known by most to be scenic view after view of wild and rugged nature. Surprisingly enough though, this nation is also home to some incredibly designed buildings. A couple of which were even included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, a list started by The American Society of Civil Engineers. I’ve always had a strange fascination with awe-inspiring buildings, perhaps from that one drafting class I nearly failed in High School. Either way, when I’m on the road, I love making an extra special effort to check out buildings. These are my current four favourites that I came across during my last cross Canada road trip.

banff-springs-hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

Starting in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta is one of the most iconic hotels in Canada and has stood proudly as a destination of the highest quality for over 100 years. Designed by Bruce Price in a Scottish Baronial style, the resort has over 750 guest rooms, yet still manages to offer an incomparable peace surrounded by the mountains and woodland. Built between 1887 and 1888, it became one of Canada’s grand railway hotels and at one point was even the tallest building in Canada.

cn-tower-city-view

CN Tower

Of course that’s now eclipsed by the magnificent CN Tower, standing over 1,800 feet high and overlooking the country’s largest city – Toronto.

The tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, it was completed in 1976 and to this day still holds a number of records including the world’s highest bar, largest revolving restaurant, longest metal staircase with 2,579 steps, and that’s not to mention being able to walk along the edge of itIt’s a truly spectacular building and is one of the most iconic buildings in Canada.

casino-montreal

Casino de Montreal

Shifting our focus down a thousand feet or so is the Montreal Casino, the largest casino in the country and one of the most interesting pieces of architecture in Montreal.

Opening in 1993, it consists of three interconnected buildings and is famed by its unconventional features which include low ceilings and even windows. The casino itself has never been more popular with gaming hitting new heights in the country both online on the likes of Canadian Royal Vegas games, and on the casino floors of this incredible building. Situated on the banks of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, the casino also has an even more interesting feature, in the fact it’s surrounded by the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – home of the Canadian Grand Prix.

chateau-frontenac

Chateau Frontenac

Another of Canada’s magnificent hotels, the Chateau Frontenac has been welcoming visitors to Quebec City since 1893, and is another of Bruce Price’s grand railway hotels.

Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, this uniquely designed hotel has been the favoured stay of the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and many other popular figures throughout history. The building’s Chateauesque architecture cuts a very imposing figure in Quebec’s skyline with its tall chimneys and steeply pitched roofs.

It’s both ideal for a look or a stay if you’re planning a visit one of the oldest cities in North America.

Have you visited any of these buildings? Can you think of other awesome buildings throughout Canada? Comment below and let me know!

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Walking On The Edge of the CN Tower with EdgeWalkhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/walking-on-the-edge-of-the-cn-tower-with-edgewalk/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/walking-on-the-edge-of-the-cn-tower-with-edgewalk/#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2012 15:45:10 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5306 I love a good adventure. Camping, exploring, trying new foods, doing something unique and original. Despite my love for adventure, heights are still tough for me to deal with. I can usually fight through it, but it usually involves a tremendous amount of grunts, screams, sour faces, and teeth grinding. It happened when I bungee […]

Walking On The Edge of the CN Tower with EdgeWalk is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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I love a good adventure. Camping, exploring, trying new foods, doing something unique and original. Despite my love for adventure, heights are still tough for me to deal with. I can usually fight through it, but it usually involves a tremendous amount of grunts, screams, sour faces, and teeth grinding. It happened when I bungee jumped in New Zealand, and it happened when I Sky Dived in Australia. I thought after falling from the sky a couple of times, I’d have conquered heights for good. That was all about to be tested as I prepared for the EdgeWalk, a 20-30 minute walk, 356 meter (1,168 ft) above Toronto in the famous Canadian landmark, the CN Tower.

CN Tower Walk

CN Tower EdgeWalk

One would think that if your morning included a 20-30 minute walk that will require you to hang your entire body over the edge of the CN tower, you would get a good nights sleep. Perhaps enjoy a quiet night to reflect on every move you will make on the following day’s adventure. I’m sure for some, that makes sense. For me, it didn’t. Instead, I, along with my blogger colleagues, drank like fish.

We woke up, groggy, tired, and laughing at how bad of an idea that was. We cabbed to the CN Tower, heads pounding, and suited up in red jumpsuits and fighter pilot harnesses and tried our best to concentrate on the task at hand. Safety. The folks at CN Tower take it very seriously (even going so far as breathalyzing EdgeWalkers… don’t worry, I passed), and while they’ll joke around to ease the tension on the ground, as soon as you’re on a metal grate 356 meters above Toronto the jokes end, and they turn into trustworthy teachers, coaching you to push your limits.

CN Tower

The Top of the CN Tower

I have to admit, I was so tired and beat up from the night before, I didn’t even have time to process what it was we were about to do. As the elevator climbed to the top of the CN Tower, we entered a special room with a door opened to the outside of the tower. With the help of the EdgeWalk staff, we were connected to the rails, and told that the cables that keep us attached to the tower were strength tested to the weight of an elephant.

Corbin Walking on CN Tower

I nervously looked outside, and saw the grate we were going to be walking on. The wind blew a harmonic one pitch note that for whatever reason, struck fear inside me. I began to shake my head in disbelief. Laughing uncomfortably at what had to be done. After being stuck onto the rails with a couple of cables, we proceeded outside. If you’re wondering what the best hangover cure is, it’s fear & adrenaline.

CN Tower Hanging Over Edge - Corbin Fraser

An Unreal View of Toronto

After 15 minutes of hanging my toes over the edge, and learning to trust the equipment, I was soon quasi-comfortable enough to hang over the edge, relying solely on the cables to keep me from falling to what would surely be the end for me. While the wind & eerie single-tone harmonic was noticeable, it didn’t feel as if we were going to be pushed off the edge. The view on the other hand, words just won’t do it justice. It almost seems unreal. A backdrop from a movie set. It’s as if you’re living in a real-world Sim City, and you’re observing your citizens go about their daily days. Cars rush, people the size of ants wade through crowds, construction workers atop half built-buildings hammer away, and planes land at the Billy Bishop Airport on the Toronto Islands. The city becomes a living organism, and each person, bike, car, and building have their place.

EdgeWalk isn’t just about fear, adrenaline, or adventure. While at times, you will surely question your own sanity for wanting to do this, and even question the sanity of those who decided to make this a tourist attraction, there’s more to it than the crazy feeling you’ll surely feel atop the CN tower with no gates or windows holding you back. It’s about seeing this unique and beautiful Canadian city from a whole new angle. Taking in Toronto in a complete panorama that any viewing deck or photo simply can’t compare to. Not even close!

For more on my adventures with the Explore Canada Cross-Canada Travel Bloggers, check out out Canada Keep Exploring! Special thanks to the folks at the CTC for giving us the opportunity to show us around two of Canada’s most vibrant and cultural cities. 

 

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Grilled Cheese, Mill Street Beer, A Museum of Shoes, & a Heckuva Timehttp://ibackpackcanada.com/grilled-cheese-mill-street-beer-a-museum-of-shoes-a-heckuva-time/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/grilled-cheese-mill-street-beer-a-museum-of-shoes-a-heckuva-time/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 15:54:42 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=4833 Toronto! I somehow end up in this magnificent city at least a few times a year. Despite meandering through it occasionally, I’ve never been back and not found something unique and new to see, do, or try. The Cross-Canada Travel Blogger Tour, put on by the Canadian Tourism Commission, not only gave me the opportunity […]

Grilled Cheese, Mill Street Beer, A Museum of Shoes, & a Heckuva Time is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Toronto! I somehow end up in this magnificent city at least a few times a year. Despite meandering through it occasionally, I’ve never been back and not found something unique and new to see, do, or try. The Cross-Canada Travel Blogger Tour, put on by the Canadian Tourism Commission, not only gave me the opportunity to meet a handful of other incredible writers and bloggers, but opened the doors to a few places in “The Big Smoke”, that I’d never got around to seeing.

In true rockstar fashion, I was swept up by a limo company as soon as I landed in Toronto, and brought to the Cambridge Suites in downtown Toronto. While I’m used to public transport and splitting cabs with fellow airportee’s, I have to admit, having your own driver is something I could get used to. After dropping off my backpack in these luxury Toronto Suites, I promptly grabbed the 505 Streetcar to Chinatown. Chinatown; however, wasn’t my destination. A short walk and I was back in one of my favourite neighbourhoods of Toronto. Kensington Market.

kensington market

Kensington Market

The streets of Kensington Market are filled with local produce, small restaurantes, patios, vintage shops, hand made crafts, and the occasional smell of incense. For those who’ve ever been to Australia, I like to compare this area of Toronto as “Byron Bay”, but without the beach. It’s a gathering place for free-spirits, hip young adults, and people interested in seeing a local side of Toronto.

the-grilled-cheese-kensington-market-toronto

Having not eaten in 7 hours, my gut was beyond grumbling. It was screaming at me to feed it. Everything looked so good though, and decision making has never been a skill I’ve excelled at. Mexican? A bakery? Burgers? Pub grub? Then, of the corner of my eye, I gazed upon The Grilled Cheese. I B-lined it there, and ordered the best Grilled Cheese sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

After inhaling a tremendous amount of cheese, I ran into a fellow Cross-Canada travel blogger, Frankie Bird of As the Bird Flies. As someone who’s been to Kensington Market a handful of times I was nominated as leader. In true Canadian fashion, I found beer. Mill Street beer, Steamwhistle & Tankhouse to be exact. The patio of The Last Temptation is one of my favourite spots to people watch in Toronto. The patio & window seating is just high enough to observe a bit of everything going on around you, and the food & drinks are surprisingly easy on the pocket.

bata-shoe-museum

The Bata Shoe Museum

After intros and pitchers of beer, it was time to see some more of Toronto. While we discussed the possibility of the CN Tower, as well as the Royal Ontario Museum, it was the Bata Shoe Museum that won our attention. A museum dedicated to the history of footwear. Thousands of years of it! Hands down one of the most interesting and cute museums I’d ever been to. It also gave me a huge appreciation for the sneakers I wear, and added even more respect to women for putting up with some of the uncomfortable footwear they’ve endured in the past, and continue to occasionally wear today.

pimms-easy-fifth

Pimm’s, Gin, & a Filet Mignon

By 630pm the rest of the group had congrugated to the lobby of the Cambridge Suites, and we left as a group to Easy & Fifth. A trendy and unique restaurant located a short old-fashioned elevator ride above one of Toronto’s funnest clubs. It was there that I enjoyed Pimm’s & Gin, tackled a lovely salad, then finished it off with what might have been the tastiest and best cooked filet mignon I’d ever ordered.

For 24 hours in Toronto, we squeezed in a bunch, but we’d only just scratched the surface, and there was more TIFF & Toronto sights, sounds, and eats to take in. All in all, a great way to start off a superb trip catered to showing the world a slice of Toronto.

Grilled Cheese, Mill Street Beer, A Museum of Shoes, & a Heckuva Time is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Cross-Canada Blogger Tour: Counting down to TIFF & POP Montreal!http://ibackpackcanada.com/cross-canada-blogger-tour-counting-down-to-tiff-pop-montreal/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/cross-canada-blogger-tour-counting-down-to-tiff-pop-montreal/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2012 13:15:11 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5253 If you’ve been following along on Twitter or Facebook, you may be aware of the fact that I’ve been invited by the Canadian Tourism Commission to check out the Toronto International Film Festival & POP Montreal, between September 15th & 20th! This is part of a huge campaign to bring travel bloggers from around the […]

Cross-Canada Blogger Tour: Counting down to TIFF & POP Montreal! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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If you’ve been following along on Twitter or Facebook, you may be aware of the fact that I’ve been invited by the Canadian Tourism Commission to check out the Toronto International Film Festival & POP Montreal, between September 15th & 20th! This is part of a huge campaign to bring travel bloggers from around the world to see & experience some of the unique things to see and do in Canada. There’s 19 travel bloggers in total that are being sent to almost every corner of Canada to see what makes Canada so awesome!

My Intro Video!

It’s pretty rare that I’ll ever jump in front of the camera, but I’m so excited for this opportunity to work with the CTC, and was encouraged by their social media team to just be myself and tell the world what I’ll be doing. Unfortunately for the internet, being myself includes being a bit of a scatterbrain with a extra dash of quirky and weird. Shortly after posting this video to youtube, one commenter informed me that I look a lot like Wil Wheaton. Personally I don’t see it, but there’s worse people to look alike. Who knows, maybe it’ll open up a few extra doors when I get to the Toronto International Film Festival. Ha!

What’s the Game Plan?

It’s going to be a busy week! I’ll be traveling with 4 other bloggers / online writers, exploring Toronto & Montreal. We’ll be landing in Toronto first to catch one of Canada’s most exciting events, the Toronto International Film Festival. After bumping shoulders with some of the worlds greatest filmmakers, we’ll be jumping on VIA Rail and heading to Montreal to catch POP Montreal, one of Quebec’s most popular fall events. POP Montreal includes symposium discussions, art exhibits, fashion shows, movie screenings, countless performances, and of course, a few all-night parties.

I’m crazy excited to take part in this huge travel blogger tour, and hope you’ll follow along. If you’ve ever been to TIFF or POP Montreal, I’d love to hear what I should expect? Any tips? Suggestions? Send me out a tweet @ibackpackcanada or follow my updates on Facebook or Instagram! Also be sure to check out the Keep Exploring Tumblr page, which will be syndicating the whole project!

Check Out Canada Keep Exploring!

Cross-Canada Blogger Tour: Counting down to TIFF & POP Montreal! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

Watch now!

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