I Backpack Canada » Ontario http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:17:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Toronto Loves Honeybees!http://ibackpackcanada.com/toronto-loves-honeybees/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/toronto-loves-honeybees/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2012 15:41:49 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5226 The shoo-ing of bees is a rather normal thing for most. Who wants to be stung by some little pest? I too am guilty of cursing at those little, fuzzy, yellow & black bugs. While my ignorant hand is swatting the air aimlessly like a fool, there is a pro bee movement that is bringing […]

Toronto Loves Honeybees! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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The shoo-ing of bees is a rather normal thing for most. Who wants to be stung by some little pest? I too am guilty of cursing at those little, fuzzy, yellow & black bugs. While my ignorant hand is swatting the air aimlessly like a fool, there is a pro bee movement that is bringing attention to a huge threat to the worlds food supply. Some superb initiatives are taking place in Toronto, forcing many people to put down the fly swatter, and think twice before attacking a curious honeybee.

toronto-beekepers-cooperative

Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative

The Toronto Beekepers Co-operative started around 2002 with a small group of volunteers that worked hand in hand with experienced beekepers. The movement for beekeeping in Toronto’s urban core was born. Their goal is simple, to educate the public about the value of bees to Toronto’s landscape and ecosystem. I caught up with the Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative at the Live Green Toronto Festival in July, where new recruits and volunteers happily educated curious attendees, both young and old. While most were watching the live music acts, I was drawn to the beekepers white tent and superhero-esque safety masks.

toronto-honeybees

Local Toronto Honey Products

The Toronto Beekepers Co-operative not only explained the importance of honeybee’s in the environment, something most people are aware of these days, but they also sold local made goods, such as lip balm, hand creams, and yes, jars and jars of honey. They happily showed that there isn’t anything to be scared of with Honeybees. They’re quite peaceful and will only attack if you’re posing a threat to the hive. They have better things to do, like pollinating the worlds food supply and hanging out with their very extended family.

toronto-loves-honeybees-fairmont-royal-york-4

Fairmont Royal Yorks Grassroots Movement

I had a great grandfather who was a beekeeper in Saskatchewan. He passed away when I was young, but my mother would always remind me how smart of a man he was. He farmed most of his life, made his own batteries, rebuilt a train caboose just because he could, and whenever a part in his vehicle would break down, he’d make a replacement part rather than go out and buy one. Aside from being a jack of all trades, he must have had a sweet tooth, because he kept multiple hives throughout his years.

I always felt that the ingenuity of yesteryear had gone the way of the dinosaurs. That is, until I heard about the success at the Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto. This “grassroots” movement isn’t just for the alternative lifestylists living off the grid. The Fairmont Royal York is taking a very eco-friendly and local approach to some of the goods and services they offer to their guests.

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The Fairmont Royal York’s Apiary

The Fairmont Royal York has been using the roof of their historical hotel to care for six beehives. With the help of the Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative they are now using this local on-site honey in many of the dishes they serve to their guests. The success of this first roof-top apiary encouraged other Fairmont Hotels across North America to join the movement. During peak season in the summer, over 350,000 honeybees live and thrive in the six beehives on Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York, producing roughly 450 pounds of Fairmont honey per year!

Pro Tip

The Fairmont Royal York has also been growing their own herbs. Order a Mojito at the bar, the crushed mint leaves you find in your glass were literally picked from the roof of the hotel. I should also mention they’re delicious.

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The Fairmonts Homegrown Experience

This eco-friendly, local movement is a superb edition to the Fairmont Royal York’s already astounding hotel. The hotel is conveniently located across the street from Toronto’s Union Station, which worked out perfectly with my cross Canada by VIA Rail adventure. If there’s a place to splurge after being on the Train for hours, it’s got to be in Toronto’s Fairmont. Seeing a big city like Toronto paving the way for more homegrown experiences is something Torontonians should be extremely proud of!

Cities are evolving quickly as more and more people leave the rural parts of Canada to live in a big city. I can’t help but feel like we’re making steps in the right direction. This desire to be a little more self sufficient, a lot more green, and best of all, living in symbiosis with the world around us, including plants, animals, humans, and fuzzy, black and yellow insects.

Big thanks to the folks at Toronto Tourism for helping show off their city, and extra big thanks to the Fairmont Royal York for letting me kick back and explore their hotel for a night. 

Toronto Loves Honeybees! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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