5 Amazing Destinations in Toronto You Didn’t Know About

TorontoYou’ll find hundreds of Tourist Guides for the wonderful city of Toronto suggesting that you visit those obvious destinations like the unmissable CN Tower and the Eaton Centre, where you can shop all day long and encounter crowds of other tourists. But why not try a few destinations in Toronto that aren’t as mainstream but are, nonetheless, very unique? You should definitely visit these amazing locations if you want to experience a real taste of Toronto.

1. The Distillery District
The Distilery District is a National Historic Site tied with the Gooderham & Worts Distillery opened in 1832. It is just east of downtown and covers a large area of almost 13 acres. It was once the largest distillery in the British Empire and produced millions of gallons of whisky and spirits in the 1800’s. After closing in 1990, it became a popular filming location. Nowadays, it’s a pedestrian-only village dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment with its historical heritage still intact. It boasts a great mixture of restaurants and cafes and a unique shopping district — not to mention the many galleries, artists’ studios and performing arts venues. Forget about Starbucks and McDonald’s! The Distillery District offers the most interesting and original stores, featuring one-of-a-kind goods ranging from designer jewellery, award-wining purses, fabulous footwear, and world-class cosmetics to state-of-the-art home accessories and the world’s best mattress for $60,000!

2. The St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is the name of a whole neighbourhood in old-town downtown Toronto, known for its colourful architecture and its famous market, which has come to describe the area. If you stay in Toronto on a weekend, try to stroll through the market, viewing and sampling the local produce in the unique atmosphere of the thriving historical market that was developed in the early 1800’s. It is even ranked as one of the 25 best markets in the world, and is a popular destination for shoppers from all over the city. People delight in the market’s character. You’ll hear music and 120 specialty vendors calling out to the crowds inside one of the three buildings: St. Lawrence Hall, the South Market and the North Market. The South Market is also famous for its Market Gallery on the third floor, which was the original council chamber of Toronto’s City Hall until 1899.

3. “Time and a Clock” Installation in Riverside
If you happen to be near the Riverside neighbourhood in Toronto, be sure to check out the Queen & Broadview area, with the Queen Street East bridge over the Don River and the three-piece public art installation located in this area. Created by Eldon Garnet, a famous Toronto-based public sculptor, in 1996, the installation examines the essence of time, its substance and ambiguity. “Time and a Clock” is a sculpture located at three different places. The first part is the decoration of the historic Queen Street East bridge with a clock and an inscription above that reads: “This river I step in is not the river I stand in.” The second part is located at the intersection of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue, where the author embedded a time-related phrase into the sidewalk. The third part consists of four slim poles with stainless-steel pennants on Queen Street beside the Jimmy Simpson Park. There are four descriptors of time on each of the pennants, creating a lyrical poem: “COURSING, DISAPPEARING, TREMBLING, RETURNING.”

4. High Park
The largest and most popular park in Toronto, High Park also lent its name to the neighbourhood surrounding it. The area that is now High Park was given to the city in 1873 by John Howard, a great benefactor who even donated his home, Colborne Lodge, to the city. This estate is a historical museum now. If you want to escape the city for a while, the largest green space in Toronto offers manicured ornamental gardens, picnic grounds, playgrounds, flower gardens, animal paddocks, quiet spots with native vegetation, a whimsical zoo, sport facilities and much more. It also naturally hosts a black oak savanna — a rare and endangered forest ecosystem.

5. Gerrard India Bazaar
The commercial centre of Toronto’s East-Indian community and the largest ethnic market of Indian goods in North America is located along Gerrard Street East between Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue. The India Bazaar, or “Little India,” as it is unofficially referred to, is a popular destination for all sorts of shoppers, especially those who want to add some unique pieces to their jewellery box. Earrings, necklaces, rings and bangles fashioned from 22-carat gold imported from all over the world or custom-made jewellery from talented goldsmiths and gemologists are among the many goods available at the bazaar. Shopping in the bazaar for wonderful silks, embroideries and ornately sequined pieces of cloth is a really amazing experience. The bazaar also gives you a chance to taste a wide variety of Subcontinental cuisines, which differ from chef to chef — so don’t miss this lovely Toronto spot!

Prepared by Toronto real estate professional Heather Hadden. For more information about areas in Toronto, check the Toronto neighbourhoods section!

Three Amazing Canadian Ski Resorts You May Not Know About

Guest post by Eric Rea

Looking for some great Canadian ski resorts? Here are three gems that you may not know about.

Living in Alberta, there is access to some of the best snow in the world. Aside from Whistler, Alberta hosts all of the big name Ski Resorts that you see on the cover of Ski Canada Magazine. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village should ring a few bells.

While these resorts have beautiful amenities and fantastic terrain, they are some of the busiest and most expensive places to ski in the country. Most go skiing to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and to enjoy an almost magical experience with just you, nature, and your skis or snowboard. Whether you are riding the newest skate banana, or a vintage pair of atomics, skiing can feel like an out of body experience. When you arrive at one of the mega resorts, you will soon realize that you are going to have a tough time doing either. On the other hand, there are a few lesser-known resorts that can provide an amazing getaway with the complete terrain and amenities most are looking for.

  1. Fernie Alpine Resort – Fernie is nestled right in the historic town that it was named after. The town has other attractions to visit as well. After a day on the slopes, you can head over to the Fernie Brewing Company to unwind. Instead of hitting the slopes one day, take a scenic heritage tour.
  2. Fortress Mountain Resort – Located only one hour west of Calgary, Fortress is a great place to take the whole family, and a lot less than most of the nearby resorts. Fortress has terrain for every level of skier. Although there are not as many amenities as Fernie, this is still a great place for single day trips, and can be very suitable for skiers on a budget.
  3. Big White Ski Resort – Big White has gained quite a bit of attention over the last few years, and it is no wonder why. The terrain is some of the best in the Rockies, and the snow is pure bliss. It is on the pricey side, but the village provides excellent dining and accommodations. One great thing about Big White is that you can be there for a week and never have to get in your car to drive somewhere. That is one of the most relaxing benefits to a ski trip at Big White. If you have the money, and the time for an extended stay ski trip, Big White is the place to go.

Canada was blessed with amazing mountains, and as a result, has some of the best skiing in the world. Next time you are planning a ski trip, make sure to think of these three fantastic ski destinations.

Eric Rea is a university student who loves snowboarding. He runs skatebanana.net, a reverse camber snowboard review site.

Education Choice in Canada

Guest post by Jim Huinink, Director of Web Strategy for ourkids.net

Whether you are new to Canada or just a new parent in Canada, there are many choices to be made in finding the right school for your son or daughter. Many of the public schools in Canada offer an exemplary education.

However, many parents and children have more specific needs or desires that can be met only by one of Canada’s many private schools. Within the broad sphere of private education there are a wealth of options for parents and their children. These options include girls’ boarding schools, boys’ schools, Montessori schools, Christian schools, Jewish schools and Waldorf schools, to name a few. On top of those broad options, parents of children with special needs can find schools across Canada that specialize in helping their children. There are schools both public and private with programs to help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and many other learning disabilities and challenges children might face.

Since every child and every family is unique, parents in Canada should investigate many different options to find out what school is right for their child or children. For parents living in or moving to any of the major centers such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or Ottawa, there will be private schools to suit any need or challenge.

Like many countries in the Western world Canada prides itself on freedom of choice. This applies to education as well, where there is no need to think that there is one size to fit all. In fact, private schools in Canada are often at the forefront of innovation in education methods as well as technology. For example, Toronto was the first home of Montessori education in North America, where the Toronto Montessori School was founded in 1961. Innovation by Canada’s private schools is still seen today, exemplified for example, by the growth of the Arrowsmith Program.

Welcome to Canada

For families outside of Canada considering sending their children to Canada for English language immersion and exposure to Western culture, there is no better, safer alternative imaginable than a private school in any of Canada’s larger cities. Since parents sending their children to Canada will have to pay tuition and board no matter where they go, there is no better choice imaginable than sending a daughter or son to one of Canada’s premiere boarding schools which welcome students from abroad with open arms.

In fact, Canada’s universal reputation for being exuberantly welcoming certainly extends to its private and boarding schools. As one student puts it, “I have friends here from Zambia, Jamaica, Korea, China, Ukraine and Hungary. The school is so welcoming that we all feel comfortable, regardless of where we are from or what our first language is.”

Jim Huinink is the Director of Web Strategy for ourkids.net, Canada’s premier guide to private schools, including private education choices from girls’ boarding schools to schools with at risk programs.