Toronto, or the big apple of Canada, as I like to call it, imminently reminded me of a younger sibling of New York City, with that resemblance of hustle and bustle and huge skyscrapers, just on a slightly smaller, Canadian scale. I’d been to Toronto several times in the past, once during a snowstorm in March which left me realizing that I could never, and I mean NEVER, relocate to this cold, seemingly uninhabitable land. But I’d never been out east during the summer, and so I packed my things – very lightly – expecting to be undertaken by the intense humidity and heat. Humidity at bay from what appears to be a “late summer” as the locals are saying, we threw on what we could manage to keep relatively warm, checked in, and went out for to celebrate Canada Day – or as you might know it on social media by now, #Canada150. Happy 150th Canada! Here’s why you should visit Toronto during the summer Whether humid or not, I much prefer the hot to the uninhabitable cold, as I’m sure you would too if you’d experienced that March in Toronto, the snow nipping at your exposed cheeks and nose. I had a blast in Toronto for the few days we had, and here are just a handful of reasons I implore you to make a trip out east sometime during the summer, which I’m sure is bound to get much warmer soon: The nightlife. As a Vancouver-local, I was all but blown away by the diversity of the nightlife in Toronto. The land of R&B and hip hop, you will have a blast perusing the T-dot town upon its evening, late night, and early morning hours. The outdoor music, and possibly Drake. Surely not a year-long thing, a trip to Toronto in the summer is worth it even just for the opportunity of some outdoor concerts. We lucked out, big time, when Drake surprised us at City Hall the day after Canada Day, singing a few songs, and then pointing to the sky as fireworks emerged, all of us fans going insane in the crowds. What a great surprise it was. The food. Toronto has some incredible food as well, which you might discover on a tour through Kensington Market like we did with Tasty Tours. I’d highly recommend this tour on your visit to Toronto – it’s so great to be…
Visiting Vancouver for 48 hours, and not sure what kinds of things you should be getting yourself into? Fret no more: I’ve got all of the best answers for you on everything from where to stay, what to eat, and what fashionable places to explore. Amongst many coffee stops, explorative walks through Chinatown, meanderings with all things vegan and gluten-free, and likely several upward glances from beneath your umbrella, you are bound to find so much enjoyment in these gems, all of which I can stand behind as a local of Vancouver. Where to Stay SHANGRI-LA VANCOUVER: If you have the opportunity to visit Vancouver, even if just for 48 hours, definitely stay at the Shangri-la Vancouver. Not only is this hotel arguably one of the most luxurious places I’ve stayed in my life, you will also find that this hotel is extremely convenient. Their on-site amenities, like their outdoor pool and hot tub, are beyond fantastic. Plus, the location is extremely convenient in the heart of downtown, and the staff are incredibly accommodating. If you do have the opportunity to stay here, also make sure you indulge at CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La. I was literally and figuratively lulled to sleep with an 80 minute relaxation massage, which starts with a foot soak/rub, following a 10 minute steam, and continuing with an hour full-body massage in the most relaxing, ideal surroundings you can imagine. Where to Eat L’ABATTOIR: Nestled in Vancouver’s historic neighbourhood of Gastown, you are bound to walk past this delicious gem anyways, so be sure to make a reservation for a dinner on one of your evenings in Vancouver. This upscale, modern little bistro is both cozy and energizing, but what you might not immediately realize about L’Abattoir is that the building was constructed in the 19th century and actually housed Vancouver’s first jail. Don’t worry, though, you’ll feel far from imprisoned the moment you taste their food. Get adventurous, and try the snails – they are delicious! MARKET by JEAN-GEORGES: Located at the Shangri-la, Market by Jean-Georges is another must-try in Vancouver, and one that looks out on Alberni Street – one of the fashion destinations in the city. I’d recommend trying the smoked salmon pizza, and ask the awesome staff to help you with a complimentary wine-pairing. Where to Shop SECRET LOCATION: This high-fashion concept store located in Gastown will have your mouth-watering and eyes widening before you even step…
I don’t know about you, but from my terrass, life is pretty good. The terrass I speak of, actually, is that of the Terrass Hotel in Paris, and though I only had it for two days, I can assure you of one thing: a two night stay at this Parisian heaven is enough to have you head-over-heels. A vast view of the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom (and bathroom!) windows was probably what sealed the deal on this 2 day experience, but in all actuality, every aspect far exceeded our expectations. We were delighted to sit on the rooftop terrace each morning and eat breakfast while looking out at the whole city of Paris, wondering what it had in store for us today. Somehow we got to see it all (basically) in a few short days: Versailles Palace, the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame to name a few. And though we’re now leaving Paris as I write to you, heading to our next stop – Amsterdam! – we’re discussing how wonderful it would be to visit Paris in the fall. I can already see myself strolling the streets of Paris, wrapped in a scarf, and drinking hot tea. Just three nights in Paris this time, but what feels like weeks full of experiences. Thank you to the Terrass Hotel Paris for hosting us – we can’t wait to return!
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