Canada Trip Report: Vancouver

A few weeks ago, my blog celebrated its 13th birthday on January 17th! Happy Birthday Blog!

So I’m finally getting around to finishing up this trip report from our time in Canada last year. Our final stop was Vancouver, which is my favorite travel destination. I just love this city!

We only had a couple of days in the city and luckily the weather was fantastic. I absolutely love this view of the harbour looking towards North Van.

It was a lovely morning to walk along the Coal Harbour Seawall.

We always enjoy watching the seaplanes land and take off in the harbour.

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Canada Trip Report: Niagara Falls

Happy New Year everyone!

The holidays have gone by in an absolute blur, as per usual. I’m in the process of taking down the Christmas tree (yes, still) and all our holiday decorations and I’m sad to put everything away. They represent my favorite time of year! But it’s a new year and I’m looking forward to new adventures and everything else 2015 has to bring.

So I want to pick up my Canada trip report again. I’ve covered Montreal & Toronto so now here is the Niagara Falls installment.

Wed, 9/3
Niagara Falls day!

I had originally considered a bus tour from Toronto but none of them offered all of the options I wanted (most of them skipped a few of the sights since the drive to/from takes 3+ hours alone). So I figured we’d drive there on our own, do a tour then stay overnight. We picked up our rental car from Avis and then we were on our way! Except not really. The GPS that came with our car wasn’t working properly – it wasn’t tracking our location accurately. Luckily I had a general sense of where we were or we probably would have started following the directions. After about 10-15 mins of driving around in circles, it finally found our location and we hopped on the freeway. There was no traffic so we arrived at Niagara on the Lake in about 90 mins.

Niagara on the Lake is a small, quiet town located just before the main tourist area.

The main drag is just one long street lined with souvenir shops and boutiques. Rob noticed right away that we were the youngest people there – lots of seniors in big tour groups. Just a random observation. We spent a little while browsing in the various stores then headed over to our next destination – Inniskillin winery.

We discovered Inniskillin a few years ago during our first meal at the chef’s counter at Napa Rose. Rob had ordered the wine flight and received an Inniskillin icewine during dessert. It was so good! Even I can drink it! Because it’s basically like juice. 🙂 The winery is located in Niagara on the Lake so we decided to stop by. We didn’t have too much time so we couldn’t go on the winery tour which was an hour long (and only $5) so instead we opted to do an icewine tasting.

We tried the two sparkling icewine varieties since we’re already familiar with their classic options. Oh man, the sparkling icewines are incredible. The one in the red bottle in particular, especially with dark chocolate.

Next we drove to our hotel Sheraton on the Falls, which is right in the middle of all the action.

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Canada Trip Report: Toronto

After our time in Montreal, we flew to Toronto for the next leg of our trip.

I wanted to try flying Porter Airlines since they fly into the Toronto Island airport which is much closer to the downtown area. The flight was only an hour and 10 minutes but I didn’t realize we had to take the ferry shuttle from the island to the port so that added another half hour to the journey. For some reason I thought taxis had access to the island. They’re in the process of building a pedestrian walkway which will be so much more convenient than waiting for the ferry.


Tue, 9/2

On our first full day in Toronto we visited Casa Loma, which is a former home/castle that is now a historic museum. It’s also well known for being in many movies like The Vow, Chicago, The Pacifier — but most importantly the X-Men series where they used the exterior for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. That’s a big part of why it was so intriguing to us. LOL.

From the Dupont station, we walked a couple of blocks on Spadina Avenue then climbed the Baldwin Steps (approximately 110) to get to Casa Loma. I was dreading the stairs but it wasn’t so bad. Seeing the house come into view made it all worth it. Though it is a little smaller than I imagined after seeing it in the movies.

We explored all the various levels of the house and got to see many guest & sitting rooms, private suites, the great hall (above) and conservatory among others.

It’s amazing how elaborate and detailed all the furnishings are.

I wanted to take a walk through the gardens but while we were there, it started pouring rain. So bummed!

Great view of downtown. Too bad it was so rainy and overcast.

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Canada Trip Report: Montreal

October marks the start of my favorite time of year. Of course there’s my birthday (YAY) but I just love the holidays. I’ve even started listening to holiday music! I’m such a sucker.

As per usual, I’m behind on my blogging. Back in late August, Rob & I took a trip to Canada that included visits to Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls & Vancouver. Thought I’d share some highlights of that trip starting with Montreal!

Fri, 8/29
I knew before we arrived that French is the official language in this province but there’s nothing like walking around and not being able to understand anyone speaking around you. It was a little overwhelming but I loved the international vibe!

On our first full day we visited Old Montreal to see the Notre Dame Basilica.

There’s a nominal fee to go inside which includes a short 20 minute guided tour (sadly our tour guide wasn’t that great). Unfortunately for us there was a mass going on in the chapel at the back so it was closed to visitors until the service was finished.

So beautiful! The detail is amazing. I forgot to take a photo but the stained glass windows all along the sides are exquisite.

We walked through the cobblestone streets to the waterfront to take a river cruise on Le Bateux Mouche.

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