5 Valentine’s getaways for couples near Toronto

By Rashika Mukherjee

There is no better excuse for a romantic vacation with your partner than Valentine’s Day. I mean, who wants to get stuck with those chocolate boxes and bunch of roses? The Millennials are in love with adventure and discovering new retreats. Ditching the idea of fancy dinners and relaxing spas at five stars is way better because occasionally couples want to have their ‘We’ time away from home.

Let’s celebrate the season of love, exploring these hideouts.

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Deerhurst Resort

This place is known for the multiple activities it offers, including horseback riding, cross country skiing, fat biking, snowmobiling, etc. If you are an adventurous couple, then this resort can be a perfect retreat. On top of that, The Antler Steakhouse’, a famous diner serves you delightful dishes on a snowy day.

Turkey Point

When it comes to vacationing near the city of Toronto, this is one of the outdoors to consider. Turkey point is popular due to Lake Erie’s warm water and serenity. This place consists of an array of cozy cottages with useful amenities. The beautiful beach towards the lake is ideal for a romantic walk or a cycle ride.

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Niagara on-the-Lake

Well, those days are gone when couples used to enjoy their vacations in Niagara fall, but when you have a vicinity like Niagara on the Lake nearby Toronto. This spot flaunts charming restaurants, exquisite vineyards and some elegant cottages. So, you have plenty of things to explore around this place with your loved ones.

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Golden Lake

If you are looking forward towards a romantic getaway in a snug and well decorated chalet at the lake, golden lake is there to greet you with love. It features a lovely lakeside surface adorned with a classic fireplace. You can enjoy the absolute solitude with your partner on your Valentine’s escape.

Treehouse on Moon River

Have you ever thought of spending your Valentine’s vacation in a Treehouse? Here, these marvellous cottages built in the trees at the Moon River will make you inspired. The vintage interior and wood burning stove is the greatest attraction of this place. Besides, it’s an affordable option for couples in a group since maximum eight people can stay here.

It’s time to gear up for your favourite junction this Valentine’s Day.

My First Winter Experience

By Ashish Singla


I still remember the time when I experienced the first snow in Canada and it was magical. I was born and brought up in New Delhi, India that’s why I never had a chance to experience snow in my life. I came to Toronto, Canada in August 2018 and I was definitely excited for the winters.

It was a bit warm at that time because it was the beginning of Fall but gradually by November the weather changed and I could feel the winter coming.

Toronto is really an amazing place to spend your time during the winters. I’ve had a chance of trying so many delicious warm foods. You can visit Downtown, Gerrard Street, Entertainment District, Distillery District, Kensington Market etc. to try some of the world’s best cuisines and drinks to warm up this winter.


One thing that I realized about the Canadian winter is that if you prepare yourselves by wearing right winter clothes and taking care of your skin then you are really good to go out to enjoy the weather which has a lot of amazing things to offer to you.


Some of the tips that I can give you to survive the winter is wearing warm jackets most probably parka jackets for your body, a good pair of gloves for your hands and don’t forget woolen socks and caps to keep your feet and head warm.

Also, you definitely need winter boots such as Timberland, Sorel etc. so that you don’t slip while walking on the snow.

When it comes to taking care of your skin and hair then you need a good moisturizer, lip balm, exfoliating face wash and oil to protect yourselves and to keep your skin healthy and glowing.


Also, I got a chance to do a lot of winter activities like tobogganing, skiing, ice skating etc. and also attended Aurora Winter Festival and Toronto Light Festival. So, what are you waiting for? Just go out of your homes and enjoy the amazing Canadian winter without any fear.


Winter Roadtrips From Toronto

It is still a little while until Winter comes to an end, and we should all try our best to enjoy it. Not everyone has the option of a vacation to the Tropics, but it is good to know you can still enjoy yourself in the chilly weather. With affordability in mind, here are some great things to do near Toronto before Spring is here.


Niagara Falls

While it is often thought of as a Summer location, Niagara Falls is also a great place to visit during the Winter. The Winter Festival of Lights is still on, going through Niagara Parks and Duffin Islands. It is beautiful scenery, and free of charge.

Even after the Festival of Lights comes to an end in February, the season of Winter still a great time to visit Niagara Falls. The frozen falls make for beautiful scenery, and great for taking photos.


Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain is a popular ski resort and about a 2-hour drive from Toronto. While best known for skiing, Blue Mountain offers other great activities.

Tubing, the recreational activity of going down steep snow hills on inner tubes, is a favourite activity on the resort. Rates go by the hour, 12 and under by $13, and 13 and over is $16. It is simple to try out and great for people who are not up for the athletic challenges of skiing.

A newer activity is Woodview Mountaintop Skating, letting guests ice skate at the top of the mountain. You get beautiful views of the Niagara Escarpment as you skate throughout the say. It is excellent for all skill levels, with training equipment available. After your done skating, there is a lodge to relax, drink hot chocolate, and take in the scenic views.

Snowshoeing at Blue Mountain also offers excellent views, and a half-day will cost $16. You will have a guide providing you with knowledge of equipment and wildlife so you will be comfortable if you are new to the activity. You can also sign yourself up for an off-resort snowshoe tour, up the Escarpment on a private trail with a great view off Georgian Bay.


MacGregor Point Provincial Park

A two-hour drive from Toronto,  MacGregor Point Provincial Park is popular through the year for its scenery. There is an 11-kilometre trail that is groomed for cross-country skiing, called the Deer Run Trail.
For people that love to camp, the park also provides Winter camping. You can book a yurt, or schedule an area for your tent or trailer.  There are heated comfort stations with showers and flush toilets available for all campers.


While many of us are starting to wish for the Spring, remember that there are still some great things to see and do in the last months of Winter. It’s always a great time to take photos of the Winter scenery, so make sure you take them before the snow melts away for good. Share them with us on social media, and enjoy your Winter travelling!


Review: Life Hotel in NYC

By: Jonquil Jardine

H I S T O R Y

Believe it or not, this use to be the head quarters for LIFE magazine! Cool, right?

L O C A T I O N

I’m constantly looking for places to stay when I visit NYC. In September, I stayed at Life Hotel for three nights. Life Hotel is located in the NoMad neighbourhood, close to Shake Shack (VERY IMPORTANT), The Empire State Building, and Little Korea.

F O O D

Henry Restaurant is located on the lower level of the hotel which offers a lot of yummy food options. There’s also a cocktail bar, Gibson + Luce which is also on the main level. Unfortunately, I can’t say much about the drinks since I didn’t try anything.

R O O M

The room itself was quite small (although most rooms in NYC tend to be on the tiny side). Besides that, everything else was lovely. I really appreciated the art work in the room along with the bed which felt like a cloud.

Overall, I would recommend this hotel to a friend. I wouldn’t pay more than $350/night though. I recently checked and prices are quite high at the moment. Other alternatives include: Paper Factory Hotel or Arlo NoMad (heard great things about both hotels!)

See below for pictures of Life Hotel.

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Photos Taken by: Jonquil Jardine

Photos Taken by: Jonquil Jardine

My day trip to Qgunquit

By Ankita Mehta

Last year, while I was in the State’s for a vacation and was at my aunty’s place in Boston, my cousins & I stumbled upon the idea of visiting a beach. Just because, what is it about the idea of a dunk in the sea that feels so therapeutic?!

 

So on one fine not-so-cold September morning we decided to drive to this quaint little town on the Southern Coast of Maine called, Ogunquit..

Ogunquit (pronounced /o-gun-quit/) was named by the Abenaki tribe, because the word means ‘beautiful place by the sea’. Just over an hour north of Boston, the best beach in Maine happens to be pretty accessible. There’s something special about the sand here. It’s fine white grains are almost sugary in texture. Also, most beaches stretch a couple hundred yards at best, and they can get seriously crowded. Ogunquit Beach is three miles long, so there’s plenty of room to spread out.

Braving the breeze & the chilly water, my cousin & I went for a swim and it was so worth it. The beach as I like to call it has quite an effect, and at low tide it is much larger, with fun shallow tide pools that are home to little crabs and other tiny creatures. 

‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’

― Virginia Woolf

 Also famous for its fresh catch, Maine Lobster is the sweetest, most flavourful lobster on Earth, at least that is what I have been told by the locals and upon tasting the catch-of-the-day I couldn’t agree less.

 Well, some love the salty-sweet scent of beach roses on sea breezes wafting along the Marginal Way walking path which I saved for my next visit, I personally enjoyed soaking in the sun while the lapping incoming tide caresses my bare feet.

The nostalgic village feel of strolling among quaint buildings, pedestrian bridges throughout Perkins Cove town and seeing taffy handmade is an experience I would recommend for everyone to live if visiting the East Coast.

 

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Eat, Sleep and Socialize with $0 in NYC 

By: Jonquil Jardine

Survive on $0 a day in New York City

Travelling is supposed to be fun, stress-free and insightful, why break the bank? Explore the Big Apple with $0 in your wallet. Challenge Accepted? 

Accommodation

Accommodation tends to be the most expensive part of travelling. Hotels know that people need somewhere to sleep therefore they increase their prices especially during high seasons. Fortunately, there are alternatives including asking someone you personally know to host you. If this is not an option, couchsurfing.com might be. Couchsurfing.com connect travellers with people that are willing on sharing their space. This might include a bunk bed in a shared space or even an entire bedroom to yourself. Couchsurfing’s main goal is connecting people. But couchsurfing might not be for everyone therefore another alternative is volunteering at a hostel for accommodation in return. The hostel may ask for you to clean, help with front desk tasks or conduct tours. 

Food

You can’t go wrong with cheap eats. New York City is known for its top restaurants along with $1 pizza slices which can be found at every corner. Thanks to the rise of phone apps, restaurants offer free items on their menu for simply signing up. Various restaurants including,  Panara Bread, Krispy Kreme and Quiznos offer free food for simply adding the app to your phone. If you want something a bit more interesting you can take part in food challenges where you eat hot wings for free. This is by far, the most fun way to get free food. For those seeking more social interactions, religious groups have gatherings/festivals where free food is involved. 

Entertainment

Broadway, ballet and comedy shows are known in NYC especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Although these shows are spectacular, they come with a price. For those seeking entertainment free of charge, look no further. Dancers, magicians and singers can be found all over New York especially in big areas such as Times Square. You can enjoy their performance free of charge while supporting local talent. Meanwhile art musuems such as The MET and Moma offer pay-what-you can and free entry on certain nights. Moma doesn’t advertise their pay what-you-can option online but I was notified of that option after I paid for entry. It is definitely a place to visit, why not visit free of charge? Lastly, art and culture make up NYC therefore there’s free festivals that occur almost every weekend. It’s your opportunity to learn about another culture without breaking the bank. 

Transportation

 New York City is known as the concrete jungle. There are buildings where ever you turn your head. Luckily, you can find shops/restaurants/pharmacies at every corner. That being said, you can walk to most places. Whenever I visit New York (which is often) I tend to walk to my destination opposed to driving or taking the subway. New York City is a stunning place to visit, you really get to appreciate its beauty especially when walking. Unlike the subway or Uber, walking is free. Free with a priceless view. 

Travelling is fun, eye opening and good for you. At the same time, there’s so much out there for you to discover. Don’t place limitations on yourself. Most importantly, don’t isolate yourself due to fear or money. Go explore and apply one or more of these options. The possibilities are endless. 

Photo by: Jonquil Jardine

Photo by: Jonquil Jardine