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Best of Canada

25 Free Things to Do in Toronto with Kids

OUR ALL-SEASON GUIDE TO THE ABSOLUTE BEST LOW-COST AND FREE THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO WITH KIDS IN 2015.  BY CARA SMUSIAK

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Toronto is a fantastic city to explore with the whole family—especially as the weather starts to warm up. These 25 low-cost and free things to do in Toronto with kids offer many opportunities to get everyone outside, regardless of the season, though indoor activities abound, too, for days when the climate is uncooperative.

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15 Toronto Instagram Accounts to Follow

THESE TORONTO INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS WILL HELP YOU SEE THE CITY (AND OTHER LOCALES, ON OCCASION) FROM ITS STREETS, PARKS, GALLERIES, RESTAURANTS, AND EVEN ITS ROOFTOPS

Toronto Instagram Accounts to Follow @smaku

Photo by @smaku

This month’s Contact festival has us in a photographic frenzy. But the best shooters aren’t always found in art galleries. Follow these Torontonians on Instagram to get some of the greatest views of the city.

@smaku  Designer and creative director Taku Kumabe shoots Toronto landscapes, many along the waterfront. He’s got a great eye for sunrises and sunsets, too.

@shawnmicallef  The noted urbanist walks Toronto (and other cities), capturing some of its lesser-known but still storied spaces. Periodic pics of his dog, the “Young Citizen,” too.

@agotoronto  The Art Gallery of Ontario’s official feed offers a behind the scenes perspective on its shows and events, while sharing third-party photos that use its exhibition-specific hashtags.

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5 Must-See Toronto Art Districts

EXPLORE THESE TORONTO ART DISTRICTS TO DISCOVER EXCELLENT GALLERIES AND SOME OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY WORKS FROM CANADA AND ABROAD

Toronto art district olga korper gallery

Olga Korper Gallery, just south of the Junction Triangle Toronto art district (photo: Olga Korper Gallery)

Think Toronto’s renowned public museums offer some cool views? Numerous commercial galleries have equally striking artworks to ponder—and purchase, if you like what you see. There are dozens of great galleries downtown—from edgy indie outlets to venerable fine-art dealers. Make the most of your browsing time by heading to these five Toronto art districts, which boast a significant collection of exhibitors within close proximity to one another.

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Toronto Museums Have the Best Views in the City

THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO VISIT TORONTO MUSEUMS. EACH OF THEM REVEALS IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF HUMANITY’S CULTURAL HISTORY, WHILE LOOKING TOWARD OUR SHARED FUTURE.

Toronto Museums Royal Ontario Museum

The Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, Gallery of the Age of Mammals, and Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures are among the Royal Ontario Museum’s many unique permanent exhibits (photos: Royal Ontario Museum)

ALL-ENCOMPASSING INSTITUTION
It can be easy to take the Royal Ontario Museum for granted. If you’ve visited Toronto for any length of time, you’ve probably wandered through the museum’s halls and examined its vast holdings at least once. After all, the ROM has now stood for 101 years. No matter, though—if this is your first visit or, well, your one hundred and first, there’s always something to discover. Most patrons (especially those with children) make a beeline to the Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs on the second floor of the stark Michael Lee Chin Crystal, but we think you’ll find equal enjoyment examining the museum’s stunning assemblage of minerals and gems, and its vast holdings of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and South Asian art. Unique among Toronto museums, the ROM’s purview includes both natural and human history. Feel a bout of museum fatigue coming on? The fourth-floor contemporary gallery is usually a little quieter (though right now it’s hosting a big Douglas Coupland show), or just take a minute to stand in the ROM’s historic rotunda: its domed ceiling is composed of more than one million Venetian glass tiles, arranged in pictographs representing the world’s natural and cultural histories.

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25 Toronto Spa Treatments to Get You Ready for Spring

GOING TO THE SPA IS TYPICALLY CONSIDERED A LUXURY EXPERIENCE, BUT FOR WEARY TRAVELLERS IT CAN OFTEN BE A NECESSITY. WHILE YOU’RE IN TOWN, REFRESH FOR SPRING BY INDULGING IN SOME OF THESE FABULOUS (AND FABULOUSLY RELAXING) TORONTO SPA TREATMENTS.  BY LINDA LUONG

Toronto Spa Treatments

Gee Beauty

Toronto Spa Treatments for Your Beautiful Face

A litany of ailments can mar what ought to be your glowing visage: puffiness, redness, clogged pores, brown spots and blemishes, not to mention dryness resulting from the season’s harsh elements. Routine facials can help to remedy all that, leaving behind a natural luminosity.

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Outdoor Winter Activities in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

Photo: courtesy Fotolia.com

Photo: courtesy Fotolia.com

Those who are looking for winter fun in Calgary usually head straight to the city’s Olympic facilities at WinSport for downhill skiing, speed skating, bobsleigh, and other high-performance activities. But that’s not all Calgary has to offer for enjoying the snow:

SNOWSHOE BUNNIES
While the beauty of a snow-covered field may inspire you to take an invigorating winter walk, getting through the snow can be tough unless you strap on a pair of snowshoes. A lightweight, latticed frame that straps to your boot, snowshoes ease the struggle of walking in snow by distributing body weight over a larger area, which prevents you from sinking into the snow. A bit of technique is required, but snowshoeing is a beginner-friendly activity that is suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities.
Rentals: The northwest University of Calgary Outdoor Centre rents snowshoes, snow boots, and ski poles. They also offer lectures and courses for beginners along with guided snowshoe day hikes in Kananaskis Country. In the southwest, visit Rapid-Rent to rent snowshoes and other outdoor gear.
Where To Go: Nose Hill park in northwest Calgary has small hills, flat expanses, and is kid and dog friendly. There’s also a spectacular view of the city, and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Rocky Mountains. In south Calgary, head to Fish Creek Park. As one of the largest urban parks in North America it provides a true nature experience within city limits. You’re sure to see winter birds flitting among the trees, and with sharp eyes you may even spot rabbits, deer, and other wildlife.

TOBOGGAN TIME
The thrill of sliding down a snowy hill, mittens clenched tight to your sled, wind in your face—winter just isn’t winter without a good toboggan ride. Calgary has 18 designated sledding hills, chosen for their lack of obstacles and safe run outs. Make sure to dress warmly!
Rentals: There aren’t many places in Calgary to rent a toboggan, but the easiest solution is to stop off at a home store such as Canadian Tire, where you can buy a basic sled or “crazy carpet” for as little as $5.
Where To Go: Calgary’s most popular tobogganing hill is St. Andrew’s Heights in the northwest—and with good reason. It’s the perfect steepness to be thrilling but not terrifying, it’s long enough to make the climb back up to the top worth it, and it’s wide enough to safely accommodate all the sledders who flock there after a big dump of snow. Go to www.calgary.ca and search “tobogganing” for a list of all approved locations.

JOURNEY CROSS COUNTRY
Cross-country skiing is an ancient form of travel, practiced for thousands of years in Scandinavia and China. Rather than racing downhill and letting gravity do the work, cross-country skiers provide their own locomotion. The difficulty depends on the terrain, but there are several places in Calgary where tracks are set by machine, making grooves in the snow that keep skis straight and make it easier for less experienced skiers.
Rentals: Stop off downtown at Mountain Equipment Co-op to rent a cross-country package, which includes skis, boots, and poles. It’s also the place to be if there’s any other outdoor sporting equipment you need to buy or rent, including winter-appropriate clothing.
Where To Go: During the summer Shaganappi Point Golf Course is devoted to golfers, but in the winter it transforms into a cross-country skier’s paradise. Close to downtown and the 69th Street C-train line (disembark at Shaganappi Point station), there’s plenty of space and the trails are free to use. Visit calgaryskiclub.org to check if trails are open.

Where Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurants

Canada’s best new restaurants of 2014, chosen by the editors of Where

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Where Canada’s Best New Restaurants is an annual award program that recognizes the top new dining destinations across the country. Where magazine’s editors deliberate at the end of each year to nominate an outstanding restaurant from their region.

This year’s selection celebrates cozy cuisine—like Prairie 360, Where Winnipeg’s pick, offering a curated mix of wild game and locally-sourced ingredients; or Tavern 1883, nominated by Where Canadian Rockies, that serves up “proper Canadian comfort food” in a charming mountain cabin atmosphere. Creative Italian fare is also in the spotlight—Bufala, selected by Where Vancouver, serves up down-to-earth rustic fare while Bar Buca, Where Toronto’s pick, showcases around 30 perfect-for-grazing small plates. Together, these restaurants and 6 more, represent the top 10 new restaurants in Canada in 2014.

Click on the slideshow to see all of Where’s Best New Restaurants of 2014.

7 Perfect Pizzas in Vancouver

By LAURA DENNIS

Cooking up a delicious pie at Novo

Cooking up a delicious pie at Novo

The days of greasy buck-a-slice being the only option are numbered. Recent years have seen an explosion of pizza joints popping up all over town. From stringently traditional to playful twists on the predictable, this is one delicious trend we can sink our teeth into. (more…)

25 Great Things to Do in Toronto with Kids

BY CARA SMUSIAK

Things to do in Toronto with Kids

Friendly, safe, and packed with fun attractions, Toronto is terrific city to travel to with the whole family. Don’t believe us? These 25 great things to do in Toronto with kids ensure everyone’s time in town will be filled with excitement and discovery.

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Warm Cocktail Recipes to Heat Up Your Holidays

By RACHAEL FREY

Photo: Viktor Hanacek  / picjumbo.com

Photo: Viktor Hanacek / picjumbo.com

Calgary is notorious for its cold, blustery winters. While you might set out for the night in the mood for a cocktail, by the time you arrive at your destination a cold drink is the last thing on your mind. Luckily, Calgary’s savvy mixologists are on the case, creating delicious cocktails that are served warm enough to defrost your fingers and heat you from the inside out. And, if you get snowed in, they’ve kindly provided the recipes so you can re-create their inventions at home.

Nouvella Picante (Photo: courtesy Candela Lounge)

Nouvella Picante (Photo: courtesy Candela Lounge)

Nouvella Picante at Candela Lounge
The bar dominates the centre of the room at the elegant and exotic Candela Lounge. The menu reflects its global flair with a focus on small plates with a Latin twist, such as bison chorizo with caramelized onions, tomato and melted cheese curds or “Russian roulette”—six oyster shots, one of which is extra hot. That playful sense of flavour extends to the cocktail menu as well. Created by mixologist Darren Fabian on a frosty December night, the Nouvella Picante is a warm, sweet, rich drink that can be paired with dessert or just replace it entirely. As an added bonus, the espresso component will keep you dancing all night.
• 2 parts Amaretto
• 1 part Frangelico
• 1 part Zanin pepperocino
Add:
• 2 parts hot espresso in room temperature martini glass
Shake 1 oz vanilla syrup and 4 parts whipping cream over ice and double strain on top of liquid in glass to float. Garnish with coffee beans.
♦ 1919 – 4 St SW, 403-719-0049, candelalounge.com

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15 Great Reasons to Visit Toronto in 2015

BY CRAIG MOY

Perhaps you’ve heard: Toronto is one the most dynamic cities in the world. An endlessly fascinating place to live; an equally amazing destination to visit. Whether you’re an international jetsetter or on a cross-Canada excursion, travelling within Ontario or just looking to be a tourist in your own hometown, there are literally thousands of compelling reasons to visit Toronto. And for 2015, here are 15 more.

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Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Your List

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The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes shopping for everyone from your spouse, parents, kids and in-laws to friends and co-workers and maybe even party hosts and hostesses. In the spirit of giving, we’ve curated more than 60 holiday gifts worthy of your best wrapping paper.
BY LINDA LUONG

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