Hello again all you blog readers…. After almost two weeks since my last post and a week-long trip to Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, I’m back. 🙂
As you may recall from my previous blog entry or if you follow me on Twitter: @BenELR on Instagram: @BenELR , Ashley and I were in Ontario last week to attend one of my cousin’s wedding, and also just for a little vacation afterward just the two of us.
We started our 8 day trip with three days in our nations capital (Ottawa), with a quick little couple hour trip across the river to Gatineau, Quebec to “Casino Lac-Leamy” (the most hoppin’ and swanky casino we’ve ever seen outside of Las Vegas), sadly lady luck was everywhere but on our side, but hey we went primarily so that we could say we were in 4 Canadian provinces in one day which is a new record for me. We started our day off at home in Calgary, AB, followed by a flight layover in Winnipeg, MB, landing in Ottawa, ON, and finally with a quick trip to Gatineau, PQ to the casino.
The following day (Sunday July 21) was my cousin John and his beautiful now wife Christine’s wedding in a small village named Manotick, ON just south of Ottawa. Also earlier that day I went for a humid and scenic 6km run along Parliament Hill, and down Sussex Dr, in downtown Ottawa. I’ve always thought it to be difficult to be motivated to exercise/run while on vacation but let me tell you this… when you have the opportunity to run through and explore areas of a historic city such as a national capital like Ottawa it’s not only easy, but so much fun, and educational all at the same time.
The next day Ashley and I spent the afternoon touring the Canadian Government facilities together, many of which I ran past the previous morning on my run, but had not had the opportunity to explore at all. Some of my favorite and highly recommended buildings are: The Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Parliament building, and Notre Dame cathedral.
Tuesday July 23 we left the nation’s capital and headed southwest to…… TORONTO, weeeeeeeeeeee!!!! Ok.. I need to say this right off the bat; I am a FREAKIN’ HUGE fan of the city of Toronto, ON (T.O.), along with Los Angeles, CA, and Calgary it is one of my all time favorite cities in the world hands down!! The most notable place we drove through en-route to T.O. was the city of Kingston, ON, to stop at Reid’s Dairy which was said to be a MUST STOP AT by one of our friends who went to the University of Queens in Kingston, ON. Let me tell you.. Reid’s was more than worth the stop, I had some of if not the best hard ice cream I’ve ever had in my life there. I will talk more about what I loved so much about their ice cream in tomorrow’s blog post where I will be highlighting some of my best eats in Ottawa, Toronto, and in between.
Rather than listing the days and what all we did in T.O. I am just going to highlight some of the bests and at the end there will be some pics from the best of both cities.
Toronto Highlights for us:
-Seeing Heart live in concert at the Molson Canadian amphitheatre. (world-class outdoor but covered concert venue.) if you ever have a chance to see a concert there.. go! This was my second concert there and it’s just as amazing there now as it was 11 years ago.
-Hanging out at Younge and Dundas square in downtown T.O. It’s just like Times Square, or Piccadilly in London only thing that sets Younge and Dundas Square apart…. It’s CANADIAN!
-Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game at Rogers Centre formerly Skydome (North America’s first fully functioning retractable roof stadium). Sorry Blue Jays, while I bought a Jays home jersey at the game cause I do love you I had to cheer for the Dodgers I just happen to love them a wee bit more.
-Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame, and having our picture taken with and touching the Stanley Cup!
– Ashley and I meeting for the first time one of her oldest friends whom she was pen pals with as a kid. And having a great dinner with him and his girlfriend at the Mill St. Brew Pub in the historic distillery district of downtown T.O.
-Touring the Steamwhistle brewery at the historic Roundhouse in downtown. I say historic cause it used to be a repair garage for Canadian Steam Engine trains. Since the end of its time as a repair garage it’s been deemed a national historic site, and now it just so happens to have a sweet little brewery in it.
-Taking Ashley for a romantic Friday night dinner for two to “360. The restaurant at the CN Tower” (I will be talking lots more about this gem in tomorrow’s eats blog post). Eating in a revolving restaurant has become a bit of a thing for Ashley and I as we’ve done it twice here in Calgary at the Calgary Tower, once in Vancouver at The Harbour Centre, and now 115 floors up atop the CN Tower in Toronto.
-Taking in Toronto FC’s (MLS soccer team) first home win at BMO Field in twelve months. Yes you read that correctly, first home victory in twelve months.
Here are some pics from our trip to Ottawa, and Toronto. Hope you enjoy! 😉
Outside Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, PQ.
Canadian Parliament Building all lit up at night.
My 3 favorite sights in Ottawa from my Sunday morning run. From top to bottom on the right side: Supreme Court of Canada, Notre Dame cathedral, and the Canadian Parliament Building.
John and Christine’s wedding.
Ashley and I at the wedding.
Ashley and Mama ELR at the wedding.
Canadian Parliament building in the background.
Ice Cream at Reid’s Dairy in Kingston, ON.
Heart in concert at the Molson Canadian amphitheatre in Toronto.
Ashley’s first time ever to T.O. at Younge and Dundas Square at night.
Drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe at Younge and Dundas Square.
Blue Jays vs. Dodgers. Lets go Dodgers!!
Or.. Lets Go Blue Jays!
Blue Jays vs. Dodgers at Rogers Centre.
Actual Stanley Cup Champion rings at the Hockey Hall of Fame, including 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
We won the Stanley Cup!!! No big deal!! 😉
Mill St. Brew pub time!!
Representing Canada’s team in front of their stadium.
Steamwhistle brewery tour time!
I bought her heer own Jays hat now she thinks she’s legit!! some people, haha!
All dressed up and a romantic dinner to go to 115 floors up.
Toronto looks so small yet still so big this high up.
Downtown Toronto all lit up at night.
Crystal clear view of the Jays and Astros game from the restaurant 115 floors up and the roof is open at the dome.
Just a teaser of tomorrow’s must eats blog. Smoked Salmon appy at the CN Tower.
Beer and Soccer… Heck Yeah!!
Ashley and her pen pal Mike finally meet in the flesh.
Like all good things our vacation had to come to an end Saturday night. Can’t you just tell we’re so excited to be leaving Toronto?? lol
Essentials for the 4hr 15 minute red-eye flight home.
Thank-you all for stopping by to read about and share in our experiences with us.
Also thank-you to the following people who gave amazing recommendations to us for this trip. You all helped make this trip so much more amazing: Melodie, Jess, Mike, Heather, and Lisa. You all ROCK!!
I know I’m going to sound like a paid advertisement for the province of Ontario, but….. GO VISIT ONTARIO!!!! IT’S YOURS TO DISCOVER!! 😉