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The Joys of a Staycation

A vacation isn’t a place - it’s time, a time for a getaway to a tranquil retreat from the daily grind of work. Have you ever played tourist in your own town with a genuine and authentic staycation? One where you dedicate a good chunk of holiday time to showing your neighbourhood and of course surrounding areas some love? Consider reacquainting yourself with what your city has to offer to relax and indulge in fun experiences rather than dealing with the stress of traveling (or in my case overpacking!).

The Joys of Being a Staycationer

From amazing scenery, historical sights to exploring your local food scene, I've listed some tips below for a smooth transition to taking a break from your regular schedule to embracing the joys and adventure of being on a staycation:

Digital Detox

To fully take in this experience, it's important to disconnect. This means turning off your smart phone notifications from emails, text messages, social media and everything in between. Seriously, act as if you were taking a typical vacation: no meetings, no emails, no calls - even though you’re in town. Trust me, let's make a clear distinction between work and play.

Set Your Own Pace 

Don't bother with the hassles of dealing with time constraints when you can leisurely set your own pace on a staycation. Feeling rushed while traveling is not the most appealing and certainly causes a lot more stress than needed, so get those walking shoes on and go explore your city at your own pace.

Visitor Centre

Most cities have a visitor centre but folks, this isn't just reserved for tourists! You will be amazed at the plethora of information that is available right at your finger tips and knowledgeable staff waiting to answer all your questions. Filled with brochures, guides and schedules, you'll be all set for your staycation. From the haunted walks, food tours and boat cruises, the options are endless for adding a bit of excitement.

Become a Foodie

Ditch the grocery shopping as well as the cooking duties aside and dive right into your local food scene. Whether it is a pub or fine dining, the pleasure of catching up and enjoying a friend's company is always a good feeling. Also who doesn't love to dress up and look good! When you’re at a restaurant, you can relax, unwind and enjoy the ambiance around you. Bonus: you don't have to worry about dishes!

Happy Staycation!

Rosalyn Gambhir
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Things To Do in Toronto

Toronto is a city of diversity presenting a culture like no other in Canada with its eclectic neighbourhoods, festivals, concerts, delicious food and oh so much more. I had the opportunity to spend less than 24 hours in Toronto, though only a small amount of time, I certainly stretched my ability to relish in the city's best wonders.

24 Hours in Toronto

What to see in Toronto? If you've got a good pair of walking shoes, you should be able to get to all of it without much trouble but if you're like me, I discovered the fabulous world of Uber where I didn't have to once pull out my wallet once to deal with cash. I had my handy dandy phone which did all the work! But don't forget to go a bit old school and pick up a map of the city to help you navigate. I used mine to map out an itinerary.

Here’s my snapshot of the best sights to visit in a short period of time:

24 Hours in Toronto

Train Ride

Thanks to a glorious trip on VIA Rail to reach my destination of Toronto, my three hour journey was spent in pure comfort. The only downside was the limited wifi so if you'e ready to unplug and continue to work disconnected from the rest of the world, you’ll have plenty of time to do so. The other option is to admire the scenery or possibly chat with your neighbour.

Tip: If you're a post-secondary graduate, check with your alma mater for discounts. Thanks to Queen's University, I save on all train travels and being part of the VIA Preference loyalty program, I collect points which can then redeemed. They sure do add up if you are a frequent user!

24 Hours in Toronto

A Night of Elegance

Upon a smooth arrival into Union Station, I headed to The Ivy at Verity - a stylish yet intimate boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto. With its understated entrance, this hotel feels secluded despite being located within close proximity of popular shops and dining establishments. A true hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of Toronto and I immensely enjoy the calmness of the location.

 The Ivy has become my go-to getaway spot when visiting the city as it truly offers a luxurious and pampering experience. I stayed in Room Four (actually there are only four rooms!), which featured luxe wall paper, incredibly upholstered arm chairs and a bathroom complete with a huge soaker tub and walk-in shower. A true Parisian paradise! It also included scented bath salts and Bulgari toiletries  to ensure a relaxing stay.

24 Hours in Toronto | The Ivy at Verity

Might I also add that each room at The Ivy comes with walk out terraces overlooking a private courtyard that is like nothing else Toronto has to offer. Every detail is accounted for and simply let's you indulge in the serene surroundings forgetting you're in a big city. 

24 Hours in Toronto | The Ivy at Verity

Breakfast in Bed

What better to start the day than with breakfast in bed?! The Ivy provided a scrumptious yet healthy start to my day though I simply had to satisfy my taste buds with an order of fresh croissant.

24 Hours in Toronto | The Ivy at Verity

With a morning bath and breakfast completed, I was ready for a day of adventure!

24 Hours in Toronto | The Ivy at Verity

Keep Those Feet Happy

Walking is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to take in a new city. On foot, you can spot the details that bring a destination to life. The best footwear for travel are the ones you can wear with a variety of different travel outfits and that you also enjoy wearing without ruining your experience. While Ubers are great for getting across town in Toronto, immerse yourself in the culture and become a local on foot!

A big thank you to Heel Boy for helping me find these Pink Martini loafers which were both stylish yet comfortable. They paired well with my travel and day outfit!

24 Hours in Toronto

Ripley's Aquarium

This spot is not just for kids but also those who are kids at heart as adults. Toronto's newest attraction allows guests to dive into in a thrilling underwater adventure that showcases an immense variety of sea life. As Canada’s largest indoor aquarium, I was most excited for the extensive jellyfish exhibits and their mysterious like nature. Spare yourself a few hours for this location especially if it is quite crowed with kids and parents. You will be mesmerized with the overwhelming amount of unique sea creatures.

24 Hours in Toronto

24 Hours in Toronto

24 Hours in Toronto

The CN Tower

Toronto’s most iconic skyscraper isn’t just something to see, it’s something to experience. Located only a few feet away from Ripley's Aquarium, this seemed like the perfect next stop. Though with my fear of heights, I was perfectly content admiring the structure from a distant. If you are brave enough, a glass elevator takes you to the viewing platforms, a rotating restaurant and a hands-free edge walk. It is quite the sight to see.

24 Hours in Toronto

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Whether you're an art lover or simply an admirer like myself, the AGO is a must stop. As one of the most distinguished art museums in North America and Toronto's largest art gallery, the AGO houses works from Canadian and international artists, with rotating exhibits featuring some of the art world's finest. Be prepared to be amazed at the extensive collections of artwork as the building itself is an architecture masterpiece as well and hard to miss.

24 Hours in Toronto

24 Hours in Toronto

Kensington Market

With a morning filled with attractions, lunch was in order. I wondered over to Kensington Market only a few streets away to be joined by a good friend. This multicultural neighbourhood is Toronto's most unique with its charm and diversity shown through its mix of vintage clothing store, eateries and shops.

It was a unanimous decision to stop by Seven Lives for authentic baja-style tacos. Even with a lineup out the door, the wait was worthwhile. We indulged in a park nearby as we caught up on life and admired the surroundings.

24 Hours in Toronto

Kingston Pop-Up at Ossington

The last adventure of the day before I hopped back on a train was the Kingston Pop-Up. The city I now call home hit the road and brought it's best to Toronto's Arts and Design District for a unique and immersive experience. It was a well-curated event of Kingston’s talented artisans and makers, samples of the city’s wonderful culinary fare and breweries as well as tunes from local musicians.

This was Toronto's chances to experience the marvelous city of Kingston by stepping into a space that resonated with the rich history yet ever so changing scene of vibrancy and youthfulness.

24 Hours in Toronto

48 Hours in Toronto

Au revoir Toronto! I had a swell time and will be back in September!

Thank you Tourism Toronto for all the wonderful guidance and the fabulous goodie bag filled with essentials to tour the city!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether it's exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure within Kingston, Ontario and beyond. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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