My daughter is turning 10 at the end of the month. Double digits! So we decided to do something super big and special for her.
Which is what lead us to take our most touristy Toronto trip yet!
Nick, Sidney and I live an hour away from Toronto. Many of our friends and family have migrated to the big city, and it’s a place we’ve visited often, if not to see loved ones than for special events. In fact, I’ve been to Toronto a handful of times just this year.
Sidney’s been to Toronto a few times, already, too, but we’ve never done the tourist thing as a family.
Growing up so close to Toronto meant all of my big class trips were to the city. Both grade 6 and grade 8 trips took place in Toronto where we went and did everything imaginable from going to the CN Tower to the Toronto Zoo. It was a lot of fun! And perhaps Sidney’s school will do similar trips, but why wait?
The Reason Behind Our Most Touristy Toronto Trip
Turning 10 is one of the big birthdays. It’s that age between childhood and teen years. When you still enjoy playing with dolls, but are starting to experiment with mom’s makeup. When you’re still imaginative enough to play make believe, but start maturing mentally and physically. And it’s crazy to think that my little Sidney is now entering this awkward phase.
I want her to be a kid for as along as possible, but I also want to help her through this new phase in life.
My daughter is turning 10 this month, and to celebrate I bought our family each a CityPASS* and booked a hotel. We made it a girls weekend and invited our cousins.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Ramada Plaza hotel on Jarvis St. near downtown. Our room had two queen size beds, a little lounge area with a pullout couch and TV, and a pretty funky bathroom. It was much bigger than I expected! Which was nice, because we had ourselves a little party before going to bed.
I love that I’m able to give my daughter fun experiences in life, and since I’m basically just a big child it was partly for me, too.
Visiting the CN Tower
After checking into the hotel, we walked down to the subway station and the girls experienced their first subway ride! And thanks to my phone, I didn’t get too lost on the way. Although, once we hopped off and had to walk the rest of the way to the CN Tower, we couldn’t figure out which way to go. We ended up asking someone how to get there, which felt silly because as soon as we took 10 steps to our right the CN Tower was RIGHT there behind a skyscraper.
Once you’re finally at the bottom of the CN Tower, it’s a rather fast elevator ride up, but dang! The view is awesome! The girls were able to squeeze in against the window to get the best view. But the best part about being up in the CN Tower is playing around on the glass floor!
The kids had a great time rolling around and staring down at the ground below, which is 342 m. I, on the other hand, was having a mild panic attack. BUT! I told myself I was going to walk across the floor, since I’ve never been brave enough to do it, and so I did! There’s a sign on the wall next the glass floor that says it can hold 20, 454 kg, so I was pretty sure I was safe, but my brain made me sweaty and tremble.
We probably spent a good hour there before heading to our next CityPASS* attraction.
Fortunately Ripley’s Aquarium is right beside the CN Tower. We were there within minutes and already racing to the first gallery.
The aquarium is actually super cool, especially the conveyor belt that takes you along the huge shark tanks that even go above your head in the Dangerous Lagoon gallery. My favourite part, though, was the Planet Jellies gallery! Jellyfish are so beautiful to watch!
Our other favourite part was in the Nature by Numbers section, where we had scarlet cleaner shrimp crawl all over our hands and pick at them!
Shopping at the Eaton Centre
I couldn’t take Sidney to Toronto without visiting the Eaton Centre! Her dad and I gave her some birthday money and she was super excited to go shopping!
Of course, we did this after we ate at the new Boston Pizza rooftop restaurant on Yonge St. where I had a delicious quinoa burger and salad, and about 8 glasses of water! Sidney and her cousin both had chicken strips and fries. My cousin, Katie, was in charge of letting the waiter know we had a birthday girl and the look on Sidney’s face was priceless!
Basically, by the time we made it to the mall we were dying. We barely made it to three stores before giving up and going back to the hotel. On the way home, we passed by a grocery store with a salad bar and the five of us loaded up on fruit and veggies to take back with us.
Sidney bought herself some dolls from the Disney store, and some jewelry from Ardene.
Partying at the Hotel
My cousin, Alissa, decided to spend the night at the hotel with us, even though she lives in Toronto. Which worked out pretty good since the couch had a pullout bed.
The girls made us watch the Food Network while we ate our salads. They went wild and basically trashed the hotel! By midnight we were all asleep and woke up at 8 the next morning. Even though those kids went nuts the hotel room was cleaned up fairly easily. I ain’t paying no extra fees!
Playing at the Ontario Science Centre
So, lesson learned: kids are pretty damn tired after one full day of being a tourist in Toronto. We pressed on after a breakfast buffet and multiple cups of coffee (the grownups, not the kids) and drove to the Ontario Science Centre.
I’ll be honest, this was probably my least favourite attraction of the weekend. It was very hands on and very educational, and I was just not in the mood to learn. Is that bad? Iunno, but we made the best of it and explored each section before stumbling back to the car.
Royal Ontario Museum
The bummer part is, I was super looking forward to going to the Royal Ontario Museum and showing the kids all of the cool stuff, but they were just too tired. We only made it through a small section before everyone sat down and gave up. It was about 3p.m. at this time, and there was a wicked storm outside, and we were all hungry and tired.
We saw the dinosaurs and ice age mammals, went through the Bat Cave and viewed the Gallery of Birds before stopping by the gift shop and braving the wind and rain to get to our car.
Sad to Go but Happy to Be Home
On the way home I gave in and bought us all fast food. I dropped the cousins off at home, and once Sidney and I made it inside our house we immediately put on our pajamas, threw on Netflix and cuddled in my bed until bedtime.
We didn’t make it to Casa Loma because we were too tired, but that was also included with our CityPASS*. Next time.
Have you been to Toronto? What are some of your favourite tourist attractions?
*Affiliate links in this post.
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Autumn is my favourite season! There are so many things I love about autumn that it makes my chest swell with excitement!
I loved autumn ever since I was a little kid. I loved watching the first few leaves fall until the trees were bare. It meant so much of my favourite things were about to happen, from returning to school to indulging in Halloween fun! There’s not much about fall that I don’t like (like giant autumn spiders).
So here we go, a list of things I love about autumn.
I live in Ontario, where we’re so lucky to experience four seasons. Each September the leaves begin to change, and by October they’re a rainbow of warm reds, oranges and yellows!
Nature is bursting with colour, and not just the leaves, but also autumn crops like corn, apples and pumpkins!
But nature isn’t the only reason I love the colours in autumn. I also love the darker colours that appear in autumn fashion: dark reds, purples and navy blue, burgundy and army green, dark blacks and lots of leopard print! This is my favourite time of year to go shopping!
There are a lot of tasty scents in autumn, from pumpkin pies to dark roast coffee, and scented candles that give off cozy aromas of vanilla and cinnamon.
I even love the smell of the earth as it settles in for its long winter nap. Leaves and plants are dying, and the morning dew helps it rot, which gives off that earthy smell. That smell always brings back fond memories of autumns past.
Coffee and I have been having a love affair since I was 15, when my friends and I would go to Tim Hortons on our lunch break at school. I love coffee, as well as tea and hot chocolate, but I can’t stand drinking hot drinks in the summer when I’m already a sweaty mess.
Once autumn arrives, and the weather cools off, I look forward to switching from iced coffees to hot drinks.
Summer is a lot of fun because of all the different things you can do outside, like swimming and camping! But I can’t take the heat and the sun gives me a headache. When autumn arrives, I look forward to spending more time outside in nature.
I like going on autumn nature walks, where I can enjoy the colours and smells even more. I like going apple picking, and hanging out at the pumpkin patch. I look forward to corn mazes, foraging in the woods, and playing at the park with Sidney and Penelope.
Now that I’m not sweaty hot all the time, I can actually use my oven.
Autumn means cooking things like lasagna, shepherds pie, muffins and other baked goods, as well as all kinds of casseroles. Comfort food isn’t just made in the oven though, because we also like making stews, chili and home-made soups!
I already mentioned how much I love fall fashion colours, but I really, really love wearing big comfy sweaters with skinny jeans and my trusty Doc Marten boots. It’s like my fall uniform and I wear it almost every day. This year I also bought a faux leather jacket and am on the hunt for a denim jacket. And I get to drag out all of my fun scarves and mittens!
Basically, I like wearing lots of layers so I feel like I’m walking around in a big, comfy bed of pillows and blankets.
Some of my favourite TV shows come out in autumn. All the spooky goodness arrives and I can’t wait to see what happens!
So far this year I’m really enjoying the new American Horror Story! It’s really different but interesting. I’m also looking forward to the new Walking Dead and Stranger Things! Just a few more weeks to go!
I’ve been a fan of horror movies ever since I was a little kid and my grandma would let us watch them at her house. I was terrified of E.T. but loved watching movies like Day of the Dead* and A Nightmare on Elm Street*.
As I got older my love for horror movies grew and I became obsessed. I sought out B-rated horror movies a lot as a teenager and was that dorky weirdo who would quote movies nobody else saw. Now that I’m older I still like horror movies, but less for the gore and more for the comedy or drama.
Once October hits a lot of scary movies are added to Netflix, come out in theatres and are aired on cable. I take this time to watch some of my favourites and enjoy new movies I haven’t yet seen. I’m still dying to see the new IT!
I love any holiday that involves food, which, let’s be honest, is every holiday.
Thanksgiving, though, is basically just an excuse to pig out for a weekend. Believe me, I know the real story behind Thanksgiving, and whatnot, so it’s not like I just see it as a reason to eat. I’m just saying, in my family, we celebrate with a lot of food.
This is the first year where I won’t be making/eating a turkey, as I’m exploring a vegetarian diet. We’ll be having tofurkey instead.
And of course, one of the best things about autumn, Halloween!
Halloween is definitely one of the best holidays of the year! Everything leading up to it, from haunted houses and horror movie marathons, has been running around like an excited child.
I still dress up every year, although my costumes aren’t as creative as they used to be. Having a child means I get to go trick-or-treating still, and even though I’m not the one at the door saying “trick-or-treat!” I get to pig out on all of the different chocolates and chips that Sidney doesn’t like.
Halloween is also my daughter’s birthday. When I found out my due date was early November I hoped so badly she’d be born on Halloween because I thought it would be the coolest birthday ever! I went into labour early Oct. 30, crossing my fingers to hold out through Devil’s Night. I made it through intense contractions and unbearable pain watching horror movies on the TV in my hospital room, and then Sidney was born at 5:22 Halloween morning.
What are some things you love about autumn?