Tag Archives: Canada

A day of arts, music and hype crawls into Hamilton’s summer event listings

So it seems that we are now in the clear in Canada and the bbq and patio season is here to stay.   Time to finally call up your friends or gathered your loved ones and head outdoors to enjoy the endless list of activities on offer as the summer solstice arrives yet one more time.

If you happen to be in the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario and are trying to figure out which festivals not to miss this season, then pay close attention.  Your to-do list must include the Hamilton James Street Supercrawl.  You heard right…HAMILTON!

Heading into its 6th season, the Supercrawl showcases the local artistic and cultural community of this historic and up-and-coming neighbourhood.  Having set a record attendance (100,000 people), the Supecrawl hosts musicians, artists,  local business owners, chefs, and an all-ages crowd of people just looking to have a good time.  Just wonder up and down good old St. James Street and you’ll be sure to find a delicious treat, a compelling art performance, some folky tunes, or just a wall to draw on and really get involve.

So mark down your calendars:  September 12-14, 2014.  Believe me…you don’t wanna miss it!  For more information on these year’s music and performance lineup visit http://www.supercrawl.ca

Summer days in the Land of Green Gables

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After 15 years of living in Canada, I figured it was finally time to grab my backpack and my camera and head out to the East Coast of this vast and beautiful land.    For some time now, I have been determined to get out of the comfort zone – Ontario and explore the many other to-be-discovered places that the land of the Maple Leaf and the Moose has to offer.

With the car all packed-up and ready to go, my girlfriend (traveling confidant) and I embarked on a week-long road trip to the east coast…final destination, Prince Edward Island (PEI).  With our expectations high, our minds imagining dishes full of oysters and fresh lobsters, and our butts unprepared for 2 days of driving, we were set to experience the PEI way of life.

From the moment we got on the Confederation Bridge, I knew we were in for quite a treat.  Crossing the Abegweit Passage onto the Island, felt like entering a faraway and imaginary place.  But there was nothing imaginary about were we had arrived…PEI was now real.  I loved the freshness in the air and all the greenery that surrounded us.  You read correctly…GREENERY!  Not only is PEI surrounded by water but it is also full of hilly fields and lots of agriculture.

On the first day on the Island we headed straight to the beach at Rice Point to check off “clam digging” from our to-do list.  At Rice Point we confirmed why PEI is recognized for its red sand and long beaches.  As the tide pulled back, it gave way to the best spot on the beach to catch dinner.  A dip in salty waters and a couple of hours later….a dozen clams ready for dinner!  The tide started to rise and we had just enough time to head back to safety as the red sand disappeared back into the ocean.  The day activities also included a quick visit around  Charlottetown to get a refresher on canadian history and the first settlements back in the day, and a drive around 9-mile Creek where we discovered that life as an Islander has a lot to do with working on the land and being self-sustainable.

For the second day, our friend and local tour guide, Natalie took us to the Penderosa Cottages (www.penderosacottages.ca) for a glimpse of the North Shore way of life.  On the way to the North Shore we had to stop at the birth place of Anne of Green Gables and visit L.M’s Montgomery’s home.  You definitely feel like you are a part of the story when driving through the hills and creeks.  At the cottages we had the pleasure of meeting the Pendergasts, a very sweet couple and the proud Islanders who have made the Penderosa land what it is today.   We couldn’t leave this land without some apple picking, swimming in the Atlantic ocean, and cooking up fresh lobster and oysters bought straight from a local fisherman near by.

As our stay on PEI came to an end, I could not help it and felt a bit nostalgic.   This is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have visited in the world and one to which I will go back.  If you are thinking about making this trip I highly recommend taking more time off then we did and stay for at least a full week.  Two days was not enough to see everything this island has to offer.

Until next time PEI!

A Day in the County

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ever had a moment where you sat and wondered…”what the heck am I gonna do on my day off work?”? Several ideas might have come up in your head; tackle the pile of laundry colonizing your bedroom, finally clean the bathtub, pay some past due bills and eventually go shopping, head down to the nearest swimming pool and work on the tan, or simply sit on the couch and catch up on some reruns.  I recently found myself in this exact situation and, after thinking it over, I decided I was going to take full advantage of my day off by making a 1-day road trip.  Destination:  Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada.

I heard from friends about the beauty that P.E.C. has to offer; so I had some good expectations set in my mind.  With my girlfriend, we planned to checkout some wineries, go for a dip at the Sand Banks Provincial Park, and take a some photos along the way.  The trip was not exactly as we planned but it definitely exceeded our expectations.

We started at the Norman Hardie Winery where we stumbled upon some delicious and very refreshing white-Chardonnay and Riesling,  and a very friendly sommelier named Lucie.  As per Lucie’s suggestion we skipped the dip at the Sand Banks and, instead, headed over to a public yet secluded beach…such a great call!  We had the whole beach pretty much to ourselves and enjoyed a dip in warm, clear blue water for as long as our fingers began to wrinkle!  And yes, believe it or not,  you can find amazing swimming spots in Lake Ontario.  For the rest of the day we drove around the County, enjoying the landscapes, exploring the hidden roads, and discovering the magic that this land has to offer.  Great wine, beautiful beaches, colourful and lively agriculture, and amazing people.

I now have a new place on my list of favourite destinations in Ontario.  I also have a new alternative for my next day off.  So if you are ever in the area, do take the time and visit Prince Edward County, you will not be dissapointed!

Deep in the Snow

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have always believed that to enjoy winter, one must get outside and get involve in some of the outdoor activities and sports Canada has to offer.  This is easier said then done for many, and specially for a “made in Colombia” canadian such as myself.  Nonetheless, I have been trying to stay true to my believes and have been out skiing a couple of times, have wonder around town (camera in hand) during the few snowstorms we’ve had, and most recently, headed up north to the Algonquin Highlands in Ontario  for my first ever snowshoe trip along with my girlfriend Kako and my good friends Amy and Juan.

WOW!   What a amazing weekend I had.  The scenery around Haliburton is just mind blowing.  The snow-drenched trees, the hilly roads surrounded by snow and frozen lakes (lots of them), and the random deer sighting, made this the perfect backdrop for my snowshoeing initiation.

On the first day we headed to the southern tip of Algonquin Park to checkout the High Falls.  Ploughing through the heavy snow, we made it up the narrow tree-wrapped path and after passing several frozen ponds we reached the falls… Such a magical place, and such a great feeling to be out in the snow, surrounded by trees and seeing the water rushing down the mountain and overpowering the ice and snow covering it.  We could not help it and took out a flask with warm tasty whiskey to celebrate this wonderful moment.

On the second day, our snowshoes took us over to the historic Log Chute and the Hawk Lake.  The log chute  is the only one that remains standing in Ontario, and lies at the bottom of the Crests of the Kennisis trail.  Hiking up this trail was a tough workout and it is not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely worth every bit of effort!  Walking through the forest felt like getting lost in a scene of Alice in Wonderland.   We were fortunate to have very deep and powdery snow and lots of sun piercing through the trees, which made it easier to bear the very cold -20 degrees nature surprised us with.  The top price for this hike…the beautiful views of the Kennisis River, which cuts through the forest on a perfect zig zag!

As I said before, the best way to enjoy the winter is to get out there and enjoy the picturesque canadian outdoors.  I am totally sold on this idea and very thankful for getting the opportunity to visit such an amazing place as the Algonquin Highlands.  Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy taking them.

B&B Heaven in Haliburton

 

I recently came back from a weekend get-away in Haliburton, Ontario, and  my very first Bed & Breakfast experience courtesy of Akané B&B.  Oooh my…how fortunate I was, having found this wonderful and homey wood cabin in the middle of the Algonquin Highlands!  From the moment I pulled into Akané, I knew I was in for a treat.  The dream-like winter scenery of its surroundings, the comfort of its wooden architecture, the exquisite food (Shabu Shabu dinner, oven-baked eggs and waffles for breakfast), and the unsurpassed hospitality of the wonderful hosts Mieko and Gary, made my long weekend vacation perfect.

To all the B&B lovers out there, it would be wise to add Akané B&B to your list (www.bbloghome.com).  You will not be disappointed.  As for me, I’m already looking forward to visiting them in the summer!

Translation: Acabo de regresar de Haliburton, Ontario, y de mi primera experiencia en un Bed & Breakfast cortesía de Akané B&B.  Wow…que afortunado fuí al haber encontrado está maravillosa y acogedora cabaña en medio de la región de Algonquin Highlands.  Desde el momento en que estacioné sabía que lo que se venía era de lujo.  Los paisajes invernales de ensueño, la comodidad de su arquitectura, la comida exquicita (cena Shabu Shabu, huevos al horno y waffles al desayuno), y la insuperable hospitalidad de sus anfitriones Mieko and Gary, le dieron el toque de perfección a mi fin de semana largo.

Para todos los amantes de los Bed and Breakfast, sería muy sabio agregar a Akané B&B a su lista (www.bbloghome.com).  Les aseguro que no se arrepentirán.  Por mi parte, no veo la hora de regresar en el verano.

White Holiday

 

So after 15 years of living in Canada, of which many holidays have been spend down in South America, I have finally come to the realization that winter  in Canada is definitely better with a good dose of snow and winter sports.  Although I have skied in the past, it took a 6 hour drive to Mont Tremblant, enduring -25C degree temperatures, a couple of bruised ankles, and all the powder snow I had dreamed of, to appreciate the beauty of skiing and getting away from it all “‘à la Canadien”.

Here are some photos of my recent trip to Mont Tremblant.  This was my first visit to the Laurentians in Québec and I know it will not be the last.  From the scenery and the great skiing, to the great atmosphere at the mountain and the friendly people, Mont Tremblant is by far my best experience of a white holiday in Canada.  Set your eye on this destination and go visit, you won’t regret it.

A la prochaine!

Después de 15 años de vivir en Canadá, durante los cuales la mayoría de las vacaciones de fin de año incluyeron calor, brisa y mar en Suramérica, finalmente llego a la conclusión de que el invierno en Canadá es muchísimo mejor con una buena dosis de nieve y deportes de invierno.  Aunque he esquiado en el pasado, fueron necesarias 6 horas de viaje por carretera hasta Mont Tremblant (Québec), un par de noches de  -25 grados centígrados, un par de contusiones en los tobillos, y toda la nieve polvo con la que he soñado, para poder apreciar la belleza de esquiar y escaparse de la rutina al estilo canadiense.

Aquí les comparto algunas de las fotos de mi más reciente viaje a Mont Tremblant, Québec.  Esta fue mi primera visita y seguro no será la última.  Desde los paisajes y una esquiada inolvidable, hasta el buen ambiente y la amabilidad de la gente, Mont Tremblant es sin duda alguna la mejor experiencia que he tenido de una navidad blanca en Canadá.  Que esperan para visitarla?

Hasta la próxima!

Be careful what you wish for…! (cuidado con lo que pedimos)

Although I am sure in two months time I’ll be wishing for the snow to go away and dreaming of warm weather,  I cannot help but enjoy the beauty and freshness of the first real snowfall (10 to 15cms) of this winter in Toronto, Canada.
Aunque estoy seguro que en 2 meses estaré deseando que desaparezca la nieve y soñando con el clima cálido, no puedo evitar disfrutar de la belleza y frescura de la primera nevada (10 a 15cms) de este invierno en Toronto, Canadá.

The season to be jolly…at the Toronto Christmas Market

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having been away from Toronto the last 4 years and not knowing about the Christmas celebrations going on around town, I was happy to have made my way down to the Lowe’s Christmas market at the Distillery District in Toronto.

Although I have read mix reviews on the experience (too crowded, too cold to be outdoors, pricey food, etc.), I enjoyed my visit and the chance to share with others the spirit of Christmas.  The beautiful lighting, the smile and great attitude of the vendors, the yummy treats, and the live music, all made my Christmas extra special this season.  Two thumbs up for this great idea from the Distillery District.

How about you? Was there a Christmas Market in your city or a special event to celebrate the holidays?

Happy Holidays to you all and enjoy the photos.