Monthly Archives: January 2013

Packing 101 to get you on the beach

No need to stress about what to pack when heading to a beach vacation, we’ve got you covered.  Print this Packing List and get to the beach!!

Clothing 

  • Bathing suits – 2/family member (nobody likes putting on a wet bathing suit)
  • Shorts/capris
  • T-shirts/tanks
  • Underwear/Bras
  • Socks
  • Pajamas (few pairs each)
  • Pants  (sometimes required for men in restaurants)
  • Sun dresses
  • Comfies for when the kiddies are in bed and you and hubby have time to snuggle on the balcony
  • Nighttime outfits (Always feels nice to get dressed up so pack some special dressier outfits for nighttime)
  • Sweater (in case the nights get cool)
  • Beach cover ups
  • Sandles/flip flops/nighttime footwear

Bathroom stuff

  • Aloe
  • Body lotion
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Body wash/face wash
  • Shaving cream/Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
  • Insect repellent
  • Prescription medication
  • Stomach Remedies – Gravol, Pepto Bismal, Tums, Immodium
  • Curling iron/straightener
  • Hair products
  • Pain/fever relief for adults and children
  • Digital thermometer
  • Band-aids and Polysporin
  • Make-up
  • Nail clippers and tweezers
  • Birth control
  • Female hygiene products
  • Check to be sure resort has hair dryer and iron in room but most do

Travelling with a baby

  • Bottles
  • Soothers
  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Swim Diapers
  • Blanket

For the Beach

  • Beach bag
  • Sun hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (never a bad idea to over pack this as it is expensive at a resort)
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Pails and shovels (Pack underwear and swimsuits in pails in your suitcase)
  • Blow up raft/beach balls that you can leave at the resort
  • Thermal mugs to keep your fave drink cold
  • E-reader/Books
  • Goggles/face mask
  • Water shoes
  • Underwater disposable cameras for the kids 

Carry on

  • Travel documents
  • Wallets and Cash
  • Baby wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Prescription medication (Clearly marked)
  • Favourite stuffie
  • Suckers/gum for take-off and landing
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Activities for kids (See our Are we there yet blog)
  • Water bottles
  • Video camera
  • Ear phones
  • Books/magazines

Random items

  • Plug in air freshener (rooms can tend to be musty from all the wet towels)
  • Extra batteries
  • Chargers for Ipods/camera/computer/ereader/cell phone
  • Needle and thread
  • Snack food
  • Purse for Mommy at Nighttime
  • $$ for tipping, souvenirs and airport food
  • If you’re planning on using a CC be sure to call and let them know you will be out of the country!
  • Grocery bags to separate wet items on the way home
  • Umbrella stroller?  If travelling with small children this will be useful in the airport and getting around at the resort
  • Information and phone #s for travel insurance, Health insurance. Travel provider and Credit card company
  • Make copies of travel documents, passports  and Credit card numbers in case they get lost
  • Nightlight in case your little one requires one
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Weekend Fun Guide (February 1-3 2013)

This weekend welcomes in the month of February!  Can you believe how quickly January flew by?  Our Weekend Fun Guide is packed full of Winter Carnivals and Festivals all across Ontario.  So get outside and have some fun with your family this weekend!

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Every Saturday until the end of March, Cineplex theatres show Family Favourites at 11:00 am for only $2.50.  Feel like you need to escape the cold?  Then check out what they’re showing this weekend http://bit.ly/ZygvF5

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Want to spend some time with the family on the slopes, snow shoeing or screaming your head off as you head down a tube slide?  Find all the great resorts in Ontario that offer skiing, Snow shoeing and tubing!

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Around Town this Weekend…

Barrie

Winterfest – Great way to celebrate the winter season with adventures that the whole family will enjoy.  Check out the polar bear swim, horse-drawn wagon rides, dogsled rides, lumberjack show, giant snow slide, ice maze, and much more.  The Festival of Ice features 300 pound blocks of ice carved into spectacular, themed sculptures.  Join in the festivities at one of the many indoor venues too, including the February Blues Festival, Reel Stories mini film festival, tours and family fun at the MacLarenArtCentre, skating at Barrie’s arenas during select times, and storytime and crafts at the Barrie Public Library.

Batawa

Frostfest – Join us at the Batawa Community Centre on Saturday, February 2 for a fun day of family winter activities! Skate on the outdoor rink or have lunch with the Trenton Golden Hawks, take a horse drawn carriage ride, play with a furry new friend at the Petting Zoo, see the great entertainment, take part in family activities and crafts and warm up or roast a marshmallow by the community bonfire .

Beaverton

Winter Carnival – Most events behind the Beaverton Town Hall in Alexander Muir Park which include pancake breakfast, family skating, scavenger hunt and more

Burlington

Battle of the Titans @ Royal Botanical Gardens – Dinos like you’ve never seen them before!  In this battle for the ages, you will learn about ecology, the study of organisms and the environment that these majestic creatures lived through so long ago. Get ready to go back in time and see how science and nature come together in one amazing exhibit!

Campbellville

Horse drawn sleigh rides @ Mountsberg Conservation Area – You can enjoy a wagon or sleigh ride through the fields and forests of Mountsberg on a crisp winter day. The jingle of the harness and the sound of the horses tromping along the trail will make for an enjoyable trip to our outdoor camp fire. Marshmallows for roasting and hot chocolate for sipping are included in the price of your ticket!

Season of the Snowsnake @ Crawford Lake Conservation Area – Explore the beautiful snowy landscape on a pair of snowshoes courtesy of Crawford’s rental program. Join staff for guided tours of the reconstructed Iroquoian Village at 11am1pm and 3pm.  Each tour will have a unique focus such as games, archaeology or storytelling.   Warm up after the tour with a complimentary cup of nature’s tea. Children can create a craft or enjoy a discovery hunt from 10am to 4pm.

Moonlight Snowshoe Hike @ Crawford Lake Conservation Area – Discover the magic of winter at night, the snow illuminated by moonlight and the stars bright in the night sky. Our knowledgeable guides will lead you on a snowshoe hike through this beautiful landscape. Hikes take place every Saturday evening in January and February from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each hike begins with basic instruction and some historical background on the sport of snowshoeing.

Cobourg

Winter Festivities – Come join us for the first 3 Saturdays in February. Free skating & music at the outdoor rink, horse drawn wagon rides, ice carving demonstrations, maple candy station, NZone Kids Club at Northumberland Mall and much more.

Cochrane

Winter Carnival – During February 1st to the 10th, everyone is invited to take part in Ontario’s Oldest Premier Winter Carnival. With over 110 different activities crammed into a week, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.  From the classic favourites like the Princess Pageant, Torchlight Parade and the Polar Bear Dip, to the new events like the Camao Snow Drags, there is no excuse to stay inside, curled up by the fireplace.

Dunvegan

Winter Carnival – Enjoy the fresh air this Saturday as you spend time at the Dunvegan Winter Carnival.  Activities include: Tobogganing & Sledding, Skating&Pond Hockey, Cross-Country Skiing, “Spring Fling” Scavenger Hunt ❄ Volleyball in the Snow and Homemade Soup & Rolls 

Goderich

Winterfest – Don’t Hibernate – Celebrate! Beat the winter blahs during this annual celebration. Enjoy the variety of events – candlelight walk, chili cook-off, snow-pitch tournament, children’s theatre, crafts, fireworks and more. To be held at various venues in Goderich.

Hamilton

RV Show – Get your family ready for the upcoming camping season or for a family Roadtrip at the RV Show.  There will be Local area dealers on hand, On-Site financing available, All types of RV’s on display, Fully stocked  parts & accessory store, Campgrounds & product/services booth exhibitors, Prize draw for a 42″ LCD TV, Havelock Jamboree ticket draw, Fun for the kids – face painting & balloon animals and a Cafe area – sandwiches & drinks available.

Kingston

Febfest – Beaver Tails, maple syrup taffy pull, wagon rides, public skating and live music oh my!  Join in on one of Ontario’s premier winter events. Feb Fest features a flurry of fantastic fun: a figure skating show, Hockey Day in Kingston, skate with the Fronts, Car Harris Cup, The Historic Hockey Series, a winter fun zone, public skating and so much more!  Feb Fest has quickly become Kingston’s premiere winter event.

Kingsville

Annual Winter Art & Crafts Show @ Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens – Admission is free. Over 60 vendor booths will be located in Colasanti’s Restaurant, the Cactus Room, and the Hibiscus Room. A special lunch buffet runs from 11:00am – 2:00pm. All day ride passes will be available for children and adults (including unlimited mini golf, zoo, bumper cars, and kiddie rides).

Marmora

SnoFest – This year’s activities include a wide variety both for participants and observers. In addition to the much anticipated sled dog races which span everything from sprints to a 40 mile run, there will be skijoring races on both Saturday and Sunday, a Saturday craft sale at the Legion, a Sno Ball tournament at the local ball diamond on February 2, weight pulls and the very popular chainsaw carving demonstrations scheduled to take place on both days.

Midland

Winterfest – Come out and enjoy the 28th Annual Winterfest which includes Pancake breakfast, Kid’s adventure obstae race, lumberjack shows, Birds of prey demonstration, Activities at the Huronia Museum, Horse and wagon rides, outdoor games and more!

Newmarket

Winterfest – Activities and attractions include: pancake breakfast, family bingo, children’s activities, photography contest, wagon rides, pony rides, children’s games, dog sled rides, skating and hot food, free public skate & swim.

Niagara on the Lake

Days of Wine & Chocolate – Warm up your winter with this match made in heaven! Explore pairings of two of your favourite indulgences – wine and chocolate, as you tour the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

New Lowell

Winterama – Kick-off the weekend with a spaghetti supper at the Legion then outdoor skating and fireworks at the new Lowell Park. If you do not like the cold, warm up by the outdoor fire with some good ol’ fashion hot chocolate! Saturday and Sunday have not changed, however, featuring children’s games in the park, radar runs, a community parade and more.

Ottawa

Winterlude – A unique winter festival featuring snow and ice sculpture competitions, snow playgrounds, skating, sporting events and let’s not forget the world’s largest skating rink. Celebrate the joys of winter at Winterlude, with three fun-filled weeks in February. Canada’s favourite winter activities are featured across Ottawa and Gatineau at this annual event.

Frosty Fortunes @ The Currency Museum –  See how our country’s chilliest season has influenced the art and design of Canadian currency throughout history. Each weekend during Winterlude, you and your family can come and enjoy cool crafts, games and presentations, all inspired by this frosty time of year. We’ll even have some nice hot cocoa and coffee to warm you up from the chill outside. Admission is free for the whole family.

Pembroke

SnoSpree – Good Ol’ Familiy Fun will be taking place from January 30th- Feb 3rd.  Enjoy free skates at the PMC, Outdoor sliding and skating parties and of course SNOSPREE CENTRAL an action packed afternoon filled with lots of children activities.

Port Carling

Winterfest – Come join in the fun and excitement in this winter wonderland in Muskoka. Saturday–entertainment, free face painting, horse & wagon rides, dog show, chainsaw events, axe throw, carving, log sawing, free public skate, roast beef dinner, hockey game and dance.  Sunday–pancake and sausage breakfast, bean bag curling, silent auction closes, snow snake competition, polar bear dip, chili cook-off contest and chef’dessert challenge

Richmond Hill 

Winter Carnival – The Richmond Hill Winter Carnival is a weekend of affordable fun and entertainment organized by volunteers to celebrate the community of Richmond Hill in a welcoming atmosphere.  There are many things going on for kids and families that are scheduled, and many that are not scheduled (like bouncy castles, kids games and rides, lots of food, the Subtonic Monks). Come on out and have fun!

Sault Ste Marie

Bon Soo Winter Carnival – A week long winter carnival that incorporates the entire city. Set in the middle of winter, events include a children’s fantasy ice kingdom, polar bear swim, and a diverse program of outdoor and indoor sports and activity events, as well as cultural activities including concerts and ice sculptures.

Striling

Groundhogfest – Community festivities including Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, public skating and visits from Mill Pond Moe. Don’t miss the Mill Pond Hockey Tournament and annual Fish Fry during the weekend.

Stratford

Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heartburn Day! – Who will win at this year’s Caribbean themed Orr Insurance Heartburn Day? Over 40 chili’s to taste and judge! Fantastic musical entertainment by Mob Barley. Huge silent auction with family getaways, romantic retreats, spa and restaurant packages, gifts and more. Kids Carnival with the Orr Fire Truck and Carnival games!

Sudbury

Imax Festival @ Sceince North- Explore the unbelievable! Ten films and ten exciting adventures to choose from!  Nothing brings you closer to the action and adventure than IMAX®, the most powerful and immersive movie experience in the world! The Festival’s flexible screening schedule offers you a great combination of giant screen excitement and show times!

Toronto

Ultimate Dinosaurs @ ROM –  Giants from Gondwana, presented by Raymond James, features dinosaurs you’ve never seen before, displayed in ways you’ve never seen. Check out this world premiere exhibit featuring Dinosaurs unknown to North Americans – most have just been unearthed in the last 20 years.

World Wetlands Day @ Toronto Zoo – Celebrate the wonderful and wacky world of wetland creatures and join some conservation fun with the Adopt-A-Pond Programme on World Wetlands Day! Experience heaps of activities for kids of all ages, including games like Fish for a Prize, Pin the Tail on the Turtle, and Frog Call Challenge!

Kuumba – Come down to Harbourfront Centre for three days of FREE Black History Month events, including music, film, panel discussions and more.

The Natrel® Rink at Harbourfront – Tucked away behind York Quay Centre and set against the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario, the city’s most scenic rink awaits! The Natrel® Rink has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms. Hot food and drinks are available at our rink-side restaurant, Lakeside EATS. Best of all – skating is FREE! Part of Skate Culture.

Nature Walk @ Rouge Park – Rouge Park invites you to join us for a guided walk along many of Rouge Park’s trails and discover parts of the Park you might not have visited yet, or learn and share a bit more about your favourite spot in the Park. Whether it’s a Sunday stroll, a fitness walk, a family outing, wildlife spotting or just to get out on the trail, we have the outing for you! With trained leaders to guide the way, we promise you’ll have a ‘natural’ Rouge Park adventure!

Winterlicious – Winterlicious 2013 is Toronto’s biggest winter culinary celebration to date. Discover unique culinary events and 191 exciting local restaurants offering prix fixe menus.

Township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield

PolarFest – Come Chill With Us! – .Fun for the entire family includes horse drawn sleigh rides, professional ice carvings, the Polar Cup 4 on 4 outdoor hockey tournament, Polar Paddle, lake curling and more

Welland

Winter Carnival – French Canadian Carnival Day (Sunday 8:30am – 2:00pm) – Pancake breakfast, hayrides, crafts with Bonhomme Carnaval, penny sale, children’s games, search & rescue Niagara demo, maple taffy. Food & beverage available. Free admission and parking.

Wiarton

Wiarton Willie Festival – Join the thousands watching at 8:07 a.m. on Prediction Morning, Saturday, February 2, for Wiarton Willie’s Official Prediction.  Revel in the diverse weekend events.  Bountiful childrens’ games, talent, puppetry, face painting and music, both indoors and out.  Family fun offers pancake breakfasts, snowball toss, outdoor skating and more.  Sports run the gamut from sno-pitch to volleyball, road hockey to darts and snooker, curling and a recreational hockey tourney.  The entertainment field abounds with broad appeal–Monte Carlo Night, comedy shows, local and area band performances, Battle of the Bands and, of course, the Festival headliner, Sloan.

Snowshoeing in Ontario

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If you can walk, you can snowshoe

Snowshoeing is fun for people of all ages and a great way to get out and enjoy winter with your family.  You can go snowshoeing in the woods, on a trail, in open fields or in the back country. It’s a fun, easy and cheap way to spend quality time with your family and friends.

It’s not surprising that snowshoeing has been gaining in popularity in Ontario. It takes minimal equipment, it’s easy to learn for the whole family and it delivers an incredible physical workout.

There are so many trails that you can choose to visit for a family fun day of snowshoeing.  Find snowshoeing near you via the Ontario Trails Council

Also, you may want to check out this handy dandy mobile trail finder app by Ontario Trails Council.  By using the nearby function you can find any trails within 20-25km – by activity.  Download it here for FREE

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Weekend Fun Guide (January 25-27, 2013)

Winter is in full swing and the activities happening across Ontario prove it.  Whether you want to stay inside to stay warm or get out and enjoy the winter wonderlands, there are SO many events to choose from.  Have fun this weekend and stay warm!

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Family Literacy Day is this Sunday January 27th! Literacy is so important for our children so be sure to celebrate this day with your family and make it special. For events in your area click here, contact your local public library for a list of their events or check your local paper.

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Every Saturday until the end of March, Cineplex theatres show Family Favourites at 11:00 am for only $2.50.  Feel like you need to escape the cold?  Then check out what they’re showing this weekend http://bit.ly/ZygvF5

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Want to spend some time with the family on the slopes or screaming your head off as you head down a tube slide?  Find all the great resorts in Ontario that offer skiing and tubing!

Around Town this Weekend…

Acton

Acton Winter Carnival – Happening on Sunday January 27th, this event has fun for the entire family including: Pancake breakfast, dog sledding demonstrations, horse & wagon rides, mini putt, kids crafts, face painting, hockey tournament, obstacle course, ice skating, food vendors and MORE!

Burlington

Dinosaurs: Battle of the Titans @ Royal Botanical Gardens – A formidable clash between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. Discover the astounding truth about how nature can both create giants and send them off to oblivion.

Lowville Winter Games @ Lowville Park (Sunday January 27th only) – Lots of family fun to be had including:Horse drawn wagon rides, fabulous food options, tobogganing, Crafts, Halton Birds of Prey show, log sawing competition and much more!

Campbellville

Horse drawn sleigh rides @ Mountsberg Conservation Area – You can enjoy a wagon or sleigh ride through the fields and forests of Mountsberg on a crisp winter day. The jingle of the harness and the sound of the horses tromping along the trail will make for an enjoyable trip to our outdoor camp fire. Marshmallows for roasting and hot chocolate for sipping are included in the price of your ticket!

Season of the Snowsnake @ Crawford Lake Conservation Area – Explore the beautiful snowy landscape on a pair of snowshoes courtesy of Crawford’s rental program. Join staff for guided tours of the reconstructed Iroquoian Village at 11am1pm and 3pm.  Each tour will have a unique focus such as games, archaeology or storytelling.   Warm up after the tour with a complimentary cup of nature’s tea. Children can create a craft or enjoy a discovery hunt from 10am to 4pm.

Moonlight Snowshoe Hike @ Crawford Lake Conservation Area – Discover the magic of winter at night, the snow illuminated by moonlight and the stars bright in the night sky. Our knowledgeable guides will lead you on a snowshoe hike through this beautiful landscape. Hikes take place every Saturday evening in January and February from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each hike begins with basic instruction and some historical background on the sport of snowshoeing.

Cannington

Cannington Dog Sled Races and Winter Festival – Cannington Dog Sled Races & Winter Festival for a fun-filled weekend of pancake breakfasts, ice sculptures and outdoor activities as top teams from across North America take to the field for a fun-filled weekend.

Collingwood

South Georgian Bay Winterfest – South Georgian Bay is kicking off the New Year with 10 full days (and nights) of Winterfest … a festival that celebrates our area’s finest outdoor winter adventures, local food and fun family entertainment from January 18th to the 27th. South Georgian Bay WINTERFEST is 10 days of jam-packed fun, dining, live entertainment and outdoor winter activities for the entire family to enjoy!

Dalkeith

Winter Carnnival – Saturday January 26th – 9 am to 2 pm Broomball 11 am Euchre Tournament 1 pm Pool Tournament Finals Div. A & B 2 pm Come for the outdoor parade (floats, costumes) 3-5 pm Outdoor skating 3 pm Kiddies corner 5-7 pm Broomball 8 pm Pick up Hockey for everyone 9 pm Carnival Dance with live band – Misty

Lanark Village 

Frosty Fling Winter Carnival – This annual family event features skating and costumes. Family outdoor activities on Sunday feature sleigh rides in Lanark Village.
Info: 613-259-2220

Milford

Winter Carnival – Fun for the entire family.  Activities include pancake breakfast, Skating, Bed races, curling, tricycle races, Free hot dogs and hot chocolate, Horse drawn wagon rides, free family movie and popcorn!

Niagara Falls

Winter Festival of Lights – Get bundled up, gather your kids, fill their memories with winter fun as you enjoy the Winter Festival of Lights from November 3, 2012 to January 31, 2013. With over three million sparkling lights, fireworks, concerts, amazing performance of great artists, water parks, casinos and wine tours, the CAA Winter Festival of Lights is the most enchanting of Niagara attractions and has become a tradition for over one million people from around the globe on winter getaways.

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Celebrations – Located on historic Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake, your favourite wineries will be pouring liquid gold all weekend long. Icewine will be served with the swinging sounds of Canadian Jazz and culinary pairings to delight the palate.

Odessa 

Winter Carnival – Get outdoors and enjoy a week full of fun, food and family at the annual Odessa Winter Carnival.  There’s plenty of great things to do throughout the week.

Ottawa

Winter Bites Ottawa – The event will lure you out of your home and into the warmth of Ottawa’s restaurants.Visit as many as you like, as often as you like. And check www.ottawamagazine.com/winterbites-2012 occasionally; the list of participating restaurant is growing daily. WinterBites runs Thursday, Jan. 12 to Saturday,Jan. 28.

Pakenham

Frostfest – Join a fun-filled week of events with Pakenham’s celebration of winter.

Peterborough

Snofest – Family snow games and activities such as; 2 Ball toss game, Tug of war, Board Walk activity game, Capture the Flag, Scavenger Hunt, Tic Tac Sno, Hockey shoot out, snow shoe egg race and tobagganing. Refreshments such as hot dogs, chili, coffee and hot chocolate will be available for sale. There will also be an Endurance Run for the winter runner organized by Fit Corps Boot Camp.

Port Sydney 

Winter Carnival – Family skating, bonfire, pancake breakfast, BBQ on the beach, dance, free snow shoeing and cross country skiing.

Scarborough

Community Winterfest @ Port Union Community Recreation Centre & Charlottetown Park – Curling, TPL ‘Bingo’ Marathon, Face Painting, Outdoor Games, Outdoor Giant Games & Rides, HawksShadow, Winter Golf, Snow Clues & Snowshoes, Ice Sculpting, Maple Candy Station, Snow Sculpting, Indoor Entertainment, Clowns, BBQ, Popcorn, Bonfire, Cotton Candy and Prizes

St. Catherines

Winterfest in the Square – Celebrate the magic of winter in St. Catharines wtih VQA wines, gourmet cuisine, live entertainment by Jonsey and the hottest trend in culinary, food trucks. Purchase tokens for wine and Dairy Farmers of Canada wine glasses.

Sudbury

Imax Festival @ Sceince North- Explore the unbelievable! Ten films and ten exciting adventures to choose from!  Nothing brings you closer to the action and adventure than IMAX®, the most powerful and immersive movie experience in the world! The Festival’s flexible screening schedule offers you a great combination of giant screen excitement and show times!

Toronto

Toronto’s Ultimate Travel Show @ Direct Energy Centre – As our famous winter weather arrives, what better way to escape the winter blues than exploring warm and exotic vacation opportunities, or home-grown escapes?  Discover cultures from around the world through our exciting exhibitors, seminars and entertainment from around the world. Toronto’s Ultimate Travel Show has  everything you need to inspire you to plan your best vacation ever!

The Natrel® Rink at Harbourfront – Tucked away behind York Quay Centre and set against the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario, the city’s most scenic rink awaits! The Natrel® Rink has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms. Hot food and drinks are available at our rink-side restaurant, Lakeside EATS. Best of all – skating is FREE! Part of Skate Culture.

Nature Walk @ Rouge Park – Rouge Park invites you to join us for a guided walk along many of Rouge Park’s trails and discover parts of the Park you might not have visited yet, or learn and share a bit more about your favourite spot in the Park. Whether it’s a Sunday stroll, a fitness walk, a family outing, wildlife spotting or just to get out on the trail, we have the outing for you! With trained leaders to guide the way, we promise you’ll have a ‘natural’ Rouge Park adventure!

Winterlicious – Winterlicious 2013 is Toronto’s biggest winter culinary celebration to date. Discover unique culinary events and 191 exciting local restaurants offering prix fixe menus.

Whitby

Winterfest – Come to WindReach Farm and enjoy the wonders of winter! Explore our accessible trails and pathways, go tobogganing, skating, and take a wagon ride, feed the farm animals, crafts for kids and more. Some adaptive sports equipment will be available for use. Enjoy all winter has to offer, then warm yourself by the outdoor fire. Food and beverages available for purchase. $20/vehicle

Leave your bras in Cuba

When going to a resort you’re always sure to bring along money to tip the wait staff, house keeper and your best friend for the week…the bartender.  Sometimes you think to bring some fun stuff for the children of the staff or leave behind some bathroom products they might enjoy but have you ever thought of leaving your bra behind?  YES, your bra!

Some family members just came back from Cuba and were shocked to be asked if they could leave behind a bra.  Now, they were not shocked that people would actually ask but rather that they were asking for a used bra.  They had become friendly with the staff at this small resort so I guess they felt comfortable asking in hushed tones but they we once again asked by staff at the airport during their 2 hour delay.   When asked at the resort for their bras they kind of laughed awkwardly and asked why they would want their bras.  From talking to them they learned that many women do not own bras and the reason being is that buying a bra may mean the difference between feeding their family.  Obviously what we as women from North America consider essential they consider a luxury and one that many can not afford.

Planning a trip to Cuba soon?  Perhaps think of asking around to your friends and family if they have bras they would be willing to part with. So pack up that extra suitcase of bras for your next trip …  the bigger the bra size the better they were told.  Yes the check in people may give you a weird look at your suitcase contents but that doesn’t matter when you know the happiness and comfort your simple act will bring to some women in Cuba.

Weekend Fun Guide (January 18-20, 2013)

The fun in Ontario is starting to pick back up and Winter Festivals are popping up all over Ontario for you to get out and enjoy with your family!  This weekend the snow is going to fly again so you can always hit the slopes at a local Ontario Ski Resort or try out some Snow Tubing.

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Around Town …

Bayfield

Winter Hike on Sunday – The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) will be having a winter hike at the Varna Trail, located at the Bluewater Varna Complex. The Varna complex is 4 km’s east of Bayfield or 2 km west of Varna on Mill Road. Depending on the snow, this will either be snowshoes or hiking boots. Outside Projects will be on hand with snowshoes to rent, but best to book ahead at 519 440 8585 or email Tyler Hessel outsideprojects@tcc.on.ca

Campbellville

Season of the Snowsnake @ Crawford Lake Conservation Area – Explore the beautiful snowy landscape on a pair of snowshoes courtesy of Crawford’s rental program. Join staff for guided tours of the reconstructed Iroquoian Village at 11am1pm and 3pm.  Each tour will have a unique focus such as games, archaeology or storytelling.   Warm up after the tour with a complimentary cup of nature’s tea. Children can create a craft or enjoy a discovery hunt from 10am to 4pm.

Moonlight Snowshoe Hike @ Crawford Lake Conservation Area – Discover the magic of winter at night, the snow illuminated by moonlight and the stars bright in the night sky. Our knowledgeable guides will lead you on a snowshoe hike through this beautiful landscape. Hikes take place every Saturday evening in January and February from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each hike begins with basic instruction and some historical background on the sport of snowshoeing.

Collingwood

South Georgian Bay Winterfest – South Georgian Bay is kicking off the New Year with 10 full days (and nights) of Winterfest … a festival that celebrates our area’s finest outdoor winter adventures, local food and fun family entertainment from January 18th to the 27th. South Georgian Bay WINTERFEST is 10 days of jam-packed fun, dining, live entertainment and outdoor winter activities for the entire family to enjoy!

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Napanee

Winter Chill Festival @ Market Square – Bring your ice skates and snow suit for some great winter fun at the Winter Chill Festival. Join us for a special public skate on the Outdoor Ice Rink created just for the event! Don’t miss marshmallow roasting, snow painting, snow volleyball tournament, chili challenge cook-off, snow mountain, horse drawn wagon rides and more! Dress warm, come out and have some fun in Downtown Greater Napanee!

Newburgh

Canal Bash – Don’t miss the winter fun planned in Newburgh at the 20th annual Canal Bash.  A great line-up is scheduled that’s perfect for both the young and young at heart.

Niagara Falls

Winter Festival of Lights – Get bundled up, gather your kids, fill their memories with winter fun as you enjoy the Winter Festival of Lights from November 3, 2012 to January 31, 2013. With over three million sparkling lights, fireworks, concerts, amazing performance of great artists, water parks, casinos and wine tours, the CAA Winter Festival of Lights is the most enchanting of Niagara attractions and has become a tradition for over one million people from around the globe on winter getaways.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Celebrations – Locatedd on historic Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake, your favourite wineries will be pouring liquid gold all weekend long. Icewine will be served with the swinging sounds of Canadian Jazz and culinary pairings to delight the palate.

Ottawa

Winter Bites Ottawa – The event will lure you out of your home and into the warmth of Ottawa’s restaurants.Visit as many as you like, as often as you like. And check www.ottawamagazine.com/winterbites-2012 occasionally; the list of participating restaurant is growing daily. WinterBites runs Thursday, Jan. 12 to Saturday,Jan. 28.

Petawawa 

Cabin Fever – Check out the great line-up of activities planned including: Family skating, food, Snow drag races, ski races, children’s programming and more…

Peterborough 

Snofest – Celebrate the 36th anniversary of Snofest Peterborough with fun events throughout the month of January 2013. Some exciting new events planned for this year include: Pony Petting, a Curling Media Competition, Snowman building event throughout the City, a Youth Art Show and Sale and a Library Story time, plus even more family fun at the Carnival on the Hill at the Peterborough Museum.

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Sauble Beach 

Winterfest – Winterfest is a special off-season event for year round residents and winter enthusiasts, reminding everyone that Sauble Beach doesn’t shut down after Thanksgiving! Make plans to join us for this year’s activities and enjoy some of the other things the beach has to offer. But leave your bathing suit at home!

Stratford 

Winterfest – Featuring The Fire Guy, Bobbi “The Wood Carver”, Loads of Winter Games for Kids, Entertainment for All Ages, and Much More!

Sudbury

Imax Festival @ Sceince North- Explore the unbelievable! Ten films and ten exciting adventures to choose from!  Nothing brings you closer to the action and adventure than IMAX®, the most powerful and immersive movie experience in the world! The Festival’s flexible screening schedule offers you a great combination of giant screen excitement and show times!

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Toronto

The Natrel® Rink at Harbourfront – Tucked away behind York Quay Centre and set against the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario, the city’s most scenic rink awaits! The Natrel® Rink has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms. Hot food and drinks are available at our rink-side restaurant, Lakeside EATS. Best of all – skating is FREE! Part of Skate Culture.

Toronto International Boat Show – The Toronto International Boat Show is back for another year, with over 1200 boats on display. The event features the world’s largest indoor lake, and offers free boat rides in canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and inflatable boats. Also, guests can enjoy a wakeboarding demonstrations, the discover boating centre where experts are on hand to give advice and tips, special guests and over 140 seminars. The event is family-friendly with a kids boating zone with paddleboats on a mini-lake.

Maple Leaf Monster Jam @ Roger’s Centre – Experience the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Trucks. Leading the charge is free- style champion, Northern Nightmare driven by Canada’s own, Cam McQueen. Don’t miss out on the twelve-foot-tall, ten thousand pound machines that will keep you at the edge of your seats with thrilling stunts and nail-biting action.

Nature Walk @ Rouge Park – Rouge Park invites you to join us for a guided walk along many of Rouge Park’s trails and discover parts of the Park you might not have visited yet, or learn and share a bit more about your favourite spot in the Park. Whether it’s a Sunday stroll, a fitness walk, a family outing, wildlife spotting or just to get out on the trail, we have the outing for you! With trained leaders to guide the way, we promise you’ll have a ‘natural’ Rouge Park adventure!

Twenty Valley

Twenty Valley Winter Wine Fest – Sip, savour and celebrate with over 30 of Twenty Valley’s award-winning wineries. Sweet Icewine, festive sparkling wines and sensational VQA red and white wines will be on offer, paired with delicious offerings from our renowned local chefs. Centre stage will feature live entertainment and wine and food demos in the heart of charming Jordan Village.

Choosing a Sunny Destination Resort

Choosing the best resort for your family vacation can seem overwhelming but can actually be quite simple. Some simple steps to get you closer to your family vacay:

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Choose Destination – Do you feel like chillin’ out in Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Turks… This is your biggest decision and once you decide this, the planning gets easier!

How many stars? – Star ratings are used to classify resorts based on amenities, level of service and quality of food.  Here is a basic breakdown:

1 Star – Very, very basic. Simple accommodation only.

2 Stars – Modest accommodation offering a few amenities and services.

3 Stars – Average best describes some 3 star resorts. Offering a reasonable range of services and amenities.

4 Stars – Above average resort offering an extended range of facilities, amenities and services. A 4 star resort will satisfy almost any traveler.

5 Stars – Generally a superior resort offering a wide range of facilities and amenities.

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Proximity to airport – Take into consideration how well your children do on car rides and how restless they will be after a long flight.  However, you will also want to take into consideration how close you want to be to an airport for the noise factor…you are on vacation afterall 😉

Reviews – The best reviews and recommendations you can get are from someone you know and trust that has been to a specific resort.  If you have no personal recommendations to go by, read reviews of the resort from multiple sites and people.  Read the feedback and base your decision on the parts of the reviews that are important to you.  Now with that being said, know that you will always have those that can’t find anything nice to say about anything so take reviews with a grain of salt.

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Can the resort accommodate your family sizeFamilies come in all different shapes and sizes and many resorts can accommodate this by giving you a suite or adjoining rooms.  Be sure to check the options available to you.

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Resort size – There are small cozy resorts and sprawling huge resorts.  Neither one is better than the other it just depends on what you are looking for.  We have stayed at both and I love the feel of a smaller resort as you tend to see the same people and get to know the staff better but I will admit that larger resorts are cool as some have a train that take your from point A to point B and they tend to had a bit more to do and explore.

Building style – Resorts can differ in the type of accommodations they provide.  You need to decide what works best for you.  High rises can offer great views and all kids love elevator rides but anytime you forget something… back up the elevator you go.  Smaller 3 -4 level buildings can make the resorts more spread out (which means more walking) but you can quickly access your room and the resort seems more quaint.

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Children’s programs – Almost every resort offers some form of kid’s club.  This is where you can drop your kids off for a couple hours to have some structured fun and Mom and Dad can RELAX!!  Club ages differ from resort to resort so be sure they can accommodate  your children’s ages.

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Nightly Entertainment – Hands down one of our families favourite things about a resort!  We never miss the nighttime show and have always found them very entertaining for the whole family.  Some resorts bring the kids up on stage to be part of the show which they will love.  The shows usually start fairly late so jammie up the kiddies, grab some good seats, a drink for the parents and enjoy! 🙂

Food options – We have always agreed that we won’t stress about the kids eating while on vacation as it is a vacation for everyone!  Choosing a resort with multiple restaurants is important but really the buffet is usually where it’s at.  Many resorts offer a “kid area” in their buffet restaurant with kid friendly foods.  A beach grill is always an added bonus to grab burgers and hot dogs during the day without having to leave all the fun.  Do you have food allergies in your family? Check out our tips about travelling with a child with an anaphylactic allergy.

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Pool or beach? – You might think that all resorts MUST have a beach but this is not necessarily true.  There are a very few that have “beach access” which means you will need to walk quite aways  or take transportation to the beach.  We focus a lot on the pools when choosing a resort as really all we require in a beach (other than there being one) is that it have sand, swimmable water and beach chairs.  If you plan on spending time at the pool, be sure the pool meets your needs.  We tend to look for a resort with multiple pools (children’s pool is a bonus) or a large pool that flows through the resort.

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Hopefully these points can help you on your way to planning your next escape to paradise with your family! Happy travels!!