Toronto, Cluny restaurant and skating at an outdoor ice rank!

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Dinner with a French touch and feeling like a King or Queen on ice!

Which area: The Distillery District were in early days a lot of whisky has been made. Today you can enjoy arts, culture and entertainment. And you have plenty of restaurants and bars.

Where to eat: Book a table at Cluny Bistro in the Distillery District. A French oriented restaurant with delicious food and wine. And Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin can be heard through the speakers to join your French rendezvous ;-).

What to do: If the winter season is there, you can skate at an outdoor ice rank in the city. There are a couple of ice ranks from which to choose.

What do you need: You can rent ice skates near the ice rank. But be aware that they are not in the most excellent condition. Would you like to make the most fantastic ice moves...bring your own ice skates with you ;-)!

Nice to know: If you are cold or you need a break during practising your pirouettes, you can buy hot drinks and hot dogs on the side

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Toronto and the Bite Beauty Lip Lab

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Toronto: having a coffee pitstop and making our own lipstick!

Being in Toronto we want to do something odd. Why not making your own lipstick in a Lip Lab?! It was such a nice experience . The service was great and Desiré's lipstick was very pink ;-)!

Which city: Toronto, Ontario Canada

Where to go: To the Aroma Espresso Bar and the Bite Beauty Lip Lab on Queen St W

What to drink and eat: Drinking cappuccino at Aroma Espresso Bar and having a delicious mini red velvet cupcake and some biscotti.

What to do: Making your own lipstick at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab.

What to love: Experience the art of making your very own personalized lipstick within half a hour.

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Toronto and Mount St. Louis Moonstone

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Winter sport activities in the mountains of Ontario.

January in Toronto…what should we explore this time? First we wanted to go riding with huskies but we had to drive for more than three hours and we didn’t want to. We decided to go skiing at Mount St. Louis instead. We rented a car for a day at Trifty and went to wintersport resort Mount St. Louis. Unfortunately the weather was not very good. A gray sky instead of blue and no sun at all. But we didn’t care because skiing is great, no matter what!

Mount St. Louis Moonstone is a southern Ontario ski resort located north of Barrie. The resort is just over one and a half hour driving time from Toronto and is located just off Highway 400, which makes it a prime destination for Toronto-area skiers. A perfect goal for us this time. Mount St. Louis contains 36 slopes, 9 chairlifts and 3 carpets. The resort is known for being family friendly and prides itself on accommodating the beginner skier to the most advanced skier. It is one of the largest family owned ski resorts in Ontario. It was founded 51 years ago by Austrian Alpine skier Josl Huter.

Tickets for the ski slopes start at 59 dollars. But you can also buy a more expensive ticket that allows you to ski from 9.00 am till 9.00 pm on all slopes. So you can conquer the slopes not only during daylight but even when the darkness falls in. You can buy a package deal as well, so the ski pass and the rent for skies, ski shoes and poles are included for a fixed price. We took our own ski shoes and helmets with us so we rented skies and poles only.

Our lunch break contained hot dogs with red wine ;-)…a nice combination. We continued skiing till dark after this interesting lunch. It was such a lovely day. The people were very friendly and we had lots of chats with the locals. Our skiing skills are still in progress and the slopes are lovely to learn, practise and have fun together. The slopes are well maintained and worth a visit! Don’t forget you helmet because nowadays everyone is wearing one. Even if you feel like Calimero ;-).

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Toronto Christmas Market, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Mercatto, Cluny Bistro and more

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We thought Thanksgiving would be on the same day in Toronto as in the United States. So we booked a table for two at Cluny Bistro in advance. It turns out that Black Friday is on the same date but Thanksgiving is not. Canada’s Thanksgiving is somewhere in October. So no celebration, no turkey, no cue lined up in front of Cluny. All shops were open on the normal opening hours. We had to adapt of course, so we spent some time at the Eaton Centre shopping mall ;-).

They had started the pre Black Friday discounts allready. We browsed around at Indigo for a long time. We both love bookstores! We had lunch at Mercatto, a restaurant in the Eaton Centre. It is such a nice place to hang out for a while during your shopping. The beautifully styled interior sports cool leather couches. It is a great setting for your desire for food, drinks and design. A hidden treasure between all the stores and ugly food courts.

We went to the Distillery District in the evening to have dinner at Cluny restaurant. We’ve been there before and in one of our compi’s of Toronto you will see and find all the information about it, so just click on THIS link ;-). When we arrived at the Distillery District we stepped into a Christmas setting, smack in the middle of Toronto Christmas Market. A lot of Christmas trees, decoration lights, Christmas songs, nice food and gift stalls gave us the real Christmas feeling. We had a delicious meal at Cluny and celebrated the good life.

The day after it was Black Friday! All shops opened around eight o’clock in the morning but it was not as hysterical as in the United States. We went to Yorkville first and spent some time in our favourite shop Anthropologie. They had a welcome Gluhwein-drink but unfortunately we couldn’t drink that because we had to work to Amsterdam later that day. The best part was wandering around town with all the Christmas excitement going on, having a nice dinner at Cluny and discovering Mercatto. The worst part was that we bought lots of items that weren’t on Black Friday sale at all… We were victims of our own taste ;-)!

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Toronto, Casa Loma and cupcakes…a delicious mix!

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Toronto has more to offer than only the landmark of the CN Tower! Another interesting building is Casa Loma (Spanish for Hill House), a castle up the hill of Toronto City. It was built as a residence for financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. The castle was constructed from 1911 to 1914. The architect was E.J. Lennox who designed several other city landmarks. It is situated at an altitude of 140 m. Due to its unique architectural character in Toronto, Casa Loma has been a popular filming location for movies and television. It is also a popular venue for wedding ceremonies and rites too.

But we, DDTS, as Europeans, are accustomed to a lot of very old buildings in the Netherlands which are more than 300 years old so this castle from 1911 is a very young building in our opinion. But the Canadians are very proud of this ancient castle. We thought it felt a little bit like Disneyworld but we understand that from the 'new world' prospective this is an interesting building. Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife Lady Mary lived in the castle for more than ten years. Casa Loma was also a hotel in early days. You can travel by subway to Dupont station and walk for 5 minutes to reach the castle. Especially nice to visit when it is great weather because you have a nice view over the city of Toronto.

Queen West is one of the trendiest shopping scenes in Toronto. Since the creative types moved in, it has reinvented itself as the city's art and design district. More than 300 galleries, design houses, shops, restaurants and boutique hotels now make up Toronto's creative heart. It’s a goldmine for the fashion-hungry! And also for the cupcake-hungry! Try Dlish on 833 Queens St. West. Dlish has a tradition of simple, scratch-baked cupcakes using the finest ingredients.

And one more thing: If you want to sound like a real Torontonian, don't pronounce the second t in Toronto!

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Toronto, Uber, Distillery District & Yorkville in 24 hours

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A twenty-four hour layover in Toronto this time. The snow and the little bulb lights in the trees felt like christmas time in February. We used Uber for the first time to let us bring to the Distillery District. Uber is an American multinational mobile ride hail company headquartered in San Francisco and you can use it in fifty eight countries. We went to Cluny Bistro in the Distillery District. The Distillery District is the place to see and be seen. The Distillery features more than seventy ground-floor cultural and retail establishments in the restored red brick and Victorian-era buildings of the renowned Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery. Cluny Bistro is a delight for your eyes and taste! Surrounded by fascinating custom details, such as cabinets filled with hand-selected antiques and a hand-painted glass wall at the raw bar. We had delicious wine and our waiter was very kind and created a personal customized plate of foie gras for us.

The next day we took the subway to Yorkville. This era is situated near the University buildings and the Royal Ontario Museum. We spoke to a local on the street and he told us that the facade of the Royal Ontario Museum cost two hundred and fifty million Canadian dollars! You can imagine that the Toronto society was not really happy with that fact. Toronto is always under construction but that means the city is moving forward and that is always a good sign ;-)! Yorkville is the place where dogs wear hip designer outfits and colored socks during winter time just like their owners. On Bloor and Bay street you find a lot of high quality shops like Cartier and Prada and in the little streets you see a lot of nice hip stores to buy cloth, home furniture and accessories, coffee shops and upmarket supermarkets. The Royal Ontario Museum is also worth a visit. Not only for its architecture but also for its interesting exhibitions.

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