Posts Tagged ‘toronto’

My sister and her two daughters came down to visit (Dec 26 to 30) and as usual, we prepared ourselves for the whirlwind they bring with them. 🙂 We had lots of outings and activities planned and although traditional winter activities weren’t in the cards (we don’t have any snow!), we still enjoyed the outdoors.

We watched holiday movies as well as Harry Potter 3, listened to lots of music (both Christmas and pop songs the girls were into these days), had an “Austrian-themed” dinner (for the Sound of Music) with kerchiefs in our hair. Chris didn’t want to wear any lederhosen. 🙂 We did lots of holiday crafts including painting tree ornaments, making snowflakes and ballerina snowflake skirts, painting nutcracker figures, and more.

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The tree:

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We went to the ROM where the girls enjoyed the dinosaurs and animal exhibits. We visited the Canadian wing as well and the girls got to make origami figures at one of the workshop tables as well. We got to hold snakes (Life List item crossed off – woohoo!). The one I held was a black rat snake from Ontario. He was heavier than I expected:

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Then we brought the girls skating at the Harbourfront Natrel rink (great view of Lake Ontario here and very festive with lights and music):


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We had a holiday turkey lunch followed by more skating at Bronte Creek Provincial Park. This rink was much less crowded and a good size.


On Monday we went to the Metro Toronto Zoo to see the winter animals. It was much less crowded than our summer visits so in a way, it was more enjoyable. We visited the giant panda exhibit (here from 2013 to 2018), reindeer, a very playful polar bear, a snow leopard, red pandas, an adorable arctic fox, arctic wolves, and many more!

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After the zoo, we went to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre which was pretty awesome for Lego fans. There are a couple of rides, 4D movies (4 movies that play in rotation), different games and play areas themed for the various types of legos. They had cool displays of Toronto landmarks in Miniland:




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The girls in the Lego Friends area:




The whole area is probably a parent’s worst nightmare with lego pieces all over the floor hehehe but it was fun. Of course we got to build some stuff ourselves. Go Habs Go!! 🙂

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Another great visit!

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We had family visiting this past weekend. My husband’s sister (also one of my best friends :)), her husband and their two children (ages 2 and 4) drove down from Montreal to spend the weekend with us and we had an awesome time!

Friday evening we stayed up and played Harry Potter Clue (such an amazing game) – I miss our regular game nights from when we lived in Montreal. 🙂 Good times.

Saturday morning we went to the Ontario Science Centre and after about an hour and a half of kids screaming and running around (and some of them actually looked like they were having fun hehe), we headed out. They actually have a pretty cool area for kids (under 8 years old) with lots of hands on activities and things. We went over to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. I love that place – it’s so much fun for kids and adults alike, like eating underneath the rainforest canopy with animals and all. After lunch, us girls stayed at Yorkdale mall to get our shopping fix. Dad and kids went to see the Lorax and my husband was dropped off at home to decompress. 🙂

Shopping was quite successful:

Gap: Off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, navy/white nautical hoodie (so soft!!)

RW&Co: 3 tops, 2 camis, jewelry (1 pair of earrings, 2 bracelets, 1 necklace)

Sephora: Got the new Sheer Beauty perfume from Calvin Klein

Old Navy: 2 tank tops, 3 t-shirts – liking the off-the-shoulder and neon-accented stuff (welcome back 80s)

I still haven’t found a new handbag. I’m torn and somewhat frustrated that none are calling out to me…

Saturday night, we stayed up playing Harry Potter Clue until 2am! LOL

Sunday, we spent some time by the lake in Port Credit and enjoyed the walk in the sun and feeding the swans, geese and ducks.

Feeding the swans

I'm sleeping here!!!

Pretty 🙂

After lunch we waved goodbye as the fam headed back to Montreal…

It was a great weekend!! 🙂

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The electrical storm that passed over Toronto Wednesday night offered some great photo opportunities. A fabulous collection has been posted over on Blog TO.

My favorite:

Photo by Richard Gottardo

Here are a couple of videos that show the intensity and frequency of the lightning that night.

It was incredible… There were tornado warnings all over the GTA but no reported touchdowns.

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Today, we headed down to High Park to enjoy some nature and get some exercise. We just walked, but it was pretty hilly so it counts. 🙂

It’s a very large park by Grenadier pond, with ducks and geese. There’s also a zoo, tons of trails and paths, gardens, picnic areas, sporting activities/facilities, etc.

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I was lucky enough to attend the Power of Women conference today with my female colleagues. There are only 9 of us women in the IT dept at the office – along with about 60 men – and our IT director invited the ladies to join her at this amazing event. It was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and although it was crowded with many many women (it seated up to 5,000), the venue was great.

I was really looking forward to hearing Leigh Anne Tuohy (the Blind Side), Suzanne Somers and of course keynote speaker Ellen DeGeneres! The event was fabulous and I enjoyed and learned from all of the speakers. The host Jessica Holmes (comedienne of Royal Canadian Air Farce fame) was hilarious and kept us entertained throughout (you can call me J-Ho). 🙂

The morning speakers were:

  • Leigh Anne Tuohy: I absolutely loved the movie the Blind Side and was excited to hear Leigh Anne speak. I was glad that the “real” Leigh Anne was just as no-nonsense and forthright as Sandra Bullock portrayed her in the movie. She suggested that we shouldn’t limit our “giving” to birthdays and Christmas when it feels so good to give.  Giving doesn’t have to be big; even small gestures can make a difference. We should try to do something, no matter how big or small, every day.
  • Loretta Laroche: OMG she was hilarious. Her focus was stress management and how everyone needs to lighten up and SHUT UP already. Enough whining and playing the victim/martyr, enough complaining and negativity. Focus on your strengths, enjoy what you have, lose the negativity, be happy and enthusiastic about life and you’ll get the most out of it. Amen Loretta.
  • Michelle Dunk: She told us about her lifetime struggles which started with being abused by her grandfather and ended up with her confronting him and moving on to build a successful business.
  • Amilya Antonetti: She originally created the company Soapworks to provide safe cleaning products for her son. Through hard work, she made it into a hugely successful company. She focused her energy on her five “buckets” (i.e. Mom, Wife, CEO, etc.) and didn’t waste time or energy on anything other than those buckets. Learn the value of NO. Identify your “buckets” and don’t get sidetracked – any time/energy spent on things other than your buckets takes away from all of your buckets. Fear doesn’t exist – it’s something we create because it’s more comfortable.

The afternoon speakers were:

  • Jill Bolte Taylor: She was the neuroscientist on the panel and explained the anatomy of our brain and how it works; the left brain and right brain. She also walked us through her experience when she was having a stroke and how she noticed the impact it had on her brain (as it was happening).
  • Suzanne Somers: I never realized how many books she had! She talked about hormones and how they deplete as we age. She explained that bio-identical hormones were closer to the real thing than the synthetic hormones everyone warned us about a few years ago. She talked about the effects of being exposed to chemicals in our lives (food, products, etc.) and how this is something new – 30 years ago, we didn’t have this. One of her doctor friends decided to leave surgery and pursue research when he started seeing rare cancers in children; children that have been exposed to chemicals since birth. I found it all very interesting.
  • Ellen DeGeneres: Ellen’s piece was interview-style and she was as expected: Honest, endearing, funny and real. She talked about her career from her sitcom, to coming out, to losing her career and not working for 3 years, to the cruelty she experienced in that period, and finally to her huge success with her talk show. She was fabulous. I adore her and am so glad that she persevered and came back – look where she is now! Truly inspirational.

I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to any woman if they have a chance to attend any conference in the Power of Women series. It was a day of inspiration, motivation and celebration that I will remember for a long time to come.

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I’ve mentioned the heat in an earlier post. It’s been called a few choice names thus far and several hashtags have been suggested: Hotpocalypse, Thermageddon, OvenTO, SwelterTO, heatwaveTO…

Looking at the long-term forecast… Things will cool down a little bit but the humidity will keep things nice and tropical-rain-foresty (i.e. like the gates of hell have opened over Toronto) for at least another week. And all of those “isolated showers” you see in these charts – ya, they never happen. We had a sad drizzle one morning last week (it didn’t even warrant an umbrella). No big storm, no rain to cut the humidity. Unless it did rain but it was so damn hot it evaporated by the time it hits the ground. Could happen.

In CelsiusIn Farenheit

Using wicked witch of the west voice in Oz: I’m WILTING!!!

Must stay inside.

Or I may die.

No, not really.

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This is the main highway servicing Toronto. There are two other east-west highways in the city – the Gardner (along Lakeshore) and the 407 (toll road north of the 401). They apparently wanted to add more lanes to the 401 (which is 18 lanes at its widest) but they ran out of land.

Traffic is pretty constant at all hours of the day, rush hour is brutal. What would normally take 20 minutes with no traffic, takes about 1.5-2 hours in rush hour or – god forbid – rain or snow. It’s still an impressive sight to be one small car amidst the sheer size of this beast.

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