Video: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Things to see in TorontoI arrived at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada around 6pm on a Friday feeling exhausted from the week. I was gassed from a busier than usual week at work, and side projects and events every night of the week. As I walked into the bright, airy atrium and thought about the shoot ahead, I really didn’t know if I had the energy to give it the attention I knew it would deserve. I love aquariums. My favourite one is the Busan Aquarium in South Korea. I had been looking forward to this visit all week, so I knew I had to muster up the energy from somewhere. So my friend, Natalie, and I checked our coats, grabbed our media passes and dove right in, so to speak. Read more »

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Travel Costs: New Zealand

Natural attractions in New Zealand

The impressive Franz Josef Glacier wedged between the mountains.

The windows of your car are rolled down, the tunes are pumping and you’re traveling at your own pace. There’s nothing quite like a good road trip and New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world to do it. Kiwis themselves know this. If you talk to any of them, they’ll recount childhood memories of their families packing up and hitting the road for weeks at a time.

Aside from the obvious benefits of having full control of your itinerary, New Zealand seems to have been designed for road trips with stunning landscapes at every twist and turn, well maintained and signed roadways, and a wide range of accommodation styles, from free Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites to high end hotels, to fit anyone’s budget. Through our research, Tristan and I found that it would be most cost-effective to rent a campervan and travel around the country ourselves. We prefer to do things on our own and love an epic road trip, so we were extremely excited about this adventure. Read more »

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Hacking the Travel System, An Interview With Matt Bailey

Travel Hacking

Travel hacking doesn’t have to be stressful or confusing thanks to Matt Bailey of Canadian Free Flyers.

Many people tend to look at travel as a luxury, one that requires a lot of money. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve found myself thinking this exact same way from time to time. But what I’ve come to realize over the years is that it doesn’t have to be as expensive as one thinks and there are a number of ways to save money before and during your travels. Reducing your overall costs are one thing, but what if I said that you could be earning free flights and accommodations just by going about your everyday life? It’s true!

Recently, I came across this concept called ‘travel hacking’ and found there’s a whole subculture of travelers who have discovered ways to score free trips just by using their everyday spending habits to their advantage. I wanted to learn more about this practice, so I contacted one of my fellow Canadian Travel Bloggers, Matt Bailey, to explain what ‘travel hacking’ means and how his site Canadian Free Flyers has been providing its members incredible deals and travel opportunities since 2012. Read more »

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A Video Review of 2013, One Second a Day

There were a lot of beautiful sunsets to admire in 2013.

There were a lot of beautiful sunsets to admire in 2013.

At the end of 2012 I decided to take on my largest video project; recording every day of 2013 and compiling a recap video when the year was over. The concept wasn’t new and in fact I was inspired by a video titled This is What Madeline Did in 2011 to create my own “one-second-a-day” video.

I was initially drawn to the challenges it would take to create a video of this scope. Could I really remember to film something every day? What if there wasn’t anything interesting to record one day? But ultimately I was most interested in what the final product would show. The first month was difficult especially because I was lugging around my DSLR with me everywhere I went. But once I got an iPhone in February, things became a lot easier to record. Read more »

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Costa Rica: The Highlights

Rainforests in Costa Rica

The view of Turrialba Volcano from my hike in La Marta Rainforest.

One word: Amazing.

My one-week visit to Costa Rica was that in every way. Amazing! With every turn in the road, meal we ate, new activity we tried, and information we learned about the country, amazing was the only way we could describe it.

It’s been a while since a country has won me over so quickly. Just 2 days of being on Costa Rican soil I was Skyping with Tristan and proclaiming that I’d found the next place we would live in. A big proclamation indeed.

Ok, I realize I need to rewind here a bit before my giddy inner 12-year old brain farts all over the page in an incoherent mess.

At the beginning of December, myself and my travel blogging amiga Cristina traveled down to Costa Rica as part of the Tourism Board’s ‘Happiness Campaign’. The intent was simple, find happiness in Costa Rica. But even before departing I knew this would be an easy feat. Read more »

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Video: Top 5 Things To Do in Toronto For The Holidays

What to do in Toronto.

Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square illuminated and decorated for the holidays.

The holidays are one of my favourite times of the year. Between the decorations, parties, food and drink indulgences, and cheerful tunes playing everywhere I turn, I love the feelings that the holidays bring. It was just last year that I was reconnecting with the holidays after being abroad for 3 years. But now with this years’ holiday season already upon us, I’m more excited than ever to celebrate them.

I’ve jumped right into the swing of things this time around. So much so, I set out to find and put together a video of the top 5 things to do in Toronto for the holidays. It’s no easy feat to choose just 5. Everyone has their specific traditions and interests but after consulting with a number of my fellow Torontonians, and including a bit of my own personal biased opinions (I’ll be honest!), I feel these top 5 are guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit here in the city.

So which activities made the list? Check them out below! Read more »

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How To Save Money While Traveling

How to Save Money While Traveling

Whenever I talk about my travel experiences one of the many responses I always get is, “wow that sounds amazing, if only I had enough money to do the same”.  One of the misconceptions of travel is that it’s expensive. Sure, there are the unavoidable costs of transportation (air travel being the most costly), accommodation, and food. But travel doesn’t have to cost as much you may think. A lot depends on your travel style, but being prepared and having an adventurous spirit will allow you to get out and explore the world for less than you think. Below are some tips that I use that will definitely help you save money while traveling, and therefore, allow you to see more and be on the road a little bit longer. Read more »

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Capture the Colour 2013

Colourful Island of Burano, Italy

The colourful homes on Burano, Italy.

This year marks the second year the Capture the Colour Photo Contest is running and I’m excited to be participating this time! Bloggers have been challenged to showcase five travel photos that best represent the colours of these five categories: red, blue, green, yellow, and white. Of course these categories can be interpreted in any way or form and some of the photos coming in are really creative.

The hardest part of this challenge was picking just one photo for each category. I poured over thousands of images spanning over 7 years of travel. The result was a trip down memory lane as each photo represents more than just a colour but a personal travel story. Read more »

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Video: Toronto’s Distillery District From a Segway

Segway Tour Distillery District Toronto

The main Gooderham & Worts sign in Toronto’s Distillery District.

I love spending time in Toronto’s Distillery District. Every time I visit the area I feel like I’ve stepped back in time. It’s one of the city’s most historic areas and the rough cobblestones and Victorian buildings are a stark contrast to Toronto’s Financial District core. The district was at one point the largest distillery in the world and has since become a vibrant cultural and entertainment area filled with one-of-a-kind shops, gallery and performance spaces, cafes, and restaurants. In the wintertime, it transforms into an outdoor Christmas market modeled after the Christmas markets made famous in Germany.

The Distillery District is the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architecture in North America. It’s one of the most sought after shooting locations in the city with Hollywood blockbusters such as Cinderella Man and Chicago using it as their backdrops.

The Distillery District is open to pedestrian traffic only and makes for a great place to explore at a leisurely pace. But if you want a little action and adventure to go along with your latte and fine art, pop into Segway Ontario where you get a tour of the district while scooting around on a Segway. Read more »

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Photo Essay: Street Art in Montreal

Street Art

The Paria Crew take over the side of a building during the Mural Festival in Montreal.

Ever since my tour of New York City’s street art last fall, I’ve been looking at this art form in a completely new way. First off, I’m noticing it more, I didn’t realize how much of it actually exists. Secondly, I’m taking the time now to look at the pieces and the creativity that goes into making them instead of just walking past thinking, “oh that’s cool” as I once used to do.

Of all the cities in Canada, Montreal has the strongest street art scene. You don’t have to venture too far out your front door before you’re face to face with one of its forms (stencil, mural, wheat paste, and stickers). The city fully recognizes and encourages what street art can do for a neighbourhood or community. Just this past spring, the first annual Mural Festival was launched where close to 20 new murals were created by local and international artists over a period of 4 days transforming a 2km stretch of Rue St. Laurent into an outdoor gallery.

I was so excited to discover my trip to the city coincided with this festival. On the Friday when we arrived, we meandered our way along Rue St. Laurent (aka The Main) watching as the artists were slowly transforming huge sides of buildings. Each piece was different from the next and drew crowds of interested onlookers watching as the scenes were taking shape. On the Sunday before we left, we made our way back and were amazed at the finished products. I personally felt like my inner creativity was being awoken just viewing the different pieces and I loved the bright colours and vibrancy it brought to the area. Read more »

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