Tag Archives: Travel

What’s Hip and Happening around the Holidays


December is always a cheery time of year! With the holidays just around the corner, more and more holiday-themed activities seem to be popping up around town. Many stores are taking part in holiday festivities, and with no shortage of holiday cheer going around, it’s always nice to engage in one or more activities. Some of the more popular activities, which I enjoy, include:

Toronto Christmas Market – Down in the Distillery District, the iconic Christmas market is on until December 23rd! Enjoy Christmas music, magical lighting, singing, dancing, visits with Santa, and everything to get you into the holiday spirit. Though the experience is purely magical, it’s $6.00 to get in on weekends and lineups can be lengthy.

Starbucks Holiday Cups – I always enjoy the little things that add bits of holiday spirit. Starbucks offers some cool and interesting holiday drinks with a fun design on them. It’s a great pick-me-up, and a great way to warm yourself up. This year’s design encourages customers to colour and draw on the white background of the cups.

Skating at the Harbourfront Centre – Want to do something active, fun, and festive? Skating is the perfect way to engage in holiday cheer while burning some calories at the same time. Visit your local skating rink and rent a pair of skates – or bring your own. The Harbourfront Centre has a beautiful, scenic outdoor skating rink and best of all – admission is free!

Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square – At the heart of downtown Toronto, celebrate winter by shopping in the market, skating, or simply enjoying the view at their annual holiday fair. Until December 23rd, experience different foods, find that perfect gift, and listen to some live Christmas music!

The Nutcracker – Experience the magic firsthand when you see The Nutcracker live in theatre! As an all-time classic, and world-renowned play, the National Ballet of Canada has been performing every year since 2005. It’s an amazing and entertaining family activity, and suitable for all ages. Catch it now until December 30th.

Get Involved with A Charity – Whether it’s helping out at your local food bank, preparing meals for the homeless, running a toy drive, or collecting clothes and personal care products for those in need, getting involved with charities is something that should not be overlooked during this busy and hectic time of year.

Whatever you choose to do, and wherever you choose to go…from all of us at SQM, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and a happy and healthy new year!


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Captain Marvin’s Makes a Splash

Like most Canadians, my family and I like to escape the harsh winter for a couple of weeks, and migrate south to enjoy some sea, sand, and sun.

Over the past few years we have taken a liking to going on all inclusive Caribbean cruises, and while we do love the activities aboard the ship, we equally enjoy setting foot on dry land, and going on some of the shore excursions.

Recently we went on a cruise with one of the ports of call being the Cayman Islands.  I have always loved stopping in the Caymans, as it is known for scuba diving, snorkeling, and especially Sting Ray City.  Since we were taking my daughter on this trip, we decided we would try going snorkeling, and rather then booking directly on-board the cruise ship, based on previous experiences I decided to book the excursion from company itself, known as Captain Marvin’s.

Captain Marvin’s is located only a block away from the pier, so after docking it was just a hop, skip, and a dive before we were at the location and checking in. From there it was just a short, air conditioned bus ride before we were at their boats, all of which are in immaculate condition and well stocked with snacks and drinks.  All of the boats had bathrooms on board and multiple staff members, besides the captain, to keep everyone entertained.

The best part of the whole experience is that Captain Marvin’s actually takes you to two different reefs, allowing you to explore two different underwater habitats each with their own unique flora and fauna. as well as Sing Ray City ( a sand bar, off the coast, where the water is waste high and the stingrays all come up to you to be fed and petted), where other operations simply stop at one reef.

After the stops, on the way back to the pier, the fun continued, with the employees diving down about 15 feet and bringing some starfish onto the boat for the children to hold and take pictures with.  In addition, one of the staff went for a dive, and brought up a couple of conch.  He then proceeded to chopped up some conch to make the freshest sushi I’ve ever eaten, and then gave the shells to a few of the kids.

Captain Marvin’s truly makes snorkeling an easy outing, which can be enjoyed by the whole family.  To them I tip my mask!

Captain Marvin’s
Grand Cayman


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The Red Caboose- Affordable Family Fun!

Please pardon me while the cold weather in Toronto brings about some of my favorite summer memories…

Whenever I go to Orillia, Ontario with my family, one of our favourite places to visit is The Red Caboose Mini Putt.

The mini putt itself is just like any other mini putt course, with 18 holes and some nice benches to sit and chat at, throughout the course. The Red Caboose restaurant that we eat at after playing is fine too, with rarely any lines, fast and friendly service, and a menu with great such as homemade hamburgers and fresh-cut fries.

However, what makes the Red Caboose my favourite place to visit in Orillia is because it serves Kawartha Diary ice cream.  It’s very tasty ice cream with flavours like Rum Raisin, Moose Tracks and Bear Paws.  It tastes even better when the Red Caboose serves a kid’s scoop for only $1 and an adult scoop for only $1.50!

In fact, the first time I played there and I bought ice cream for me and my family, I thought the employee had accidentally misheard how many scoops of ice cream I wanted because I was holding literally two scoops of ice cream, and it was still just a $1.50.  The amount of ice cream they scooped for us was that generous.

One time I took my family and some friends to play some mini putt.  While we were puttering around, we met another family whom we knew quite well.  After we had all finished playing, I bought ice cream for everyone and I still had change from a $20 dollar bill!

Most stores would charge roughly three or four dollars, so I highly recommend stopping by the The Red Caboose, the next time you’re in the area.

The Red Caboose


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