If anyone’s in the mood for a classic American breakfast, there’s a quaint diner called Norval Pancake Factory at 71 Mountainview Road North in Georgetown, that serves some amazing waffles, pancakes, omelettes, and other brunch items.
I first stumbled across the diner when it was at a different location, about 15 years ago. It was the first time I met Effie, the owner of Norval Pancake Factory. Effie is superb when it comes to customer service—she’s great at making sure both the service and food are excellent. The restaurant serves anything from all-day breakfast to club sandwiches, and of course, pancakes. At one point, they switched over to a fancier night diner, but to my knowledge, they’ve switched back to doing breakfast.
All the food is served hot and fresh. I once ordered a club sandwich and it took a little longer than average to get it to my table because they were grilling the chicken and bacon fresh. The meals are good portions, and everything is reasonably priced.
I was a little concerned about dining in, because I haven’t dined in many restaurants over the past few months, but it was great to see that the booths were separated by plexiglass, staff were all wearing face masks, and tables were spaced out appropriately. Effie visited tables just as she used to and asked how everyone’s meals were. Staff were extremely friendly, well trained, and familiar with the menu.
If you’re looking for somewhere to grab some unique breakfast items (smarties pancakes, cinnamon apple pancakes, and caramel pancakes), I highly recommend Pancake Factory.
Obviously, this year’s Thanksgiving is going to look a little different from last. Family get-togethers will be much smaller—if they happen at all. But that doesn’t mean you and your loved ones can’t have as much fun this Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s a list of ideas and events that are happening around the GTA.
1. Take a hike and enjoy nature: Take the opportunity to get out and stretch your legs while the weather’s still warm! The Scarborough Bluffs has 11 parks featuring trails, gardens, and beaches along the shore of Lake Ontario. Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton has an amazing view of autumnal colours as the trees change with the season. The Elora Gorge Trail is also a favourite, as it showcases a 20m waterfall and 10km of scenery.
2. Fishing at Glen Haffy: If recreational fishing is what you crave, Glen Haffy supplies rainbow trout from a hatchery, and visitors may fish from two ponds. The conservation area also offers a variety of nature trails that are ideal for bird watching.
3. Apple Picking: Apples are in season! Carl Laidlaw Orchards, located in Brampton, are open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays for September and October. Chudleigh’s is also open for apple picking and has an animal farm and hiking trails for visitors to enjoy. Tickets must be purchased in advance. They are busy, so plan to go early to avoid lineups!
4. Take a drive in the country It’s the perfect time of year to take a relaxing road trip out of town—go and pick up a pumpkin or some corn from your local farmer and enjoy the fall colours along the way. Take a trip up to the Apple Factory to get your fill of specialty products, or drive up to Collingwood to get a view of Blue Mountain.
5. St. Jacob’s Market: Drive out to St. Jacob’s Market near Waterloo for a variety of different specialty vendors that include baked goods, books and toys, handmade crafts, and meat and seafood. You also have the option of purchasing a Market Meal Kit for 2 for $35, which includes cheese, dinner buns, a mini peach pie, and more. The market is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
6. Picard’s Peanuts: There is tons to do at Niagara-on-The-Lake! Wineries, lunch on a patio, if the weather permits, and don’t forget to hit up Picard’s Peanuts for some freshly roasted peanuts and unique snacks, such as potato chip covered peanuts, chocolate covered marshmallow and sponge toffee and chocolate-covered peanuts.
7. Support a local restaurant: Take a well-deserved break and have a night out. Order in from your favourite local restaurant or dine out to help support local businesses. There’s no need to stress yourself out over cooking a Thanksgiving feast!
8. Have a picnic: Organize an outdoor picnic or BBQ at a local park. There are a number of parks around Toronto that have firepits and BBQs available, or you have the option of bringing in your own grill. High Park, Centennial Park, and Earl Bales Park all allow visitors to bring their own grill.
9. Virtual Oktoberfest: The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has moved its event entirely online. On October 9th and 10th, tune into their stream to enjoy both live and pre-recorded events, including cowbells and yodelling, keg tapping, and Oktoberfest trivia.
10. Stay active: Before the weather gets too cold, now’s the perfect time to get out and go for a bike ride or a jog. Enjoy the fresh air as you take a walk down to the beaches. ActiveTO has extended major road closures into October to encourage more space for cycling and walking. Road closures change from weekend to weekend, so check their website for updates.