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.
It’s that time of the year again, and with it, is another post about what you can do to make the most out of fall and Halloween.
Apple Picking: Although it’s getting a little late in the season, there are a variety of different farms that have corn mazes, markets, and activities for kids. Chudleigh’s is a popular farm, where you can pick apples as well as purchase baked goods from their bakery. Another great option is Pingle’s Farm Market, which also has a “fun farm” filled with animals, a giant slide, and a pumpkin cannon show.
Road Trip: Take a leisurely drive up to St. Jacob’s out west to see the changes in the leaves. While you’re at it, St. Jacob’s has a farmer’s market that goes on year-round on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Wine Tasting: If you’re feeling it, you could also head to the Niagara region for wine tasting. There are a variety of wine tours, including ones on the lake, or ones paired with different types of cheese.
Haunted Houses: It’s the spirit of Halloween, and no Halloween would be complete without a haunted house. There’s your typical Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland, where monsters wander the park grounds, and there’s also Black Creek’s True Terror Stories at Pioneer Village in North York. The village has a massive 60-person escape game, where teams work together to solve the curse.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Like every October, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is returning to theatres. The movie will be playing in cinemas such as Ted Rogers Cinema and Lower Ossington Theatre throughout the month.
Night of the Dread: The Clay and Paper Theatre will be hosting The Night of The Dread, a parade full of masks, puppetry, and dancing. The parade will start at Dufferin Grove Park on October 26th, starting at 6:00 pm.
Pumpkins After Dark: Up at Country Heritage Park in Milton, walk along a quarter-mile path that showcases over 5,000 jack-o-lanterns and over 100 pumpkin sculptures. It’s a great family event—especially for kids!
Whatever you choose to do this year, please have a safe, warm, and happy fall season!
There are plenty of fun and festive things to do this holiday season. Here are my Top 10 places to check out:
Toronto Christmas Market – Experience the magic of the holidays with carols, hot food, and plenty of handcrafted goods to choose from! Treat your kids to a storytelling session or pictures with Santa himself. You can explore the Distillery Christmas Market until December 23rd. Admission is charged on weekends only, beginning at 5 PM on Fridays.
Skating at City Hall, Harbourfront, or The Bentway Skate Trail – Sharpen your skates and head on over to the shoreline of Lake Ontario, Nathan Phillips Square, or underneath the Gardiner Expressway. If you don’t have your own pair of skates, you can rent them for a small fee. Show off your skating (and dancing) skills at the Harbourfront Centre on their DJ Skate Nights!
Christmas Lights Across Canada 2018 in Ottawa – It’s obligatory to include at least one light festival in every holiday list. Take a trip to Canada’s capital to be dazzled by festive lights across the city and the Magical Winter Lightscapes show projected on the Parliament Buildings.
Day Trips to Niagara –The Falls are always stunning in the winter. There are plenty of casinos, restaurants, and museums in the entertainment district.
Rochester, NY –For a quick overnight trip, visit Rochester, New York. The holiday spirit is very much alive with Christmas Markets and plays such as “The Nutcracker”. I also highly recommend the Minnesota Children’s Museum, as it has great exhibits that emphasize education mixed with fun.
Ripley’s Aquarium –To see amazing creatures from under the sea, there’s always Ripley’s Aquarium. For the holidays they have special events such as breakfast with Santa! The aquarium is open daily from 9 AM to 11 PM.
Eat Out – It’s never a bad time to take your family out to a nice dinner or lunch for some quality bonding time. Of course, nothing beats a home-cooked meal but sometimes it’s nice not to do the dishes. For those lazy mornings, go out for a nice brunch!
Afternoon Tea – Feeling fancy? Head over to Fairmont Royal York for holiday tea and sandwiches at the Library Bar every Saturday and Sunday. A special new year’s day tea is also available on January 1st.
Skiing and Snow Tubing – If you don’t mind heading up a bit north of Toronto, the ski hills are open at Snow Valley and Blue Mountain! For something a bit different, try out snow tubing—it’s easy and fun for the entire family.
Great Wolf Lodge – The Lodge transforms into Snowland for the holiday season. Not only do they have a life-sized Gingerbread house, but they also have daily holiday events. You can also enroll the kids in North Pole University
Whatever you choose to do over the winter break, all of us at SQM hope you have a safe and enjoyable holidays!
While many people shop at Walmart for deals based on low prices (but even that is debatable), I have never heard of anyone recognizing them for providing excellent customer service. Today, I am going to do just that!
Over the holidays, we were cleaning out my daughter’s dresser drawers and came across a Walmart bag with a new pair of snow pants (with the tags still on) that were purchased last year. Seeing how my daughter grows really quickly, these brand new snow pants no longer fit, so I decided to take a shot in the dark and brought the snow pants with me on my next trip to Walmart at Bathurst and Centre, to see if I could return them.
Surprisingly, despite it being a busy time of year, the line moved quite quickly. When I got to the front of the line, I told the woman working that I did not have the receipt, so she tried looking up the snow pants in the system but couldn’t find them. She then called over a manager who took the pants into the back room and returned saying the item would now scan into the system. The woman immediately processed the return and gave me a store credit for the value of the pants.
Completely unrelated, a couple days later, my dad gave me a call and told me the bundle buggie I bought him three months earlier was broken since a wheel had fallen off. I picked up the buggie and took it back to Walmart where I ironically spoke with the same woman who helped me with the snow pants. She told me to go into the store, grab a new buggie and come back to her desk to process the exchange even though I did not have the receipt….again!
When I returned to her desk, she called over the manager to authorize the exchange, who did so immediately, and within a few minutes I was once again on my way…..and very pleased with how things were handled.
I must say how impressed I am with the employees and managers working at Walmart. In less than a week, I had two great customer service experiences that demonstrate Walmart stands behind their products. If Walmart continues to get their customer service right, they are going to be an even more successful company than they already are.