Tourist In My City

I have been very fortunate to have traveled to numerous countries and cities over the years, yet I somehow have not fully explored my own city.

I have lived in Toronto for 12 years yet people are shocked to hear that I have never visited some of this city’s landmarks such as:

  • Centre Island
  • Toronto Zoo
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Casa Loma

Why is it we take time to explore other cities but not our own? Is it because its very easy to procrastinate in our own city? “This weekend I will do spring cleaning, maybe next weekend I will explore” or “Looks like its going to rain.. let’s skip it and watch movies at home instead”.

Well, no more! The time is now people! I have decided that this summer and fall I will be scheduling days to explore this city and sticking to it.

First up: Centre Island.

The husband, Baby J and I didn’t have defined plans for Father’s Day, so about three weeks prior I put it in our calendar and decided we would go.

The morning of Father’s Day, I checked the forecast for the day and saw that it was going to storm around 3PM. My husband and I both looked at each other, wondering if we should cancel our plans, but I decided “No! We are going! A little rain never hurt anyone”.

We left home by 10:45 got downtown, parked the car, took the ferry and were on the island by 11:30. I was shocked, most of the island is a giant park, with a small amusement park for kids, a beach, splash pad, play structure, and numerous areas to have a picnic.

We started the day at Centreville (amusement park) which has free admission though you do pay for rides. Baby J loved the Antique carousel, the train ride and was brave enough to go on a few rides by herself! She was also fascinated by the numerous ducks and geese wandering about.

Centre Island, Centreville, shwetasays

For lunch, we decided to put out our blanket and have a picnic by the water’s edge. I was very glad to have packed a lunch as food was quite expensive ($7 for a slice of pizza and some milk). Afterwards as Baby J drank her milk, I lay on the blanket staring at the clouds. It was a true “stop and smell the roses” type of moment where I was able to fully appreciate being in nature, without the distractions of phones, iPad’s etc.

At the end of the day, I felt completely recharged, similar to how I feel when I go to the cottage for a weekend. Yet, instead of driving for hours to the cottage, it was a quick half hour ride to the island!

In the end, I am so, so glad that I toured a little piece of my city, and can’t wait to explore what more it has to offer.

Shweta

P.S. We were at Centre Island for 6 hours and it only rained 4 drops 🙂

Resort Review – Azul Beach Hotel, Mexico

I often have friends tell me that they want to visit an all inclusive resort which is both toddler friendly with great amenities for the grown-ups. Since I have visited recommended Azul Beach Hotel numerous times, I thought I should write a post about my experience for everyone. Azul Beach Hotel is a resort which caters to families with toddlers. From their partnership with Fisher-Price, to high-chairs in every restaurant, this resort is a destination for families with little ones who want a relaxing vacation.

My husband and I traveled to Mexico in September with our 18 month old daughter. and I’m so happy we did!

After dinner!

After a 4 hour direct flight to from Toronto to Cancun airport it was a short 25 minute ride to the resort. We chose to use the shuttle which was included in our package, but it did involve waiting for all of the other passengers to get picked up. Fortunately, there was a bar in the parking lot of the airport where the husband and I could grab a beer while we wait. Best way to start a vacation!

Check in at the hotel was wonderful! No standing in line at a check in desk, when you come here. Instead, you are seated on a lovely sofa set, the adults are given glasses of champagne and children are greeted with a fruit smoothie. The wet towels to freshen up were also a great touch. During our check in we were able to choose items for our daughter to use during our stay.

For the baby we chose: Playpen, Bottle Warmer, Baby Monitor, Stroller, Toys and milk for our fridge

For the grown-ups we chose: types of pillows and aromatherapy for the evenings

We were fortunate to have been upgraded to a Wedding Swim Up Suite which provided plenty of space!

With respect to food, I found that the morning buffet provided plenty of selection eggs, toast, bananas, cereal and pancakes for our toddler. There was also an a la carte menu which is fantastic for the grown-ups.  For lunch we generally tended to take advantage of the lunch picnics which are delivered to the beach beds. This was perfect for us, as our little girl would nap on our beach bed, overlooking the ocean while we ate lunch, read and listened to music.  There is no dinner buffet like some other resorts. All restaurants are a la carte and did not require reservations. The best part was that the staff worked hard to ensure the little ones were happy and entertained while the parents ate. They would come by with toys, videos and in general were always so caring.

If you are looking for a party-scene at night, then this is not the resort for you. The evenings are VERY quiet, with families taking to their rooms early so that the little ones can sleep. Having a swim-up suite was beneficial b/c it allowed us to lounge on our deck or the lazy river while keeping an eye on our little one while she slept.

While we were there, there was a new section of the resort being built which should be done by now. I’m excited to go back and check it out.

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment!

Shweta

P.S. Please note neither this trip nor blog post were sponsored. Just my opinions!