I love a good sporting event as much as the next person and with professional sports teams in all 5 major sports, Toronto is definitely not lacking in the “things to do” department. Other than soccer, I have attended events for each of the other 4 sports on multiple occasions, but there’s one Toronto attraction missing from the list that might be my favourite of them all.
Medieval Times was kind enough to host my family this past weekend for an evening of fun, fighting and amazing food! It was at least my 5th time attending the Toronto Castle and every visit has been more fun than the last. Honestly, which other sporting event can you attend where they actually encourage you to be rowdy and taunt the other opponents?? Sure, you COULD do that at a baseball game but you will definitely end up as the center of attention as people turn away from you, embarrassed.
If you’ve never been to Medieval Times before, the premise is that there are 6 knights who battle it out in a last man standing competition. Each spectator is assigned a knight to cheer for and are also told which knight is their arch nemesis so you can boo them mercilessly! We drew the yellow knight this time around and while there are no pictures of me during the show, I can assure you that our arch nemesis, the blue knight and his fans, knew who I was by the end of the show!
Besides the amazing show, there are many other reasons to love the Medieval Times experience. One such reason is that every time your knight succeeds in an event, he gets a flower to hand out to one lucky fan in his section. For the 2nd year in a row, guess who got the first flower?? Now, you might think to yourself, “who cares, it’s just the top of a carnation?”, but I can assure you that the excitement on her face was enough to melt this dad’s heart.
Finally, it would be ridiculous to talk about how great Medieval Times is without discussing the meal. I will admit as a parent to picky eaters, my kids didn’t eat too much of the meal but that simply meant more chicken and potatoes for dad! Seriously, though, the food at Medieval Times is absolutely amazing! I’m always fascinated when a meal that is being made for over a hundred people still tastes like I would expect from a restaurant.
And yes, we couldn’t resist the spoils from the gift shop… If you haven’t visited the Medieval Times Toronto Castle, or any other castle, that is, I highly recommend giving it a shot the next time your family is nearby. My only advice to you is that you go into it ready to be loud and to have fun!
Disclosure: Medieval Times hosted my family for our most recent visit to the Toronto Castle, however I have loved the show since the first time I went.
After hearing everyone rave about how great the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto is for families, we finally had the chance to stay there this past weekend and it definitely did not disappoint! Here is a brief recap of our stay at the Chelsea and why we will absolutely stay with them again in the future.
Right off the bat, I was excited that they had their own underground parking. I know that is a classic dad thing to be excited about but we were there for 3 days and I had no interest in driving anywhere during that span and was glad I could park the van and forget about it while we enjoyed Toronto.
The fun for the kids started right at the Check-In desk as the Chelsea Hotel has a separate check-in area for kids, where they get to sound the gong and choose a prize out of the toy chest. My daughter scored the pink fidget spinner, which made her very happy to start off the vacation! Here’s a taste of what it looked like. The dancing portion is optional…
There was a nice little surprise waiting for us when we got to our room, courtesy of the Chelsea Hotel. Luckily for dad, my son isn’t into desserts that much so I had to eat the cookie to make sure we didn’t waste it. Seriously though, it was a nice touch and the fruit platter was perfect after living on beef jerky and Gatorade on the drive in from Ottawa.
Now, while there is no proof of it ever happening, we did have an amazing breakfast at T Bar, where they even modified their menu a bit to make sure the kids both had something they would love. After that, we spent the day doing what we did for the majority of our stay, swimming!! The pool at the Chelsea Hotel is amazing! A lot of hotels we’ve stayed at have a water slide but the slide hours are usually limited. Not at the Chelsea! The water slide here was open no matter what time we decided to head down and on top of that, it was fast and amazing! My attempts at getting a good “kids going down the water slide” picture failed miserably but I did manage to snag this one towards the end.
On the way out of the pool, you will also find the Teen Lounge, with a pool table and different video games, including Xbox systems! We managed to drag the kids out of there and across the hallway to the Kid Centre, where they had a chance to interact with the Chelsea’s furry rabbit friends. This was a highlight for my daughter, whose career choices currently fluctuate between professional gymnast and veterinarian…
All in all, we absolutely loved our stay at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto and can’t wait to visit again! I also really appreciated that it was basically a 10 minute ride from anywhere we wanted to go in Toronto throughout our stay. It made the decision to keep the van in the underground parking that much easier and more convenient. Thank you so much to the Chelsea Hotel for keeping the kids occupied while mom and dad took some much needed relax time after some busy days in Toronto!
Disclosure: The Chelsea Hotel invited for a 1 night stay, although we stretched it out to a couple nights because we had so much fun!
We’ve had a blast working with Springfree Trampoline Canada this summer and it has definitely helped me keep my figure from expanding with all the summer fun and travel we’ve been doing. Now Springfree wants to invite you to their Summer Jumpoff event to benefit Cystic Fibrosis this Saturday, July 29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Young Dundas Square in Toronto!
Springfree has partnered with two-time Olympic Gold Medal-winning trampolinist Rosie MacLennan to host a Canada 150-themed event that is sure to be an amazing time. Trampolines will be set up with the TGOMA interactive gaming system and guests will be invited to play a custom, Canada-150 themed version of the Quizzle game where the questions will all be Canadian trivia! For each 150 questions correctly answered collectively by event guests, Springfree will donate one trampoline from the event to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada was an easy choice to partner with as trampolines are great therapy for those who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis as it is an exciting, low impact alternative to traditional exercise.
Plus, since Cystic Fibrosis primarily affects children and young adults, trampoline jumping is also a creative way to encourage exercise for children in a way that’s fun and still makes them feel like a kid – a feeling that may sometimes get lost amongst the daily treatments and physiotherapy required to maintain their health and lung function.
I hope you’ll be able to make it to the Springfree Trampoline Summer Jumpoff Event this Saturday, July 29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Young Dundas Square in Toronto as it promises to be an amazing event, and for a great cause!
In the meantime, if you do happen to be in the market for the greatest trampoline known to man, I’m also excited to announce that as a special offer just for you guys, if you order a trampoline from the Springfree Trampoline Canada website, you can use code SpringInto150YYZ4 to get a tgoma game system (RV $399.00) absolutely free! tgoma is an interactive Smart Play attachment for your Springfree trampoline that allows you to use jumping power to play different games which are both educational and fun!
Disclosure: I was provided a Springfree Trampoline in exchange for my participation in this program.
What started as just another travel baseball tournament weekend quickly morphed into one of the better trips we’ve had as a family in a while. A week before we were scheduled to leave for London, Ontario for my son’s baseball tournament, I was already whining in my head about the 6+ hour drive ahead. You see, I love the actual tournament experience, I just don’t like the driving part. It’s not even because of the kids because they are excellent passengers, it’s just the physical act of driving that I don’t enjoy at any time whatsoever.
To break up the trip a bit, we decided to take in a Toronto Blue Jays game the day before the tournament began. Through an exclusive opportunity from both Rogers and the Toronto Blue Jays organization, I managed to get passes to watch the Jays batting practice before the game, which I figured would be a cool way to make my son’s experience that much more special.
The batting practice sounded like it was going to be fun as we would get access to the stadium before the gates opened and I assumed we’d sit in the seats behind home plate, watch them hit and then leave. Imagine my surprise as they walked us out onto the field, right behind home plate, and plopped us mere feet away from the whole Blue Jays team, who were warming up right in front of us.
Had that been the whole experience we would have been more than happy, but then the players started coming over with game balls, signing them for the kids and taking pictures with them. My son stood, wide-eyed, as his favourite players passed by, high fiving the kids, and then it happened. While wearing his Aaron Sanchez jersey, my son looked up to see none other than Sanchez himself. I was so excited for him that I forgot to ask Aaron for a nice photo but I guarantee it’s something my boy will never forget.
All in all we got to meet players like Ezekiel Carrera, Ryan Goins, Danny Barnes, Roberto Osuna and manager, John Gibbons. Oh, and the fact that after the Jays finished batting practice, the potential MVP of the league from the Houston Astros, Jose Altuve, came over and posed for a picture with my son and signed his ball. I can’t say enough good things about these players and the Blue Jays organization for putting these kinds of things together.
The game itself was everything we could have asked for as well. A few other boys from the baseball team were there and the kids had a blast. We saw a Russ Martin homerun, Kevin Pillar made some Superman-like plays, we got the full Roberto Osuna experience and the Jays beat the best team in baseball! Oh, and our hotel, the Radisson Admiral, was a 3 minute walk from Rogers Centre, which, if you know downtown Toronto at all, is so incredibly convenient.
Speaking of the Radisson Admiral, I can’t imagine I will ever swim in another pool with a view like this one!
I woke up before the rest of my family the next morning, grabbed a Starbucks from the Radisson’s lobby (yeah, the Starbucks is IN the lobby!) and set out on a walk of Toronto’s Entertainment District. I can see why people love it there as it’s the best of both worlds, being so peaceful in the morning and so much fun at night. This is a trip I look forward to every year and it was magical as always.
Thank you so much to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Rogers and the Radisson Admiral hotel for helping to make this a weekend we won’t soon forget!
Where do you even start in formulating a proper recap of the weekend that was Blissdom Canada? I could write about all the great people I met, but listing only a few would be unfair and listing them all would be way too much! I want to write about the experience but speaking about the experience would pay it far more justice. That way, you could see my smile and my arms flailing wildly as I describe each session, interaction and excursion.
That still brings me back to my original question, “How do I accurately describe my time at Blissdom Canada?”
I guess I’ll start from the top. Being of the male persuasion, the thought of heading to a 500 person conference, where the ratio of women to men is 490:10, was a little overwhelming. Nightmarish thoughts of walking into the room and everyone glaring at me with disapproving eyes, filled my head in the days leading up to the event.
Once I arrived on site, it took about 30 seconds for those fears to disappear. That’s because 30 seconds is all it took for me to get my first warm welcome. The next one came at 45 seconds; and then at 60 seconds, it happened again. In fact, every single interaction I had the entire weekend was positive and welcoming.
Not one time did I feel out of place, as a blogger or as a man. I got nervous; and anxious; and overwhelmed at times, but that wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own. It’s a lot easier to say you’re going to go up to someone you idolize, than it is to actually do it. I was lucky to have some people watching out for me and making sure that I felt included in the fun and for that I am eternally grateful.
I went to Blissdom Canada to learn how to become a better blogger but I left with so much more than that. I left with a sense of belonging. I left with great connections. I left with a new found confidence in my abilities as a writer. Most importantly, I left with new friends. Not “friends” in the Facebook sense either, but real friends who are willing to help you when you have questions and who genuinely want to see you do well, as I do for them.
I could write a book about how fulfilling this conference was. I won’t, but I could! I sang, I learned, I laughed, I cried (Let’s not get into that, I am a man after all and I was watching a family video), I gangnam styled, I interpretive danced (see above), I connected, At Blissdom Canada, I saw a million faces…
And I rocked them all!
Thank you so much to the organizers, community leaders, sponsors and attendees. You made this experience one I will never forget and I am going to make it my goal to let the other male bloggers know that this is a conference that will accept them for who they are and not judge them based on their gender.
I’d also like to say a special Thank You to my wife, who was nothing but supportive of my time away and never made me feel like I was doing something wrong by being there. She is a great woman and my family is incredibly lucky to have her!
You may not know this about me but I am a Reality TV junkie. I know, I know, it’s nothing but senseless drivel that further dumbs down our society and takes away from the actual film and television makers who slave over their product. Still, I like it.
I’m not saying I watch all of them, although this new Here Comes Honey Boo Boo show looks great….(Not Really Though). Of all the Reality shows out there, only one of them has kept my attention for longer than 2-3 seasons. That show is Big Brother!
I remember about 4 years ago, I had sent an email to ask if Canadians were allowed to apply for Big Brother and got a big fat NO! I knew the answer before writing but I’ve never been one to follow traditional “rules”. Enter last months news about the upcoming production of Big Brother Canada and I couldn’t be more excited!
I’ve seen every season so far and although I’m not as impressed with the new trend of mixing in old players with new players, I do still enjoy the show and am excited at the prospect of a fresh start here in Canada.
I was reading some of the details over at Big Brother Access and the more I read, the more excited I get. It seems like casting was going to begin in July but has been pushed back to August and will most likely run until sometime in January 2013.
Either way, I’m keeping a close eye on the details so I can get myself ready to enter the BB house! Oh yeah, I’ve already decided that I am going to be on the show…Do you hear that producers?! Yeah, I’m talking to you John Brunton!
The only downside was when I suddenly came to the realization, while watching Big Brother 14 the other night, that I am no longer one of the young, buff house guests. That’s right, I’m pretty sure as a 33 year old, slightly out of shape male, that I would be considered one of the “Old Guys” on the show…No matter, I’m still in!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way and decided that I am in fact already going to be on the show, the application video seems like somewhat of a formality. It’s still necessary though so I’ll put the question out to all of you to help me decide what to do.
What should I do in my Audition Video to get noticed for Big Brother Canada?
I appreciate all your help and hope that I don’t get kicked off first!!
UPDATE! You can now apply for BB Canada by going to their Application Page and going through the motions! Good Luck!
Ahhh, Family Vacation time! Is there a better time of year?
This year we decided to take a trip to the Toronto Zoo! My kids are getting old enough that animals are of great interest to them, so it seemed like a perfect fit! We’d never done a long trip before, so the thought of the unknown was unsettling and exciting all in one precious little bundle.
First things first, how were we going to drive 4 and a half hours each way to Toronto (Not Canada’s Capital for my American friends) and back, without a riot breaking out in the back seats?
Luckily for us, in these hard economic times, our neighbours were gracious enough to lend us their portable DVD players! You know, the ones that attach to the headrests and turn your little monsters into silent Tinker Fairies.
We weren’t blessed with children who fall asleep the moment you start the car. Our kids will fight the sandman until he waves the white flag and retreats! The DVD players worked wonders on the way to Toronto, to the point where I actually had to check to make sure they were still back there!
Now, normally I wouldn’t interruprt a Zoo story to talk about a random occurence at a Rest Stop but this one is important to the story. Also, if my wife is reading this right now, I apologize….
We stopped in Napanee (*Trivia: Which Canadian singer hails from Napanee?) to get some coffee and snacks for the trip. No stop would be complete without a group trip to the over-sized family restroom. No wacky family trip would be complete without your 4 year old son hitting the handicap button on the door, which opens up to the main seating area, while Mommy is…well, you know. Humiliation ensued.
We recovered in time to grab some TimBits from our favorite little coffee shop, Tim Hortons, where I crowned my daughter “The Queen Of The TimBits”! And yes, occasionally my kids get to eat junk. Especially on holiday! Plus, in Canada, Tim Hortons is a part of our Food Groups…
Back to the trip! We arrived at our destination after a very silent, relaxing drive and immediately got to work! The Zoo visit wasn’t until the following day, so we had lots of time for fun!!! After we unpacked all our clothes, of course… It must be a man thing but I have no desire to be in my hotel room any longer than necessary upon arriving there. I need to do the tour and mark my territory!
We had a great (and very expensive) dinner at Boston Pizza and then it was time for swimming and bed for the kids. Little did I realize, that bed for the kids also meant bed for Mommy and Daddy because the children didn’t understand why the TV was still on at sleep time. Oh well, a little sleep never hurt anyone, right? When you have a son that punches and kicks in his sleep, it does in fact hurt. A Lot!
Before I get to the Zoo portion of the story, which I promise will be short, I want to mention that my children are not the easiest to please. I love them with all my heart but they tend to get cranky and occasionally go to the violent tantrum phase. We are pretty good at dealing with this but with the prospect of 40 degree heat and 5-6 hours of walking, my guard was up and I was ready for anything.
We had some pretty tense moments, such as my son and I fighting over who would navigate the map of the Zoo. He won. Also, there was the 500 pictures I took of my Daughter and I before I got her to smile nicely instead of making her silly “Cheese” face. You know the one.
We were there with some friends of ours and their two kids, so I was hopeful that the kids would all keep each other in check. I have to say that after 6 hours of walking the treacherous terrain, a crazy lunch and a million animals, I have never been more proud of the way my children behaved! It was like they had made a pact ahead of time, to make this the best family vacation we could possibly have and it totally worked!!
No Griswold disasters for us!
There was so much more that happened on the trip. A less than quiet drive home after the DVD players had lost their “new car smell” appeal. Petting Sharks and Sting Rays. Highway Potty Problems. Merry Go Round Insanity. But those are all stories for another time!
The important things to take away from this post are as follows:
1. My kids were well behaved and we had a great trip!
2. The Toronto Zoo is an amazing place. 6 hours and we still could have used an extra day to see it all.
3. DVD players in cars are amazing! For trips of course. You don’t want to create Zombies….I guess.
4. Make sure your kids DO NOT push the handicap button while you are using the bathroom!!!
That’s all I feel like writing for today. I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure and I’ll close it out with some footage I shot of the kids favorite part of the Zoo.
* Trivia answer was Avril Lavigne. You win nothing for guessing it correctly ;P