Toronto – Ottawa – Montreal: An Urban Adventure in Canada
All located within the eastern side of the country, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal represent three of the largest cities in the country. Toronto holds Canada’s largest urban population (over 6 million) and acts as the economic engine room as well as financial hub of the country. Ottawa is home to the parliament and acts as the nation’s capital, while Montreal acts as an artistic, cultural and academic hub. Between the three of them, they offer up a bit of everything, and that’s why they make a great combination of destinations for a great trip to Canada. Getting there is super easy. Check out non-stop flights from the UK to Canada with Air Transat. All other international routes can be compared on Hip Munk.
Toronto boasts a remarkably multi-cultural population. Due to the large variety of cultures, it is home to a vast array of different restaurants and culinary styles. The restaurant scene appears to be constantly expanding, with new hot spots sprouting up every week. Some must tries would be Gusto 101 for Italian, Boehmer for local and seasonal fare, Grand Electric or La Carnita for modern Mexican with a fun atmosphere, Hiro Sushi for Japanese, or John & Sons for great all around sea food. Toronto has also sprouted a slew of microbreweries for those that are into the craft beer seen. Mill St. Brewery is located in the historic Distillery District, a great area for roaming galleries, boutiques and bars. Also, you have Bellwood’s Brewery, located on Ossington Street between Dundas and Queen; a strip packed with great eateries and watering holes. For some great resources to check the restaurant pulse before or during your trip, check Time Out or Toronto Life. Also – check out the lineup of festivals happening in the city this summer.
When it comes to sports, you can find it all in Toronto – boasting 4 local big league sports teams. With soccer, baseball, basketball and ice hockey to choose from, watching the Maple Leafs hockey team play at the Air Canada Center is definitely the hottest ticket in town, and would be a great activity for anyone who wants to see Canadians in their true element!
Ottawa offers a variety of summer festivals that have something for everyone. Summer is here now so it‘s the time to select the festival to visit and begin planning the perfect holiday in Ottawa. Here’s a list of the top events gracing the city this summer – a solid foundation to any visit.
TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival
June 20 to July 1, 2013
Looking for the best Jazz music in Canada? The TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival features jazz played by musicians from around the world and Canada with this year’s headline act, Aretha Franklin. You are sure to enjoy evenings in Confederation Park listening to some of the best jazz around. The event offers a wide range of foods from snacks to international cuisines. In the center of the park, a sales tent is set up for guests to purchase CDs and other memorabilia of bands they love or just discovered. So grab a lawn chair and get ready for some great music!
RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest
July 4-14, 2013
The RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest will feature some of the country and world’s best Blues musicians. This year’s must see headline act is the legendary B.B. King. After enjoying some music, make your way to Bluesville. In this area, you can bid on auctions and purchase raffle tickets. The prizes include seating on the stage during various live performances and an autographed guitar. All proceeds are donated to help bring education of blues music to schools. A visit to the Autograph Tent will allow you to see your favorite bands up close and get their autograph. There will be a wide range of food, beverages, and souvenir vendors around the festival area.
Complete with centuries-old stone facades, grand boulevards, and traditional bistros, Montreal may resemble the Old World, but this Canadian metropolis is anything but a fossilized relic. Beyond the cobbled lanes lies a vibrant city full of innovative eats, distinctive drinks, and cutting-edge beats. Home to boundary-pushing bands like The Dear and Arcade Fire, as well as a dizzying blend of globetrotting cultures, Montreal has become a summertime destination for in-the-know international travelers. Here’s a few travel tips that are a must for any visit to this great city:
• Visit it the annual Jazz Fest and watch everyone from West African musical superstars to jazz legends perform outdoors in the beauty that is Montreal in the summertime.
• Sit at a pub and enjoy a pint or two of locally brewed St. Ambroise while watching a Montreal Canadiens hockey game. It’s essentially the same pub experience as watching a Manchester United game in a London Pub, except the accents of the lively patrons are decidedly French.
• Garde Manger – Half restaurant, half late-night bar, the Garde Manger offers unique seafood dishes and a seat at one of the hottest parties in all of Montreal. The stone walls of the rustic restaurant feature chalkboard menus offering dishes like jerk shrimp and General Tao lobster. After midnight, the music is turned up to 10 and the place fills with Montreal’s hip young crowd.
• Marché de la Villette – The atmosphere at this French-style deli and bistro is almost as charming as the food is good. Filled with chalkboards, antique canned goods, Paris street signs, and meat hanging from the ceiling, this place is a must see if you’re anywhere near Old Montreal. If you’re craving huge portions of delicious comfort food, the pots of fondue, platters of cured meats and cheeses, ham and cheese crepes, and house cassoulet will more than suffice.
There you have it – a mash up of cool sports amongst three of Canada’s best cities. If you make a trip to Canada, and particularly Eastern Canada, then these are three cities you need to check out. I’ll certainly be doing my rounds this summer – hope to see you there!