Next Adventure: TBEX in Toronto!!

I am pretty much ecstatic.

I used to live about 30km from Toronto (in Mississauga) but was too young to fully experience or appreciate the culture and history that it had to offer, and have been wanting to go back for years.

Enter TBEX

Join me at TBEXTBEX stands for Travel Blog Exchange. It’s an organization run to help new media travel writers network and learn, and each year they hold a couple of conferences around the world to get people from the industry together. This year, one of these is being held in Toronto.

Like I said: ECSTATIC.

And now, they’ve come up with a bunch of guided tours and workshops pre- and post- the conference for those attending, effectively lengthening my visit from a jam packed weekend to an even more jam packed week.

So, what’s on my list?

Toronto Tours I’ve Signed Up For

First-Timer’s Special

The first tour out of an impossible millions that I decided to sign up for was the one “All About Toronto” so that I can get an overview of the whole city.

We’ll be visiting the financial district, home to the CN Tower (the fifth tallest free-standing structure in the world), and then onto Chinatown, Little Italy, Cabbagetown, Forest Hill, Harbourfront, Queens Park, and a bunch of other places I haven’t heard of, just to name a few.

casa loma by paul bica

Photography Workshop

Did you know Toronto is one of the ten most photographed cities in the world? Well, apparently it is according to Flickr, and I’ve been drooling for weeks at the thought of photographing it.

On this photography-focused tour, we’ll be taking in all the various architectural styles of the city – perfect since I’m usually lacking creativity in that department.

toronto by paul bica

Toronto the Green

Well, Vancouver’s apparently the greenest city in Canada but Toronto has a few tricks up its sleeve. Since my knowledge of “green” urban planning is fairly foggy, I’m pretty excited about what I’ll learn on this tour – all about alternative lake usage, mandatory (!!) green roofs, and a ‘Living Wall’?? You’ll definitely be hearing more from me about this later on.

Toronto - High Park
High Park by WomEOS

A Walk through Time

The newly-born history geek in me is most excited for this last tour, the theme being a Walk through Time. I love (LOVE) learning about stories from the past that shape a location and its culture, but are so rarely thought about, and this tour includes everything from Prohibition gangsters to Irish refugees and will touch on various historically significant places from St. Lawrence Market through the Historic Distillery District to Corktown.

Gooderham & Worts by Benson Kua

And What’s This? A Solo Tour?

I’ve allowed myself another day and a half for some more exploring – and I can’t choose!

As much as I’ve been wanting to visit Toronto for years, the kid in me has been dreaming about returning to Canada’s Wonderland forever – 16 rollercoasters?! That’s the second most in the world!!

Then there’s Marineland, whose song I can’t get out of my head for months if I accidentally hear it (you’re welcome). Apparently it’s also a giant theme park, and I want it all.

But what’s bigger than Marineland and right around the corner from it? Niagra Falls! And I’m planning on doing the whole “Falls Experience” this time – boats, walks, observation decks – I’m all in.

Niagara Falls by Artur Staszewski

Have you been to Toronto? What places would you recommend visiting?

A secret place I can’t tell you about

Somewhere on the outskirts of Vancouver, just beyond the winding streets of urban life, a park entrance patiently sits waiting for the uncommon visitor.

It beckons silently: a simple sign before an unassuming dirt path. A hint of a forest.

A wooden staircase, so characteristic of provincial parks in this area – the variety of Capilano, the Grind, Deep Cove – leads around the bend into the lush vegetation of only the cleanest temperate forests.

The mid-afternoon December sun is bright, just warm enough to thaw frosted ears and hands and noses. We sit on the giant boulder cliff as the waves swirl around the rocks below and lap at our feet. Everything is glowing under the golden setting of the sun and I am sworn to secrecy so that it can stay this way forever.

In Photos: I might just love Victoria

I had passed through Victoria before, both for work and on a “tour from the passenger’s seat,” and so had always claimed that “I’ve been there,” but to be honest, this weekend was the first time that I got to truly experience it. The regality of the parliament-building filled city somehow only enhanced its port-town charm, and with temperatures just cold enough to make the air crisp and my cheeks rosy, I couldn’t help but fall in love.