Posts Tagged With: ontario

Snow Capital of Canada!

I just landed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, which is the capital of Canada. Okay, may-be not the *snow* capital of our hockey-loving country, but there’s plenty of snow here… Enough for you to make all the snow angels you’ve always dreamed of! Eh? Time to take off to “Winterpeg” soon, where hell itself should be frozen over! Gonna be fun!

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Categories: Canada, Ontario | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ice Fishing in Canada

Ever wondered what to do during a Canadian Winter? Ski, Snowboard, Ice Skate, Snowshoe, Sled, Dogsledding, Curling?

This is what I do:

That's me - Ice Fishing!

That’s me – Ice Fishing!

Ice Fishing!

It’s pretty simple, really; you make sure the lake is frozen – preferably over 3″ thick, so you don’t fall through. You then drill a hole with an “Auger”, manual or gas-powered:

Gas-Powered Auger

Gas-Powered Auger

Once you’ve drilled your hole, you clear the snow and ice from around and in the hole and then you’re ready to fish!

I’m no Ice Fishing expert; but the good news is, you don’t need to be one to enjoy this cold-Winter past-time! It’s a little bit of technique but even more luck. The fish are so cold, they won’t want to swim a lot, so you have to hope that you drilled a hole over some fish or at least close to them.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Categories: Canada, Destinations, Ontario, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Hostel or not to Hostel?

That is the question!

When I mention the idea of staying in a “Hostel”, what comes to mind? Believe it or not, plenty of people out there in the world think it’s a cheap, scummy and dangerous place to stay; well, let me see… Cheap? Yes, most certainly! Perfect for those that want to budget travel! Scummy? Not if you research into where you will be staying and ensure that there are well-written, unbiased reviews. Dangerous? I don’t believe that there are any dangerous places out there, just travellers that are not using their head, intuition and common-sense. Please don’t base the idea of staying or not staying at a Hostel on the movie: “Hostel”. A movie is a movie.
A stay at a hostel can be as good or as bad as you want it to be, it all boils down to preparation and travel research, but sometimes, even for the well-educated and avid traveller, you will sometimes bump into the inevitable. With proper research and travel skills, you can highly reduce that chances of staying at a crummy hostel and making the best of your trip!

I’ll list off some Pros and Cons for you to weigh out:

Pros

  • Hostels are much cheaper than almost any other kind of accommodation out there. I stayed 8 nights in Cracow, Poland for 140$ USD!
  • Hostels are generally located in the heart of the best districts, usually in better locations than most Hotels!
  • Hostels often offer free Wi-Fi and sometimes even a free Breakfast!
  • Hostels often offer private rooms for just a few dollars more, for those that simply cannot sacrifice a bit of privacy.
  • Hostels will provide you with information and ideas of what to do and see in the area that you’re visiting; not only the major sights, but all the local hotspots as well!
  • Hostels often have a common-room, where you can socialize and meet other travellers just like yourself!
  • Hostels may give you a discount if you own a “Hostelling International Membership” card. (Imagine that! Cheaper than the cheap price you’re already paying!)

Of course, there are so many more “Pros” that I could list, but that should be good enough for now. Time for some “Cons”!

Cons

  • You may have to sacrifice some privacy. (Are you really going to spend all of your time in your room anyways?)
  • The bathrooms are usually shared. (You share the bathroom in your house and you share the bathroom with several other employees at your workplace, what’s the difference?)
  • It might be difficult to get some sleep if people are snoring. (The “Ear Plug” is a wonderful invention!)
  • You run the small chance of running into a hostel that is not properly maintained in several manners. (Don’t you run that risk staying at a Hotel you’ve never been to? Besides, that’s where doing your research comes in; read unbiased reviews!)
  • You run the risk of your goods potentially getting stolen if you are not provided with adequate storage facilities with appropriate security features for your gear to be stored while you’re out exploring. (Again, read the reviews. Travelling is an art and you will learn through experience).

    If you have the money, you want the posh lifestyle and don’t have a budget to worry about, then by all means, take the luxury hotel situated in the heart of the city, but if you’re on a budget like me, which is probably most people reading this blog, then you’re going to want to find options that won’t have your wallet screaming in agony.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Enter the URL: www.hostelworld.com
  2. Enter the City and Country you will be travelling to and of course, the respective dates with the amount of people that will be staying.
  3. Click “Search”
  4. Several results will show up, displaying a list of several different Hostels that you can choose from; the best thing to do at this point is to sort all your results appropriately. Click on the drop-down box right next to “Sort by:” and select “Overall Rating”.
  5. Now, all your results should be sorted by the best rated Hostel to the least rated Hostel. Check them out one at a time to ensure that the room that you want is available for the dates that you specified, the Hostel is located in the part of the city you want to be staying in, the price is affordable and the ratings are good. Always keep a keen eye as to what kind of Hostel you may be staying at, as some are themed and even oriented towards “Partying”, which may not be the type of Hostel you want to stay at if you’re trying to get a good night’s rest!

I’ve always used www.hostelworld.com for all my hostel needs. The thing I like about the site is that they provide accurate, unbiased reviews about the Hostel that you could be potentially staying at. Also, when you do decide to reserve your room/bed, you only have to place down 10% over the internet and then pay the remaining balance once you arrive at the Hostel. You also have an option, for just a few dollars more, you can protect yourself from losing your money if a cancellation on your booking is required. You will get credited the balance on the website to be used towards another Hostel in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve stayed at Hostels all over the globe and I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that again, with some experience and research, you will find yourself enjoying your stay at Hostels, whether you’re staying in a private room or a shared dorm. I personally, won’t choose to stay in a Hotel again unless I absolutely have to. The most important thing is that you have to keep an open-mind and with an open-mind, you’ll be a happier person in the end.

Last weekend, Amy and I stayed at a Hostel in the heart of Toronto, the “Entertainment” District to be exact. The name of the Hostel was called: “The Clarence Park” Hostel. We booked a private room that had it’s own bathroom and for 40$/per person/per night, you can’t beat it! We basically stayed 3 nights in the heart of Downtown Toronto for 240$ and the room was PRIVATE! No shared Bathroom either! If we chose to stay at any hotel in Downtown Toronto, 3 nights would have easily costed us 450-600$!

Here’s a snap of the place we stayed at:

The Clarence Park Hostel - Private Room

The Clarence Park Hostel – Private Room

As you can see, the room itself is basic, but very cozy, clean and acceptable! The bed is King-sized, there’s a television (which you can’t see in this photo) mounted onto the wall with cable facing the bed. There’s a desk, comfortable chair, balcony and a private bathroom. In the bathroom, you have the essentials: Toilet, sink and shower. There’s no bathtub, but again, think of the money you’re saving, you’re getting the absolute essentials at rock-bottom price in the heart of Downtown Toronto! A very expensive city to live in. The room itself was very quiet with the balcony door closed; we had no problem obtaining a full night’s rest, every single night!

At the end of the day, you should consider trying out a Hostel, what do you have to lose? Nothing, because you’re actually saving, big time!

Keep an open mind, explore, have fun and always try something different and new!

Categories: Hostels, Travel, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Long Weekend in Ontario

Like the saying goes: “Time flies when you’re having fun”. Well, that’s true, but I also believe that time will fly even if you’re busy and not having fun, but thankfully, this past weekend was tons of fun!

For most people in Ontario, this weekend was a three day weekend because of a provincial holiday called “Civic Holiday”.
I didn’t waste any time this weekend. I started off Saturday having a Breakfast out with Amy at a local restaurant called “Dapp’s Restaurant”. The restaurant has been there forever and the base of clientele they have established is immense! Almost everyone that dines in is a “regular”.  I don’t think Amy and I are too far from attaining that title; maybe just need to age another 50 years or so first to gain some seniority. The price of food is excellent, with the most expensive Breakfast meal being around 12.50$ and the cheapest I remember seeing was around 6.95$; you don’t find many deals like that these days, most restaurants overprice all of their food, especially the orange juice, don’t even get me started with the orange juice! Several restaurants have a machine that mixes a concentrated-juicy syrup with water to produce what you call your Breakfast orange juice; there are no free refills and they charge you about 3$ for a medium sized glass. Redonkulous if you ask me…

After a delicious Breakfast, I walked over to “Riverside Music” for my 3rd Piano lesson; I want to be modest, but truly, I am catching on very fast to the theory and of course the practical portion of the instrument. Maybe its because I have so much interest in learning? At the moment, all I have is a simple 150$ keyboard, without a full set of keys and the keys themselves aren’t even weighted, I’m missing the pedals too. I was looking at the “Casio Privia 350BK”, I think that’s the name of it… Anyways, it seems like a good bang for my buck and it’s somewhat affordable for a person that doesn’t have thousands to dish out but is still serious about learning how to play the Piano.

To finish up Saturday, I headed over to a coworkers house with my good friend Jon for a surprise Birthday party hosted for her husband’s 40th birthday. I picked up a bottle of wine for him named “Guilty Men”, I thought it would give them some laughs for sure, I’ll have to find out tomorrow. It was a good night, complete with good people, good drinks, good food and good fun. Jon and I played “Horseshoes” against a few other people, but had our asses kicked every time; I don’t think the game was made for us at all, or maybe it was, but just to have our asses kicked at it all the time!

I woke up early on Sunday to get an early start on a day full of “Antiquing” with my good friend Jon. We headed out into a town called “Bloomfield” (sounds like a name out of a “Silent Hill” movie), to start our adventure and worked our way out to Picton to finish it. The entire time was spent in what’s called “Prince Edward County”, where many vineyards and microbreweries/craft breweries are located due to the outlay of the landscape and excellent conditions in the area. I didn’t really find anything other than a “Banana stand”, which really isn’t an antique to begin with, but there were several of treasures that I did run into that I couldn’t quite afford at the moment; perhaps next time I’ll come back with more treasures!

As soon as I returned home, I packed up my gym gear and biked down to CFB Trenton’s gymnasium for a lengthy workout of about two hours. The bike ride to the gym and back was just shy of 8km too.

Today, Amy and I drove out to Belleville in search of a new, high-quality frying pan. Yep, we destroyed our old crappy one from Zellers… Let’s just say you get what you pay for. This new one we bought is a brand called “Panderno”, it’s apparently a brand that’s used amongst the professionals in the cooking industry. The pan is obviously non-stick, you can stick it into the oven at up to 750 F and it has a 25 year warranty; I guess that alone shows that “Paderno” truly believes in the quality of their own product if they’re willing to give a warranty that will last so long. Did you know? Apparently cooking sprays such as “PAM” are not good for your pan, it damages it! Apparently it’s better to just use cooking oil and nothing else.

Amy and I just got back from the base’s outdoor pool; nothing like a refreshing swim on a hot and sunny day!

Well, time to practice on my Piano, the next lesson is tomorrow!

Categories: Canada, Ontario, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Transit

Today broke off the usual work routine; usually I’m in the office mission planning for flights or flying! Today was spent sitting in on several business meetings discussing various topics.

My generous neighbor once again has helped me out; this time he repaired my damaged bicycle to a ride-able condition, which to me, almost looks good as new! The bike itself was quite expensive, around 1000$, but that’s only pennies when talking about the professional bikes you can purchase for the avid bikers out there. Have I ever said that my neighbor is generous? Well, everything that he does for us, he never expects a dime for. He’s mowed our lawn on several occasions, fixed up some problems on my car and fixed my bike. All he asks for is the money for what the repair cost, nothing more. I decided to give him more money anyways, for his time and generosity; as I said in an earlier post, you don’t run into these kind’ve people everyday, so respect thy neighbor!
I decided to take my bike out for a spin for the first time in about two years. It was running almost as smooth as it was once I first bought it. Took a ride over to Canadian Tire to pick up a new bike lock, as I lost the key to the old lock, which is a total bummer, because I have a high-quality “Kryptonite” U-lock. I bought something similar and I hope the quality matches or surpasses what I paid for it. I’m not sure if theft is a problem in my town, I sure hope it isn’t… My Father had his bicycle stolen from him while it was locked up, by an office building at his work. The road that it was locked up by is quite a busy road, which I thought was weird how his bike got stolen in front of several citizens walking right by. I guess thieves these days are real experts at what they do, they always find a new way to get around and look for the “loop-hole”.

I think the community that I live in; Trenton, Ontario, is lacking in a few departments. First thing is, we don’t even have a bike path, let alone a bike lane for us to safely enjoy biking in. What are families supposed to do with their children? Bike on the side of the highway? Doesn’t sound very safe to me… Second thing is, Trenton lacks a proper transit system. Sure, Trenton is no major city, it’s just a town, but having a decent transit system would be extremely helpful at times, especially families that have only one car, but need to be in different destinations at different times, or lower-income citizens, which is prominent in this community. Sometimes I wonder if we are just lacking budget, creativity or demand for these simple ideas. I wonder if there’s a way I can find out…

Well, tomorrow is T.G.I.F and soon to be the start of a long weekend here in Canada; Monday is a day off because of the holiday called “Civic Holiday”. Not exactly sure what the meaning behind the day is… The meaning is probably meant to stay home and enjoy a day off, at least that’s the way I like to see it!

I’ve got my third piano lesson on Saturday and will probably spend a good portion of the weekend riding my bike, working out at the gym, maybe go for a swim at the pool if its warm and sunny outside.

Canadians, enjoy your long weekend and whoever else has the extra day off!

Categories: Canada, Ontario, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love your Heart!

Did you know?

Just 15 minutes of cardio a day could extend your lifespan for an additional 3 years?

Ladies and Gents, exercise is absolutely important for a healthy and happy life; a mere 15 minutes is all you need! No excuses!
Every now and then, I’ll be writing these small “tid bits” if you want to call them, basically random facts and information to fill time in when I’m not out traveling or doing something ultra exciting! Hope you enjoy the new additions!

Categories: Canada, Ontario, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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