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Rome by the Colosseum, view of the Arco di Tito. Photo: ©CanadianandWorldTourism.com

Last year I had the good fortune of going back to Italy with my wife for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We visited the Amalfi Coast and Rome. I hadn't been to Rome in decades and I was even more impressed this time.  Now I'm planning to go back soon, but only with muy daughter. She's a grown up now, but hasn't travelled very much other than in North America because she's very focused on her music career.  We're very close, but we've never travelled together much. And just for fun. A few years ago, I accompanied her on a trip across Canada in the great The Canadian train, Via Rail's flagship train trip from Vancouver to Toronto. We travelled together because she was the artist in residence (singing for the guests and sharing songwriting anecdotes) and I was working on a social media campaign to promote the trip. An awesome adventure if you like train travel!

ROME

But back to Rome. We already have some activities planned for the trip. We're going in late November which works out fine because of her schedule. Rome in November is somewhat less expensive than during the summer and up until October, but not by much. While looking for activities on Expedia Canada, the website let me know that hotels are 65% booked on the dates we are going, so clearly the Eternal City receives lots of tourists then. Nevertheless, we won't see the crowds you tend to see in the Summer and early Fall and that's great. It should be easier to find tables at some very good restaurants.

The Berninis at the Borghese Gallery are stunning!
Photo: ©CanadianandWorldTourism.com

ART and HISTORY

History is everywhere in Rome. We're not going to focus so much on history but rather on beauty. The combination of ancient architecture in a modern city. Art, on the other hand is not as visible other than in architectural form so we do have to plan visits to the key attractions that are must sees: the Sistine Chapel (with Walks of Italy) and the Vatican Museums, the Borghese Gallery, the church of San Pietro in Vincoli (to see the Moses) and maybe the National Gallery of Contemporary Art. A couple of places my daughter found that she wants to visit as well are the Casina delle Civette and the Coppedé district in the Quartiere Trieste near the Piazza Buenos Aires.

SHOPPING

At my request, Sinesipho, a Client Solutions Specialist for at Walks of Italy, suggested we visit Via Condotti, as well as the areas of Via Cola di Rienzo and Via del Corso for my daughter to go shopping.

Rome is paradise for a foodie.
Photo: ©CanadianandWorldTourism.com

FOOD

My daughter and I are big foodies. Although she's mostly vegetarian. She does eat some seafood and some cheese. But she needs her veggies, so antipasto it is. This is a partial list of restaurants and food establishments we're considering (from Eater.com):

Pasta dishes at normal (not michelin) restaurants may go for between €16 ($25) and €28 ($43)  (1 € = $1.56)

Trattoria da Cesare

Antico Arco

Supplizio (finger food not far from Vatican – maybe lunch that Saturday)
Via dei Banchi Vecchi 143
Rome, Italy

La Tavernaccia

Forno Campo di Fiori (bakery and pizza)

Salumeria Oscioli (excellent option for burrata and maybe not expensive meals)

Al Moro Roma  (10 minute walk from hotel – old traditional roman restaurant)

Colline Emiliane  (5 minutes from Hotel degli Artisti – good to try out – but must make reservations – not expensive)



Pizzeria Ostiense  For pizza and other not expensive Roman food – yay!

I will be blogging more about Rome as we get closer to our Father/Daughter trip!

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PEI Shellfish Festival 2018 - YouTube


Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island, the smallest province in Canada? If you happen to be travelling to Charlottetown, PEI's capital, this month, check out what the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre suggests for visitors this month.  

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Rashida Jones, Alan Hicks - co directors, Mr. Quincy Jones and Cameron Bailey at the world premier of Quincy.
I am huge music fan. According to Spotify, last year I listened to over 100,000 minutes of music, over 3,800 differente songs and over 1,750 different artists (and this does not count music in the car where I don't have Spotify). Yes, I love music. So choosing to see Quincy at the Toronto International Festival as 1 of only 3 films I will go see this year was a natural choice for me. After I bought the ticket I found out it's a NETFLIX originals documentary and for a few minutes I was disappointed thinking, oh well, I could have waited a few days and see it on Netflix. But a friend I ran into at the Princess of Wales Theatre told me that Mr. Jones was going to be at the screening. That changed everything. Yes, Quincy Jones was in the house together with the co-directors and many of the films collaborators in the audience (editor, director of photography, producers, etc.).

Waiting in line to get in to the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto for the premier of Quincy. Glad to be a Visa Infinite cardholder. Visa is one of the main sponsors of TIFF and Visa Infinite card holders have access to a dedicated queue, which is nice given the sold out nature of the biggest films.

The documentary is an important historical document, not only for Americans and American history, but also for anyone around the world who loves music, particularly popular music of the 20th century. Mr. Jones impact and influence on popular music cannot be denied or minimized. His producing and arranging talent helped stars from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson and countless artists in between and after.  As many other music fans I only became aware of Mr. Jones' talent with the release of Michael Jackson's Thriller in the 1980s, but unknowingly I had listened to his work on many movies (as a film score composer) and in recordings by Frank Sinatra. One of the major themes throughout the documentary is racism in America, reminding all of us how ridiculous and awful it used to be in the United States and how much it still needs to be addressed.  My favourite anecdote in the film involves Frank Sinatra and the racist practices in Las Vegas. Watch the documentary to see what I'm talking about. 

At the end of the Quincy screening and Q&A the audience was treated to a performance with Chaka Khan and Mark Ronson!
Suffice it to say, the documentary is chock full of music, but it's also full of life, full of stories we can all relate to, not the ones where Mr. Jones calls General Colin Powell or Oprah, but his relationships with his children and regular people. They say the greatest people don't need to show off or self aggrandize themselves. Their work and deeds speak for themselves. Mr. Jones comes across as one of those great people who treats every one with respect and humility. Watch Quincy reply to his daughter in one scene of the documentary when she asks him about ego and what he thinks of it. For me, the answer is one of the highlights of the documentary.

QUINCY will be released worldwide by NETFLIX this coming September 21, 2018. 

My Suggested and recommended hotels - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

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Big luxury brands tend to increase their visibility during the days of the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Lousi Vuitton popup exhibit runs until the end of September at Union Station downtown Toronto.
Photo: Canadian and World Tourism
It's that time of the year when Toronto gets the more international media coverage than at any other time of the year or for any other reason. The Toronto International Festival is in full swing until September 16. This year there is a focus on supporting women in film: "TIFF has made a five-year commitment to increasing participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera."  Kudos to TIFF for this initiative. The world need more women in film at all levels of endeavour.

Another interesting thing about this year's TIFF is the number of films that are NETFLIX ORIGINALS starting with the epic Outlaw King, directed by David Mackenzie and with Chris Pine in the lead playing the 14th century Scottish King Robert The Bruce. A total of 8 Netflix films will be screened at the festival.


Outlaw King | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

As every year, a great many stars, actors and filmmakers are attending the film, among them Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandra Marquez, Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Bradley Cooper, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, "Gael García Bernal (The Kindergarten Teacher, Museo, The Accused), Jake Gyllenhaal (Wildlife, The Sisters Brothers), Brian Tyree Henry (White Boy Rick, Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer, Boy Erased), Dev Patel (Hotel Mumbai, The Wedding Guest), Natalie Portman (Vox Lux, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan), Susan Sarandon (The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, Viper Club), Alexander Skarsgård (The Hummingbird Project, Hold the Dark), Corey Stoll (Driven, First Man), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (A Million Little Pieces, Outlaw King), and Jeffrey Wright (The Public, Hold the Dark)."

If you have never been to the Toronto International Film Festival, I highly recommend it. Of course, you must like movies (or films if you call more serious fare films) first and foremost. The atmosphere in Toronto is fantastic during the festival. Or rather in some parts of Toronto where the action concentrates: King St. West where the TIFF Lightbox - theatres and TIFF headquarters - is located. Around Roy Thomson Hall, the Elgin Theatre (Visa Screening Room), the Ritz Carlton Hotel near Roy Thomson Hall, the Yorkville neighbourhood and a few other spots.  To take full advantage of the festival as a movie goer plan way in advance in order to secure tickets as well as accommodations. Visit the TIFF website early in the year and sign up for newsletters and/or join the festival as a member. That way you will know and have access to tickets with enough time to plan your stay and to find suitable accommodations.

Aaaaaan Action!

My Suggested and recommended hotels - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

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A rendering of ideas as to how the lake would play an integral part of Quayside Toronto, the Sidewalk Labs - Waterfront Toronto proposed development in the Eastern side of downtown Toronto.
© Sidewalk Toronto - Waterfront Toronto
I finally made it to one of the presentations and round table sessions with Sidewalk Toronto and Waterfront Toronto at their multi-purpose facility near the port lands.  It was very exciting, interesting and informative. If you don't know, Sidewalk is a division of Google's parent company, Alphabet. It's mandate is to imagine, design, develop and build (at least in part) 21st century neighbourhoods that are people centred and grounded in data. Waterfront Toronto, the multi-level government agency in charge of developing the eastern side of Toronto that borders the lake, chose Sidewalk Labs as its partner. Consultations and planning have been going on for a while and a few days ago was the first time Sidewalk was presenting a more concrete, albeit still at the ideas level, presentation of what Quayside (the name of the proposed neighbourhood) could be/look like.

One of the many ideas is to use dynamic streets that can be "configured" for different uses depending on the time of day.
© Sidewalk Toronto - Waterfront Toronto
The Streets

One of the innovative ideas is to make streets part of the public realm in terms of having "personalities" and being pedestrian rather than car centric. Streets would be built with modular concrete pieces that would have sensors and lights to indicate different uses. For example, during rush hour the lights might be green and extend the width of the street, whereas at other times, the parts with green lights would be narrower to still allow vehicles but extending the pedestrian areas. Sidewalk also anticipates the use of autonomous vehicles for transportation within the neighbourhood and only have one major artery crossing the area.

© Sidewalk Toronto - Waterfront Toronto
Buildings

Karin Khalifa, Director of Building Innovation for Sidewalk (based in New York City), gave a fantastic presentationas to the possibilities in the area of housing and commercial construction, particularly in the potential use of timber as the main material. Canada has the most certified forests in the world (forests dedicated to the cultivation of timber) and that's an advantage. A challenge would be to bring the manufacturers up to speed in order to produce the type and quantity of timber to be used. Another challenge would be to prove that high rises can be build our of timber. Currently, Ontario allows up to 6 stories high but Sidewalk want to go up to 20 or 30 stories high.

Another idea is to use modular construction, ie, manufacturing the modules off site and bringing them to the area for assembly. Furthermore, innovative use of electrical components to bring in electricity and innovative sprinkle systems would all make the buildings more efficient and less costly.

Another great idea is to incorporate design that would add elements to ameliorate the effects of extreme climate. For example, the use of membranes or "curtains" on the side of building that could be deploy to make the area warmer in winter and cooler in summer so that people can spend more time outdoors.

One of my favorite ideas, ironically coming from a company that's big on technology, would be to have zones or areas with no Internet/Celular signal to encourage people to disconnect. These could be parkettes for example, or some rooms in a community centre.

The Lake

The lake is something that many residents have mentioned should be an integral part of the neighbourhood, so there is a lot of work on ideas as to how this would come about. The illustration at the top of this blog post provides an idea of what that might look like (I loved the reference in the illustration to George Mélies silent film from 1902, A Trip to the Moon).

Overall, I loved the presentation and the possibilities about this project. Personally, I am very interested in living there if and when it's available and if housing will be affordable for a couple beginning their retirement. Some of my own comments had to do with inclusion and diversity, something both Sidewalk Toronto and Waterfront Toronto seem committed to. However, I did not hear anything regarding how seniors would fit in the picture. Since this project will take a few years to be ready for residents, it would coincide with when my wife and I want to retire or semi-retire. She's not sure she'd like to move there based on what I've told her (she's not enthused about not living in a detached home), but depending on housing possibilities and affordability, I'm (almost) sure I would convince her because we both prefer to stay in Toronto in our old age and not have to move to a place like Courtenay, BC in order to afford retirement.

Visit Toronto

My Suggested and recommended hotels - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

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Trying to stuff a sausage pulled por sandwich in my mouth at the Canada Day Ribfest in Toronto.
Photo: Cactus Rock New Media Ltd. 
A northern/southern tradition in Toronto (and Ontario for that matter) is the Ribfests. We are lucky that the Canada Day weekend ribfest is very close to our house so we try to go every year. Sometimes I just go and pick up the racks to go and other times we go and spend some time on the grounds. Our Rotary club organized Ribfest has grown to a be one of the best annual events for the community. In addition to the best ribbers in North America (Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Canada) there's corn on the cob, lemonade stands, tiny donuts and funnel cake vendors and more. There are also local bands that play throughout the day.

Great ribbers from Tennessee this past Canada Day ribfest in Toronto.
One place where you can always find the ribbers is during Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition, the annual fair on the grounds of Exhibition Place. It takes place every year during the last 2 weeks of August and into Labour Day. More on the CNE soon. Enjoy!

Visit Toronto

My Suggested and recommended hotels - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter 

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The foot long at the Rogers Centre is scrumptious.
© Cactus Rock New Media Ltd.  Canadian and World Tourism
Baseball of course. Take me out to the ball game in the summer. Another one of mine and thousands and thousands of Torontonians' favourite things to do in the summer is to go see the Blue Jays play at the Skydome (yes, I know it's the Rogers Centre, but I still like to call it by its original name: the Skydome). Every summer I try to go to 2 or 3 games and it's always a treat.  I enjoy baseball for its own sake so whether the Jays are up or down I go. If they're having a winning season even better. Unless they get to the playoffs because then I run the risk of getting too involved and it stresses me out, haha.  Get your Toronto Blue Jays tickets in advance online.

Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
© Cactus Rock New Media Ltd.  Canadian and World Tourism
Visit Toronto

My Suggested and recommended hotels - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter 

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Lunch at the Sunnyside Pavillion with the best friend.
Photo: ©Cactus Rock New Media Ltd.
Summer is The Season in Canada and Toronto is no exception. Canadians look forward to summer like kids look forward to Disney World. The feelings start mid-Spring when flowers, birds, squirrels, raccoons and assorted creatures spring to life. By summer, most everyone is in a good mood and Toronto's patios, beaches and islands see the influx of revelers and families. One of my favorite things to do is go to the lake. I live about 10 minutes from the West Parking lot near Sunnyside beach. Sometimes I go there, park the car and go for a long run along the lake. Recently I went to Sunnyside  with my best friend visiting from Vancouver and we walked all the way to Ontario Place and back. Then we had a delicious lunch at the Sunnyside Pavillion, a concession right at Sunnyside beach (where there is also a good public swimming pool).



Visit Toronto

My Suggested and recommended hotels - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter 

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Katsuo (Bonito) Sushi Nigiri, chosen, cut and prepared to perfection by chef Maumi Ozaki. Vancouver.
Foto: ©Canadian and World Tourism (CanadaenEspanol)
Back in Vancouver for family matters I had the opportunity to go back to Sushi Bar Maumi. I was extremely impressed the first time and ditto this second one.

Foto: ©Canadian and World Tourism (CanadaenEspanol)
Maumi Ozaki es definitely an artist in sushi nigiri.  The Omakase consists of 11 sushi pieces that you must eat as Maumi serves them to you. There are no accommodations for dietary issues such as allergies or gluten free items. If you can't eat everything pretty much, it's best not to go. If you have no problems and love sushi, Sushi Bar Maumi is a must.

Fatty Bluefin Tuna (Hon Maguro O-Toro). Amazing. Melts in your mouth.
Foto: ©Canadian and World Tourism (CanadaenEspanol)
Chef Maumi imports the fish from Japan so the menu changes depending on what he was able to find. The omakase menu consists of 11 pieces (and sometimes a surprise like the special Miso soup we got this time). The price as of summer 2018 is only CAD $75 per person (compared to Toronto prices, it's a bargain for this quality of food). There is space for only 10 people at each seating so make reservations in advance. The experience lasts almost 2 hours (this approaches Michelin star meal times). And it's worth every penny. After the omakase you can order more sushi a la carte. But only once, so you must decide what and how much then. But remember, no wasting. Chef Maumi emphasizes that wasting food is a no-no in Japan and that's the same in his restaurant. As the heading from a 2016 Globe and Mail article says: "Maumi Ozaki keeps the fish coming, so long as you dine by his rules."

Uni (sea urchin). One of my top 3 favorites at Sushi Bar Maumi. Incredible!
Foto: ©Canadian and World Tourism (CanadaenEspanol)

Reservations Sushi Bar Maumi.

Suggested Hotels in Vancouver:

Granville Island Hotel. Speaking of Granville Island, instead of just visiting, you can make it your base of operations at this beautiful boutique hotel.
Fairmont Pacific Rim.  Location is unbeatable. #1 on TripAdvisor. I have stayed at the FPR before and it's worth it if this type of luxury hotel is in your budget.
The Westin Bayshore. High-end hotel right in Coal Harbour. Stayed there years ago, so I can't say how good or not it is now. The Westin brand is usually very good though, if you don't mind the rates.
YWCA Hotel. On the other side of the spectrum is this inexpensive, clean hotel. Good location near False Creek, BC Place stadium and Rogers Arena. For young travelers and explorers on a budget.
Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. High-end. Relais et Chateaux property. Excellent for couples who are used to the best. In a great location near Robson Square and the shopping district. If you don't stay here for whatever reason, may I recommendyou try WH's Afternoon Tea on a Saturday or Sunday between 2 and 4 pm (reservations recommended).
Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre. If you're driving on your holiday and want a good but moderately priced hotel, this Holiday Inn is a good option. Not far from the Granville Island and Kitsilano Beach areas. If you don't have a car during your stay you can use Vancouver's public transportation system. Not the best in Canada, but acceptable. Btw, as of this writing, Uber is not allowed in Vancouver (perhaps in 2017).

See more hotels in Vancouver and reviews on TripAdvisor
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Lake Ontario Swans in Toronto relaxing on Canada Day weekend.
Photo: Canadian and World Tourism

Happy 151st Canada Day Canada. We love you! As we celebrate this wonderful country, we wish that it continues its quest for a totally just society where everyone has opportunities and we all have compassion for the most vulnerable among us.

"Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die." Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1984.

The Canada sign by the CN Tower. Photo: Canadian and World Tourism
"Canada must be one, Canada must be progressive, and Canada must be a just society." Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau


My Suggested and recommended hotels in Toronto - see reviews on TripAdvisor:

Sheraton Centre. Great location across from Nathan Phillips Square and very close to Toronto's Eaton Centre, shopping mall. Few blocks west and you're in Toronto's hip Queen Street West area (and not far at all from the AGO).
Fairmont Royal York (this hotel hosts my favorite brunch in Toronto)
Hyatt Regency on King Street (in the Theatre and Entertainment District)
The Drake Hotel - if you like the cool factor, this is the hotel for you (check out the live music listings)
Park Hyatt in Yorkville (Yorkville is the posh area of downtown)
The Chelsea Hotel in the center of the action near the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square (within walking distance from the AGO)
Ritz-Carlton for the luxury travel crowd
Holiday Inn Express downtown - centrally located, moderate, clean, breakfast included
College Backpackers hostel in the funky Kensington Market neighbourhood - for the young and frugal.
The Only Backpackers Inn on the Danforth - hostel in the Greek Town area of Toronto, near the subway

Hotels in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Granville Island Hotel. Right on Granville Island by False Creek. Excellent boutique hotel in one of the coolest areas of Vancouver
Fairmont Pacific Rim.  Location is unbeatable. #1 on TripAdvisor. I have stayed at the FPR before and it's worth it if this type of luxury hotel is in your budget.
The Westin Bayshore. High-end hotel right in Coal Harbour. Stayed there years ago, so I can't say how good or not it is now. The Westin brand is usually very good though, if you don't mind the rates.
YWCA Hotel. On the other side of the spectrum is this inexpensive, clean hotel. Good location near False Creek, BC Place stadium and Rogers Arena. For young travelers and explorers on a budget.
Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. High-end. Relais et Chateaux property. Excellent for couples who are used to the best. In a great location near Robson Square and the shopping district. If you don't stay here for whatever reason, may I recommendyou try WH's Afternoon Tea on a Saturday or Sunday between 2 and 4 pm (reservations recommended).
Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre. If you're driving on your holiday and want a good but moderately priced hotel, this Holiday Inn is a good option. Not far from the Granville Island and Kitsilano Beach areas. If you don't have a car during your stay you can use Vancouver's public transportation system. Not the best in Canada, but acceptable. Btw, as of this writing, Uber is not allowed in Vancouver (perhaps in 2018).

There are many Montreal hotels to choose from, here are some of my suggestions:

The Ritz-Carlton Montreal.  No. 1 on TripAdvisor. Luxury hotel from the famous chain. Excellent location on Sherbrooke West within walking distance of Montreal's shopping and restaurants.
Loews Hotel Vogue Montreal. On Rue de la Montagne 5 minute walk to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Also high-end design hotel (not far from The Ritz-Carlton, actually) in the heart of Montreal's downtown entertainment, shopping and commercial area.
Hotel Gault. I actually had not heard about this hotel (and I'm in the tourism promotion world). Came across the Gault doing some research. Looks like an amazing hotel, the kind my wife and I like for brief getaways, so it's now on my list. It can be pricey though so consider it a luxury boutique hotel. Hotel Gault is close to Montreal's World Trade Center not far from Old Montreal. Rooms are Lofts, Suites Terraces and Apartments. 
Le Place d'Armes Hotel & Suites. Excellent boutique hotel very close to Montreal's Place d'Armes Square and Old Montreal.
Hotel Nelligan. Another excellent boutique hotel, this one right in Old Montreal. Charming old world surroundings and close to the Saint Lawrence River.
Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile. On Sherbrooke very close to McGill University. Not as high-end as the Ritz-Carlton or the Loews, but quite good. Excellent for business trips as well.
Holiday Inn Montreal Centre Ville. Holiday Inn quality. Moderate rates. Not far from Old Montreal.

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