Toronto for a ‘Bleisure’ Trip?

I know a lot of travellers get to Toronto several times a year for work and aside from the abundance of great restaurants, shopping and of course your clients – turning Toronto into a ‘bleisure’ trip is one thing that often travellers don’t think of. If you don’t know what ‘bleisure travel’ is, then you are in luck. Bleisure is a new portmanteau, and it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”.

More and more business travellers are jumping on the idea of bleisure trips, so why shouldn’t you? I have compiled some easy ideas, that might not be commonly thought of, for your next bleisure trip to Toronto.

For the hockey fan:

Why not finally listen to your inner child? First stop – the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s situated right downtown on Yonge Street and perfect for even casual fans. From Tim Horton (yes he really was a famous hockey player) to Wayne Gretzky and everyone in between, this really is the perfect spot to spend a few hours for all hockey fans –  you might even get to touch the cup! Did I mention that Scotiabank Arena is only a 5 min walk away, just in case you want to see the Leafs in action? Be prepared, a Leafs game is a very sought after ticket and after Montreal and New York, they are the most expensive in the NHL starting at $187 a ticket. If that’s too rich for your blood, first start at the Hall of Fame and pop down to Wayne Gretzky’s bar which is only 15 minutes away and you might just get to see ‘The Great One’ if he happens to pop in for a drink.

For the Nature Lover:

Cottages in lake country are the best way to escape Toronto which has famously been coined the ‘Center of the Universe’ by locals and Canadians alike. Why not get out of the hustle and bustle and get out to the lakes?  Be prepared there are lots of them! They are only ever an hour or two away from downtown. Best months for this of course are June-September or you can do what I did and pop by for the winter if you want to try your hand at ice fishing/skidooing.

For the Thrill Seeker:

The CN Tower looms large over the city of Toronto. You can see the tower from 160 kms (100 miles) away on a clear day. For 32 years the CN Tower was the largest free standing structure in the world and still today is something every person that comes to Toronto should do (if they want to get a different type of high). While taking in the views, why not do exactly what your mom told you not to do, and try the CN Tower Edgewalk. Torontonians have called it “the most thrilling attraction in the history of the city”.I just called it ‘crazy’ when I did it. Jumpsuit, safety ropes, you and a harness and pop outside for an hour long walk through the clouds. If you aren’t great with heights, you might just want to stick to the observation level.

(On top of the world..well the CN Tower doing the Edgewalk)

For those that like to see Natural Wonders of the World:

Niagara Falls, once called the Honeymoon capital of the world, still doesn’t disappoint today (even if honeymooners typically pick warmer locales to visit). The Canadian side is more picturesque with plenty of viewing options and makes for an easy day trip from Toronto. A journey on the famous ‘Maid of the Mist’ is a must and it’s a great place for a night out at one of the two casinos (with fall views of course) or just to relax for the day, solo or with friends.

For those that like to shop, shop, shop.

Outlets are starting to come to the rest of Canada but have been a steady part of the shopping world in Ontario for years. For big brands like Nike, Ralph Lauren, Coach, Levi’s and Banana Republic, the first question is why pay retail? With over 10 outlet malls all within an hour’s drive of the big city, why not spend a little extra time (and money) and do some retail therapy on your next trip out here. Toronto Premium Outlet Mall, Dixie Mall and Heartland Town Centre are three great options to literally shop till you drop (or get on the plane) as those 3 are all within 20 mins of the airport.

For the Sports Lover:

If you are a big sports lover like me, then Toronto is the perfect city for you. If you’re into basketball like I am, then seeing a Raptors game is a must. Obviously for hockey you’ve got the Leafs. If CFL/NFL is your thing then the Argonauts are the local team or in under 2 hours you can be in Buffalo, supporting the (partially) home town Buffalo Bills. Toronto FC is the famous draw for all the soccer fans and then of course if baseball is your thing, Rogers Centre (previously the Skydome) is the place to see the ‘old game’ be played. With so many options for the casual sports fan, this really is a great sports city. If you can’t decide, pop on down to Real Sports Bar and see all of the games on over 200 TVs and the largest plasma screen in North America, it’s a sight in itself!

Whether or not you agree with the ‘Center of the Universe’ tag, it’s hard to deny the importance of Toronto as both a business and tourism destination.  There is so much more to the city than the things I’ve touched on here.  If you can, add an extra day or two and make your next trip to Toronto a bleisure trip!

 

To book your next ‘bleisure’ trip contact a Worldgo Vacation Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

 

Written by: Miles Walker
Date: July 7th, 2020

Miles Walker lives for travel, which is quite fitting given his name! He has done BDM/Sales Manager work for On The Go Tours, Topdeck Travel and Blueroads Touring. He has called Melbourne, Tonga, London, Toronto and Ethiopia home at various points throughout his life and after recently travelling to Azerbaijan and Georgia his country count is somewhere in the low 80’s.

Travelling in Canada during COVID-19

Today I caught up with an old friend and colleague  Justin Elton, the President of  the 10 STAR AGENCY group based in Vancouver (with offices in Toronto) https://10star.ca/

I was eager to hear about his recent trip to Toronto and see how his first business trip was since COVID-19 started.  With travel starting to come back, and having known Justin for years, I thought it would be great to hear his honest answers about what travel is like in the ‘new normal.’

 

Worldgo: Justin! Hope all is well. I see you are back travelling now, which is a great sign that things are starting to open up! Where were you off to this week?

Justin Elton: I had my first flight back to Toronto since the pandemic started, I had to head out there for work on a project we were working on out there.

 

Worldgo: Did you book an aisle or window? I’m an aisle guy myself as I like to get up and walk around.

Justin Elton: I actually ended up in business, I booked premium economy but the upgrade to business was only $250 on check-in so I took it. Got the window, it was awesome.

 

Worldgo: What was the experience like upon entering the airport?

Justin Elton: Fine, lots of signage, everyone was respecting the new rules and all the airport staff were very well organized. There was no sense of unrest or anything like that. YVR was actually busier than I expected.

 

Worldgo: What was it like going through security, any info on that?

Justin Elton: Quick and easy, no real difference, just had to maintain the distance in line, also the VIP Nexus line was gone due to the US situation but other than that no real change.

 

Worldgo: After security, were shops/lounges open in Vancouver?

Justin Elton: Not all of them but some of them, Starbucks, Tim’s, the fast food places and the convenience stores were open, most of the other retail gift shops were still closed.

 

Worldgo: What was it like boarding the plane?

Justin Elton: Same as always, AC handed out little cleaning kits, masks and gloves which was a nice touch.

 

Worldgo: In-flight what was your experience like? Were food and drink still the same?

Justin Elton: No food service or drink service, we got a chicken wrap and as much water as we wanted. The staff stayed tucked away in their compartment for most of the trip. They would only come out to remind people to keep their masks on or to clear items.

 

Worldgo: Upon arrival into Toronto Pearson how would you compare it to Vancouver?

Justin Elton: Pearson was pretty quiet, only a handful of shops open.

 

Worldgo: What safety measures did you take before travel?

Justin Elton: None really, just packed my own mask and hand sanitizer.

 

Worldgo: How was your experience travelling?

Justin Elton: It was pleasant, way less crowded and hectic for sure. It was actually a really nice experience.

 

Worldgo: Will you and your staff be travelling again soon for work?

Justin Elton: Yes we will, after that trip I have zero concern with future domestic air travel. I would argue its safer than your regular day to day activities. Everyone is super vigilant about it, both the staff and patrons were cleaning everything. You saw people even wipe down their own seats and arm rests even though they had already been decontaminated. I don’t think you could actually find a cleaner place to be right now.

 

Worldgo: Any travel hacks or tips for our readers/clients to bring with them that might make their experience smoother?

Justin Elton: This one is kind of funny. So you’re supposed to wear your mask the whole trip unless you have to eat or drink. So on the way back I bought a bag of pistachios, they are very tedious and take a long time to eat so when I had those on my lap, slowly eating them I could keep my mask off while doing so. They don’t provide pillows or blankets anymore so be sure to pack your own if you want to get comfy.

 

Justin Elton – President of 10 STAR AGENCY

With a head office in Vancouver and another office in Toronto, Justin runs a national brand activation agency that specializes in nightlife and entertainment marketing. They bring brands to life across Canada within Canada’s entertainment channel and have been in the business of entertainment marketing for over 10 years. They are a full service activation agency, from concept, to development, production and on site execution as well as being one of the only full service agencies in Canada, making them a one stop shop for their clients.  https://10star.ca/

Written by: Miles Walker
Date: July 7th, 2020

Miles Walker lives for travel, which is quite fitting given his name! He has done BDM/Sales Manager work for On The Go Tours, Topdeck Travel and Blueroads Touring. He has called Melbourne, Tonga, London, Toronto and Ethiopia home at various points throughout his life and after recently travelling to Azerbaijan and Georgia his country count is somewhere in the low 80’s.

Local BC Summer Getaways

Summer Plans? Wanting something bigger than a staycation but smaller than a trip around the world? Here are some closer-to-home places to consider around BC this summer (that are currently taking bookings).

With international trips ground to a halt I think many of us will be looking to ‘stay closer to home’, taking a lot of local trips and getting to know our own province better. Now is a great time to snap up some exceptional deals on hotels that fit the bill – think Victoria, Whistler and Kelowna, just to name a few.

Worldgo’s top picks for the summer (based on what’s closest) and yes we can help you book these of course. With amazing flexible cancellation policies, now is the time to score a great deal and start planning for a social distancing summer!

 

  • Squamish (1 hour travel time) Many people pop up to Squamish for day trips but consider staying a night or two as there’s so many things to keep you busy in a city that is evolving into the adventure capital of BC. Outdoor enthusiasts will not tire of the many opportunities on offer: rivers with eagles to spy, forest trails for hiking and biking, nature walks to waterfalls and cliff climbers to watch, all washed down with refreshment from some great breweries. Squamish is a destination that surprises.
    Top Hotel: Sandman Hotel for the budget conscious, or Mountain Retreat because the big kid in all of us will appreciate the water slide.
    Top Brewery: Pick your poison, You can’t go wrong with any of them: don’t miss Howe Sound, Backcountry and A-Frame. It’s a tough choice between Howe Sound and A-Frame’s patio!

 

  • Harrison Hot Springs (2 hours) Less then two hours from the city, Harrison is always a pleasure. With multiple lake and swimming options, and tons of local walking trails, this is an easy ‘after work’ location to get away to in the summer for a few nights. Just grab a good book, your walking shoes, your bathing suit and you’re good to go. And after all that rest and relaxation maybe the Sasquatch Museum will turn you into a believer.
    Top Hotel: Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa is the obvious choice, but the Harrison Beach Hotel is great if you want more a ‘homey’ condo feel.
    Top unique restaurant choice: all the hotels have solid restaurant options but for a unique mountain meal why not pop into the Black Forest Steak and Schnitzel House for a little taste of Bavaria!

 

  • Whistler (2 hours) Whistler has been hit hard this year what with winter snow and ski season cut short by the virus. Visiting during what might be the quietest period in its recent history will provide you a unique experience – enjoying hiking and biking trails to gorgeous lakes without the usual crowds. Whistler is a special retreat for Vancouverites and other tourists alike. With hotel options ranging from apartment style, log cabins to the Fairmont, Westin’s and Four Seasons of the world, there really is something for everyone.
    Top Hotel Choice: Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Incredible views, the indoor/outdoor pool, a great laid-back atmosphere and just steps to the mountain. If you want more of a ‘condo feel’ then Blackcomb Peaks is a great option as well.
    Top Lake: Nita Lake is our first and if you are feeling adventurous Joffre Lake.

 

  • Vancouver Island (3 hours) What locals refer to simply as ‘the island’, is where life slows down and people greet you with friendly smiles in the streets. It’s more than Victoria, Nanaimo and Tofino which are undoubtedly the most popular spots for tourists – there are many hidden gems to be discovered and explored and with great restaurants, gorgeous quiet beaches and relaxed lovely drives, Vancouver Island is perfect for a close getaway.
    Top Hotel Choices: In Victoria, the Empress is sure to impress, but if you are on a budget a great option is the Days Inn Victoria Harbour. Nanaimo and Tofino both have lots of options – the Coast Bastion in Nanaimo offers great views and is in the heart of the city. If you want to splash out, literally right on the ocean, the Wickaninnish Inn or the Pacific Sands are two amazing properties that won’t disappoint.
    Top Experience: How about visiting the ‘Sooke Potholes’? Unique geological formations which are actually deep, polished rock pools carved into the bedrock of the river – great for hiking and swimming.

 

  • Lakes of the Okanagan (5 hours). Whether the buzz of Kelowna with its active beaches is what you are after or the sleepy swimming holes of Penticton or Vernon are more up your alley, there isn’t a better place to relax and take a load off than the Okanagan in the summer. With great hotels and dining options, this is a location that can be reached easily from Calgary or Vancouver.
    Top Hotel Picks: The Delta Kelowna – unbeatable location, with restaurants and bars on your doorstep – this is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Penticton Lakeside Resort and Conference Center – private beach, secluded pool and those views! Also, lots of restaurant options close by. Sparkling Hill Resort – a little out of town but the views and saunas make it more than worth it.
    Top Lake: With so many to choose from my favourites are Skaha, Okanagan or Kalamalka.

 

  • Osoyoos (5 hours) Great weather? Check. Gorgeous views? Check and all the wine, wine and more vino you can drink. Osoyoos is a great spot for some R&R&W (wine). This is known as the hottest place in BC and Canada so why not hop in the car and do the five hour drive to Canada’s wine region. Tours are easy to organize when you are up there and with some great hotels to stay in, lakes to swim in, pools to read by, horses to ride and golf courses to challenge, Osoyoos is a great spot for escaping the big city rat race.
    Top Hotel: Walnut Beach Resort is a beautiful private beach lakeside includes a lovely pool and a myriad of water activities make it perfect for both couples and families.
    Great winery: Nk’Mip cellars, the wine, the location and the view. Wow! Just one of many gems in the area.

 

  • Nelson (8 hours) A little further away, known as one of the most accepting, laid-back small towns in BC, Nelson is situated in the Selkirk mountains, and boasts an abundance of hippies, coffee shops and artists. This is Canada’s version of Byron Bay (if you know the famous hippy/artist town in Australia). This relaxed town is a great spot if you want to get a little off the ‘beaten path.’
    Top Hotel: Prestige Lakeside Resort is a great spot for families and couples alike and is located right on the lake.
    Top Café/Bakery: Kootenay Bakery Café. Easy food to grab on the go with vegan and gluten free options available.

 

To book your summer vacation contact a Worldgo Vacation Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

 

Written by: Miles Walker
Date: May 14, 2020

Miles Walker lives for travel, which is quite fitting given his name! He has done BDM/Sales Manager work for On The Go Tours, Topdeck Travel and Blueroads Touring. He has called Melbourne, Tonga, London, Toronto and Ethiopia home at various points throughout his life and after recently travelling to Azerbaijan and Georgia his country count is somewhere in the low 80’s.