Canada 150: Rubber Ducky

It was Canada’s 150th birthday last July 1, 2017 ( see my related post here ), it was a long weekend so we decided on July 2 to go downtown and see what the hype is all about the Gigantic Rubber Duck, So off we to the Waterfront to see…

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It was a huge one… it’s nice to see it though…

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Of course, since we love to take pictures we need to have one with Mr. Rubber Ducky 

It was a fun filled afternoon, the kids got tired I got tired too! It was a good thing to see this Rubber Ducky, it’s not everyday that you will get to experience it.

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Since we are already in Downtown, we also went to buy our favourite cheese cake and the stamp is so cute, just in time for Canada Day, isn’t it so cute?IMG_7206

 

 

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Cirque du Soleil – Luzia

We are so excited that before the summer break is over we get the chance to see Cirque du Soleil – Luzia. This is our very first time to see Cirque du Soleil and I know a lot of people are raving about their performances.

Luzia –  Inspired by the cultural richness of Mexico, where a waking dream transports you to an imaginary Mexico. Experience a wondrous world that inspires you to explore your senses, enveloped in light and nurtured by rain – taken from Cirque Du Soleil website 

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The Famous Big Tent

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Of course! A mandatory family picture before we enter the big tent

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The Lounge.. you can buy food and drinks and souvenir items while waiting for the doors to open.

Here are some pictures that I have taken, it’s a wonderful show… clap! clap! clap!

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Verdict: WOW! WOW! and another WOW! Will definitely watch again ( that is coming from my hubby’s mouth ). Costumes are so colourful and music is great ( the original music was composed by a Canadian composer Simon Carpentier ) , everything is AMAZING!

 

 

Coburg Beach, Ontario

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I was born and raised in the Philippines and every summer we made sure that we spend a day or two at the beach. Thus when my family moved here in Canada we made sure that summer won’t be complete without a day at the beach.

Just an hour drive from Toronto, we visited Coburg Beach during their Sandcastle Festival. This is their 11th Annual Sandcastle Festival and as expected their were a lot of visitors during that day.

The beach itself is very well maintained, staffs go  around a lot to pick up litter, lifeguards
(supplied by Northumberland YMCA) and security are visible. There are washrooms and change room, 2 playgrounds available incase your kids don’t like the beach,splash pad, foot bath area and fenced basketball court.

Before heading down to the beach we stopped by KFC and brought our lunch, we packed our mats and umbrella and settled ourselves  enjoying the sun and water. The kids had a great time in the waters building their own sandcastle and admiring the seagulls around.

It was another great road trip for us.

Links:

Coburg Tourism: http://www.cobourgtourism.ca/sandcastle/
How to go there: Map

A Day at Port Hope, Ontario

Summer time means exploring, going out and enjoying God’s wonderful creation. I told myself that every weekend of summer, we need to spend it outdoor and its a good way to stay away from our gadgets and unwind after a busy work week.

So off we go and explore… Port Hope here we come!

Port Hope is a municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada and good thing it is just one hour drive from Toronto. It is located at the mouth of the Ganaraska River on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in the west end of Northumberland County. Port Hope’s nearest urban neighbour (7 km to the east) is the Town of Cobourg, while between them and surrounding Cobourg is the Township of Hamilton. ( taken from Wikipedia )

First stop after eating our brunch is at Primitive Designs. Per TripAdvisor, Primitive Designs is the #1 on the Things to do in Port Hope. It’s a retail shop with  many interesting stuffs for sale. Big Robots made from recycled materials, tables, decors made of wood and much more. If you’re visiting Port Hope do stop by here and marvel at the things they have on display and for sale.

Next stop on our list is the Port Hope Conservation Area, unfortunately we were not able to go to this place simply because we cannot find it. Sadly, we didn’t ask for direction so we just move on to our next destination. 

Third on our list is the very relaxed and quaint Lavender Field Leveanne. It’s a small field but so relaxing and so romantic simple because of the lavenders all around. Luckily when we went there the  Lavenders have already bloomed making the surrounding beautiful and bees are currently pollinating them. So serene to be in this place. 

Fourth stop is the Canadian Firefighter Museum which is a small museum that holds artifacts that tells the story of  firefighting across Canada.  There is no fee to to visit this museum but donations are very much welcome. Staffs are very accommodating and they will gladly tell you something about the artifacts on display. They even have a station there where your kids or even adults can dress up as firefighters.

 

Nearby Canadian Fire Fighter Museum is Port Hope Marina, where kids where able to enjoy the playground and hubby was able to walk along the beach. 

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Photo taken from Google 

Our final stops is the Heritage Business District on  ( Downtown ), this brings back memories from the past, the beautiful architectural buildings is sort of a trip to memory lane especially if you are seeing vintage cars being driven around. It’s nice walking around Walton Street and going into the different shops and browsing thru items that they are selling. 

The Visitor Centre of Port Hope is located just right beside Capitol Theatre. Did you know that Capitol Theatre is the last atmospheric theatre operating in Canada? Yes, it is! My daughter and I got the chance to take a peek inside the theatre and it was really nice inside. The ceiling is designed like as if you are inside a garden house, very cozy and personal. If I will be back in Port Hope, I would sure want to experience watching a play there.

After walking around Walton Road, we just strolled around the area before we headed back to Toronto.  It was a fun-filled day for us and it was a nice way to spend the day seeing new things and exploring Ontario.

That’s it for now! I’m already planning for our next adventure!

Links you may want to check out:
Port Hope: http://visitporthope.ca/visit
Canadian Fire Fighters Museum : http://www.firemuseumcanada.com
Things to do in Port Hope: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attractions-g499290-Activities-Port_Hope_Ontario.html
Leveanne : http://laveanne.ca
Primitive Designs: http://www.primitivedesignscanada.com
Capitol Theatre: http://capitoltheatre.com

 

 

Aga Khan Museum

One of the things that we really like about the library here in Canada is their  Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program.

What is Sun Life Financial Museum + Art Pass Program?

The Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program allows Toronto families to borrow a limited number of free passes to local museums, art galleries and similar venues in the same way they would borrow library materials.
The program’s primary goal is to broaden Torontonians’ access to the City’s cultural life by providing the opportunity to visit Toronto’s top cultural institutions.

Simply put, it lets you visit Museum, Art Galleries and other similar venues for Free!

Using our SunLife Pass, we visited Aga Khan Museum.

The Aga Khan Museum is a museum of Islamic art, Iranian art and Muslim culture it offers visitors a chance to see and appreciate the contribution that  Muslim civilizations have made to the world.  The Aga Khan Museums is  a 2 story building  full of wonderful collection and it opened last 2014 only.

Looking thru their exhibits, it made me appreciate more Islamic Art; their keen attention to details, their way of writing and symbols they use and believe in. Awesome indeed!

For more information about the SunLife Museum + Art Pass Program, visit Toronto Public Library, Museum + Art Pass

Aga Khan Museum is located at 77 Wynford Dr, Toronto, ON M3C 1K1.
Visit their website for more information: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto

Now, thinking of the next one…

 

Edwards Gardens, Toronto

One thing we like about Canada are the numerous parks that are available. Everywhere you go there will be an available playground, a small park or a garden which is best enjoyed during spring, summer and fall.

In today’s generation where we are so dependent on our iPads, iPhones, computers and other tech gadgets we sometimes become lazy to go out and explore mother nature. Our family decided that during Spring , Summer and Fall as much as possible we will explore as many parks as we can.

Edwards Gardens, this former estate garden features perennials and roses on the uplands and wildflowers, rhododendrons and an extensive rockery in the valley.

It’s really a nice garden, we went there last April the flowers hasn’t bloom yet but i bet it will be so beautiful once the flower are already in full bloom.

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Groundhog is enjoying the banana being fed to him/her.

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The kids enjoyed looking at the racoon!

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Located at 755 Lawrence Ave. E, Toronto, ON M3C 1P2 (southwest corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Ave. E in Toronto) .

Admission is free and there are a lot of parking spaces available.

If you’re thinking to go there, be sure to wear your comfy shoes  as there will be lots of walking to do.

And not to forget, Edwards Gardens is a Garden Park. The following activities are not allowed in Edwards Gardens: Dogs or pets, bicycle riding, rollerblading, skateboarding, picnicking, sports activities, feeding wildlife, BBQ’s or fires, picking flowers.

More information about Edwards Gardens can  be found here: Edwards Garden.

Part 3: Ottawa, Capital of Canada

Day 3 – March 20, 2016

It’s our last day in Ottawa and Sofia was sad  because she wants to stay longer  I wish that too, but Monday is ” back to normal” day again for all of us.  Before going back to reality, Sam and the kids got up early to enjoy the indoor pool especially the jacuzzi. While they were there, I began packing our things making sure we don’t forget anything.

At 9:30am, they came back and started to prepare so we can check-out by 10:30 and go to Parliament before going back to Toronto. We cannot leave Ottawa without visiting the Parliament.

Off we go and look for a parking space near the Parliament, we were able to find a parking space in an office building wherein it’s free during the weekend. Lucky us, save us on having to pay parking fee…hooray!

Parliament Hill (http://www.parl.gc.ca)

1st stop is to go to 90 Wellington to get our pass, it’s just across the Parliament, it’s easy to find. Just inform the customer service that you want to have a guided tour of the parliament and they will ask if you want it in English or French and will offer you the available time slot for that day. Make sure you’re really because this is a first come, first serve basis. I guess during summer tickets runs out too fast.

We ar scheduled to attend the 11:20 guided tour and we were informed to be infront of the parliament by 11:00 for security check. So off we go and explore the grounds first.

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Centennial Flame at the Parliament , this flame commemorates Canada’s 100th anniversary as a Confederation.

 

 

The Centennial Flame is encompassed by a fountain into which many visitors to Parliament Hill throw coins for luck. Those coins are gathered, washed, dried and sorted by maintenance before it is put into a government bank account.From there the money is given to the winner of the Centennial Flame Research Award. The award, which was begun in 2005, is given “to a person with a disability to enable him or her to conduct research and prepare a report on the contributions of one or more Canadians with disabilities to the public life of Canada or the activities of Parliament. Isn’t the cool.

Of course we don’t want to miss the opportunity to have our picture taken in front of the Parliament, specifically the Queens Gate and the famous Peace Tower.

Off we go but first we need to go to a tight security check, Police will search your bags ( as in really search your bags ), then make you unbutton/ unzipped your  coats. After that, once inside there will be an airport type security check wherein your bag will be going thru the x-ray machine and all those stuffs. It’s understandable that they are doing this since the Parliament is a working building. During weekdays, MP ( Members of the Parliament ) and Senators hold their meetings in their respective rooms. Oh and not to forget, the Prime Minister too. Some important facts: MP’s are elected by the people so as the Prime Minister. For the Senate this is by appointment by the Queen herself.

We toured the Centre Block, wherein the House of Commons, the Senate , the magnificent Library, the Peace Tower and the Memorial is located. It was one awesome tour and would really go back if given a chance. Note that the tour is FREE!

 

It’s a must to visit the Parliament when you are in Ottawa, hope that one day I can bring my family and friends there.

So that’s it for our Ottawa adventure.  Till our next adventure….

 

 

 

Part 2 : Ottawa, Capital of Canada

Part 2 – March 19

Day two of our Ottawa Adventure started late because Sofia was having a fever, she was not able to sleep well and so am I ( have to check her frequently during the wee hours of the night/morning ). At first we decided that Sofia and I will stay at the hotel while Sam and Lauren will go with our relatives to explore Ottawa. After awhile, it has been decided we go on our separate ways, our relatives will explore the city by themselves.

Sofia really wanted to go out, thus we decided to bring the car and  drive around, this will be much convenient for  all of us wind chill is around -12 but good thing Mr. Sun is up giving us a warmer feeling.

National Gallery of Canada (www.gallery.ca)

An eye catching bronze spider will greet everyone before going inside the National Gallery of Canada. Called Maman,  created in 1999 and cast in 2003  by renowned Franco-American artist Louise Bourgeois as a tribute to her mother. The sculpture has 26 marbled eggs in it’s underbelly , standing 9.25meters tall and weighing 6,000 kilograms and according to NGC’s website this was the most expensive purchase of the gallery, worth  $3.25 million…wow!

 

There is a fee when you enter the gallery, for a family of four we availed of the family pack which is $24.00, which I think is pretty reasonable.

There was an exhibit entitled Human Scale, which I really like it shows a sculpture of a head of a  baby and a girl. Sofia was so excited to see it and I explained to her that when she was brought out to this world she looks like the sculpture of the baby girl ( with blood ) and that the umbilical cord is our connection and her means to get food and nutrients from me.

Sadly, we were not able to finish the whole gallery because we need to be in Rideau Hall by 1pm but here are some more pictures. I would definitely go back to NGC when we come back to  Ottawa.

 

Rideau Hall (www.gg.ca)

Rideau Hall is the residence  and workplace of the Governor General of Canada since it’s confederation in 1867. Visit to this place is  Free. There are months wherein visit needs reservations so before heading to this place check their website for more information.

The Governor General represents the Queen in Canada and exercises the responsibilities of head of State on behalf of the Queen. He is also the commander-in-chief of Canada. Governor General is appointed by Her Majesty from the listed that would be given by the Prime Minister.

Also, we have learned that when Her Majesty or any member of the Royal family comes to visit Canada they will stay in Rideau Hall and even head of states stays at Rideau Hall. When Pres. Obama visits Canada this June 2016, he will  be staying here.

Since this is an actual residence and a workplace we were told that at times (especially during weekdays ) you might bump into the Governor General or his family members. Isn’t that cool ?

Here are some pictures from Rideau Hall.

 

 

Our third museum visit is the Royal Mint of Canada ( www.mint.ca )

Established in 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint has become innovative, world-class provider of branded circulation coins, collectibles, acclaimed medals and bullion products.  There are 3 locations of the Royal Mint one in Ottawa- where they produce collectible and investment coins; Winnipeg – where they produce circulation coins  and one in  Vancouver.

You need to schedule you guided tour also, you there is a fee when entering the Royal Mint, check their website for the fee. Since this  place mint collectibles and investments coins and they use gold and silver taking pictures is not allowed inside ( except in the souvenir shop ).

The place is really nice, we were able to see the machines they use in minting coins and the raw materials use ( guess what that is ???? ). Also, there is a part there where the Royal Mint do mint coins for other countries, this happen if (1) the country is doesn’t have a capacity to mint coins (2) shortage of materials (3) other unforeseen reasons the country cannot mint coins. What happens is they enter into a contract with Royal Mint of Canada and that’s it. I was surprise to see the Philippines once had a contract with Mint in producing the 5 peso coin.

One awesome experience  is carrying a 24 cart gold bar and it weighs 28 pounds and it cost and estimate of $500,000,000.00 or more ( you know gold prices fluctuates ).

The day is about to end but before that we headed back to the hotel we decided to visit Notre Dame Basilica ( www.notredameottawa.com, we were just suppose to  go inside and take some pictures but luckily the Saturday anticipated mass is just about to start and they are celebrating the Palm Sunday mass.  For this time, mass is delivered both in English and French so we decided to stay and hear mass.

The Basilica is the oldest and largest church  in Ottawa and the seat of the city’s Roman Catholic archbishop. Will get the guided tour next time we go back to Ottawa.

 

It was a tiring but educational day 2 for us, we learned so many things and we are really in awe with the designs of the structures we visited. Sofia was feeling fine, weather was just right for us to explore the area. So off to our hotel for a well deserve rest.

to be continued…

 

Part 1 : Ottawa, Capital of Canada

Day 1 : March 18

Before March Break is over we decided to go to Ottawa. This is also a perfect opportunity to be with Family since Sam’s Aunt and Uncle is visiting from the Philippines.

First, we book our hotel via Expedia, Sam’s cousin help us to choose the hotel and  we chose Marriott Courtyard Ottawa East, this is located at Coventry Road which is not that accessible to Downtown Ottawa. You need to take the bus which is 36 mins away or drive there which is 10-15 mis away.  If you plan to spend most of your time in Downtown, stay at Marriott Courtyard Downtown Ottawa which is located at Dalhousie Street.

The hotel was nice,checking-in was hassle free, we just showed our confirmation and that’s it. The  room was spacious, bathroom was really nice (was not able to take a picture of it ) and clean.  Kids love it, first thing they did was jump on the bed and laid down the stuff animals they brought with them.

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View from our room

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Standard Room with 2 Queen Size Bed

We rested for awhile and decided around 5pm to go and grab some dinner and roam around. Wind chill was around -10 and I was worried because Sofia is not feeling that great.

We hopped on OC Transpo bus no. 9 going to Downtown. For a first timer it’s nice to take the public transpo because you get the chance to sight-see and plan where to go the following day. The bus took us to Rideau Centre, which I think is the main mall in Ottawa. We were planning to buy a Day Pass ( a pass that lets you have an unlimited bus ride for a day ) for tomorrow but we were told that we should purchase it tomorrow and we can purchase it on the bus.

We didn’t really stayed too long at the mall since we are all hungry, so we decided to walk around Byward Market.

Byward Market ( www.byward-market.com )

Established by Lt. Col. John By in 1862, it is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets, nestled in Ottawa’s historic neighbourhood of Lowertown. Colonel By himself laid out the street plan of the Market, making George Street and York Street extra wide so that horse drawn carriage bring food everyday can easily pass by.

Today, it is still an outdoor public market with lots of vendors, restaurants and shops all around. It would be really nice to stroll around if the weather permits.

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Map of Byword Market

Sofia was not feeling that well that night, she was having a fever thus we decided to eat dinner and headed back to the hotel.

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Sofia is not feeling well here 😦

to be continued…

 

 

 

Canada’s Baby Panda

From March 8 – 11, Toronto Zoo will be having a Member Only viewing of the Baby Pandas. I am so excited to see them, thus after doing some morning errands off I went to take the bus to the zoo.

Meet the 5 months old panda cubs, Jia Pan Pan ( Canadian Hope ) and Jia Yue Yue ( Canadian Joy ).

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Photo grabbed from Toronto Star, Taken by Chris Young / Canadian Press

Here are some pictures that I took inside the indoor enclosure, Mommy Panda ( Er Sau ) is roaming around while her 2 cubs are sleeping soundly.

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Daddy Panda ( Da Mao ) is outside… relaxing

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Here are some cool information about  Er Sau and her babies:

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It was really an amazing experience seeing the panda cubs Jia PanPan and Jia YueYue.

Giant Pandas are now considered endangered species.