I went to meet my parents back from Lanzarote last night at Manchester Airport Terminal 2.. and when we were walking to the terminal through the carpark.. my partner said ‘im sure i just saw someone with a Tim Hortons cup’ and i replied in a dismissive manner.

We got into the Arrivals and there’s a Spa shop on the left, and to our amazement — THEY SOLD TIM HORTONS COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS!.. We picked ourselves up a coffee and doughnut – and for the UK – at a reasonable price – the Doughnuts were 89p each but if you bought a Large coffee, hot chocolate, laté or cappuccino – with a doughnut you could get both for £2.19! ..

Anyway — that’s my swooning over the amazing story of Tim Hortons in the UK over with . . So – Today’s article is courtesy of the Metro. On the tram heading to work – and find a great article featuring Montreal and the food aspect of the city – so Here is ‘Take a big bite out of Montreal’ By Sarah Baxter of The Metro:

Foodie Canada: Gordon Ramsay got into a bit of a stew when he opened his first Canadian venture in Quebec’s largest city. But it does just fine without him BY SARAH BAXTER

In August, Gordon Ramsay launched his first restaurant in Montreal. On opening night, the sprinklers went doolally and diners were forced to evacuate. Unfortunate? Perhaps. But I think Montreal was trying to tell him something: a watery way of delivering its own f-word.

The Quebec city doesn’t need Sweary Gordon. It has an incredible food scene already. This metropolis, floating on an island in the St Lawrence River, mixes French, north American and immigrant influences to mouthwatering effect. And there’s always another great local deli/chocolatier/charcuterie the next block up. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Author: Rocky

Well, its the second monday in October, so that means its Thanksgiving in Canada!
Thanksgiving in Canada occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is also celebrated in a secular manner. It’s best considered therefore to be similar to the UK’s own harvest festivals, though this unfortunately for us is NOT a bank holiday!

Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia being the exceptions. Where a company is regulated by the federal government (such as those in the telecommunications and banking sectors), it is recognized regardless of status provincially.

Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental European Harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural selections drawn from biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Read the rest of this entry »

Okay, so, summer is here – August .. But you may want to think about heading out at short notice! .. Just because summer is here, and prices have shot up because of the school holidays, there’s always chances to find cheap hotels in Toronto! You may be reading this because you’ve hit it lucky and been able to get time off work, and really there are few places better than Toronto to take short or even full length holidays. There’s lots of places you may want to look for prices, but we’ll stick to our recommended company Expedia, since they guarantee you the best prices you’ll be able to find – and from my experience it is very difficult to beat the prices they display.

Currently Expedia are promoting how you can Save up to 30% off the price of hotels in Toronto Click here for information and check out the prices for your next Canada Trip!

Toronto sky scrapers

We’re half way through summer, and to be fair we haven’t really had a great one weather wise – so why not look forward, no matter whether you’ve already been on your holiday this year, or looking to book for a break later this year – Have a look and see what you can save by booking your hotels at Expedia.co.uk

Its Friday, I’d be still in bed if i was in Canada right now, but i could just about go for a Tim Hortons breakfast with a double double right now.. Still, after some of the storms some of us had yesterday, at least here at the moment it seems sunny, and I’d hope the rain showers forecast tomorrow don’t make it a miserable day hm? So, again – we’ll think about things to do outside, and I’ll feature another of Algonquins Trails. Today – Booth’s Rock Trail.

Booth’s rock trail starts one kilometre south of the Rock Lake Campground Office. After skirting two small lakes, it climbs to the top of a large cliff known as Booth’s Rock – where the trail gets it’s name funnily enough, descends the far side of the lookout and loops back to the starting point. The trail is 5.1kilometres long and fairly rigorous but may be easily covered in a couple of hours by an active person. From the cliff top you will have a magnificent view of Rock and Whitefish lakes and several hundred square kilometres of Algonquin Park will lie before you.

The trail guide for this trail tells you many things about how man has once again changed and is – or could change Algonquin Park and some of its hidden treasures. Not always for the worse though. On one side for example, it talks about Rosepond Lake. People have always found Rosepond Lake to be particularly intimate and enchanting. Hidden away from the rest of the planet by its whispering cordon of gaunt and lonely Black Spruce, the little lake lives a life of its own. The delicate orchids and the cool, deep moss near the water’s edge, the basking frogs and the furtive schools of minnows all seem to be as remote and secure from man’s troubled world as they could possibly be…
And yet, the truth is that Rosepond Lake is not nearly so safe as it may appear. The highly industrialised North American societies smelt ores and burn coal and oil in enormous quantities, The trouble is that we try to get rid of the smoke and gasses created – by releasing them up giant chimneys into the atmosphere. The pollutants may indeed travel hundreds of kilometres from their sources but eventually they do come back down to earth. Usually washed out of the sky by rain and snow – which is why, even here in Algonquin Park, the rain is often so acidic that no fish could live in it. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday once again, and although the UK may be forecast a poor weekend of weather, we’ll once again look positively towards the rest of summer, and Algonquin park, where – this weekend, unlike the gales and cold weather we have coming, there it’ll be sunny with a few clouds, and temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius – So on that note, today’s article is on Algonquin Park’s Lookout Trail.

The Lookout Trail, situated 39.7 kilometres from the West Gate, is a 2.1 Kilometre loop which climbs up through a young Algonquin forest to the top of a high cliff, follows the cliff brow for 100 metres, and then descends back down to the parking lot.
In addition to the spectacular view from the cliff top, the trail affords several good opportunities to observe a variety of Algonquin Park’s geological features.
As you walk along the trail, you are surrounded by life. There are trees and shrubs and then, down in the dead leaves and decaying wood on the forest floor, millions of microscopic plants and animals create the organic soil which sustains the forest. It is only on the trail path itself that we can even glimpse the underpinnings of this great living system; thousands of hikers have worn away the soil and exposed jumbled assortments of rocks, sand, and gravel. Read the rest of this entry »

Well i hope those of you who visited the Canada Day event in London had a great time! But it’s once again Friday, so it’s time for another article, and yes, I’m going to be featuring Algonquin Park once more, bulking out our coverage further of this amazing Provincial Park.

Today’s featured trail is the Centennial Ridges Trail.

The Centennial Ridges Trail is a 10 kilometre loop which takes you along two high, parallel ridge systems and features some of the park’s most outstanding scenery. It is a very demanding trail that visits five separate cliffs and involves much climbing. At the highest point you will be 170 metres (560 feet) above the parking lot, but because the trail has several major rises and descents, the total vertical distance you will have to climb during your outing is approximately 360 metres (1,200 feet). It’s not advised to head out on this trail unless you are in good health and good physical condition. And with this Trail its absolutely essential that you wear sturdy, ankle-supporting boots, and give it six hours to take on this challenge!… And of coarse, if you do happen to have kids who are as adventurous as you – the cliffs are not fenced, so keep them close to you at all times.

The trail was opened in 1993 as part of Algonquin’s centennial celebrations and, at its various lookouts and scenic viewpoints, it honours 11 representative historic people who have helped shape the present day park and make it so famous as a place to understand and appreciate the natural world. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Canada Day 2011!!

Author: Rocky

Today is Canada Day! It’s Canada’s 144th birthday and as with every year, the country celebrates in style with fireworks displays, aerial displays, parties and a whole host of events taking place across the country- and to make sure Canadians get the chance to take part – they also have a national holiday to help make sure everyone has the chance to enjoy the day!

The Snowbirds Over Parliament

Canada Day is however, for the benefit of those who aren’t entirely familiar with the day, is not an ‘independence day’ – Far from it in fact! It is the birthday of Canada. The commemoration of the 1st July 1867, when the enactment of the Constitution Act 1867 was brought into being – uniting three British colonies into one unified country; Canada. Originally the day was called Dominion Day, but when Canada gained its full independence from the United Kingdom in 1982, its name was changed to Canada Day.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Canada for today, you’ll be witness to patriotism we rarely ever see in the UK, and strangely we never seem to be given the opportunity to express. The Canadian patriotism is something that fills me with a happiness.. A country and its people, proud to be who they are and where they are – and for me at least, i believe the Canadian patriotism is at the perfect level – it’s loud and proud, but not offensive or overly in peoples faces – an example where a country in the world has simply got things right. But then, we are talking about the only country in the western world not to actually go into recession in the most recent financial crisis – so it’s not unfamiliar territory for Canada to be the ones who got it right!

So what if you aren’t in Canada? Well, you may jut be in luck. A couple of months ago you may remember me featuring this, as a heads up towards the event. Canada Day has come to the UK. Canada Day London is the biggest celebration for Canada Day outside of Canada, and like everything Canadian, 110% is put into ensuring the event is filled with a massive schedule of events, and Canadians and tourists who visit Canada will find some familiar logos around the place – one of the biggest being Tim Hortons! – Tim Hortons Coffee and Doughnuts are coming to London, so if you can get yourself there.. Make sure you do! Read the rest of this entry »

Well, it’s been a pretty hot weekend, the weather, other than the odd thunderstorm has managed to keep its act together for us, which makes a nice change to the cold wet snap we had earlier in the month – so since it’s a great time to be outdoors, i thought we’d have a look at another Algonquin Provincial Park trail – The Beaver Pond Trail.

The Beaver Pond Trail winds two kilometres through rugged Algonquin terrain, offering excellent opportunities to observe the roll of the beaver in the park environment. You may or may not actually see beavers during your walk, but everywhere about you will see signs, informing the observant hiker of their presence, activities and influence.

The Beaver is considered one of Canada’s national symbols, up there with the moose, the maple leaf and ice hockey – so this Trail is perfect if you want to enjoy a hike through the Algonquin landscape, while learning more about these special creatures. The trail takes you round in a circuit, visiting ponds, lakes, rivers, dams and meadows – and these features were not necessarily there all the time, As the trail guide explains to you, Beavers have had a significant impact on the landscape they live in.. an impact so significant that their effect on the environment is second only to humans as far as tailoring the landscape to their own needs.

At post two on the trail you visit a typical beaver pond – one of thousands in Algonquin Park. It is such a common place sight in fact, that we sometimes forget what an extraordinary thing it is. By damming the stream,. the beavers have actually changed the environment to suit their own needs – from a forest with a stream trickling through it, to a wide open pond, one or two meters deep. Read the rest of this entry »

North Bay Marina, ON

Author: Rocky

It’s a new week and i thought it’d be a good idea to feature somewhere you can go to simply relax, and enjoy the weather in the summer months while out on your holiday to Canada. This time, we’re in North Bay – down at the marina.

North Bay Marina

We discovered this place early in our trip last month, and went back a couple of times. The photos included in this article are actually of the third visit – as we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the things you can actually do while there. A few of the things, such as the Heritage Railway, the Chief Commanda II, and The Boat we may be featuring some time in the near future – but today we’re going to focus just on the marina.

The marina and the walkway around the shore of the lake provides a quiet and pleasant place to sit and just enjoy the quiet as well as the beauty of Lake Nipissing. If, after spending some time relaxing you and the kids fancy heading to a beach however, just the other side of the marina you’ll find a clean well kept beach including a kids play area which your kids can expend some surplus energy! Read the rest of this entry »

Flights and Reviews

Author: Rocky

If you want to go to Canada for as little as possible the first thing you’ll need to look for are low cost, but good quality flights. After all, you don’t want to get onto a plane for the trip across the Atlantic and just sit staring at the seat in front of you for 8 hours right?

We have, since we set up almost two years ago, always recommended Canadian Affair for flights, where you can get return tickets to Canada for as little as £318 including taxes.

Canadian Affair charter Thomas Cook flights, as well as Air Transat so you you have the piece of mind when you book that you can choose flights by which ever company you’re most familiar with (though Air Transat is my personal favourite). There’s two reasons for us always recommending Canadian Affair. The first being we ALWAYS book our flights to Canada with them – and have now been on 18 flights over the last 7 years, so we have huge experience with them. The second being – they are simply, the cheapest place to book flights to Canada from the UK. I know.. i search every few weeks, always looking to book my next trip!

Thomas Cook 757 at Toronto

Even if you may have heard of Canadian Affair before, there are deals that many people miss, so I’d always recommend checking out their Special Offers page before you start entering dates – so you can ensure you get the best deal before you book your tickets.

With most people, and understandably, the biggest factor is getting the cheap flights to Canada, but there’s more to Canadian Affair than simply being the cheapest flights to Canada! They strive to give you the best customer service possible, for example in the numerous times i have needed to contact them via email, they have always responded the same day – and on a couple of occasions within 30 minutes of me actually submitting my query!

They also provide you with choice. If your closest airport is Manchester and you want to get flights from Manchester to Toronto or flights from Manchester to Ottawa, you can! Likewise you also have the choice of getting your flights from Gatwick to Toronto and flying back from Toronto to Liverpool if you wanted.

Canadian Affair offer flights from the following UK airports: Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Exeter. Their destinations include Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton, but they also do package holidays to various resorts around these locations (such as Niagara Falls) in addition to their flights.

Remember to have a look at our full review from last year on Canadian Affair, details in it are for a trip we took in 2009 but service has only got better since then: Travelling to Canada with Canadian Affair in 2010
Read the rest of this entry »