We’ve just passed the halfway point of summer vacation, and if you’ve got children away at camp, high five to you!
I don’t have children away at camp.
So, I have to find things to do to keep them entertained, educated and out of trouble, all while convincing myself that I didn’t really need to get any work done… or get that pedicure… or comb my hair. Sigh, children really do monopolize every bit of time, especially during the summer months. And you know the saying: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Hence, I’ve been organizing a variety of day trips, staycations and mini getaways to
keep me from hurting them keep them happy. It’s one fun adventure after another!
At the top of my reco list for mini getaways? 24 hours in Toronto, ON. And I’ve got it down to a science; I’ll show you how to park once, get twice the entertainment value, sleep in comfort, “swim” with sharks, and more.
To begin your adventure, make a reservation at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel. Designed as the ultimate entertainment getaway, the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel is located inside the Rogers Centre and offers full-service luxury accommodations.
On the day of your mini-getaway, check in and take advantage of their valet parking for $35 per day. While the self-park option is $25, you will actually need a map (supplied by the hotel) to find the lot. Hence, for $10 more and the convenience of hopping off at the curb, it’s recommended you take advantage of this service. And here’s the best part: you’ll only need to park once. That’s right – all the amazing sight-seeing and family fun you’ll experience over the next 24 hours is within walking distance of the hotel! Two words: perfect location.
After you’ve checked in, take a 2-3 minute stroll and you’ll find yourself at the base of the CN Tower. If Mother Nature has blessed you with a sunny summer afternoon, it’s the ideal time to zoom up over 100 stories to the top of the tower, taking in panoramic views of Toronto and surrounding area. Step onto the “elephant-proof” glass floor where you can look straight down to the street level. No one’s ever fallen through it (and never will), but taking that first step onto the floor is, nonetheless, quite thrilling for kids of all ages. If that’s not high enough for you, continue on to the world’s highest public observation deck, Sky Pod, which sits at 1,465 feet.
Next, be sure to time your visit with a Toronto Blue Jays game, because dinner at Arriba Restaurant inside the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel will tantalize your taste buds and afford you spectacular views of the baseball field at the same time. The restaurant and lounge are multi purpose spaces with a contemporary look, and are perfect for a meal with friends or family while watching the game or to gather for pre game drinks. On the night we visited, the roof of the Rogers Centre was open, offering up a gorgeous summer evening in Toronto.
And the food? Om nom nom, friends. So good. We noshed on the Cheeseburger Sliders and Smoked Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, which were as heavenly as they sound. And the piece de resistance? The House Made Chocolate and Berry Bread Pudding with Dark Rum Caramel. For real, it was the most scrumptious thing ever.
After the game, your family will sleep in comfort in the hotel’s spacious city view guest room. The two double beds are complete with luxurious bedding, consisting of 300 thread-count linens, down duvets and plush pillows. A well-lit work desk with chair, high-speed Internet access, 37-inch LCD TV, pod coffee maker, and large bathroom with spa-inspired bath products, provides you with both comfort and convenience.
The next morning, a brisk 5-minute walk to Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch eatery will start the day off right, with generous servings of all your favourites (including, but not limited to, Seventh of July French Toast and Eggs Ben et Dictine). When you’re sufficiently full (and with a Cora’s breakfast, you will be), it’s time to visit the fishes.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the newest and most anticipated attraction in the heart of downtown Toronto, within steps of the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel. As Canada’s largest indoor aquarium, Ripley’s invites you to the Waters of the World! The aquarium covers 135,000 square-feet and boasts more than 5.7 million litres of water home to 15,000 animals, including sharks, jellies, rays, and green sea turtles. Set aside time to discover Dangerous Lagoon, where a moving sidewalk, the longest of its kind in North America, allows guests to see marine life up close.
Warning: if you have school aged children, they will insist on spending copious amounts of time in the play area located in the middle of the aquarium. Here, kids can marvel at the sandpaper-like skin of a shark or the silky smooth skin of a stingray at the Touch Tanks, or simply blow off a little steam coasting down the clown fish slide.
And that, friends, is the end of your epic family adventure. Can you believe you’ve accomplished this all? Bravo! The kids are happy, you’ve experienced everything from scenery, to sports, to sharks – and you’ve done it all from one convenient location – which just happens to be a luxury hotel. And that’s how to spend 24 hours in Toronto.
Special thanks to the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel for hosting my family while we experienced a #DayofDiscovery. We can’t wait to return!