One way road trip: Toronto to Calgary

Driving across Canada is on many people’s bucket list. This shortened version hits all the best stops between East Coast’s Toronto and West Coast’s Calgary. I like to travel in style and rent an RV. Have you checked out some of the luxury RV’s out there? Talk about style! Having to stop and figure out where to stay and check in and out times, the flexibility that an RV offers is the way to go, if you ask me.

Starting Point: Toronto
Toronto is an easy place to pick up an RV making for a great starting point. It also boasts an endless supply of fun and adventure for everyone. From the St. Lawrence Market to Chinatown, the Fashion District to the Entertainment District, and endless music and show choices, how can you go wrong. If you’re lost, downtown is the place to start. The CN Tower, Rogers Centre (The Skydome), all of the Restaurants on King Street West and the shopping on Queen West, you’ll have plenty to do.

Toronto Road Trip: CN Tower
Photo courtesy of: cntower.ca

Next Stop: Lake Superior Provincial Park
The views of the Great Lakes are almost endless and definitely breathtaking. My favourite on route to Sault Ste. Marie is Lake Superior. The lake is cold but photogenic as ever. A great place to stop is the Lake Superior Provincial Park.

One way road trip: Lake Superior
Photo courtesy of: Ontario Parks

Stretch your legs at: Kakabeka Falls
Ontario is a big province, plan on stopping a few times during your drive. As you reach the northern route of Ontario, the roads get twisty with rolling hills. After hitting up Thunder Bay, be sure to check out Kakabeka Falls. There are some great trails that lead to the falls and the Kaministiquia River. It’s a great chance to stretch your legs for the day, have a picnic and even camp.

One way road trip: Kakabeka Falls
Photo courtesy of: Ontario Parks

Finally outside of Ontario: Winnipeg
As the landscape changes from Ontario hills to the flats of Manitoba, this is where the countdown of provinces begins. Winnipeg is a great stopping point. With the Red River and Assiniboine river connecting. There are trails that run along both rivers and at The Forks National Historic Site of Canada you can see the confluence. If you enjoy touring museums, Winnipeg houses the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The building architecture has an impact, however, as you walk through you can’t help but be pulled in many directions of emotion.

One way road trip: Winnipeg
Photo courtesy of: humanrights.ca

Crossing the Prairies: Saskatchewan
I’ve never seen beauty like the fields in Saskatchewan. They are endless and peaceful. Saskatchewan and Alberta house the only interprovincial park in Canada: Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. There is a great mix of lakes, forests, wildlife and, as the name suggests, hills. The park is a great camp stop for canoeing and kayaking and is not too far off the Trans Canada Highway.

One Way Road Trip: Cypress Hills
Photo courtesy of: Alberta Parks

The Final Stop: Calgary
Before you make your way to Calgary, a great stop is the Dinosaur Provincial Park. The park boasts the world’s richest deposit of dinosaur bones and is a great place to go explore. From there, Calgary is only a hop, skip and jump away where city adventures await.

One way road trip: Calgary
Photo courtesy of: Alberta Parks

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What’s not to love about Toronto?

Toronto is one of those cities that you can’t help but fall in love with. The energy is so vibrant. During the day people are fast paced, doing business, dinning on delicious foods, and putting together deals. During the night the energy shifts, the city lights twinkle on and Toronto holds its secrets. Whether you love to explore architecture, taste a range of ethnic foods or dance all night, TO has something for everyone.

What to do when you get to Toronto?

For the foodie:
If you love to taste and try a variety of food, summer is the time to go. Toronto hosts a range of foodie events throughout the summer. A favourite being Summerlicious, generally held in July of each year. Hundreds of restaurants participate providing a pre-fix menu at a reduced rate allowing you to taste and try a variety of specialties. Or on an average day head down to King St West, known as Restaurant Row and see if you can’t find a restaurant to suit your cravings.

restaurant row

For the height enthusiast:
The CN Tower is not to be missed when visiting Toronto.  Built in 1976 reaching 1,815.4 feet tall, it was the tallest building on earth for 34 years until 2010. Currently it is the 3rd tallest building. Dinning at the top at 360Restaruant is delicious and the package dinner and tower visit is a steal. For the daring and adventurous the EdgeWalk should be tackled. Lean out on the roof of the CN Tower and walk around the top!

CN Tower

For the music lover:
I couldn’t imagine a life without music. There’s just something about it that speaks to the soul. Toronto has some of the best music festivals as well as some of the best small venues to check out up and coming acts, or if you’re lucky, a sneak peak at someone famous jamming away in a hidden bar.

Fun Festivals:
Electric Island – On long weekend Monday’s head to Toronto Island for an outdoor electronic music festival held during the day.
NXNE – Numerous bands, numerous locations. Grab a wrist band and hop form place to place to soak up all that’s offered.
Beaches International Jazz Festival – The streets are shut down and jazz is played on every corner.

Iconic Venues:
Sneaky Dees
The Rex
El Mocambo (freshly reopened!)
The Rivoli
Lula Lounge

Most Loved Venues:
The Dakota Tavern
The Horseshoe
Lee’s Palace
The Opera House
The Mod Club
Hugh’s Room

Zydeco Blues

For the back alley mystic:
There’s just something wonderful about wandering down the street and walking into a completely different atmosphere. Chinatown at the corner of Spadina and Dundas is like another world. Rol San provides the best dim sum you can ask for on this side of the continent. And if you’re looking for something completely different, wander into the world of art at Kensington Market and see if you can find Graffiti Alley. Where the walls change regularly and the art in Kensington Market is completed or performed right on the street. There’s nothing the experience doesn’t offer.

Kensington Market

For the shopaholic:
As a shopping enthusiast myself, I’m not the biggest fan of malls. There’s just something about the huge buildings and indoor atmosphere that just doesn’t do it for me. Luckily, Toronto boast some of the best outdoor shopping. Depending on your mood, you can find the different atmosphere of shops in different locations of the city. If you’re feeling a like shopping at vintage and indie type shops, take a look at Queen West and West Queen West. They have some great selections of stores and store owners who carry the most unique items. If you’re looking for your standard big box stores, bright lights, and billboards, head out to Yonge and Dundas Square. If you want high class, designer brands, head up to Bloor-Yorkville.

The Eaton Centre

For the nature lover:
If you’re downtown and looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, hop on the ferry to the Toronto Islands. There’s parks, great walking routes, beaches, bbq’s and more. There’s even an amusement park at Centre Island to keep the kids occupied and having fun.

Toronto Island

For those in search of knowledge:
If you’re thirsty to soak up all the information you can gather, Toronto boasts some of the best museums. Some of my favourites are:

Bata Shoe Museum
Casa Loma
ROM
Art Gallery of Ontario
Hockey Hall of Fame
Ontario Science Centre
TIFF

Bata Shoe Museum

For the sports enthusiast:
It’s Sunday afternoon, the sun is shining, and you’re in the mood for some outdoor action. Head down to Skydome, now known as the Rogers Centre. The nose bleed seats, a hot dog, and a baseball game in the summer. There’s not much that can beat that! The tickets are cheap, the beer and food not so much. But the atmosphere is vibrant and the sun shines through the open dome. Or you can head down to the Air Canada Centre to watch a hockey or basketball game in a stadium that shines and buzzes with excitement.

Rogers Centre

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