Category: travel

Jump Down The Rabbit Hole with Alice in Wonderland at The Shaw Festival

The magical story of Alice in Wonderland comes to life on the stage at The Shaw Festival through plot, music, magic and stunning visuals.

Alice in Wonderland at The Shaw Festival

About Alice in Wonderland at The Shaw Festival

On a summer day in 1862, ten-year old Alice and her two sisters were told a story about a little girl named Alice who longed for adventure, a white rabbit and a trip down a hole into an astonishing world that leads her to adventure and more. This wonderful tale became one of the best-selling books of all time (and I am sure you enjoyed it as a child too!) and this beloved story has been brought to life in a new adaptation, written especially for the Shaw Festival. In the play we will meet the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle and the Queen of Hearts and watch Alice try to make sense of this world of grown-up nonsense.

The process of adapting this childhood favourite book into a play at the Shaw Festival began five years ago when artistic director Jackie Maxwell and director Peter Hinton began a conversation about a play at The Shaw that would be inclusive of children and at the same time that adults would equally enjoy (yay!). As Alice in Wonderland is the second most published book in all languages after the Bible, this story clearly fit the bill!

In a story where a girl grows and shrinks from 28 feet to 8 or 9 inches, cries a pool of tears that both she and animals must swim in, and a huge game of croquet is played with flamingo mallets and hedgehog balls, a top design team had to be involved in the making of the production from the start – this is no small feat to tackle. Designers Eo Sharp (set), William Schmuck (costumes) Kevin Lamotte (lighting) and Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson (projections), together with Peter Hinton (who both wrote the adaptation and will direct the production) have been working to tackle these challenges and design what kind of world Alice’s adventures will take place in on stage. Staying true to the Victorian world the story was originally set is central to the production while blending with modern technology to create a unique theatrical act.

Alice in Wonderland Trailer

If you are to anxious to see what Alice in Wonderland holds, check out this trailer from the Shaw Festival:

Enter to Win Tickets!

My Canadian residents can now enter to win a four pack of tickets to see Alice in Wonderland live at the Shaw Festival. While there are no restrictions to location in Canada, as transportation and accommodation is not provided, please ensure you can make it to the play when entering. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received four tickets to attend Alice in Wonderland. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Dare to Dream with Disney On Ice

Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream

Disney On Ice has been a long-standing tradition not only in my home but throughout my childhood. Every holiday break marked our yearly trip downtown to Toronto to watch magic come alive with Disney On Ice. My parents would take us along with their close friends and their children to watch Disney come to life through music, dance and lights.

Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream

We would hop on the subway and our poor parents had to ensure we were at the front of the subway line to get the best view for our trip. Nothing beat watching the ride out of the front window and sometimes getting lucky and the conductor allowing you to view the inside of the controls. We all still have fond memories of hopping off and heading to the Sky Dome, which I still call it by this name to my children’s annoyance as they like to remind me that is now called the Rogers Centre!

Disney on Ice was magical from the moment you stepped inside the stadium. The vibe in the air is full of excitement (sometimes we dressed up in our costumes), the smell of popcorn and the areas marked off for souvenirs and programs. To think this is just the prelude to come! I can still remember the magic as the skaters brought the Disney story to life through dance, music and props.

Disney on Ice Dare to Dream

This is what I couldn’t wait for my children to experience when we headed to Toronto for Disney on Ice Dare to Dream. Sharing these moments with my own children to me has been one of the highlights of parenting. I now know why my parents loved taking us year after year! The look on their faces as the stadium dimmed and the first sounds of music started and out came Mickey and Minnie was priceless. As the show evolved, we found ourselves singing and dancing in our seats. My children and husband were quite impressed with my Disney song knowledge (my personal favourite being all of the songs from The Little Mermaid). I won’t even lie our trip ended with us coming home for a Disney movie marathon! We watched the classics (The Sword in the Stone and Beauty and the Beast) and newer classics like Mulan. This made our whole experience memorable beyond compare. My children are already talking about what the next Disney on Ice should be!

What are your favourite childhood Disney memories? Keep up to date with all things Disney Junior, videos, games and more by visiting the Disney Junior website.

Disclosure: I received tickets to attend this event but was not obligated to post, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Beat the Holiday Shopping Madness with RBC Avion Holiday Boutique

Beat the Holiday Maddness with Avion Holiday Boutique

I love the holiday season! The shopping, finding the perfect gift, the baking and all the added in family time. The draw back at this time of the year is that everyone is also in the mood to shop!. This results in long waits for parking spots at malls, long line ups in stores, nowhere to sit, long lines to pick up a drink and having to drag around your purchases and heavy jackets. This all works together to dampen the merry spirit you may have left your home in (especially if you have children in tow!).

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday BoutiqueRBC understands how this can ruin your holiday shopping expierence and came up with a pretty unique way to combat the holiday rush to benefit their Avion customers: The Avion Holiday Boutique at Yorkdale Shopping Centre!

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday Boutique

The Avion Holiday Boutique experience starts with valet parking. Avion customers need to head to the South side of the mall and are directed to a drop off area. Avion Holiday Boutique staff are there to help you out of the car, take your keys and give you a slip that matches the slip they keep on your keys. They then park your car for you. There is no searching for a parking spot, no circling the parking lot, no long walks! Valet service was something I wasn’t sure I would even like but I was amazed at how much this simple service made our shopping trip! As a little tip, if you call the number on the slip of paper they give you fifteen minutes before you want to leave they can have your car ready for you on your way out! Or you can do what we did and just wait under the outdoor heaters and it only took an additional five minutes for them to bring our car around.

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday Boutique

After you drop off your car, you can quickly head over to the Avion Holiday Boutique to drop off your jackets and if you are thirsty you can grab a drink at their cafe that is located in the centre of the boutique. The decor and music inside the Avion Holiday Boutique will have you in the mood to get your holiday shopping done! Christmas trees, holiday rewards, winter decorations and a musician playing on a piano compliments the boutique holiday experience.

Bead the Holiday Hustle with Avion Holiday Boutique

The complete list of Avion Holiday Boutique services at Yorkdale Shopping Centre include:

  • valet parking
  • coat and parcel check
  • VIP lounge (with WiFi) and cafe
  • concierge services
  • gift wrapping services

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday Boutique

The overall Avion experience helped make our Saturday afternoon shopping an incredible experience. I never felt rushed, frustrated or wanted to leave early which usually happens when I feel overwhelmed while holiday shopping. I was relaxed and was able to focus on finding the perfect gift for my family members which at the end of the day is the most important part.

Additional Avion Holiday Experiences will also be open in Halifax at the Halifax Shopping Centre and in Ottawa at the St. Laurent Centre. An Avion Holiday Boutique will also be open in Burnaby, B.C. at the Metropolis.

Make sure to follow RBC on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new information, special holiday information and more!

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC® Avion Holiday Boutique Influencer Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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How to Plan Your Fall Family Getaway

Planning a Fall Family Getaway

Fall is the perfect time to plan a family getaway for the weekend. The weather is not too hot and not too cold, the scenery is spectacular and with the stress of back to school time, I think the whole family needs a time out to just relax and focus on the most important thing in the world: family.

Not all fall family getaways are created equal. There are several factors that you should consider prior to booking a quick family getaway, besides the usual price and time.

Here are some tips to help plan your next fall family getaway:

Location, location, location! You want to make sure your hotel room is in a location that is central to all activities planned for the weekend, as well as within walking distance of restaurants and coffee shops (hey moms and dads want to enjoy too with a glass of wine!). Being in the centre of the activity gives you easy access to activities as well as the ease of being able to enjoy some quiet time when the younger children become too tired to carry on.

Location is number one when booking fall family getaways!

Look for a location that provides fun, physical outdoor activities. Fall is a great time to get outdoors so take advantage of this cooler weather and look for locations that provides hiking trails, gondola rides and plenty of opportunities to just get out and explore the environment.

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

A location with plenty of restaurant choices. While a kitchen in the suite is an extra bonus for families for snacks and early breakfast meals, being close to a good variety of restaurants is important too. This really allows us as parents to sit back and enjoy our time with our family.

Planning a Fall Family Getaway

Look for amenities that your family will actually use, such as a pool or even a restaurant in the hotel. Our boys love going for an early or late night swim so this is always number one on our list.

Planning a Fall Family Getaway

Blue Mountain in Collingwood offers all of this and more. We stayed at the Seasons hotel and were extremely impressed with the amenities not only in the hotel itself but the surrounding area. Being in the centre of the village allowed us to move around easily around the village, visiting new shops, going on hikes and trying out new restaurants (my husband tried his first beaver tail!). We had a fabulous weekend away from home just focusing on us as a family and exploring nature. A definite win win for us as a family.

What do you look for when booking a family getaway?

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Take Your Education Outside with Scenic Caves Nature Adventures

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

I am a visual and hands on learner. I have to touch, see and do things myself to really grasp what I am being taught. This is why I love museums and traveling so much, nothing brings a textbook or story to life more than seeing it in front of your eyes.

My children are very much like me in this way. They like to touch, hear and see what they are learning up close and since they have so much energy, if I can get them outside it’s even better!

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, located in Collingwood, Ontario, provides individuals of all ages a rich history and educational experience in a unique, natural environment that encourages learning and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

Explore the geography of the Niagara Escarpment

The Niagara Escarpment stretches some 725km from the Niagara Falls area to Tobermory, which began its formation 450 million years ago. This area was once under water. I know when we looked out from the top of the mountain, it was hard to imagine that the area was once covered in water but fossils in the rocks prove that this is true! (Scenic Caves Nature Adventures).

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

The caves are great examples of fissures, where pieces of the escarpment would ease away from the Escarpment. Scenic Caves was an incredible experience to hike through; we went up, then down a little bit, peeked over an edge, crossed a bridge and then finally descended into the caverns. It may sound odd but we hiked up the mountain, only to hike down at the top into the caves!

Natural Refrigerator at Scenic Caves

It was an incredible experience to stand in the middle of the Escarpment and just look up. It really brings home how powerful our planet truly is.

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

Learn about the historical roots of this area.

The Scenic Caves Nature Adventures sits on lands that has a rich and deep history, from Native Americans to settlers from the 1800s. There are several signs along the path pointing out historical points (Suicide Point, where a young woman threw herself off the side of the mountain) to the caves that sheltered the people during attacks.

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

It is so important for children (and even adults!) to understand and appreciate this history. You can even follow-up this experience with learning about the area and the Native Americans from this area online or in books.

Experience engineering marvels!

Scenic Cave Nature Adventures is home to two incredible structures: Suspension Bridge and the Thunderbird Twin Zip Line.

The Suspension Bridge is the longest in Southwestern Ontario, a fact our boys were quite proud of once they crossed the whole bridge not just twice but four times! They were determined to race across all 126m, shaking it for their poor Mother who felt almost sick with the slight sway they caused! The swaying was well worth the views that literally stole my breath away. You can view right out to the Georgian Bay and up the mountain, with beautiful forestry surrounding you.

View from the Zipline

Want an interesting fact? No one knows quite how much weigh the bridge can hold but they do know that their can never be too many people on the bridge! The bridge can hold people standing front to back, shoulder to shoulder and stacked four high the entire length of the bridge!

The Thunderbird Twin Zip Line is the longest zip line in Southern Ontario and the longest twin zip line in Canada. It stretches half a mile long! Located at the very top of the mountain, this was the best way for my boys (husband and eldest) to make their way back down the mountain. They literally soared over top of the trees, feeling like they would touch the tree tops at any time but could control the speed at any time. There is an age and weight requirement for this ride (which is for your safety) so make sure you meet these requirements before making promises to your children.

Get Active!

With plenty of space to move around, walk, jump and explore, Scenic Caves allows your children the freedom to learn while burning some of their energy. We hiked through the forest for roughly thirty minutes which looped back onto the hills to hike up to the caves.

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

Just remember to wear proper running or hiking shoes as well as bring a re-useable water bottle. Even with the fall weather, we all worked up quite a sweat hiking through the hills!

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

Play time!

Every child likes to play right? Once we finished up with our exploring we headed back to the main area and had a quick picnic lunch by the playground before the kids went on a train ride through the grounds.

Gemstone Mining at Scenic Caves

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures also boasts a Gem Mining activity near the entrance, that allows your child to mine for gems just like they did in the old days! Both boys enjoyed this immensely and couldn’t wait to wrap up their goodies. We then headed off to play mini golf. Which was the best way to end our day, especially since I won! Just joking, all three of my boys beat my score.

Take Education Outside with Scenic Caves

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is an action packed, educational experience for the whole family. Make sure you plan to spend at least three hours, we were there for just under five hours and the children would have stayed longer if we had brought along more food with us!

How do you take education outside?

Disclosure: I received passes to Scenic Caves Nature Adventures to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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