Jun 16 17

Be a Tourist at Home

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Toronto is the most populous city in Canada, and it’s also the most popular tourist destination in the country. With over 25 million tourists circling through Toronto each year, there are countless attractions to keep all of its visitors busy. But who says the fun is just for the tourists? If you’re lucky enough to call Toronto home, you have an abundance of entertainment right at your fingertips.

CN Tower

Named one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, the CN Tower was completed in 1976 and remains an iconic depiction of Toronto to this day. Guests have the option to ride to the top of the tower to what is known as the Indoor Observation Level and absorb breathtaking views from 447m in the sky. One floor above the Indoor Observation Level there is a revolving restaurant which completes a full 360-degree rotation every 90 seconds, providing breathtaking Views From the 6 in addition to a world-class dining experience.

Toronto Harbour

Protected from the waves of Lake Ontario by the Toronto Islands, the Toronto Harbour is primarily a private boating dock. Once used for military purposes, the harbor now is a beautiful place for spectators to come and experience a vast waterfront filled with ships and busy water activity. With parks, beaches, and restaurants to keep visitors entertained, there is no shortage of fun to be had at the Toronto Harbour.

Mill St. Brewery Tour

For the craft beer devotee in your group, the Mill St. Brewery Tour is a must see. Take a guided tour through the brewery and learn the history of the product and see how the beer is crafted by master brewers. ID required, 19+.

Hockey Hall of Fame

Any hockey fan knows that a must-see location in Toronto is the Hockey Hall of Fame. Whether you cheer for the local Toronto Maple Leafs or not, you are guaranteed to discover some of hockey’s most amazing historic moments. A hockey fan can easily spend hours touring around this iconic museum absorbing a wealth of hockey knowledge.

Canada’s Wonderland

Located in Vaughan, Ontario, which is a mere 40km from downtown Toronto, is the beloved Canada’s Wonderland. For years this theme park has been expanding and entertaining hundreds of thousands of guests with roller coasters, special attractions, and children’s theme rides. The park now covers 330 acres and continues to be one of the most popular tourist locations in the country.

Toronto may be a tourist city, but that doesn’t mean that the locals can’t enjoy all there is to offer and become tourists for a day in their own home!

May 29 17

Neighbourhood Profile: The Beaches

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With its sandy shores, shop-lined boardwalks, and plenty of popular outdoor events such as the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival, one might picture The Beaches as the ideal neighbourhood for a day trip or eclectic shopping excursion. However, there’s a charm in the air to this community, and once you let it wash over you, it’ll be easy to see why this charming community must just be home sweet home.

Here’s a peek at The Beaches’ inviting brilliance.

Location

The Beaches is situated just south of East York and east of Old Toronto, respectively. Bordered by Kingston Road to the north and Lake Ontario to the south, the neighbourhood is known for its vast, artificially enlarged beaches that were appropriated along with the Kew Gardens private park grounds by the Toronto Harbour Commission in the early 1900s. Visitors have been drawn to the area for this reason for decades.

Queen Street forms the heart of the community, and is lined with more than 390 businesses, comprising mainly of independent specialty stores. Much of the neighbourhood is dedicated to residential zoning and green space, and The Beaches is generally regarded as a great place to settle down and raise a family due to having a low crime rate as well as an abundance of schools.

Housing

Most residences are semi-detached and large-scale Victorian and Edwardian homes, as well as a few low-rise apartment complexes and townhouse developments. Modern developments have also crept in, but the community continues to strive to preserve the vintage charm of the area by appointing some streets with heritage designations, and by maintaining traditional homes.

This is a family-friendly neighbourhood , thanks to the abundance of educational facilities and open green space. It makes for an all-around less chaotic lifestyle, being more laid-back and contemplative, but not one bit dull.

Transportation

TTC Bus and streetcar routes run along Queen Street, Gerrard Street, Kingston Road, Victoria Park Avenue, Main Street, and Woodbine Avenue. These routes connect to Toronto’s rapid transit lines and subway stations, allowing for access to the downtown core. By car, the neighbourhood is easily accessible via the Don Valley Expressway, the Gardiner Expressway, and Lake Shore Boulevard.

Lifestyle

Coupled with the neighbourhood’s verdant park system and the allure of living along the shoreline, The Beaches is a quaint yet vibrant area akin to a traditional seaside retreat. That doesn’t mean things get stale, however. The hundreds of stores along Queen Street change quite often, for example, which keeps the neighbourhood constantly fresh and exciting — sometimes dramatically so. It’s not uncommon to see people flocking to Woodbine Beach and Kew-Balmy Beach in the warmer weather, or taking to the generous park system along the southern half of the area to take advantage of seasonal activities or gatherings there. All in all, the shoreline location and preservation of key public spaces has allowed for a more convivial neighbourhood than one might expect from the Toronto area.

The Beaches is the best of both worlds. There’s a sense of calmness and charming old-world warmth harmonizing with an eclectic vibrancy and freshness that rejuvenates the area every year. With an intuitive transportation system in place, there’s no reason not to visit this neighbourhood and experience its charming aesthetic.

Does The Beaches sound like home? Search Toronto property listings now!

May 22 17

Relax with a Staycation

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That week off work that you’ve been looking forward to is finally almost here. And with so many options of what to do on your vacation, it can be enough added stress just thinking about it. So why not recharge your batteries this time with a staycation instead? You’ll be surprised how relaxing and rewarding it can truly be. Here we give you some reasons why a staycation can be just what you need for your next holiday:

Save Money

When you take a staycation, you can save your hard-earned money that you would’ve otherwise spent on a pricey trip. You can avoid spending money on flights, hotel bookings, rental cars, gas money, and other transportation costs.

Less Stress

You won’t have to worry about all the pressing details that come with trip planning when you choose a staycation. You can skip the drama of packing bags, running through airports, lost luggage, and the dreaded airport customs and security lines.

Discover New Areas

You now have the time to see all the hidden gems you’ve always wanted to visit right here in Toronto. Plus, you’ll also have the time to go back and explore all those favourite places that you love but never have time to visit when you’re working. Be a tourist in your own city: visit the ROM, tour Ontario Science Centre, climb the CN Tower, take in a Jays game, or head up to Wonderland.

Really Relax

Nothing is quite as soothing as the comfort of your own home and bed. When you stay at home, you can really put your feet up and relax. And you won’t have the pressure to squeeze in hours of activities to get your money’s worth. You can go with the flow or schedule as you need to. Plus, you don’t have to worry about an uncomfortable hotel bed or noisy neighbours.

Support Local Businesses

All the money you otherwise would have been spending in another location will instead go directly into local businesses. You’ll not only be helping your neighbours out, but also your local economy.

More Time

Travelling can really take up a lot of your time. Getting to the airport, waiting for your flight and the act of flying, all dips heavily into your vacation time. If you stay home, you can enjoy much more holiday time and less travel time.

A staycation in your Toronto rental has lots of benefits that make it an excellent choice for your week off work. And most importantly, it can really revive that love of where you live and bring your family closer together. So why not save some money and stress this year and take a much-needed vacation at home?

May 15 17

Understanding the Toronto Real Estate Landscape

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For another year, the Toronto real estate market has been a hot one. With exceptional growth already underway in 2017, and positive projections for the rest of the year, it’s no wonder why people are rushing to get into the market. And if you’re one of those people, there are some pretty important things you need to know before you dive in. Here we break down the key trends and projections to understanding the Toronto real estate landscape.

Demand Trumps Supply

The selling price of the average Toronto home has continued to skyrocket upward at record highs going into 2017. Part of the reason for such a stark climb is the increase in demand and dwindling supply. And the projections show that there’s to be little change in this department. Inventory levels are expected to remain low, which will, in turn, put pressure on pricing to continue to shift upwards.

New Mortgage Laws to Cause Cooling

The new mortgage laws that came into place in 2016, will make it increasingly difficult for new buyers to enter the market. So, you can expect to see more people shifting to the suburbs and buying property there. If we expect any corrections or slowing of the market, this will be the driving force behind the wheel. If you are looking to get ahead, position yourself in a suburb that’s in an up-and-coming growth area to receive the best returns.

Continued Market Factors

The local economy in Toronto continues to be strong, immigration is steady, and the interest rates are still at an attractive rate for buyers. These market factors which have been driving the overheated sellers’ market are projected to continue to persist well into 2018.

The Long-Term Leasing Play

With ownership being out of reach for many, long-term renting has become increasingly popular. And developers are reacting to the need by building more condos and townhomes that fit the needs of long-term renters and families. If you have the available cash to purchase a condo or townhouse in an up-and-coming area, you could build equity quickly by renting it out in this market.

The Shift to Energy-Efficiency

With the incredibly high hydro costs in Ontario, tenants and purchasers are looking towards energy-efficient buildings and homes to keep utility costs low. Plus, green buildings are becoming increasingly popular among informed renters and buyers, with the pressure for energy conservation and sustainability requirements on developers and owners following suit.

The Toronto market remains very hot going into 2017, and as the city becomes an increasingly desirable place to live and play, you can expect to see continued growth going into 2018.

Apr 24 17

New to Toronto? A Guide to Shopping Centres

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New to Toronto and looking to find where the best places are to do some shopping? From high-end designer boutiques to handmade crafts at local markets, Toronto has it all. If you’re new to the city, it’s time to get acquainted with some of the hottest shopping destinations in town:

Eaton Centre

When you think of shopping, the Toronto Eaton Centre is always one of the first destinations that should come to mind in this city. It is one of the busiest malls on the continent, attracting millions of visitors each year and racking up over $1,420 in sales per square foot annually. Eaton Centre is located in the heart of downtown Toronto between Yonge, Bay, Queen, and Dundas. Served by the Yonge-University subway line, this mall is easily accessible and conveniently located for shopping and exploring the bustling streets of Toronto. This premier shopping centre also boasts a selection of more than 230 retailers, restaurants, and services, including the first Saks 5th Avenue in Canada and a Cineplex theatre to enjoy.

Yorkdale

Yorkdale Shopping Centre is yet another favourite for Torontonians and tourists alike. Yorkdale renowned for its predominantly high-end luxury retailers, including Kate Spade, David Yurman, Tumi, and Tesla Motors – the country’s only showroom for these luxury sports cars. This centre is located northwest of the city core along Highway 401 and Allen Road. However, it’s also situated directly on the subway line, making it convenient to get to. This is the fourth largest shopping centre in Canada and one of the most popular to visit, containing over 250 retailers, restaurants, and a movie theatre as well.

Square One

Square One Shopping Centre is the second largest shopping centre in Ontario and contains over 360 stores, restaurants, and service. You can find a wide variety of retailers, such as Coach, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and even Walmart. It is located in central Mississauga. Although this mall is not located along any subway line, the Go Train line is nearby, there is frequent bus service, and Highway 403 runs just north of the mall.

Scarborough Town Centre

Scarborough Town Centre, also referred to as Town Centre, has increasingly become one of the top malls to visit throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Here you will find a wide range from midstream to luxury names. It has undergone extensive development over the years, and now stretches over 1 million square feet.  It is located right near Highway 401, near McCowan Road, Progress Avenue, and Brimley Road. The Scarborough RT transit line also has a station that is adjacent to the mall, making it easy to access via transit. It offers over 230 stores and restaurants, including popular favourites like Zara, GAP, and H&M. The mall also has a movie theatre to satisfy your entertainment needs.

When it comes to shopping, you are guaranteed to find all that you want and more from these premier shopping destinations throughout the city of Toronto and the GTA!

Mar 27 17

Neighbourhood Profile: Roncesvalles Village

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Roncesvalles Village is a cultural haven for both hipsters and families alike. It blends a variety of demographics with a main flair of Polish and European culture. Affectionately known as Roncy, Roncesvalles Village a neighbourhood that’s nestled nicely away from the booming 24/7 hum of downtown Toronto, where neighbours can chat and people can pop into some of the trendy bars and funky cafés to catch up with friends. It has a distinct small-town vibe, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not the centre of action! Here’s a little more of what this great west-central Toronto neighbourhood has to offer.

Location

Roncesvalles is found in the west end of Toronto. It’s bordered by Bloor Street, Queen Street, Parkside and the Lansdowne rail corridor. Its central hub is located along the main street of Roncesvalles Avenue, and has a constant buzz where young professionals, 20-somethings, and families flock to delve into some artisanal tasty bites, craft beer, or sip on coffee in a local café.

Housing

Throughout this neighbourhood, you will find a variety of housing, often containing rented rooms, along with smaller apartment buildings with average-priced rentals. Many of the neighbouring streets are lined with multi-storey brick homes, multi-residential properties, and independently owned and operated businesses.

Lifestyle

Roncesvalles really has it all – the charm, the character, and the lifestyle that everyone enjoys. It has become increasingly popular for young families who can take advantage of the expansive homes with big backyards.  It also attracts renters who occupy many of the 3-storey homes and multi-residential units in the area, along with seniors who enjoy the quiet and convenient location.

With the proximity to downtown, you can hop on public transit and get to where you need to be in no time. In addition, High Park is only a few minutes away, where residents can stroll through the trails, picnic areas, zoo, playgrounds, and sports fields.

Amenities

There is no shortage of amenities throughout Roncesvalles. Many of the local shops, grocery stores, and restaurants are owner operated. And of course, you can find many delis, butchers, and bakeries with a taste of the Old World.

Roncesvalless Village is a high-demand neighbourhood in Toronto. If you’re in search of a neighbourhood that’s far enough from the city buzz, but close enough when you need it to be, check out Roncy!

Browse Simplified Rentals’ Toronto rental listings for the first crack at hot apartment and home rentals in Roncesvalles Village.

Feb 27 17

Places to go Ice Skating Outdoors in Toronto

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Skating is one of the ultimate ways we as Canadians love to enjoy and embrace the cold winter months. It gets us outdoors and allows us to stay active while having some fun. This winter, head outside, lace up your skates with the family and try out some of these great outdoor skating rinks throughout Toronto.

Nathan Phillips Square

The skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square is located in the heart of the city. It’s right downtown in front of City Hall at the intersection of Queen Street West and Bay Street. During the winter months, the square is bustling with energy, from light displays, live entertainment, and firework shows, depending on when you time your skating adventure. (Usually around last weekend of November is when the excitement and light display kicks off).

You can bring the kids, rent out some skates if need be, and take in the bustling city vibe while enjoying one of the best spots in the city.

The Harbourfront Centre

If you’re interested in stepping away from the downtown core, you can head south towards the Harbourfront. Here, each winter you will find another popular spot for many Torontonians and visitors to take in the lakefront and city skyline. There’s also a DJ spinning some great tunes most weekends if you feel like trying your hand at dancing while you glide across the ice.

Withrow Park

For a calmer environment that isn’t so busy and amidst the city spotlight, you can head over to the Danforth. Here you can find Withrow Park where a smaller community rink is located. It’s also commonly used for teams to compete on, but is a great location since it’s steps away from the subway, along with quaint coffee shops that you can pop into afterward for some hot chocolate.

Christie Pits Rink

On the west side of the city, Christie Pits boasts a larger rink that is popular for local residents to enjoy. You can often find local hockey teams throwing down a game as families and onlookers watch nearby. So be sure to check out the schedules before heading here.

There’s never a shortage of places to enjoy some time on the ice. Toronto has a wide variety of rinks dotted throughout each and every neighbourhood. And no matter what type of vibe and backdrop you’re in the mood for, you can certainly find it throughout the city. Winter recreation is just one more item on a long list that makes Toronto one of the best places in the world to live. Find your Toronto rental home now!

Feb 20 17

Neighbourhood Profile: Parkdale

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The neighbourhood of Parkdale has become one of the most up and coming areas throughout the city of Toronto over the last few years. While in the past the reputation of this neighbourhood has seen its fair share of ups and down, it has developed into one of the most eclectic and inviting in the city, with so much to offer for residents seeking to call this neighbourhood their home.

Location

The neighbourhood of Parkdale is located just west of downtown Toronto. It is bordered by Roncesvalles Avenue on the west, Dufferin Street to the east, by the Canadian Pacific Railway line where it crosses Queen Street and Dundas Street to the north, and finally, south by Lake Ontario. It’s also walking distance to the waterfront district and parks.

Housing

Parkdale is an area that is home to many of Toronto’s older, grand Victorian homes, along with high-rise apartment rentals. It’s where you can find grandiose mansions converted into lofts and apartments with charm and character that’s often unsurpassed anywhere else in the city. It boasts a wide variety of housing options and as a result, is comprised of one of the most diverse demographics of residents throughout the city.

Lifestyle

Parkdale used to be one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the city. Walking through it, this isn’t hard to see with the large tree-lined streets and homes. It also has a vibrant shopping scene throughout the district and a large portion of the Polish community where you can find markets, delis, and trendy restaurants to indulge in. With the famous Queens Street West at its heart, there is a constant buzz surrounding this neighbourhood, with a community that relishes the bustling vibe of the busy city, steps from home.

Recreation

If you’re looking for active recreation, it’s also a prize component of this community. Parkdale is within convenient walking distance of High Park, the largest park in Toronto. High Park stretches over 400 acres of green space encompassing trails, a zoo, tennis courts, and so much more. You can also make your way along Toronto’s waterfront and cycle along many of the paths that wind along the city’s edge. Here, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you active and entertained.

Come live and experience one of Toronto’s older and most eclectic neighbourhoods in the city. It has a wide variety of rental options and a bustling energetic community that has everything you’re looking for. Search Toronto apartment listings now!

Feb 6 17

3 Cozy Winter Recipes

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When the winter weather takes a turn for the worse and all you want to do is stay curled up and warm inside, there’s nothing better than having some great winter recipes to make your Toronto apartment feel even more inviting. Stay warm this winter with some of these ultimate cozy winter recipes that will hit the spot when that wind chill starts to drop.

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili

This recipe is warm, delicious, and comforting. Plus, it’s super easy to whip up!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 dried guajillo chilies, deseeded, stemmed & sliced thin (one for the chili, one for the topping)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 14-oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans of beans – black, red, pinto, or a combo
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ½ cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  • a squeeze of lime
  • salt, pepper

Topping options:

  • chopped scallions
  • tortilla strips – toast 10-15 minutes in the oven
  • toasted chilies – toast 1-2 minutes in a 350 oven (or until they curl up)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • diced avocado w/ a squeeze of lime

Over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic for about five minutes. Add chili powder, half the sliced chilies, vinegar, and tomatoes. Add the broth, sweet potato, and beans. Simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes, or until the sweet potato cubes are tender. Add the kale and corn and simmer for five more minutes. Season to taste, adding salt, pepper, and lime juice as needed. Serve topped with chopped scallions, toasted tortilla strips, toasted chilies, avocado, and lime.

Squash and Ginger Apple Soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin or 1 butternut squash
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 yellow onion
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, for roasting
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roast pumpkin or butternut squash, then cut and remove seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 20 minutes per side. Let cool then peel.

As the squash is cooking, slice the apple and onion into wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes. Halfway through, and the garlic cloves to the baking sheet. Peel the garlic cloves once cooked.

Once finished, combine all the roasted ingredients with coconut milk, ginger, cardamom, cayenne, and salt. Puree. Thin with water or broth if needed. Season to taste.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

 Prine

Here’s what you need:

  • splash of olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 cups black beans, cooked, drained (reserve a few for garnish)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock

1 cup water

  • salt, pepper
  • lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Optional garnishes: red onion, avocado, cilantro, cheese, salsa

Here’s what to do:

Sauté shallots, garlic, jalapeño and salt in olive oil for a few minutes. Add chili powder, black beans, and stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Blend, adding water if soup is too thick.

Serve with a squeeze of lime, season to taste, and serve with garnishes of your choice, including red onion, avocado, cilantro, cheese, or salsa.

Stay warm and cozy up inside your apartment this winter with these simple recipes that are guaranteed to keep you warm!

Jan 30 17

Winterlicious – Taste Toronto this New Year

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Winterlicious

What better way to get through those long, cold winter blues than by indulging in some scrumptious cuisine? Well, thanks to Winterlicious, you can! This culinary event came to life as a way to connect more people to great food and to get you out from hibernation, meet up with friends, go on that date, and have a laugh while delving into some of Toronto’s tastiest menus.

The wintertime can be a challenge to force ourselves out of our apartments, condos, and houses to get out and stay social. We naturally feel the need to throw on our warm and comfy clothes and curl up at home. But Winterlicious is aimed at enticing you and your taste buds to get out and try something new, exotic, and delicious.

Here’s what you need to know to begin planning your Winterlicious calendar this New Year.

When Does It Begin?

It all begins January 27th and runs until February 9th with over 200 vendors participating. It’s the perfect time after the holiday hustle and bustle to slow down and have a nice meal cooked for you over a glass or two of wine.

What Vendors Are Involved?

Since there are over 200 different restaurants participating in this event, it might be a challenge to select where you should begin. But no matter what you’re craving or how particular your taste buds may be, there’s definitely something to suit everyone.

Take a look around your local area to see what vendors you can start off at! You can hop online to see the full list of vendors.

What’s the Cost?

One of the best factors about this event is that it aims to open the doors of each restaurant, making it accessible and affordable to the public by having a fixed price menu. Some may vary depending on the restaurant you visit, but each Winterlicious menu has been specifically tailored to give you the best taste for a price that is affordable too. You can take advantage of trying out some of those places that may have been out of your price range previously.

Toronto is one of the culinary wonders of the world. It’s renowned for the eclectic variety of food that you find throughout the city. And for the last few years, over 200 restaurants have participated in this great culinary event that provides the public with the perfect reason to get out of those comfy pyjamas and treat yourself to a delicious meal that won’t break the bank.

So this January, after the holiday rush has settled, make the time to treat yourself to a night out and explore the culinary wonders that Toronto has to offer.