Mia goes M.I.A: Why you should visit Canada this Summer Part 1

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Because Canada is so large, it was hard to write just one blog on it, and so I have broken it down into two parts. Today I am going to share with you why you should visit Canada this summer, and tomorrow I will tell you where you should visit ( since this blog will convince you that you have to visit). Full disclosure I am also stealing (kindly using) a lot of my dad’s photography in this blog since he just knows how to capture the beauty of this country a lot better than me.

Why should you visit Canada this summer?

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With summer right around the corner, it is time to start planning those summer vacations and there is plenty of reason why Canada should be making your summer to do list. From the country’s natural beauty and outdoor activities, to cosmopolitan cities the Country has something for everyone. This year is actually the perfect year to make your way down to Canada because the country will be celebrating it’s 150th birthday meaning plenty of events and celebrations country wide.

Affordability

Especially right now the Canadian dollar is struggling making it a much more affordable destination spot than the US. Even Toronto which is considered the priciest Canadian city only sits at number 82 out of 100 most expensive cities. You won’t blow your budget on this trip.

The Natural Beauty

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To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in style, all of the national parks are offering free entry. That means you can explore the countries natural wonders without dropping a penny. In fact did you know Canada has more coastlines than any other country. It is also full of mountain ranges, lakes, forests, arctic, and even small deserts. Canada’s diverse landscapes are full of surprise that are waiting to be discovered.

Cool Cities

Nature isn’t your thing? Don’t worry, Canada has some of the biggest cities in the world to visit and each one has plenty of cool and unique spots to check out. Like the business of New York? Take a trip to Toronto. A fan of french cuisine and culture? Make a stop in Montreal. Want to find out why Vancouver was named the best city to live in the world? Now is your chance. Each city has its own diverse cuisine, culture, and atmosphere perfect to discover this summer.

Celebration

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As I have already mentioned, Canada will be celebrating a big milestone this year, its 150th birthday. With the big birthday comes big celebrations nation-wide. Get ready for incredible firework displays, parties, and entertainment across the country this summer.

Canada is Safe

Canadians are considered some of the nicest people in the world ( I am not just saying that because I am Canadian it is a fact) and along with a really nice population, it is also considered very safe. Canada is considered one of the safest countries in the world, and police crime has been on the decline for more than two decades

Now that you know why you should visit Canada, the next question is where. With so much to offer it could be difficult to pin point the exact location to put on the list. So I am here to help with a few ideas of what each province has to offer, plus must check out parks since they are free and all, but like I mentioned, that is just going to have to wait until tomorrow.

Until then, happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

 

Toronto Gets Soul

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 10.53.03 AM.pngSoul Cycle has been a spinning phenomenon in New York for years, and now the six is getting their very own Soul Cycle this week on King St. West. I had a chance to check out this high intensity low impact workout, and had to share my experience.

If you follow me you know two things, 1) I love working out and fitness and 2) I have a new found love for spin classes. I always used to find them repetitive and boring, but recently my opinion has changed. And as you will find out if you keep reading, there is nothing boring about Soul Cycle.

Ok so you have heard about this Soul Cycle everyone is speaking of, but what is it? Basically it is a 45 minute spin class that combines fat burning cardio, a full body workout (arm weight track included), and choreography that forces your core to stay engaged all class long. Spinning and dancing all at once, sounds fun right?

My first impression was that they have really put thought and effort into their set up. The moment I stepped into the candle lit room I was impressed with the ambiance.

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We were told by our instructor Jenna to put our cell phones away and get ready to let loose. I loved this idea because it really forced me to focus on my mind and body for the full workout as oppose to worrying about work calls and emails.

As soon as the first song started, I found myself singing and spinning along to the beat. The class combined springs, hills, and heavy legs ensuring that I was working different muscles and getting my heart rate up.

What I really loved was the added choreography of arm pulls and pushes. They distracted me from how much my legs were burning from pushing myself harder each song.

About five songs into the class and a 10 sprints later, we were told to pick up the weights for the arm track. Although I was lifting 3 pound weights it was such an intense workout. For an entire 6 minutes you have your arms up and out doing all exercises from bicep curls to triceps, my arms were definitely burning.

Alas all good things must come to an end. The last track was us letting go of all of our stress and anxiety and instead focusing on our breathing until the last note of the last song.

I really loved the class from start to finish. From the music, to the workout, to the amazing instructor the entire workout was amazing. Speaking of workout, despite the low intensity of the spin class, I was drenched in sweat walking out.

Now mind you, I may be a little biased, because throughout the entire class I felt like I was cheating on the Spokehaus. Spokehaus was the first spin class I fell in love with, the first spin class I got my groove on at, the first spin class I learned figure eights. I love washing my face down with their cold Eucalyptus towel after a hard ride on the bike.

Both of these studios are fun, hard, and a workout party and I would recommend trying both of them out!

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Also make sure to come back and check out my blog, because I will be sharing some of my fav Toronto workouts. As they say Summer bodies are made in the winter, and we don’t have much winter left!

xo

Mia

 

Mia goes M.I.A: Blue Mountain Resort

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After living in the Southern United States for seven years, returning to the cold winters of Canada wasn’t an easy task. For the first few years, I decided to hibernate from November until May, however this year I made a pact to myself to get out and enjoy winter, starting off with a weekend getaway to Blue Mountain Village and Resort.

Blue Mountain is just a short two-hour drive from Toronto, making it the perfect weekend destination to escape the city. The ski resort has 42 runs accessible from 16 different chairlifts there are slopes for all different levels. When your legs are tired from the day on the hills, there is an adorable European style village to get some shopping done, or find a spot to sit down for Après. There are also several hotels and cottages in the area to stay and get your zzz’s.

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What to do:

On my recent trip to Blue Mountain I arrived bright and early to make sure I would get a full day on the slopes. I really wanted to check out all the sides of the mountains. I even dared myself to go outside my comfort zone and try some double black diamonds.

After one tumble it was time to take a time out. It is a ski tradition of mine to stop a hot chocolate break. I made a stop into Bullwheel Pub. This pub is the only one located on the South end of the mountain and offers a beautiful view of the slopes. The rustic deco makes you feel like you are inside a cabin.  It offers delicious Canadian comfort food. I had the chicken fingers and mac and cheese along with my hot chocolate.fullsizerender-5

After a full day of skiing and some sore muscles, it was then time to relax at my favourite après spot, Rusty’s at Blue. Rusty’s is located right at the base of the slopes in the village. It offers a beautiful view of the mountains and live music in the afternoons and early evenings which offers the perfect atmosphere to unwind with a beer in hand.

Next it was time to shop until I dropped. The Village at Blue Mountain has so many unique stores, boutiques, and even candy shops. My personal favourite spot is Red Devil Sports. They have so many vibrant outfits, that is where I got my favourite ski jacket.

After dropping off all those bags, and a delicious dinner (you can find my favourite spots for food under where to eat) it was time to put the dancing shoes on. I went to check out Twist Martini Lounge Bar and absolutely loved the elegant interior, delicious cocktails, and amazing DJ that had me moving all night long.Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 6.56.48 PM.png

Day two of the weekend I needed some serious R&R after all the skiing and dancing, and so I made a trip to the Scandinavian Spa. The spa is located just a shot 10-minute drive from the mountains and with big trees surrounding it, it is very secluded and tranquil. I arrived early to make sure I would have a spot in their famous baths. Basically you rotate from hot to cold baths which is meant to cleanse the body and get blood circulation going. I must say I felt surprisingly energized afterwards.

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Where to Eat: 

The Village is packed with amazing restaurants for all taste buds but the following are a few of the spots I really enjoyed on my recent trip.

After a full day of skiing, my legs were exhausted and I didn’t want to venture far from the hotel, so thankfully there was Oliver and Bonacini Café and Grill right in the lobby, and what a teat it was. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a beautiful view of the village. The food was delicious to say the least. I absolutely loved the Miso Glazed Salmon.

The following day for lunch I was craving more of a carb loaded meal to say the least, and so I made a stop into Firehall Pizza Co. I absolutely loved the decoration, modelled after a Northern Ontario Firehall. The menu itself was a pizza lover’s dream. They had everything from the Sexy Texy Mexy (a Mexican style pizza) to the Meat Head (self-explanatory) creative and delicious.

For the last supper I decided to go Greek and give Tholos a try. The restaurant was so beautifully put together. It really transforms you to an ancient Greek ruin. I love the interactive experience this restaurant has to offer, from dancing and traditional plate smashing. And of course the food is delicious. I personally love the Stuffed Florina Peppers.

Where to Stay:
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If you are looking to stay in a luxury hotel for the weekend, the Westin Trillium is the place to be! I had a beautiful room that overlooked the skating rink, village, and the mountains. There was so much space and a fireplace to warm me up after a day on the slopes. The hotel really payed attention to detail, from their custom made soaps and shampoo, to bed side mist supposed to help you sleep better. The bed was heavenly. In fact, this was probably the most comfortable hotel I have ever stayed at. Besides the incredible lodging, the hotel has so much to offer, including their own mini spa, with two hot tubs and a heated swimming pool, perfect after a long day of skiing.img_0729

I think the whole experience at Blue was an eye opener for me. I realized that Canadian winters can be enjoyable if you embrace it. Secondly I learned that Ontario has so much to offer. Having had the chance to ski at Whistler last year, I was very impressed with what Blue Mountain had to offer, from the ski experience, to their village, to their nightlife. I will definitely be making a trip back there soon, and I hope you will as well!