Mia Goes M.I.A: Top 6 Festivals in the Six (or close to Toronto)

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With the warmer weather,  that means summer is right around the corner. With summer comes my favourite time of the year, festival season. While the Coachella’s and Lollapalooza’s of the world sound like a blast, there are plenty of local festivals that are guaranteed great performers and great times. I decided to share with you my top six music festivals in Ontario, and I promise, you won’t be left with fake tickets and mugged like a certain Fyre Fest.

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Wayhome

Wayhome is the vision of Republic Live and will be rocking into its third year. This has become my favourite local festival. What makes it so good? Well it could be the incredible headliners. This year they will host Cage The Elephant, Frank Ocean, and Imagine Dragons as well as plenty of other talent. It could also be the art factor, interesting designs around the festival grounds. Or it could be the festival atmosphere. When the show is done for the day the fun doesn’t stop because you stay on site camping. Lastly it could be the fact that there is something for every music lover; indie, rock, electric, rap. The list goes on. It is truly a festival lovers dream.

Where: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds 

When: July 28-30

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Boots & Hearts

Grab your daisy dukes and cowboy hats because this is one of the best summer parties. Another Republic Live event this festival has become the holy grail of music festivals if you love country music of course. The festival, going into its 5th year is getting bigger and bigger every year. This year is no different. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and Brantley Gilbert will be headlining this year. Just like Wayhome you camp on site and dance all night long. The ambiance makes this festival truly special. Grab your cowgirls and boys and have an unforgettable weekend.

Where: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds 

When: August 10-13

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Field Trip 

An amazing music, arts, and food festival right in the heart of downtown Toronto, what could be better? This year the festival headlines Broken Social Scene, Phoenix, and Feist. What makes Field Trip a must not miss event is that it is so much more than just the music. The festival prides itself on local and creative food as well as interesting art installations. Grab a bite and see some incredible pieces in between acts.

Where: Fort York & Garrison Common

When: June 3-4 

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Bud Light Dreams Festival 

Formally known as Digital Dreams this is a must see for any electric music lover. The festival will yet again welcome some of the biggest names in electric music such as Steve Angello and DVBBS. Just like the name, the festival itself is getting a makeover this year. It will now have three stages including a waterfront stage. This festival is also unique in the sense that instead of having a variety of genres, it just sticks to electric music that will have you dancing all weekend long, and along with electric music comes insane sets so have that camera ready.

Where: Echo Beach 

When: July 7-8

NXNE

If a weekend isn’t enough for you then how about 10 days of an incredible music festival? That is what NXNE has to offer. Taking after its sister festival SXSW in Austin Texas, this festival showcases amazing talent as well as gaming, comedy, and other performances. According to the U.K Guardian, this is Toronto’s leading music festival, and I have to agree. While the headliners this year include Post Malone, Tyler the Creator, and Passion Pit, I fell in love with a bunch of the smaller acts and I know you will too.

Sound of Music 

The beautiful backdrop of Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park sets the stage for this fun and affordable music festival that brings in some big names. The Trews, The Road Hammers, and even Offspring will be performing this year to name a few. The festival also offers plenty of activities such as a parade, streetfest, market place, and carnival to keep you busy for the whole weekend. It is also kid friendly so the whole family can come and enjoy.

Where: Spencer Smith Park 

When: June 10-18 

Well there you have it, some of my favourite musical festivals this summer in and around Toronto. Do you have a favourite festival that didn’t make the list? Would love to hear about it!

Also coming this week my tips on how to survive a camping festival, and how to even glamp (when showers are a rare commodity). I will have that for you later this week.

In the meantime thank you for checking out the latest Mia goes M.I.A

xo

Mia

Places in the 6: Mascot Brewery/Odd Thomas

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I have been living in Toronto for the last 5 years and during that time I have discovered my favourite restaurants and bars. I am a creature of habit and always seem to end up at the same handful, and so I am almost ashamed to say that I had never been to Mascot Brewery or Odd Thomas before a friend had invited me out for their V.I.P experience and how could I possibly turn that down.

I must say that I am so glad I decided to venture outside of my regular spots, because Mascot and Odd Thomas are truly hidden gems in this city (expect for the cool people who already knew about it and kept it hidden from me).

Mascot is located on the lower level with Odd Thomas upstairs. Their location is right in the heart of downtown Toronto but tucked away on the quieter and smaller Mercer St. therefore if you aren’t looking for it, it may be a little tough to stumble upon.

Mascot Brewery is the restaurant located on the lower level and it offers a delicious menu variety as well as a slew of tasty local beer options. The restaurant is a really laid back atmosphere, and quieter than I expected so it was easy to have a conversation with my friends. The menu offered shareable, appetizers, and main course so whether you are hungry or just want a nibble there is something for you. I tried the Fried Brussel Sprouts which were actually to die for ( I could of eaten 10 of them not a word of a lie) and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was finger licking good, I literally licked the hot sauce off my fingers.

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The beer menu has its own separate spot on their website because there are just so many amazing options. I wanted to try something local a little outside of my comfort zone and so I gave the Collingwood Saison a go. It was the perfect introduction to the Saison, light and easy to drink.

After finishing up dinner and drinks, we then went upstairs to a booth at Odd Thomas. The bar had two booths behind the DJ booth and then two on the side with a dance floor in the middle. What I loved about the space we had was it was big enough for all 12 of us, and we were also right by the dance floor because we all know I love to show off my finger dance moves.

The D.J. for the evening was one of my favourite in the city, Conor Cutz. He played an amazing mix of old school favourites. I don’t think there was one song that came on where I didn’t have my hands up in the air. In fact for the first time in a long time I actually stayed at a bar until it closed.

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Overall between the delicious food downstairs at Mascot combined with the great music and casual vibe upstairs at Odd Thomas this spot really impressed me. I will for sure be coming back for round two sometime soon.

I highly recommend Mascot and Odd Thomas for anyone who is looking for a more casual and laid back bar scene in downtown Toronto where you can wear your sneakers but also dance the night away.

MIA goes M.I.A: How I caught the travel bug

 

15826145_10211358331329966_453133994250923598_nCuriosity killed the cat, at least that how the saying goes right? Well not in my opinion. In my opinion curiosity helped the cat grow, learn, and evolve. I like to think of myself as a curious person, curious about other countries, cultures, and lifestyles. Curious about what makes different parts and people of the world unique

It is this curiosity that lead to my passion for travel. My passion to explore lands that are so diverse and different from the one I grew up in. To listen to the languages, to enjoy their foods, to take in the beauty of their landscapes.

It is this reason why I decided to start writing about my travel experiences. My whole life I have been the sports girl, the athlete, the sports reporter. But travel has also been a huge part of my life, a quieter part of my life, and now I am using this outlet to share that part of my life with you.

So where did this curiosity come from?  I believe it starts with the fact that I am a first generation Canadian. My parents moved from South Africa the year before I was born to give our family a better life.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 5.15.17 PM.png

For my first birthday, I took my first trip across seas to visit my family in South Africa. Every other year until I was 16, I would go back. Each time seeing a new part of that society. From safaris, to towns, to the poverty of Zimbabwe, to the dangers of Johannesburg, I experienced it all first hand

Then there is the fact that my father, a cinematographer, is also a photographer. His wildlife and landscapes have been featured in The National Geographic. So as a child I would have the opportunity to travel a lot with him.

No matter where we were in the world, he found beauty. Car rides would seem endless because of all the “photo opp” stops we would have to take. I soon learned to see the beauty through his “lenses” his eyes. The colours of the sun, the beauty of the mountain range, the pureness of the wildlife.12377763_10207676017514422_7198305888946536788_o

As I grew older, my travel adventures changed. Less with my family and more so with my tennis coach as I tried to pursue a professional tennis career. I would still travel to this amazing places, Costa Rica, Panama, you name it, but no longer for leisure, it was no for work.

I no longer had free time to explore the beauty, instead I explored hotel rooms, lobby restaurants, and tennis courts.

I loved being an athlete, but I hated traveling to these amazing places, and not being able to learn, to explore, to experience. The curiosity was still there but it wasn’t fed, it wasn’t satisfied.

And so when professional tennis didn’t work out for me, I made a promise to myself. A promise to never give up that need, that want to travel. I wanted to go back to all of the places I went as an athlete but this time as a student ready to learn about what each and every places I was fortunate enough to visit had to offer. My mind was my new notepad, blank page after blank page just waiting to be filled with experiences.208257_1019401081244_6043_n

I have been so fortunate to have traveled to many different places. There was the Europe back pack trip my best friend that took us through the valleys of Germany to the top of the Eifel Tower in France.  There was the Barcelona to Cannes road trip with mom and pop. There was the solo trip to Thailand. The ski adventure in Whistler, and most recently the first real trip my boyfriend and I took to Cabo as a couple.

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Each one of these trips offered different experiences, opened my eyes to different cultures, and interestingly taught me something new about myself.

Yes, the job title on my business card is sports reporter with the National Lacrosse League, and yes I love my job and wouldn’t dream of doing anything else as a career, but as a person, I am so much more than just my title.

As a person I am a reporter, a writer, and explorer, an adventurer, a traveler, a student, and a curious cat, and I hope to continue to grow, and learn, and experience until my very last breath.15940908_10211420765530782_4844108439737673929_n

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I already have my next adventure planned, and this one is right in my own back yard. Since this is Canada’s 150th birthday and all the National Parks are free, I decided to make a trip to one of the parks this summer. I am going to have the opportunity to explore the Bruce Peninsula and I cannot wait.

So many times I think of all the places I want to go, that I forget the beauty that is right at home. I hope that you will follow along with this adventure and the ones to come in my future.

I also hope, more than anything that you will embrace your true passions in life, whatever they may be, and that you too will be a curious cat.

XOXO

Mia

Top 6 in the 6 with Cabbie Richards

Christmas 2.0 is here, or should I say the Big Game! That is right it is that time of the year again where the football king will be crowned. While my Miami Dolphins didn’t quite make the cut this year (thanks third string QB) I will most definitely be watching the Patriots and Falcons in action Sunday February 5th. Now the question is where?

In the past I have done the whole home party, but with a hectic work schedule it has been tough to plan having the gang over. So I sat down with TSN’s very own Cabbie Richards to find out the top sports bars to watch to cheer on your favourite team (for any sport you choose) in this edition of Top 6 in the 6.

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  1. Amsterdam Brewhouse: Cabbie says this is one of his favourite places to watch sports during the summer. With a massive two story patio down by Lake Ontario the views are perfect and there are giant TVs. While it may be a little chilly to catch the game outdoors, indoor football watching is just as great. There are giant TV’s around the bar area and according to Cabbie the Smokehouse burger is legit. Plus, you can enjoy a craft brewed beer made in the Amsterdam Brewery.
  2. The Fox and The Fiddle: This bar is in a prime location, very close to the Sky Dome and the ACC so you are right beside the game action. According to Cabbie, the lamb burgers are his personal favourite. Also the décor is more upscale than a lot of sports bars.screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-21-29-pm
  3. Jack Astor’s (John Street): Cabbie loves the atmosphere at this bar. This location is right in the heart of the entertainment district, and during the summer the perfect location to catch the Jays game on their patio, which is heated in the winter time. There is also a giant big screen inside so you will almost feel like you are at the game itself.
  4. Dog & Bear: This bar is located in the very trendy area of Queen West and is always filled with die hard sports fans on game day. There is an old school feel to this bar with wooden screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-21-56-pmbooths and large wooden pillars holding up the roof. Cabbie highly recommends the Chicken Quesadillas and says they have an amazing drink menu at a reasonable cost.
  5. Speakeasy 21: This bar is located right in the heart of the financial district with huge TV’s inside to catch the big game. Make sure to try the beef tacos and fried chicken, Cabbies personal favs.
    1. Dublin Calling. This bar has the big TV’s and the sound to watch the big game, but there is also so much more. Feel like a game of darts? Check. A round of pool? Check. A ping pong show down? Check. Soon the game on the screen won’t be the only game going downscreen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-20-38-pm

Would also love to hear your recommendations of great spots in Toronto to catch the big game? Happy Day of football everyone!

XO

Mia