Toronto Day Trips

Wheelers Pancake House in Lanark County

My wonderful aunt and uncle recently visited Lanark Country, the "Maple Syrup Capital" of Ontario. They had an amazing time at Wheelers, which offers a year-round maple syrup experience. Maple syrup production has wrapped up for the year but fresh maple syrup is always for sale and the delicious pancake house is open seven days a week. At Wheelers Pancake House, a entire bottle of maple syrup arrives the table even when you only order one enormous pancake for $3.75.

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BeaverTails in Blue Mountain

All BeaverTails are delicious. But the Killaloe Sunrise is my favourite. It's covered in brown sugar, and a major squeeze of fresh lemon. Amazing. Rosie :)

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Beavertails on Urbanspoon

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Being on vacation for me means not having to grocery shop, not having to cook, and not having to clean. Amazing meals I had nothing to do with preparing are always one of my favourite things about getting away and in addition to all the fun activities that made our stay at the Westin Trillium House in Blue Mountain so awesome, there was an Oliver & Bonacini right in the hotel. Yes, that meant O&B room service, and ordering it was so much fun... here are some highlights!

Eggs benedict (my fave vacation breakfast dish- who makes this at home?)

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Mac & cheese with Parmigiano-Reggiano (love the crunchy breadcrumb topping)

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Grilled calamari puttanesca with anchovies, capers and black olives:

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A really amazing New York steak with roasted mushroom pudding,

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And really delicious baby back ribs with cornbread pudding, beans and bacon. No one shared.

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Also consumed but not pictured include bacon and Niagara gold cheeseburgers with black truffle aïoli, lots of wine and lots of french fries. Rosie :)

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Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill on Urbanspoon

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Firehall Pizza at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood

Blue Mountain is an awesome place to get away to if you feel like being somewhere where the snow is being celebrated, not just pushed off into another giant dirty pile. We just came back from an activity-packed few days and in addition to lots of delicious room service from Oliver and Bonacini, we picked up pizza for lunch one day from Firehall Pizza Co. in the village. We ordered the Little Devils, just cheese and pepperoni:

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Firehall Pizza is a casual family-friendly place to dine with a lovely cozy atmosphere. Rosie :)

Firehall Pizza Co. on Urbanspoon

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13th Street Winery in Niagara's Twenty Valley

Niagara wine country is something special, and the wineries of the Niagara Escarpment are Ontario treasures. After only about an hour drive from Toronto, you can just pop off the QEW and find yourself at a place like 13th Street Winery.

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This winery is located near Jordan Village, which is situated in the heart of the Niagara Escarpment in an area known as Twenty Valley. It is home to many lovely wineries including Cave Spring Cellars and Flat Rock Cellars. We stopped here on our way back from Great Wolf Lodge (the area is only about a half hour drive from Niagara Falls) thinking it would be fun to pick up some Ontario wine that isn't readily available and heavily marked up at the LCBO. 13th Street Winery wasn't a name we recognized, and we thought we'd check it out.

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What a pretty place, filled with beautiful bottles of wine. We wanted to try some and buy a few, but our toddler did not. He graciously allowed us to browse for a few minutes while he admired the art, but we had to move on before we could ask any questions as they were quite busy with a tasting event. 13th Street Winery had no waterpark and little man has no patience, although he does enjoy a good abstract canvas.

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The address of 13th Street Winery is 1776 Fourth Ave., St. Catharines, Ontario. There is a lovely bakery in addition to the wine store, and they host art exhibits and a busy schedule of winery events. If you are planning a trip to the Falls and are looking for a lovely and affordable hotel with a pool that isn't Great Wolf Lodge, the Courtyard Marriott is just one of the Niagara Falls hotels to choose from. Rosie :)

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Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls

Great Wolf Lodge is a hotel with a giant indoor waterpark right onsite. It's in Niagara Falls, about an hour and a half drive from Toronto. Only guests of the hotel can use the waterpark (which is over 100,000 square-feet) so it isn't crazy busy with huge lines. Unsurprisingly, the Lodge is a very popular destination for families looking for new and exciting ways to amuse the little ones, especially in the cold weather. Every time I mentioned to someone that we were going to Great Wolf Lodge, their first reaction was "Oh you'll have a blast!" and the second reaction was "Bring water shoes, it's really disgusting!" I think all these comments had me expecting a cesspool of filth so I was pleasantly surprised that it really seemed fairly hygienic, at least as hygienic as one can expect from a waterpark mostly overrun with children under 10 years old.

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The Lodge knows how to entertain kids. There is a great arcade with lots of fun brightly blinking games and cute little rides, and a bakery with really yummy-looking sweets.

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The Lodge isn't cheap but you do get value for your money since the waterpark passes are included in the room rate. They often have specials so keep an eye on the deal section of the Great Wolf Lodge website if you are considering it for a little family getaway. Since you are so close to one of the world's greatest natural wonders, I recommend taking a drive by the Falls after you leave- no matter how many times I see them, they never fail to take my breath away. Rosie :)

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