Instagram @jayeffex
Hotspot

Brandon’s Hotspots – Toronto

For his birthday, Brandon shows us his favourite spots in a city he knows really well, Toronto.

BeHot Yoga Studio

As an athlete, I’ve always been ardent about stretching and yoga. So, ever since my Uncle Paul opened up this studio in Toronto about seven years ago, I fell in love with it even more!

When Paul first took over this studio, it was strictly Bikram yoga, which is still my favourite; however, now he offers Vinyasa and Yin classes, as well as a new fitness craze called Inferno Hot Pilates! I have yet to try the Pilates, but I hear it’s an awesome workout.

Whenever I visit Toronto, this is an automatic stop for me. As stated, I have a soft spot for the Bikram hot yoga, so that’s usually my go-to. After all the working out, training, long practices, and game battles I’ve had in my life, Bikram yoga is certainly up there with all the rigorous challenges my body has endured.

Leaving the yoga studio after a 60 or 90-minute Bikram class is a feeling I cannot explain. The detox you receive and the perseverance required are simply like no other; and the reward your body feels is equally incomparable.

Another thing I love about this studio is the people who work there. My uncle and his teaching staff are some of the most beautiful and kind individuals you will encounter. You will immediately feel like a welcomed part of the family!

So, if you’re ever in Toronto and looking for a spot to get your yoga fix, check out my Uncle Paul’s studio: behotyogatoronto.com

I’ll leave you with a quote from their website :

The start of the journey is simple…

Practice.

Let’s challenge the credo that “practice makes perfect” and suggest something else entirely:

Practice makes progress. Progress creates change.

Change leads to…

360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower

The CN Tower, one of  the world’s most iconic landmarks. Definitely Canada’s #1  Most would think it’s very touristy, which is true; however, I think the restaurant gets overlooked or forgotten by those looking for a memorable culinary experience.

I say this because I totally forgot about it! As a child, I made a few trips up the CN tower to check out the views and, on one occasion, my family and I had lunch in 360. I was pretty young, though, and don’t remember too much. I likely just ordered some fries and marvelled at the view.

I had been back to Toronto hundreds of times since, but never went back up. Until last year. Maripier and I were in town and thinking of somewhere to eat. We decided on 360, and it was a perfect idea, especially since MP had never been up the tower.

Now, just a heads up: The 360 Restaurant is a revolving restaurant that completes a full rotation once every 72 minutes, at a height of 351 meters (1,152 feet). It can take a few minutes to get used to it! The view (OF this world) is OUT of this world. It’s an experience everyone should have. You can get the city-view of Toronto for your appetizer and then the beautifully broad scope of Lake Ontario during your main course!

We were initially skeptical of how good the food would be, but we were pleasantly surprised. I had the Rack of Lamb and MP had the Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli. Oh, and it’s fair to say that we may have had enough appetizers to do one full revolve. Busted. 😉 But hey, it was all delicious.

Next time you’re visiting Toronto, don’t just look at the CN tower from afar, mosey on up for a great dining experience. Definitely a one-of-a-kind, “head-in-the-clouds” experience.

Instagram @cntower
Instagram @cntower

Toronto Islands

This is definitely a summer time spot, but always an amazing time! The Toronto Islands are a chain of small islands     just south of mainland Toronto. Access to the island is by ferry or water taxis. Once you’ve arrived, there is plenty to do! Even if you’re not an outdoors type of person, you won’t regret this trip. The scenery is beautiful. The islands are lush green and the view while heading back into the city is spectacular.

Renting bikes on the island is highly recommended; cruising the islands along the winding paths is a wonderful getaway from the everyday. The absence of cars is refreshing. You can also rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boats to cruise out onto the beautiful blue of Lake Ontario.

Oh, and get this: there’s an amusement park! Now, you won’t be going down any huge roller coasters but this is a very cool addition for the family to enjoy! There are over 30 rides that kids (and adults who still enjoy behaving like kids – ahem) can enjoy. Again, busted. 😉

There’s lots of food on the island as well so you don’t have to pack a lunch, but you definitely can. There are numerous places to plop down and have your own little island picnic.

If the amusement park isn’t your game and leaves you less than amused, you can also just relax at the picturesque Hanlan’s point Beach. I’ve cruised over on the very short ferry ride just to get away from the big city living and to get that Caribbean vacation feel. It’s amazing how this place can make you feel like your on the other side of the world.

This is a rejuvenating Toronto summer-spot. Also, if at all possible, try to make friends with someone in Toronto that might have their own boat.

Then you can cruise around in some real style!

Instagram @seetorontonow