Thanks to my friends at Tourism Toronto, I was invited to attend the Celebrate Ontario Tourism promotional event held at Union Station this morning (#DiscoverON) and I’m so glad I put the alarm on for the early call.I arrived shortly after the Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister for Tourism, Culture & Sport opened the event with a brief address promoting “stay-cations” in our home province of Ontario, something I always love doing (ain’t that right, Port Hope?). So I “hopped on the bus” and toured around the exhibits featuring the province’s top attractions.
First off, I indulged in a deelish butter tart offered by these charming pioneers from Sainte-Marie-Among-the-Hurons which is located only a couple of hours north of Toronto. www.hhp.on.ca Next door, it was shark attack time! The fun and fabulous folks from Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada let me play with their friendly mascot Sharkee although I think they threw me in as tasty shark bait/breakfast ..LOL! www.ripleysaquariumofcanada.com I’m looking fwd to taking a tour of the giant aquarium, conveniently located at the base of the CN Tower, so I can post a blog editorial complete with photos of the real thing…ooooo scary!
While I was “chumming” for sharks, I ran into Lorrie Pella, VP of Visitor Engagement & Northern Mkt’g for Ontario Tourism www.ontariotravel.net What a fun lady she is…here she is (below) with the equally fun and groovy Chef Scott Savoie, Founder & Chief Eating Officer (!) of Toronto Food Tours. www.tofoodtours.comI ran into a couple of knights from Medieval Times, along with this gorgeous bird of prey who posed so elegantly for me. www.medievaltimes.com/plan-your-trip/torontoI swear I then saw Yogi and Boo-Boo take off with a picnic basket so I ran up to Ranger Sheila Wiebe at the Ontario Parks booth to see how I could help. She told me everything was fine and that perhaps I needed to learn all about fishing & camping – frankly, I consider Holiday Inns as camping ….but she introduced me to several of Ontario’s premiere camping locations, including one at Bronte Creek, not far from Toronto, where I could actually “camp” in a yurt (yes, there are flush toilets on-site so this city slicker could cope). www.ontarioparks.com Ranger Sheila’s colleagues (above) were promoting this beautiful waterfall located up north in the region made famous by the legendary Grey Owl in the 1930’s.
Bringing me back to civilization, these guardsmen introduced me to the City of Toronto Historic Sites & Museums www.toronto.ca/museums This weekend is the annual “Toronto Open Doors” festival where the city’s finest old (and new) buildings open their doors to the public for free tours. What fun! Back to this century, I then hung out for a while with the folks from KX96 New Country radio, where DJ Tim Lawrence broadcast live from the show (centre pic). Here he is with tech coordinator Lucas, and further down, there’s the lovely Tanya (Mkt’g Consultant). www.kx96.fm The ladies representing the Ontario Science Centre obviously love their jobs…and who wouldn’t with all that cool nerdy sciencey stuff?! I haven’t visited there since 1980 so I think it’s about time I get my geek on and pay them a visit. Another fun blog to plan, eh? www.OntarioScienceCentre.caNext up was…UP, the Union Pearson Express that takes passengers to and from the airport and downtown Toronto, by-passing all that horrible traffic. www.upexpress.com They were running a pick-n-win contest and although I didn’t win a free trip, I did win a lovely prize pack that included a yummy cookie, thanks ladies. One of the more popular stops was the City Sightseeing Toronto / Mariposa Cruises booth where they gave out tons o’ goodies and showcased many of the downtown Toronto attractions. Jeez, nothing like getting photo-bombed by SCTV’s own Edith Prickly, eh? www.citysightseeingtoronto.com www.mariposacruises.com
Time for a quick refreshment break and I found 2 awesome booths, first the Kawartha Ice Cream folks…love the chair, love the ice creams! www.kawarthadairy.com …then on to the Hawthorne Food & Drink booth for a refreshingly cool glass of rhubarb lemonade. www.hawthorneto.ca And finally….the biggest/tallest attraction in Ontario (sorry, Niagara Falls) – the CN Tower! If you’ve ever taken the elevators all the way to the top, you KNOW how awesome the tower is. Betcha haven’t done the EdgeWalk?! Yes, you get put into an orange jumpsuit then hooked up to safety rails as you take a walk around the outside edge of the CN Tower waaaaaay up top. Definitely an OMG moment in anyone’s life. www.cntower.ca Above, the tower’s Sales, Mkt’g & Communications Manager Krista Kalbfleisch chats with out of town visitors…the woman is definitely considering the Edge Walk – go for it, girl!
So I had a blast and am certainly glad I got up 2hrs earlier than usual to join all the other visitors to this special show-and-tell of Ontario’s leading tourist attractions. Congrats to all at Ontario Tourism and thanks to all the booth reps for extending such warm hospitality.
Check out ALL the Province’s many attractions at www.ontariotravel.net Y’all come back now real soon….Sharkee’s hungry!!!