the other Sydney (Nova Scotia)

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Sydney, Canada has very little in common with its shared name cousin from down under.  For one, it is quite small, being located in the peninsular province of Nova Scotia.  There are no wallabys or koalas, but there is certainly an abundance of natural beauty.

Sydney, more of a community than actual city, is located Cape Breton Island (no relation to Breton crackers, I don’t think).  This island is located at the far Northeastern tip of the province, and has experienced a boom in tourism over the years due to said natural beauty.

This was the place to see some of the most beautiful fall foliage.  I mean, the roads along the famed Cabot Trail and up in the highlands (the Scots were attracted to this place for a reason) were lined with vibrant hues from the frostbitten leaves.

And yes there is another Canadian Sidney from Nova Scotia, but we’ll get to him later…

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oh canada: p.e.i. showing some mussels

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Prince Edward Island, Canada is the smallest province in the great white north.  What it lacks in size, it makes up in character, history and abundance of amazing seafood.

That’s right, the home of P.E.I. mussels.  Sweet, tender, they’re a great little representative for this region of Canada.  The whole island is very charming and idyllic, with farms and vast greenery.  It is the very picture of rustic, pastoral tranquility with a sea salt mist.

put a little mussel into it

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Know before you go: YQB

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Y QB you ask? Y, because we like it.  Jean Lesage International Airport, named after former premier of Quebec is the 11th busiest airport in Canada, serving Quebec City.  J’aime Quebec City, one of the most European cities in North America. J’aime the fact that all Canadian airports start with a Y, except that it can get a little dicey when booking because they’re all very similar codes.

Located in the Quebec province, this airport and Trudeau Montreal are the two airports where French is the primary language.  Flying into this airport, especially during peak Autumn will provide miles and miles of rich reds, oranges and yellows of the fall foliage along the St. Lawrence river below.

This airport, albeit fairly small, is spacious, modern and open on the inside. The hub for WestJet and Air Canada, it’s mostly domestic, with a few direct flights from the states, Caribbean.

Remember ✈️ non, non  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ oui, oui

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (about 7 miles or 11 kilometers outside the city)

Security: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (preclearance available to the US)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not huge, very open and spacious)

Dining: ✈️✈️ (there are literally two cafes and a Starbucks in the whole airport)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️ (not overly crowded, but there could be more stalls/washroom)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi)

Amenities: ✈️✈️ (VIP Lounge, Family Zone, this more of a transit airport)

 

3 days in Toronto: NBA Finals edition

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A year ago, I literally posted that about the move that sent Kawhi up north. Well, apparently that trade certainly paid off as the Toronto Raptors will be playing the GS Warriors (yawn) in the NBA Finals.  No hate towards the Warriors, but aren’t we all sort of rooting for some new blood to take the Larry O’Brien?

Here’s a throwback post all about the great white north:

Oh Canada…

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3 days in Toronto feat. Niagara Falls

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Well, the NBA is making moves.  Toronto is a bit cooler than San Antonio, so be like Kawhi and start planning your trip up north.

As far as bucket lists go, Niagara Falls is typically a popular featured destination, for good reason.  It’s one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world, and it’s right in our own backyard.  *Whispers: the Canadian side is better. Sore-y, not sore-y.

Oh Canada…

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know before you go: Toronto (YYZ)

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Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) is the main airport for the largest city in Canada, Toronto.  Spacious, clean lines, easy to navigate, it gives a great first impression when you’re landing here for the first time, especially because there’s a prominent Tim Hortons on the arrivals level!

There are two terminals, 1 and 3.  Terminal 1 has 58 gates in a whopping 6 million square feet space.  That’s right, 6 million.  Great white north indeed.  This is one of the biggest buildings in the world and also nbd, but Moshe Safdie’s architecture firm had a hand in designing it.  Air Canada (hub), Emirates, and Star Alliance (including United, which was me) operate out of this terminal.

Terminal 3 operates Skyteam and Oneworld alliance flights along with Etihad and WestJet out of 48 gates.

When you’re traveling to the US, there’s separate gates/customs screening which makes the process very streamlined.  Although, I couldn’t get like three kiosks to work before finding one that functioned correctly.

Remember: ✈️ = started from the bottom ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = and now we’re here

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️ (22.5 km from downtown Toronto –traffic can be a bear; there’s also train from the airport to Union Station downtown $CAD12)

Rental Car area: ✈️✈️ (conveniently located in the parking structure across from the terminals, however when returning the car, it’s hard to tell which terminal your airline is located in because there are no signs. I fortunately guessed Terminal 1 correctly.  Moral of the story, check ahead of time to determine from which terminal you’re flying)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (there’s a super fast people mover in terminal 1, Link train connects the two terminals)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not too crowded, flows easily)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (Good variety of chains, Tim Hortons, and local chefs backed eateries.  I spent my last few loonies at Hearth by Lynn Crawford, not sure $CAD20+ for a burger was that well spent but it was decent for a well-done burger)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (very clean and spacious)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (Many lounges.  Nice selection of luxury purveyors: Bally, Burberry, Gucci, Mont Blanc, Ferragamo, Longchamp, Tumi. Hudson’s Bay department store, 7-elevens, nail salons, Sheraton Hotel connected to terminal 3)

3 days in Vancouver

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I’ve been fortunate to travel to Vancouver, BC multiples times in my life for work; it’s one of my favorite destinations because of it’s ease and modern sensibilities.  And the food!

Sitting on the water, it’s an ideal metropolis that offers everything you could want. Spending a few days here will give you a great sampling of all this city has to offer, and it’ll make you want to come back again and again.  And you totally should…

They’re not canuckin’ around here.

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3 days in Toronto feat. Niagara Falls

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As far as bucket lists go, Niagara Falls is typically a popular featured destination, for good reason.  I can’t believe I’d never been until now!  It’s one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world, and it’s right in our own backyard.  *Whispers: the Canadian side is better. Sore-y, not sore-y.

Of all of the places I’ve been in our great neighbor to the north, Canada, I had never made it to the eastern side of the country.  But, with all of my immediate family out of the country for Thanksgiving, no time was better to seize the moment and head across the border to Toronto.  I traded turkey for Tim Hortons, and I regret nothing.

Oh Canada…

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