Taste of the Danforth, Toronto

After a few years of living in Toronto I am proud to say I have finallEllas Meat Markety been to Krinos Taste of the Danforth! Celebrating its 21st year with an expected 1.5 million+ attendees, this incredible festival is put on primarily by volunteers from the local community. Community has always been at the core of the festival’s success since its creation back in 1994 . A group of restaurateurs collaboratively decided to work together to attract as many people as possible to try their authentic Greek cuisine instead of advertising individually. They pooled together their resources and set up tasting tables for visitors to try as many different restaurants as they choose.

As we tasted our way through the street it was Ellas Meat Market that stole the show. This family run business has been treating their customers like family since it was established in 1977. We were lucky to have gone shortly after lunch hour to miss out on the super long wait lines. In saying this, that means we did get the summer sun at its strongest and went home with a true Canadian suntan.

Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival

Every spring, members from the small town of Elmvale Elmvale Maple Syrup Festivalwake up from hibernation to the smell of pancakes and one of Ontario’s best maple syrup festivals. Maple syrup vendors line the streets, handing out samples from this year’s batch. If you’re new to this world of liquid gold, a Sugar Bush tour is a must! This year you could visit Greenlaw Maples or Lalonde’s Sugar Bush and children under 12 can visit for free. Here you learn about all the hard work that goes into making maple syrup, how much sap it takes to make a one litre bottle of syrup, and are taught why you must always refrigerate it.

No small town festival is complete without a main stage featuring local talent, a log sawing competition and naturally, a pancake eating contest. After the initial sugar rush wears off you enjoy the fact that spring is here and summer is just around the corner.

Travelling With Mom

Some of the best memories my sisters and I have with our mom are while travelling. Whether this was a surprise trip to Disney, a road trip throughout eastern Canada or tagging along with her on a business trip to Montreal, mom always made the trip special for us…and our exchange students too!

We love travelling with our mom, however there are a few things we’ve learned throughout the years regarding her travel preferences for a smooth trip. For example, if you are travelling with your mom for an athletic tournament and your team is terrible, make sure there is a place for her to pick up an excellent cup of coffee so she can make it through the game.

Alison DurtnallWe also learned the following while travelling with mom:

1) It takes an extremely long time to cook a roast in the oven of a motorhome

2) Make sure you have a backup photo of everything your mom wants a photo of because hers are guaranteed to be blurry

2) Underpack your suitcase as your mom will overpack hers and then purchase items while travelling that she will then need to store in your suitcase

3) Our mom can arrange an awesome picnic so definitely have a picnic day while travelling and catch up on some traditional family time in a park

We love you mom, never stop travelling and we will continue to tag along. Happy Mothers Day! 

Marketo Marketing Nation Summit, San Francisco 2014

I recently had the privilege to represent Marketo Marketing Nation SummitFlight Centre Canada at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco. Surrounded by 6,000+ fellow marketers from around the world, this three day conference stirred up innovation in the nation, highlighting the latest trends and newest technologies resulting in a sophisticated marketing automation system. Hillary Clinton, the keynote speaker, addressed a number of different issues including; equality of wages, the role of social media in revolution, freedom of the internet and dropped one of the biggest hints yet that she’ll be running for president with a simple “I am thinking about it,” when asked of her 2016 intentions. Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, reminded attendees that you can be creative with a little bit of money and the value of partnerships. She stated that the problems we are trying to solve today are too large for one business to figure out or conquer on their own.

With every large marketing event these action packed days are filled with the best kind of parties. The Marketo Gala was held at the Exploratorium, down on Pier 15 and was the party of the year. Thank you to the brilliant Marketo team for hosting this incredible event and connecting marketers, partners and thought leaders from around the world.

Exploratorium San Francisco

Florence Italy

Tuscany Italy

Tuscany Italy is filled with extraordinary paintings, sculptures, architectural masterpieces and an outstanding countryside. As we left France and drove to Pisa, Italy we immediately felt a Pisa Italysense of comfort. Pisa is a small town that you can easily get around on by foot. As we approached Piazza dei Miracoli, the Cathedral Square, we quickly became entertained by the number of people posing with the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you do plan on creating a photo where you are ‘preventing the tower from falling’ may I suggest the person with the camera move to get the appropriate angle and not the subject. The Bapistry, Campo Santo and Duomo di Pisa are equally as impressive as the leaning tower and worth checking out.

We stayed on a campsite just outside of Florence, the capital of Tuscany Italy. The camp sites in Italy are excellent with buses that will take you into the city centers, this is definitely the more affordable option. Sculpture Florence ItalyFlorence has some of the greatest artistic treasures of the world and if you plan on seeing them all you will need more then a day. My favourite sculpture in the city was Cellini’s Perseus and Medusa placed outside Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s city hall. The artist placed his signature in the form of his face on the back of the helmet and his girlfriends head as Medussa. It was unacceptable for a sculpture to sign their work however they often found a clever way of doing so. The amount of outdoor art in Florence is incredible including a replica of Michelangelo’s David. A must see for art lovers.

Nice France

French Riviera + Monaco

Ah the Côte d’Azur, also known as the French Riviera, is truly a place for the rich and famous to show off their wealth along the Mediterranean coast. With 300 days of sunshine a year it is the perfect Monacospot to hit the beach or ‘park your yacht’ if that’s how you role. We stayed in Nice and toured around the area via bus, including driving part of the old Formula One track. We were most amazed by the unnecessary amount of wealth situated in the Principality of Monaco. Monaco has the world’s highest per-capita GDP and is an independent state surrounded by France. The hotel beside the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco costs 40,000 euro per night for the top floor, in case you were planning on staying the night. They even placed crystals in one of the tunnels road so it would sparkle as you drove through it.

Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Impressive waterfalls, secluded valleys and stunning mountain peaks surround Lauterbrunnen, the largest nature conservation area in Switzerland. Lauter Brunnen means manyTrummelbach Falls Switzerland fountains, representing the 72 waterfalls in the valley. Staubbach Falls is one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe plunging almost 300m. Trümmelbach Falls is hidden within the mountain and can be heard from a distance. Up to 20,000 liters of glacier water falling per second has carved through solid rock sculpting beautiful formations in the mountains over thousands of years. It is a series of 10 waterfalls and a UNESCO world heritage site.

We spent the day climbing 1650m up to Mürren, a cozy mountain village. Mürren is at the foot Hiking in Lauterbrunnen Switzerlandof Schilthorn, made famous by the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If you don’t have as much time or want to be able to move the following day there are lifts and trains you can take up the mountain. The walk was beautiful with natural springs everywhere containing some of the freshest water I’ve ever tasted! We stayed in cabins to add to the outdoors experience. While in Switzerland we also made sure to have some fondu and their delicious chocolate.