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Through the eyes of Paula...

As summer rolls around, people all over the city can engage in the fun activity of treating themselves and their families to candy. Although one can get candy year round, the fun of the process can be amplified in the summer because other activities are available – things like outdoor activities, going to the beach, and playing at the park. When shopping for candy, going one step further for some high quality, unique candy can make for a highly enjoyable day. Here are five lovely candy stores in Toronto.

 

1. Sweet Thrills: 399 Roncesvalles Avenue. This candy store is a great one to take kids to (as all candy stores are), because it has board games by the entrance, a wall of Jelly Bellys, balloons, and colourful candies everywhere. The store also has a section dedicated to British imported candy, and will put together candy grams and balloon bunches for special occasions.

2. Sugar Mountain: 2291 Yonge Street. This is another bulk candy store where one can stock up on candies of all kinds. This store has an impressive collection of Jelly Bellys, local and imported candies, and novelty items.

3. The Nutty Chocolatier: 2179 Queen Street East. Although known for chocolate, this store also offers lots of hard candies and novelties, jars of specialty licorice, and a selection of no-sugar-added sweets. The store also boasts a number of imported treats, including British saltwater taffy, Tayto Irish crisps, and Walkers Scottish shortbread.

4. The Candy Bar: 849 College Street. With a wide selection of chocolate, imported sweets, and drinks, this store has become a place for anyone wanting to indulge in life’s little pleasures. The store’s owner, Paola Giavedoni, wanted to share her passion for chocolate and international candy, and to offer customers an inexpensive escape.

5. Bulk Mine: 655 Yonge Street. In addition to an extensive selection of sweets, this store also has other bulk items like spices and nuts. It has chewy candies, a small collection of British candies, and retro sweets like candy buttons and Big League Chew.

Through the eyes of Paula...

For people who invest in flowers for a nice summer front or backyard, the flowers listed here would provide a wonderful addition to a garden. In addition, the flowers will attract bees, which are crucial in keeping the flowers well and abundant. Here are some suitable flowers to plant this summer.

1. Foxglove Beardtongue: Bloomingin June, the foxglove beardtongue is a tall-stemmed plant that grows about three feet high. The white flowers are tubular and long, providing nectar to honey bees and hummingbirds. The name “beardtongue” comes from the appearance of the hair on the stamen within the flower.

2. Prairie Crocus: The provincial flower of Manitoba, the prairie crocus is a low-growing plant with single stems for each bud. The flowers are either a bright blue or purple with six pointed petals. Flourishing in the late spring and early summer, the flower’s leaves are thin and divided into many segments. The best part of the prairie crocus, however, is that it’s a long-lived perennial, spreading into multiple flowers the longer it remains planted.

3. Wild Chives: From the same family as garlic, chives are easily grown herbs that thrive across the country. The stems are long and thin, but grow in large clusters close to the ground. On each stem, a near-circular purple bloom will attract honey bees during the spring, and remarkably, the plant will repel many unwanted insects. When harvested, the stems can be minced into salads and dips that have a spicy onion-like flavour.

4. Lowbush Blueberry: The lowbush blueberry is farmed commercially in Canada, but also grows wild in pine forests, as the needles provide acidic soil. Although the bush doesn’t flourish in its first few years, in later years, it will provide abundant flowers as well as delicious and easily picked blueberries.

5. Red Raspberry: Like the lowbush blueberry, the raspberry is farmed all over the world, but also grows wild all over Canada. Typically, the plant won’t flower until its second or third year, after which it will offer soft white blossoms with rounded petals. After pollination, there will be an abundance of fruit in the late summer or early autumn, ripe for harvesting.

Through the eyes of Paula...

As many Canadians know, Canada is full of beautiful places from coast to coast. Cities and towns, landmarks both man-made and natural, and islands and lakes populate this wonderful country. Canada welcomes travellers from all parts of the world to visit and enjoy its amazing scenery, but all Canadians at some point in their lives should have the experience of travelling around multiple places in Canada as well. Canada has so much to offer, so narrowing down a list of Canadian destinations is difficult. Here are just five exciting and vibrant places in Canada to explore this year.

1. Fogo Island, Newfoundland: Fogo Island is Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest island, with a population of almost 3000. A large part of the landscape is the vast, untamed wilderness of rocks, crags, and rushing water. But in the middle of all that, standing in stark contrast to untouched nature, is a modern, sustainable, state-of-the-art inn. Dreamed up by Canadian business woman and Fogo Island native Zita Cobb, this luxurious inn provides a comfortable, colourful, and picturesque stay in a place with majestic views. Fogo Island allows travelers to experience a fascinating mix of old and new, rustic and sophisticated, and bargains and world-class luxury.

2. Toronto, Ontario: Toronto remains one of Canada’s most popular destinations for international tourists, though perhaps less so for many Canadians living elsewhere in the country. Toronto has a lot going for it, and there is always a variety of exciting events going on – some of which even garner international attention. Sports have also recently become very prominent on the scene, with the immense success of the Raptors and the promise of the Blue Jays providing many successful games for viewers to relax and enjoy on beautiful days. One cannot go wrong with travelling to Toronto, as the city provides good culture, food, entertainment, sports, and many other fun activities.

3. Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia: For those who love taking road trips as their main means of travel, the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia offers stunning views and an exciting, pleasant driving experience. Along the Cabot Trail, there is a plethora of things to do and see, so that a drive that in the past could be completed in one day is now a full vacation experience. Here, one can find the Cabot Cliffs Golf Course, the Skyline Trail, boat races, and cycling tours. The Cabot Trail also cuts through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and passes the beautiful Ingonish Beach. All of these wonderful sights and activities would make for an unforgettable trip.

4. Calgary, Alberta: Calgary is an ideal destination for music lovers. The National Music Centre at Studio Bell, a hub for music and technology, will be opening this year. It holds over 2000 rare instruments, exhibits, and sound equipment from Canadian music memorabilia. There is also performance space for collaborations, community cultivation, engagements, and exchanges. With the Juno Awards recently held here, Calgary is a current hotspot for arts and culture activities. Calgary also has a culinary scene, and the public art there is worth checking out.

5. Tofino, British Columbia: Lovers of the wilderness and adventure will thrive in Tofino’s gorgeous nature and community vibe. Tofino started as fairly anonymous within the tourism world, but has grown into a destination adored by travelers around the world. The Wickaninnish Inn, located just outside of Tofino, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and the community is reflecting on its growth throughout the years. Tofino boasts an increasing amount of fine restaurants and spas, and the locals celebrate the luxury of the surroundings more than any material things. One can really get to know the community in Tofino, as well as its culture and history.

Through the eyes of Paula...

Summer is a beautiful, inspiring time of year for people, because nature is in full bloom, animals are lively, and the whole world is bustling with activity and excitement. Such beauty can spark contemplation and introspection among those who marvel at the world around them. Below are some evocative literary quotes about summer that express various qualities of the summertime and inspire readers to reflect on the season.

 

  1. “It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” ―Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

  2. “When people went on vacation, they shed their home skins, thought they could be a new person.” ―Aimee Friedman, Sea Change

  3. “In early June, the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.” – John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

  4. “Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil.” ―Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

  5. “In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.” ―Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

  6. “The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” – Wallace Stevens, The House was Quiet and the World was Calm

  7. “The castle grounds were gleaming in the sunlight as though freshly painted; the cloudless sky smiled at itself in the smoothly sparkling lake, the satin-green lawns rippled occasionally in a gentle breeze: June had arrived.” ―J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  8. “The morning heat had already soaked through the walls, rising up from the floor like a ghost of summers past.” ―Erik Tomblin, Riverside Blues

  9. “The summer night was settling upon the neighborhood like a dark lace veil, casting dappled shadows on the roofs and sidewalks and lawns.” ―Victoria Kahler, Luisa Across the Bay

  10. “The spring rains woke the dormant tillers, and bright green shoots sprang from the moist earth and rose like sleepers stretching after a long nap. As spring gave way to summer, the bright green stalks darkened, became tan, turned golden brown. The days grew long and hot. Thick towers of swirling black clouds brought rain, and the brown stems glistened in the perpetual twilight that dwelled beneath the canopy. The wheat rose and the ripening heads bent in the prairie wind, a rippling curtain, an endless, undulating sea that stretched to the horizon.” ―Rick Yancey, The Infinite Sea

  11. “Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.” ―Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

  12. “Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.” —Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

  13. “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ―John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

  14. “All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” —L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Through the eyes of Paula...

Just to remind everyone, Father’s Day is approaching. Depending on your dad’s personality and character, he may prefer either material gifts or activities. Those activities could include quality time with loved ones, or quality time in a solitary setting. If your dad is particularly outdoorsy or values experiences more than objects, then here are six Father’s Day activities that many dads are sure to love.

1: Golfing – This quintessential Father’s Day activity is beloved because to many dads, it is like a relaxing getaway from the regular routines of their lives. A few hours spent in a grassy area working on golf techniques and having little conversations here and there is a great atmosphere for fun and bonding.

2: Baseball (or any sports game) – Whether your dad prefers to go watch a game on a leisurely, warm day or play catch in a park, you can’t go wrong with planning a day of sports activities.

3: Camping, hiking, fishing – These activities are likely to occur in the same location, which is why they are grouped together. Many men enjoy the rough wilderness of nature, so venturing through it will ignite your dad’s passion for nature while also providing a calm, solitary aspect that can revitalize his spirits and provide a refreshing getaway.

4: Car Show – Another activity is to get deep into the world of cars – old vintage gems or hip modern innovations. If your dad enjoys cars, then going to a car show with him would be akin to taking him to a candy store. Cars of all types will surround him, and it will be a great time to enjoy the cars, marvel at them, and even become educated in their history.

5: Brewery – Most dads love to enjoy a beer either regularly or every now and then. Visiting a brewery will open your dad’s eyes to the different options and variations out there, and will allow him to get a bit fancy and explore his tastes.

6: Spa Day – If your dad would appreciate a day of pampering, then he will enjoy a trip to the spa. More men are visiting spas, and spas are in turn offering more services tailored specifically to men. He can receive a massage, sit in the sauna or the bath, and have rest and relaxation for Father’s Day.

Through the eyes of Paula...

The arrival of summer brings with it a desire to fire up the barbecue and fill the air with the smell of delicious, flavourful meats and other grilled foods. When you can’t get to the barbecue yourself, or when the hours of smoking are too long a wait, you will want to check out high-quality barbecue restaurants where the meat is seriously good. Here are five of the best barbecue restaurants in Toronto:

  1. Barque Smokehouse: Located on Roncesvalles, this restaurant is very popular within the city and is well-known for its traditional BBQ brisket, ribs, and wings. It is a nice small neighbourhood spot, and it has family night on Sundays.

  1. The Stockyards: This restaurant, located on St. Clair West, has consistently been named one of the best for barbecue in Toronto. It serves wood-smoked BBQ, and it has the only wood fired cooker in Toronto. This means that certain dishes are not available 24/7, but that is the price to pay for the best quality meat. You get it when it’s available, and enjoy the taste experience.

  1. Big Crow: Found on Dupont St. hidden behind Rose and Sons, this inventive barbecue restaurant offers a selection that changes seasonally. Communal picnic tables keep the outdoor cookout vibe alive year round, and eating with your hands and sharing is highly encouraged.

  1. Lou Dawg’s: Located in the Ryerson area, on Gerrard St. East, this smokehouse pub has all the ingredients for a good barbecue restaurant: smoked meats, Southern dishes, and poutine served late into the night. This would be an excellent choice for university students.

  1. Electric Mud BBQ: This stylish place is located on Brock Avenue in the Parkdale area, and boasts cool features like rock music and picnic tables. It has a Southern feel, and uses both the fryer and the cooker. Eating here will definitely prove to be a unique experience, with the distinct atmosphere and food.

Through the eyes of Paula...

With the summer season closely approaching, many people will want to start planning their summer vacation (or just daydream about visiting exotic locations while doing important real-life work). Either way, travel is moving to the forefront of people’s minds, and many would like to know about what places are popular and trendy. There are gems all over the world – some hidden, some well-known, and some emerging into popularity. Here are five countries that are buzz-worthy for this year:

  1. Japan: Japan is a well-loved favourite by millions of people, and has been so for a very long time. You can experience almost any kind of scenario here: the hustle and bustle of city life, or the serene natural landscapes. Japan’s rich culture, both modern and ancient, permeates throughout the country, and there is never a shortage of things to experience. One excellent location in Japan is Kyoto. It used to be Japan’s capital city, and it has an abundance of historical significance and lovely temples.

  2. Nicaragua: Not many people think of this Central American city as an obvious tourist destination. But it is slowly gaining popularity as an alternative to the more well-known Costa Rica. Nicaragua is more affordable, and has not yet been overrun with large hotel and restaurant chains. One of the best spots to go here is Granada, a picturesque city that brims with nightlife, festivals, and drinks such as Macua, the country’s popular rum-based drink.

  3. Jordan: This Middle Eastern country has not enjoyed a lot of fame and recognition over the years, but now is its chance to shine. It is best known for being home to Petra, an ancient city carved into the desert mountains. But other features of Jordan’s landscape include the Dead Sea, beaches and coral reefs on the Red Sea, and Wadi Rum – a Martian-looking landscape. While some surrounding countries have experienced dangers, Jordan has remained a safe place, meaning that its travelers will likely get to view breathtaking sights uncluttered by too many people.

  4. Nepal: This Asian country’s tourism is on the rise after the series of earthquakes of the past. Its historic landmarks are slowly being restored, and tourist destinations such as trekking routes are reopening for the adventurous travelers. Home to the incredible Himalayas, as well as jungles and other varied landscapes, Nepal is a must-visit destination for any traveler with a desire for adventure.

  5. Romania: Another country that is frequently overlooked in favour of more popular countries, Romania actually has a lot going for it, if people take the time to educate themselves about what it has to offer. It is home to multicoloured medieval cities, the Carpathian mountains, and multiple historic towns and mystical castles. For those who love road trips, Romania’s geography lends itself to just such an activity, with its winding tracks leading into beautiful wilderness landscapes. Another fascinating aspect is being able to view Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic architecture.

 

Through the eyes of Amy...

Tomorrow is the start of 2016, and with it comes New Year's resolutions. However, everyone needs to be motivated to fulfill their resolutions every now and then. Here are 12 motivational quotes for the next 12 months of the year!

1.Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” - Oprah Winfrey

2. “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” - Helen Keller

3.Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” - Albert Einstein

4.Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear.” - Mark Twain

5. “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” - Pablo Picasso

6. “Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” - John D. Rockefeller

7. “It is our choices that show what we truly are – far more than our abilities.” - J. K. Rowling

8.I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Thomas Edison

9. The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.” - Bruce Feirstein

10.All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” - Walt Disney

11.Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” - Vaibhav Shah

12.The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” Mark Caine

 

 

Through the eyes of Suzy...

How many of those New Years Resolutions lists do you have? And how many of them did you keep? Probably not many. It's okay! Most people don't keep up with them for one whole year (some even just forget about them).

This year, to make this different, I am going to share with you three tips that I heard from a friend who always seems to be on top of her resolutions list.

Number one, write down realistic, short-term goals. Instead of writing “I'm going to lose all my weight and look good in my business dress,” write down something like “I'm going to get a membership at the gym and work out x-number of times a week. As a reward, I will give myself x-reward.” This is much easier to carry out and stick to throughout the whole year!

Number two, instead of writing about a change in your personality, research activities or groups you can join to gradually help make that change. “I'm going to be more outgoing” won't help much, but if you write “I'm going to join the local debate club or I'm going to join a local sports team,” you are more likely to be motivated to carry out your year goal.

Number three, record your challenges. For the weight loss challenge, take pictures, make videos, do something that will make you remember and keep you motivated throughout the year. For the personality one, again, take videos or pictures and make an album out of it! Or simply make an Instagram account so you can easily access them!

 

 No matter what you do, the important thing is to make the resolutions list realistic and simplistic.  

Through the eyes of Suzy...

When we were kids, there was that one day of the year when we excitedly anticipated a decorated Christmas tree full of wrapped presents near the bottom. As we got older, however, some of us lost that joyful feeling of guessing what was inside that colorful Christmas gift.

I realize now that I have entered my 20s how important it is to maintain that brightness from our childhood. Work, financial duties, and just daily challenges slowly shift our mindset away from appreciating what we have to questioning why we don't have things in our lives. It's so easy to remember all the good things we have in life and be thankful for them! With the pressure of getting a job mounting day after day, I often lose track of my happiness and always ask, “why do I not have everything down yet?”

This Christmas, I plan to feel differently. And if you are reading this on the morning of Christmas Eve, you can join me on this day of appreciation and thankfulness before Christmas hits in the morning! I'm going to start off the day by making breakfast for my family members and hugging each and every one of them. It may sound cheesy, but nothing's better than a simple hug to show just how much you appreciate them. For the rest of the day, I'm going to try to make it the best that it can be for everyone, including myself. If you surround yourself with positive and happy people, you can easily become influenced as well!

It really doesn't matter what exactly you do, what matters most is that you do whatever it takes to be appreciative, thankful, and happy with the people you love and care about. Forget about the presents and the goodies for the day and just focus on the quality time you have with your family and friends.