Tag: Canada 150

20 Fun Things To Do In Hamilton, Ontario With Families!

By: Grace Cross, Editor of The Baby Spot

Twitter

Originally Posted Here

Just over a half an hour from Toronto, Ontario, lies Hamilton, a city that is flourishing so quickly it is not to be missed. After recent price hikes in the Toronto and greater Toronto market, we find Toronto city ex pats settling in Hamilton. A steel city from its past, Hamilton is in a flux of change of construction and rebuilding. Many chefs, artists and businesses are flourishing here and now Hamilton’s many secrets are being discovered.

Whether you are a local looking for something to do, to a tourist from outside of the city or abroad, Hamilton does not disappoint. The locals are incredibly friendly, proud and knowledgeable about their beautiful city, the architecture is beautiful and there are so many hidden gems in this city that one article will not do it justice. Here are the fun things to do in Hamilton.

Our list is everything we have found to do in Hamilton so far. There will always be more things to do as the city is changing. If something pops up, we will add to this list, but if you have discovered something great and we have missed it, please leave your ideas in the comment section below!

We have included things to see and do both for families and for parents who are looking for a child free time. Everyone can benefit from this list!

WATERFALLS

This is no secret to the locals but a big surprise to those visiting. Hamilton has over 100 waterfalls in the city that snake along the Bruce Trail into the Niagara Peninsula. Yes, each waterfall is breathtaking and a must see. From Albion Falls to the Devil’s Punch Bowl, this makes a perfect date or family hike! Bring a picnic or just hike to see the falls and go down the mountain to enjoy a nice lunch in the city. Whatever you choose, you will not be disappointed.

It is said that Hamilton is the waterfall capital of the world! This is a major attraction for both tourists and locals alike! Depending on the waterfall, the hiking trails range in difficulty. Not only will you see a breathtaking waterfall but also experience some of Southern Ontario’s beautiful nature walks on the famous Bruce Trail. Hamilton has so much natural beauty and now you and your family can spend days exploring all of its scenic waterfalls!

DUNDURN CASTLE

This castle is breathtaking and overlooks the bay! Whether you want a historical adventure inside this beautiful castle or to walk its grounds with your family, you will not be disappointed, no matter what time of year it is! We recommend seeing Dundurn Castle during every season because it is so beautiful.

This Italian style villa was built in the 1830s, learn more about the family who lived on the upstairs and servants who lived below. The Duchess of Cornwall is the museum’s Patron and also, the great, great, great granddaughter of Sir Allan MacNab, the former home owner.

If you come on a Saturday afternoon in the summer, you will most likely see many wedding photos taking place in and around this beautiful castle. We love going in the morning or in the evening for a nice stroll.

The tours are not to be missed! Regular tours are there to show visitors the grounds. Learn a piece of local and Canadian history! Dundurn Castle is either a perfect family day or a day date with your hubby.

BAYFRONT PARK

A great family outing! Bayfront Park is to be explored. Right in the heart of the city lies a beautiful park that is easy to walk (bring the little ones who have just started to walk or the elderly) the trails are easy to navigate and the paved walkways are wonderful for walking or bike riding. Find a quiet spot and teach your little one to ride their bike or bring a picnic lunch and find the beautiful gazebo by the bay. Did you find it?

A great spot for family photos, Bayfront Park is not to be missed. Parking is free! What a find considering this is a big city.

HMCS Haida National Historic Site

History buffs and attraction lovers alike, this is your place! The HMCS Haida National Historic Site is located at 658 Catharine Street North, Pier 9, right by the Lakeshore. This WW2 Tribal Class destroyer is now not only a memorial of the war but a floating museum! You can choose a tour or a self-guided tour, which comes with a booklet to show you everything that you will need. The self-guided tour is very easy to follow and is good for families who have children who may want to go a little slower or faster.

Are you a war buff? Interested in something different to see? Check out this HMCS Haida, it is a historical treasure, resting in front of the city.

GAGE PARK

On Gage Avenue South and Main Street East lies beautiful park lands. This is a fine example of what a city park should look like. This 10th century era park is a gem for generations to enjoy. It has a splash pad for the children in the summer, a beautiful rose garden and a Children’s Museum located on site. The fountains around the park are gorgeous. Absolutely stunning and make for great family photos.

Gage Park is beautiful for a date night walk or a great place to go for a family bike ride or walk. There is so much to see and do this place is not to be missed.

CANADIAN WARPLANE HERITAGE MUSEUM

It’s time to go up the mountain now to the Canadian Warplane and Heritage Museum. Located next to Hamilton airport, this museum is not to be missed! From heritage planes that our Canadian WW2 vets rode in to a flight simulator (we crashed accidentally into the city of Hamilton, we are not meant to be pilots) this is an adventure for the whole family!

Some of the guides are people who lived through World War 2 and sometimes share personal accounts of what it was like. All of the staff are extremely knowledgeable. For an extra fee, you can be a passenger and fly in some of these amazing planes!

Children and adults alike can climb into some of the planes to see what it was like flying these across Europe. There are so many things to look at and so much to be proud of. We took our one year old here and she had a blast! She was amazed at the planes and felt like such a big girl when she climbed into a cock pit. This is truly a great place for the whole family. Go early to avoid the crowds and enjoy! Upper James is just a short drive away for lunch.

THE JAMES STREET NORTH ART CRAWL

It is up to us as parents to inspire our children. The James Street North Art Crawl is the place to do it! We love Hamilton as it is big city with a small town feel.

Every second Friday of each month between King William and Barton Street is the art crawl. All of the galleries in the area open the same night and stores stay open from 7-11pm.

Go in and out of galleries and events and see what is inspiring Hamilton. This is a very relaxed event and you can go with your children or friends to enjoy this amazing night on the town!

WEIR’S LAVENDER AND APIARY

We love this place. Lavender fields in Hamilton! Located in Dundas Ontario (one of the towns that joined Hamilton years ago) is Weird Lavender and Apiary. Take beautiful photos in the lavender fields or speak to the family about beekeeping. Don’t be afraid, these are the friendliest bees we have ever encountered. Walk away knowledgeable about the bee industry and which bees you may encounter that were brought here from Europe.

Learn how we should try to plan indigenous plants to Southern Ontario to keep these mild mannered bees a live.

Weir’s Lavender and Apiary has both French and English lavender which means you have the edible more subtle lavender (English) and the stronger lavender (French). Have your children play in the striking purple lavender fields, take photos and enjoy.

There is also a great gift shop full of keepsakes for the whole family!

VALENS LAKE SKATING TRAIL

We want to include things you can do in Hamilton all year around and just because the winter months are long in Canada does not mean you should not visit and stay inside!

Valens Lake Skating Trail is something out of a dream. Walk, or, ahem, skate through the woods. There is nothing more Canadian than lacing up your skates, the smell of pine and the crisp cold snowy air.

Be surrounded in pine and spruce trees as this old camp ground road is recreated into a 425 meter skating path at Waterdown Rotary Memorial Park.

It’s a great place for the family to skate, to suggest for a photo opportunity (think engagements or engagement photos for family members) and more!

ART GALLERY OF HAMILTON

We are obsessed with the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The second floor is free for all to see with some famous Canadian paintings. There is also a structure of a mini mega city surrounding a car that will make the children fall in love with museums! This is a great place to educate the whole family on paintings, sculpture and more!

The whole museum is free on Fridays and they have so many classes for children. We love the café and their gift shop is not to be missed. From fun little artifacts to buying paintings, this is a fun way to get something for yourself or your family that you will always remember. Go to this museum regularly as you will always learn something new, or better yet, become a member.

THE LAKEFRONT

The Lakefront is a popular destination for Hamiltonians and visitors alike! Connected with Burlington’s Lake front, park at Spenser Park in Burlington and walk, ride or roller blade down the beautiful lakefront trail. If you feel a little hungry, stop off at Hutch’s, a famous restaurant in Hamilton that has been there for decades. Go inside and see the amazing 50s diner that is so popular and grab some comfort food to go. Stay inside and eat with a beautiful Lakefront view or continue on your adventure and see how far you can go on the trail!

WILD WATERWORKS

Need to cool off from a hot day in the city? Wild Waterworks is a perfect way to have a great day with your whole family! From the wave pool to the little squirt works for the kids, your whole family will be busy all day long! Make it easier on everyone by booking a cabana and head to the Easy River for some coveted rest and relaxation.

If you’re looking for a discount, simply go after 4pm and enjoy the park at a cheaper rate. For all others, go early so you can have the whole day to get your slide on!

TALL SHIPS

The tall ships are a sight to be seen for the whole family! These majestic ships are at Pier 8, where the 11 vessels follow each other before they dock. They offer free deck tours and harbour cruises, live music on the dock and more. Your children will admire the beautiful ships as they grace the bay.

WHITE HERN HISTORIC HOUSE AND GARDEN

What a hidden gem right downtown! The White Hern House and Garden is filled with all of the original things from the families that lived in their house. If you frequent historic house, you know that this is not always the case. The staff is amazing and they know how to make this tour even more fun!

Hear about some tales and folklore about the locals or admire the fascinating objects of how people once lived in Hamilton. How did this property stay in the hands of the same family for more than a hundred years? You are just going to have to visit!

VALENS CONSERVATION AREA

Going up to Flambourough is an amazing day trip for the family or with friends. Valens Lake has a great camping ground with 225 campsites and 125 of those states have electrical and water hook ups! Spend the night in nature and enjoy without driving for hours from the city!

Check out the beautiful Lookout Tower, Valens Lake and the Fishing Bridge or spend the day at Valens Lake Beach!

DUNDAS VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA

The views, the hiking, the trail center! From winter to summer, this is a place you want to visit again and gain. Check out the lush Carolinian forests, the beautiful meadows or be brave and dip your feet into one of their cold streams. There are so many rare plants to see! Go bird watching, hike as long as you like or go for fantastic photo opportunities. Whatever drives you, you will love the 40 kilometer trail system. A word of the wise, if bringing your precious pooches, keep them on a leash!

You can walk, ride, horseback ride, and ski in the winter! This trail has something for everyone.

HAMILTON FARMERS MARKET

Since 1837 Hamilton’s Farmers Market has been a source for Hamiltonians and their visitors to get their fresh produce and more! With over 60 vendors to check out, you can get local, national and international foods for both you and your family to enjoy!

There are also flowers and other goodies and presents you can pick up. Go in for a bite to eat or stay and roam the vendors for hours. The choice is yours!

DYMETS FARM

Head up to Dundas to enjoy this family farm! From their famous pumpkin patch in the fall to a great market place, pretend this farm is yours for the day as you explore its many facets. You can even have Dymet’s Farm host a birthday party there! This is a must visit place for locals and visitors alike!

ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS

Though headquartered in Burlington, many of its gardens and sites sprawl into Hamilton. From Jazz and Blues Wednesdays to its fascinating gardens and trails, this is the perfect place to spend with your children or on your own! Visitors come from all over the world to walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens and you should not be a stranger.

There are endless things to do for children that you can make multiple visits and attend one of their many events and just scratch the surface of the Royal Botanical Gardens. It’s best to get a membership so you and your family can visit and revisit all year!

BATTLEFIELD HOUSE MUSEUM AND PARK

It’s time to dive into a piece of Canadian history as we head to Stoney Creek for this one. The Battlefield House Museum and Park has a stunning monument as its crown jewel. Children will marvel at its size and this is a great time to educate them on Canadian history. The park and gardens are stunning as well.

The Battle of Stoney Creek took place in 1812 and there are battle re-enactments which is a sight to see! Bring the whole family and watch as you slip through time and watch the Battle of Stoney Creek. This somber moment makes us feel like a part of history and gives your children a new perspective on what happened so many years ago.

The museum is fantastic, with staff dressed for the period time and are full of fascinating information. Your children will get to step into past for a few hours and have experiences that they will never forget!

What makes Hamilton great is that it has endless spots for date days and for the whole family. Hamilton has hidden gems, its staple spots and new must see places every month! We will continue to update this list so that you get the most out of visiting Hamilton, Ontario Canada!

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Bijoux Marie Puce Making Teething Accessories Unique and Cool

One item I find that usually is forgotten when we are first expecting is teething accessories. Usually we don’t always see this as a gift idea as when we think of newborns, we are not thinking of that wonderful teething stage (one of the hardest stages of raising children). However, teething accessories are very important and there are some really adorable options available!

Recently I have been introduced to Bijoux Marie Puce who creates colorful jewellery, teething accessories and offers gift ideas. Bijoux Marie Puce is located in Montreal, Canada and the owner is Marie-France and she is a mompreneur who has two daughters.  Marie-France has a passion for creating unique products and this can be seen in each piece that she makes.

The product that we got to see was the Silicone Teething Toy and I had to see the owl one in person. It arrived in a nicely wrapped package and it a hand written personal thank you note (love this personal touch!). The material used to make the teething toy is: food grade silicone, nylon cord, and plastic clasp. Items made at Bijoux Marie Puce is hand made and you can tell that it is made with lots of love.

Now you can’t have a #MelandNikkiReview without honesty and when I first opened the package to see the teething accessory, I was really surprised. It is much bigger than I was expecting but in a good way. Usually when you go to these big brands, the teething accessories are so tiny and don’t last long due to poor quality. However, the teething accessory by Bijoux Marie Puce is an amazing size and high quality.

The teething accessory is easy to hold, clean and very appealing to the little ones. It would make a perfect gift for a baby shower or even as a welcoming gift to a new baby. I am sure that the little one will thank you when they are older and the parents will be grateful to have this accessory to help their little one cope with the difficult teething stage.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give Bijoux Marie Puce 5 hoots out of 5 for the quality, uniqueness and pricing ($25 CAD for the owl teething toy). Of course I can not forget how absolutely adorable it is! Wish I had one of these when my daughter was teething but now I know where to go if a future child is in the works. 🙂

You must check out Bijoux Marie Puce on Etsy where you can see all that she has to offer such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, hair accessories, rings, magnets, bookmarks, keychains, scrunchies, teething toys, teething necklaces and children necklaces.

Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see more of the beautiful creations.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

* Please note that the product was given in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed in this review are of Momma Braga and were not influenced by the company.

Malasada World Will Rock Your Taste Buds

Growing up in a Portuguese household it was a special treat when my mom would make us malasadas to eat. For those who may not know, a malasada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. It really is delicious and it is well known to be a delight that was created from the Azores and Madeira.

Therefore, when I heard about a place called Malasada World, I was extremely excited! How could I have not known that there was a place that specialized in malasadas and where exactly was this place???

Malasada World is located at 33 Ainslie St N in Cambridge (formerly known as Galt City). They are located in a perfect spot, downtown.

So this meant that Momma Braga had to take a road trip! I couldn’t try this place on my own so I had to bring my entourage (my family) with me.

We planned a Saturday outing to Cambridge which is about a 45 minute drive from where we live. We found a parking lot just a few minutes North from where Malasada World is located and it is free for the first two hours (not bad considering that when you park in downtown Toronto, it is never free). Even though we had a gloomy and rainy day, we were still all excited to try a malasada.

We arrived and were greeted by the friendly staff and we got to meet Steve, the face that runs Malasada World!

Steve outside of Malasada World.
Photo Credit: http://www.bassem.ca

My impression of Steve surpassed my expectations as he is a nice and humble person to meet. He has a great sense of humor and if you are at his shop and you don’t want your family to know, he will keep your secret! 😉 He is also the one at the back working really hard to delight your taste buds. You can say that he made a great first impression on all of us.

Now it was time for the true test…the taste test. Was the malasada going to pass the Momma Braga taste test? Will Malasada World make it on the #MelandNikkiReview?

Yes! Yes it did!

Since I have been known for my candid honesty on my blog, I have to say that the traditional malasada that I tried was much better than any other malasada that I have ever had before (sorry mom!). It was fluffy, light and had just the right amount of sugar. It was perfection! I don’t say that often but I can in this case. Everyone in my group loved it as much as I did and my group is one of the hardest critics to please, so bravo Malasada World!

So how did Malasada World begin and who exactly is Steve? I got the inside scoop to share with all of you!

Tell me a little about yourself.

“I am a first generation Portuguese Canadian, born in Cambridge Ontario. I am a 43 year old father of two wonderful young women. My family is from Santa Maria in the Azores, Portugal. I am a classic trained Chef with just over 20 years of experience in different segments of the food and hospitality business. Food and hospitality industry runs in the family.”

Photo Credit: http://www.bassem.ca

What inspired you to call your shop, Malasada World?

“I was thinking of a name that would really help make the brand/concept stand out and speak for itself. I narrowed it down to three names. Luso Donuts and Tia Maria’s Malasadas were the others. I even did a little survey on Facebook to see what my friends would pick. In the end, we picked Malasada World! It was the one that made the most sense after much thought.”

When did you start your business?

“I started the vision for this business concept many years ago! About 11 years ago, I told one of my colleagues it would be nice to just make donuts for the rest of my career. That was Chef Andrew Dymond at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The first time I made them for sale was about five years ago in Prince Edward County at a friend’s farm called, Vicki’s Veggies. Our shop in Cambridge has just recently celebrated its one year anniversary! We opened on Portugal Day in 2016.”

Tell me a little bit about what you serve.

“At the shop we offer everything the MALASADA has to offer! Different varieties including the Traditional Style I grew up with. We also make the Hawaiian style that are enjoyed today in bakeries all over Hawaii. We have developed our very own version of the Malasada with different toppings and refer to these as our “Signature Style.” Our most popular is called the DoughNATA. It is a hybrid of the famous Portuguese custard tart called a “Pastel de Nata” and our Malasada. It’s kind of both put together (minus the puff pastry)!

I have also taken the Malasada dough and developed a line of Baked Malasada Buns and Loaves. This Malasada bread is showcased and used in our daily sandwich menu. We are MALASADA WORLD!”

What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“I want Malasada World to be recognized for being the BEST Portuguese inspired fast casual specialty donut shop! I also hope to achieve international success with a location in Sao Miguel in the future.”

Where would you like to see your business in five years?

“I hope to grow the business and have additional locations in and around Southern Ontario. I am currently looking for the right investors to team up with.”

Anything new on the horizon for Malasada World that we can officially announce on Momma Braga?

“We are currently working on the business plan for a mobile unit for Malasada World. Either a food truck or trailer. We would then be able to serve our customers at private parties and corporate events!”

How important was it for you to bring a piece of your culture to share with the world?

“It was very important for me to somehow include my cultural background and family food experiences into my business model. I think that Portuguese cuisine in general is under represented and is not as familiar as other cuisine’s of the world to the general public. Portuguese cuisine is wonderful and I would like to showcase it more.”

Photo of Steve’s dad and mom who is expecting Steve. You can tell the family’s love of Malasadas!

Thank you so much Steve for the inside scoop and for allowing Momma Braga the opportunity to feature you!

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give Malasada World, a 5+ DoghNATAs out of 5! This is the first review over 5 and it is much deserved. Malasada World has made it on the #MommaBragaApproved and #Recommended lists. If you are looking for a taste of culture done at its finest then Malasada World is for you! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and please note their posts may cause you to drool.

A Momma Braga tip is to order your malasadas in advance especially if you are travelling from afar as they do sell out fast! To avoid disappointment, feel free to call them at 519.267.7177 or email them at malasadaworld@gmail.com. Walk-ins are always welcomed but you will need to arrive early to taste some malasada goodness!

Once again thank you Malasada World and Cambridge for having us and I will be back!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this is not a paid or sponsored post. Momma Braga did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for this review and all opinions in this post are my own honest opinions.

 

5 Tips For A Trip To The Zoo

By: Karen Silva
Twitter

The zoo is one of my favorite places to go! It’s an amazing feeling to see all the wild animals in person and not to mention that the zoo if full of interesting facts about these animals too. When I found out that my sister wanted to take my niece to the Toronto Zoo, I just had to tag along. However, I knew that going with a two and half year old you just can’t pick up and go, so we had to make sure we were well prepared for the trip.

Here are my top five MUST haves that you should bring with you when going to the zoo. However, if you have never been to the Toronto zoo I suggest you check out their website first.

Stroller or Wagon

We all know that the Toronto Zoo is full of all sorts of creatures, which means there is a lot of walking involved, so make sure you bring a stroller or wagon for your little one. They can get restless and tired throughout your visit and having one of these with you will not only make their visit more comfortable but will work great if they want to take a nap. It will also help you carry items you decide to bring or buy while you are there. Also be sure to check out the zoo train, in my opinion it is worth every penny and is great for younger children. It goes around the whole zoo leaving you at designated areas where you can see other animals. In case, you do go on a very hot day, this ride is very refreshing.

Food/Snacks and Water

The great thing about the Toronto Zoo is that they allow you to bring your own food and drinks as they have great picnic areas that you can eat at. Now it may seem easier to just bring a cooler with ice with you; however the reality is you won’t want to lug that around with you, and you have to remember that the zoo is a big place and requires a lot of walking. Bring simple things like sandwiches, snacks and water bottles. If you want to keep things cool keep a cooler in your car and make the trip back if you wanted or bring ice packs in a large lunch bag. Some great snacks for your little ones that’s easy to pack is Gold fish crackers, grapes, bananas, etc. There are also some great places at the Zoo that you can stop in to purchase food and drinks too.

Protective Gear

As we all know the sun can be quite dangerous when being over exposed, so it is important to put on the sunscreen before heading out and pack some to re-apply after lunch. Even on cloudy days the sun is still doing its job and often times the sun may peek out later that afternoon, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also make sure that you are all wearing comfortable clothing such as running shoes, light colored and light material clothing; as well as a hat and sunglasses. Dressing appropriately will make your whole experience more enjoyable. Trust me, I made the mistake once wearing flip flops to the zoo because it was so hot but in the end my feet were killing me from all the walking because my feet weren’t properly supported.

Capturing the moment

You want to remember this day so make sure that you take lots of pictures, not just of the animals but of you and your family. As a family you can write a list of the animals you want to see and/or take pictures of and make it a goal to check off each one. Also be sure to check the zoo’s gift shop, they have great things in there that you can purchase as a souvenir.

 

Smooth Good-bye Transition

Sometimes kids are so exhausted with the whole experience and spending hours at the zoo that leaving shouldn’t be a problem. However, we do have to keep in mind that some children may not want to leave and will pout, kick and scream to stay. In case this happens, I will share with you some smooth transition ideas that will help you all go from the zoo to your cars without fighting tears.

If you are planning on visiting and purchasing something from the gift shop, be sure to save that for the very end. It will give your child something to look forward to and will keep them distracted with a new item all the way to the car. If you’re on a budget make sure to bring along one of your child’s favorite toys; however leave it in the car. It could be used as motivation to go back to the car. At the end of the day you know your child best so you can use the best tricks that you know will work for you in that situation.

I believe that the Toronto Zoo is a great trip to take with your children. It is not only very informative but an amazing experience for children to see these animals in person as appose to seeing them on the T.V.

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently become an expert writer for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.