Never Have I Ever TO: 2 Weekends of Fun in Greater Toronto

Never Have I Ever TO: 2 Weekends of Fun in Greater Toronto
13 Dec 2021

Photo by Aaron Lewis of Vidéo Drive.

Disclosure: Our meals and experiences were covered by Destination Toronto and their partners. All opinions are my own.

We live just 45 minutes west of Toronto and have visited “The 6ix” on many occasions. There are so many attractions we have done over the years, but it wasn’t until recently that we realized there was so much of Toronto that we have yet to experience.

We’ve been to a lot of the popular destinations:

• The CN Tower
• Rogers Centre
• BMO Field
• Scotiabank Arena
• Royal Ontario Museum
• Art Gallery of Ontario
• The Distillery District
• Toronto Zoo
• Canada’s Wonderland
• Nathan Phillips Square
• Ontario Science Centre
• Budweiser Stage

But then I started to think about the places I have never been to, or things I have never done in Toronto. Here is my list:

• St. Lawrence Market
• Hockey Hall of Fame
• Casa Loma
• Steam Whistle Brewery
• Black Creek Pioneer Village
• Little Canada
• Graffiti Alley
• Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
• Toronto Railway Museum
• Fort York National Historic Site

It was kind of shocking to see this written down, especially considering how close we live to Toronto. There is so much more I could have added. It was time to cross a few of those items off of my list.

YONGE DUNDAS SQUARE

Never Have I Ever TO

When Destination Toronto reached out and asked if we would like to participate in the “Never Have I Ever TO” campaign, I gladly accepted. They asked us to go through a list of attractions and select some activities and destinations that we had never experienced.

Because the Fall is always a very busy time for our family, we decided to divide our “Never Have I Ever TO” experience into two Saturdays, on two separate weekends. This allowed us to enjoy our experiences without rushing, talk to our hosts, and capture lots of photos and videos.

Weekend 1 Itinerary

On the itinerary for the first weekend was:

• Flying a Boeing 777-200ER at UFLY Simulator Inc.
• Enjoying a modern Indian lunch at Farzi Café in Square One’s Food District
• Experiencing “Christmas At The Castle” at Casa Loma

UFLY ENTRANCE

UFLY Simulator Inc.

Well, none of us can say “never have I ever flown a plane before”!

We got to see the world through the eyes of a pilot steering a very realistic Boeing 777-200LR (triple), sitting in a re-created cockpit simulator with components taken straight from a real 777-200LR. It was an incredible feeling, and an amazing experience!

UFLY CRAIG

I took off and landed at Princess Juliana International Airport in beautiful St. Maarten during the daytime. The take-off requires a bank to the right shortly after you leave the runway, as there are mountains directly ahead of you. St. Maarten is consistently named one of the scariest airport landings in the world, as you swoop low over Maho Beach to the runway. It’s a surreal experience!

UFLY LAUREN

Lauren took off from St. Maarten, and landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport. She wanted to do a fly-by of the CN tower.

UFLY WENDY

Wendy took off from Toronto Pearson International Airport on an evening flight and landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. She flew right by the Eiffel Tower.

The Boeing 777-200LR (triple) at uFLY is one of the most sophisticated and realistic publicly available flight simulators in the world. It has North America’s only 180 degree full HD display, with a fully functioning tiller, auto-throttles, auto brakes, spoilers, and a worldwide database of airports to choose from.

UFLY FAMILY

This isn’t like playing a video simulator at home on your computer or gaming system – this is a real cockpit with components taken straight from a real 777-200LR. It doesn’t get any more real than this! If you are a lover of aviation, you have got to give uFLY Simulator a try!

Location

UFLY Simulator Inc. is located at 1535 Meyerside Drive, Unit #6 in Mississauga, off Dixie Road just south of Courtney Park Drive East. They recommend that you arrive 10 minutes prior to your scheduled session.

FARZI ENTRANCE

Farzi Café

Farzi Café’s mission is to bring Indian cuisine back “in-Vogue”. This modern chic Michelin-recognized Indian café mixes traditional Indian classics with modern presentations and cooking techniques.

FARZI INTERIOR

This is Farzi Café’s first North American location, and they could not have chosen a better location for it. Mississuga’s Square One Food District offers many different types of cuisine, and Farzi Café’s “contemporary bistro with a gourmet experience” fits right in.

FARZI APPETIZER

We started off with the Bombay Bhel, Countryside street food with tangy sauces and dragon fire. Sounded delicious… but dragon fire? When the server arrived with our dish, they placed it on the table, and we sat looking at how delicious it looked. Then the server proceeded to pour dry ice over the dish. Voila! Dragon fire! This chilled appetizer was very tasty, and not overly spicy.

FARZI CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala with cornish cruncher naan, a dish that was popularized in Great Britain. Farzi Café likes to create an illusion with its cuisine, and they did just that by serving my meal in a little red telephone kiosk, reminiscent of the actual phone booths you will find scattered throughout the United Kingdom. Was it ever delicious!

FARZI BUTTER CHICKEN

Wendy ordered the Hand Pulled Butter Chicken, which is one of her favourite Indian dishes. The chef served the chicken in the centre of a bowl, and poured the curry sauce around the chicken in circles until the chicken is submerged, infusing a healthy dose of Indian flavours. Not only is the experience amazing, but the flavour was out of this world.

FARZI FISH AND CHIPS

Lauren ordered Amritsari Halibut Fish & Chips and Chukka Pea Mash. The fish was battered in a crumb and spice coating, and deep friend to perfection. The fries were coated in spices, and crisped just right. She really enjoyed fish and chips with an Indian twist!

FARZI GULAB JAMON

The highlight of our meal came when the server asked if we wanted dessert. We were pretty full, but asked what she recommended. “You’ve got to try the Gulab Jamon 2.0. The chef comes out and creates the dish in front of you. It’s a great experience.” Well how could we say no to that?

So just like our server said, the chef came out with a bowl of Gulab Jamon, and a few small side bowls, and another smoking bowl with what appeared to be more dry ice in it. He put a spoon into the dry ice and came up with frozen condensed milk chips, and sprinkled it over the Gulab Jamon. Then he sprinkled crushed pistachios over top, tossed in a few berries, and more condensed milk chips. Then he took a rose, inverted it into the dry ice for a minute or so. When he took it out, he shivered it over the Gulab Jamon and asked Lauren to clap it. When she did, it exploded over the dish, sprinkling frozen rose petals on top. What was left was the most beautiful presentation of Gulab Jamon I have ever seen. I am so glad we had dessert because it was amazing!

This was one of the best Indian meals we have ever eaten. It was also our first time to Farzi Café in the Food District at Square One in Mississauga, and it definitely won’t be our last time!

Location

Farzi Café is located at 100 City Centre Drive in Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre.

CASA LOMA CASTLE WITH TREE

“Christmas At The Castle” at Casa Loma

We got to experience the magic of the season at Casa Loma’s Christmas at the Castle. It was our first time there! This beautiful tree is the first of many you will see on your tour.

CASA LOMA MASTER ROOM WITH TREE

This beautiful Christmas tree in Sir Henry Pellatt’s suite at Casa Loma was designed by Rebecca Wise, Creative Director and Owner of Event Wise. I love that she used disco balls as decorations – they really made the lights reflect throughout the room.

CASA LOMA STUDY

This vintage typewriter sits rests on an exact copy of Napoleon’s working desk in the study at Casa Loma. The beautiful Christmas tree in the background perfectly complements the walnut walls and marble fireplace. If you get a chance to visit, be sure to check out the hidden passageways behind the two narrow doors that flank the fireplace.

CASA LOMA SANTA

Once you are finished touring the castle, you can take the 800-foot tunnel towards the stables, where Santa is waiting to take pictures with the kids.

There are Christmas trees scattered throughout the castle, all decorated by renowned Canadian designers. If you have never been to this majestic castle in Toronto, now is the time. The decorations and music put you in a festive mood. If you visit at night, the mystical winter wonderland in the courtyard and holiday lights display are a spectacular sight! Christmas at The Castle runs daily until December 30th, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

Location

Casa Loma is located at 1 Austin Terrace in Toronto, off Spadina Road just north of Davenport Road.

UNION STATION

Weekend 2 Itinerary

On the itinerary for the second weekend was:

• Seeing the animated miniature cityscapes at Little Canada
• Authentic Lebanese lunch at Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen
• Visiting 20,000 aquatic animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

LAUREN WAITING FOR SUBWAY

TTC Subway

Wendy and I have been on the Subway in Toronto many times. It wasn’t until we were walking towards Union Station that Lauren asked “how are we getting there?” When we told her we were taking the subway, she reminded us that she had never been on a subway before.

LAUREN ON SUBWAY

A first for her! This first time subway passenger was pretty excited, and captured the whole thing on her Instagram stories.

LITTLE CANADA EXTERIOR

Little Canada

Little Canada is the vision of Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer. He was inspired by a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, and wanted to build a similar miniature world in his new home of Canada. His idea was to create a world that showcased and celebrated all things Canada.

LITTLE CANADA NIAGARA FALLS

Niagara Falls

The first exhibit you come to is Niagara Falls. As Wendy is from the Falls, we found this part quite amazing.

LITTLE CANADA NIAGARA FALLS AERO CAR

From the motorized Whirlpool Aero Car that crossed the whirlpool…

LITTLE CANADA CLIFTON HILL

… to a very detailed Clifton Hill and surrounding area, the work that went into creating this city was incredible.

They even had an overheating vehicle waiting in line at the border to get in to Canada!

LITTLE CANADA TORONTO

Toronto

The designers at Little Canada did an amazing job of capturing these famous landmarks in The 6ix.

LITTLE CANADA DISTILLERY DISTRICT

I’ve been to the Distillery District many times. It’s a fun place to go any time of the year, especially during the holiday season. It’s even featured in one of my favourite movies – “Tommy Boy” with Chris Farley, as the home of Callahan Auto. But never have I ever seen The Distillery District like this… in miniature form. The intricate models at Little Canada are incredible, and very realistic. From the detail of the bricks on the buildings, to the businesses featured, to the Gooderham & Worts overhanging sign, to all the people enjoying one of Toronto’s favourite destinations for art and entertainment, this display is truly a masterpiece..

LITTLE CANADA ST LAWRENCE MARKET

St. Lawrence Market is one place I have never been in to in Toronto. I have driven past it, and even worked a few blocks away. I’ve heard so many wonderful things from friends, especially about the food you can get there. But never have I ever been inside St. Lawrence Market, and I wasn’t expecting my first look inside the market to be from overhead. They even left the roof in skeleton form so you can peer inside at the people shopping.

LITTLE CANADA SCOTIA BANK ARENA

This open-air model of the Scotiabank Arena shows the Toronto Raptors in action!

LITTLE CANADA CN TOWER ROGERS CENTRE

You can’t build a miniature version of Toronto without the CN Tower and Rogers Centre. The model for the Rogers Centre is the only structure in the collection that was built in one piece.

LITTLE CANADA ABSOLUTE TOWERS MISSISSAUGA

Mississauga

The two iconic “Absolute Towers”, nicknamed the Marilyn Monroe buildings, stand tall over the city of Mississauga.

LITTLE CANADA OTTAWA PARLIAMENT

Ottawa

Seeing a miniature version of our nation’s capital was awesome! Highlights were the Canada Day celebrations at Parliament Hill

LITTLE CANADA OTTAWA BYWARD

… and a bustling Byward Market.

LITTLE CANADA QUEBEC FORT

Quebec City

There were many beautiful buildings that made up the Quebec City exhibit, but the Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site was simply awe inspiring!

LITTLE CANADA COMING SOON

More To Come

The East Coast, Prairies, and West Coast are still in development, and will be added in time. The first part of Little Canada took 8 years to develop, so this will be an ongoing project that will take many years to create, and will likely be never-ending as they will constantly be adding new towns and cities, buildings, and figures on demand.

LITTLE CANADA MISSION CONTROL

Miniature Mission Control

This is where everything is controlled from. All the moving parts, the lights, the sounds, and the change from day to night… it all happens from Miniature Mission Control, which you can view after all of the city exhibits. Be sure to stop and talk to the staff. They will answer any questions you have, and give you a closer look at how the various vehicles move around the cityscapes without crashing into one another.

LITTLE CANADA DESIGNER

We got to chat with one of the awesome designers. She let us know that they were working on a Toronto expansion, and she pointed over her shoulders to some of the unfinished buildings. We recognized the Art Gallery of Ontario right away. It’s exciting to see how these buildings and figures are all made.

Location

Little Canada is located at 10 Dundas Street East in Toronto, between Yonge Street and Victoria Street.

PARAMOUNT EXTERIOR

Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen

When you first walk in to Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen on Yonge Street in Toronto, there is a glass display full of sweets, with handmade traditional baklawa at the forefront.

PARAMOUNT BAKLAWA

The baklawa at Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen is delicious! Sweet and flaky, with the signature scents of orange blossom and rose waters. It tastes just as good as it smells.

PARAMOUNT DRINKS

We had drinks that were featured on Paramount’s Winter Comfort Menu. Wendy had this delicious Salted Caramel Coffee, and I had the Spiced Cranberry & Apple Cider. They really hit the spot on a brisk afternoon in Toronto! Also on the menu is a Cranberry Cinnamon Lemonade and a yummy looking Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate. These festive beverages are sure to get you in the holiday spirit!

PARAMOUNT LUNCH

Our lunch was fantastic! Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen elevates Middle Eastern cuisine to the next level. Wendy had a Falafel Wrap (falafel, fresh parsley, onions, turnips, pickles, tomatoes, and tahini, wrapped in pita bread) with Fattoush (Romaine lettuce mixed with fresh garden vegetables and herbs, topped with crispy pita chips, pomegranate seeds, and authentic Middle Eastern dressing with zaatar). Lauren had the Beef Shawarma (authentically seasoned beef, grilled on a rotating spit served with tahini dipping sauce). I had the Mixed Grill (Grilled skewers of BBQ beef and shish tawouk and kafta, served with fire-roasted tomato and onion, spicy pita bread, hummus, and garlic dipping sauces).

It was flavour overload! There was so much delicious food that we got to package some up to take home. Leftovers the next day were a nice bonus!

PARAMOUNT PITA HUMMUS

If you are in the Yonge and Dundas area in Toronto, stop in at Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen on Yonge Street across from the Eaton Centre. Be sure to order the pita and hummus appetizer, and order some handmade traditional baklawa or freshly baked butter cookies to go. You won’t be disappointed!

Location

Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen is located at 253 Yonge Street in Toronto, between Dundas Street East and Shuter Street.

RIPLEYS EXTERIOR

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

A visit to Ripley’s Aquarium is a fantastic way to spend a fun afternoon in Toronto.

There are so many beautiful tropical fish. It was surreal walking through a world where 20,000 aquatic animals swim in more than 5.7 million litres of saltwater and freshwater environments.

RIPLEYS COLOURFUL FISH

Ripley’s Aquarium is organized into ten galleries: Canadian Waters, Rainbow Reef, Dangerous Lagoon, Discovery Centre, The Gallery, Ray Bay, Swarm: Nature by Numbers, Planet Jellies, Life Support Systems and the Shoreline Gallery.

RIPLEYS FISHIES

One of the best experiences is hopping on the longest moving sidewalk in North America as it slowly guides you under the sea through the Dangerous Lagoon.

RIPLEYS SHARK

You get to see an abundance of tropical fish swimming all around you, as well as green sawfish, green sea turtles, green moray eels, and these large sand tiger sharks.

RIPLEYS NEMO

If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a clown fish!

RIPLEYS LOBSTER

If you are looking for a fun activity to experience with the family, put Ripley’s Aquarium on your list of places to visit.

Location

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is located at 288 Bremner Boulevard in Toronto, just east of the Rogers Centre, right beside the CN Tower.

FAMILY IN TORONTO

We Are So Glad We Experienced TO

We had two awesome Saturdays in Toronto, filled with food and activities we had never experienced before. We truly turned “Never Have I Ever” into “We Are So Glad We Experienced TO”!

If you are visiting Toronto, be sure to stop off at any of these locations. Feel free to comment here or message me on social with questions.

Cheers,
Big Daddy

If you would like me to review your product, service, restaurant, or travel destination, please send me an email at craig@bigdaddykreativ.ca or tweet me at @BigDaddyKreativ

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Craig Silva

Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, travel writer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, read with his girls, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space. Known as Big Daddy Kreativ, his blog specializes in travel, food, and lifestyle.

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