Top 5: Haunted Walks in Canada

Am I too late to post this? I’ll save it for something to do next Halloween!

PS – I’m taking the rest of the weekend off for my birthday, see you on Monday!

5. Historical Haunted Winnipeg Tour – Winnipeg, Manitoba

5. Historical Haunted Winnipeg Tour - Winnipeg, Manitoba

For two and half hours, you are driven around Winnipeg to explore hot spots where the city’s ghosts like to congregate and learn what causes them to roam and what they may be trying to communicate with the living.

4. The St. John’s Haunted Hike – St. John’s, Newfoundland

4. The St. John's Haunted Hike - St. John's, Newfoundland
This description from the tour’s website is enough to make you sign up on the spot: “Take part in Newfoundland’s most popular paranormal event, an Ambulatory Theatrical Exploration of the Macabre, with your host, the distinguished Reverend Thomas Wyckham Jarvis, Esquire, eminent Lecturer on the Paranormal, well versed in Grimm Tales of the Vengeful Deceased, Murthers of Gruesome Dispatch, Curious Manifestations of the Holy Ghost and Historical Miscellanea.” The tour has a special one-night session on Oct. 30 before returning next summer.3. Montreal Ghosts – Montreal, Quebec

3. Montreal Ghosts - Montreal, Quebec
Old Montreal by day is a place of beauty, but by night, it can become more sinister, especially if you go hunting for ghosts. The city’s history is long so its haunted by numerous denizens from the past. You can opt for a traditional ghost walk or go on a self-guided ghost hunt that lets you explore the city in a memorable way.2. Discover the Past – Vancouver, B.C.

2. Discover the Past - Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver has so many ghosts, that there are multiple routes that you can explore which will lead you past sites of duels, spectral nuns and even the ghost of artist Emily Carr. There’s even an extreme tour for those who are not easily frightened. Be sure to leave the kids at home for that one.

1. The Haunted Walk – Kingston, Ontario

1. The Haunted Walk - Kingston, Ontario

Your cloaked guide will lead the way with his or her lantern as you explore the dark corners of this historic city with its prison and fort which have witnessed scenes of murder and mayhem over the years. They also offer haunted tours of Ottawa and Toronto.

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Top 5: Things to do in Paris

Nope, I haven’t been here YET – but I can dream of my top 5 things to do in this city of romance, right?

5. A walk along the Siene River

In the city of romance, the Seine River is its lifeblood. Formerly a major trade route, today the river’s islands, bridges and quays evoke the most romantic visions of Paris. This nostalgia is heightened after dark when the Seine shimmers with the watery reflections of floodlit monuments and bridges. C’est magnifique!

4. Le Jardin du Luxembourg

When the weather is fine, Parisians of all ages come flocking to the formal terraces and chestnut groves of the 23-hectare Jardin du Luxembourg to read, relax and sunbathe. There are a number of activities for children here, and in the southern part of the garden you’ll find urban orchards as well as the honey-producing Rucher du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Apiary).

3. Notre Dame Cathedral

Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris is the true heart of Paris; in fact, distances from Paris to all parts of metropolitan France are measured from place du Parvis Notre Dame, the square in front of Notre Dame. A bronze star, set in the pavement across from the main entrance, marks the exact location of point zéro des routes de France (point zero of French roads).

2. The Louvre

The vast Palais du Louvre was constructed as a fortress by Philippe-Auguste in the early 13th century and rebuilt in the mid-16th century for use as a royal residence. In 1793 the Revolutionary Convention turned it into the nation’s first national museum.

The paintings, sculptures and artefacts on display in the Louvre Museum have been assembled by French governments over the past five centuries. Among them are works of art and artisanship from all over Europe and important collections of Assyrian, Etruscan, Greek, Coptic and Islamic art and antiquities. Traditionally the Louvre’s raison d’être is to present Western art from the Middle Ages to about the year 1848 (at which point the Musée d’Orsay takes over), as well as the works of ancient civilisations that informed Western art.

The Louvre may be the most actively avoided museum in the world. Daunted by the richness and sheer size of the place (the side facing the Seine is some 700m long, and it is said that it would take nine months just to glance at every piece of art here), both local people and visitors often find the prospect of an afternoon at a smaller museum far more inviting. Eventually, most people do their duty and come, but many leave overwhelmed, unfulfilled, exhausted and frustrated at having got lost on their way to da Vinci’s La Joconde, better known as Mona Lisa (room 6, 1st floor, Salle de la Joconde, Denon Wing). Your best bet – after checking out a few works you really want to see – is to choose a particular period or section of the Louvre and pretend that the rest is in another museum somewhere across town.

1.  The Eiffel Tower (was that too obvious?!)

When it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World Fair), marking the centenary of the Revolution, the Tour Eiffel faced massive opposition from Paris’ artistic and literary elite. The ‘metal asparagus’, as some Parisians snidely called it, was almost torn down in 1909 but was spared because it proved an ideal platform for the transmitting antennas needed for the new science of radiotelegraphy. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, the tower is 324m high, including the TV antenna at the tip. This figure can vary by as much as 15cm, however, as the tower’s 7300 tonnes of iron, held together by 2.5 million rivets, expand in warm weather and contract when it’s cold.

* Thanks Lonely Planet for helping me daydream!

Thursday’s Top 5: Sushi Restaurants

My boyfriend and I were discussing our favorite sushi places while out for that very food one evening last week. He then came up with a brilliant idea – why not dedicate one day on this here blog to a top 5 list?

Done.

So my first top 5 list, should appropriately be my top 5 Sushi Restaurants.

5. Sushi D – Little Italy – Toronto

All you can eat sush-magoosh. Sorry, that’s what my friend calls it when she craves sushi. And she was the one that introduced me to good all-you-can-eat sushi!

Green Tea Ice Cream – get it.

4. Fune Japanese Restaurant: Simcoe Street Downtown Toronto.

Great atmosphere – free sample appetizers – helpful staff. A tad bit expensive, but it’s worth it, once a year.

3. Asahi Sushi – Toronto (640 Church St. (south of Bloor))

Best in the city that I can find! I always go for the Agedashi Tofu, Miso Soup, and share the Asahi Boat (30 mixed sushi/sashimi).

2. Agrigato Sushi – Horeshoe Bay, West Vancouver B.C.

My first Vancouver sushi experience. Le boyfriend took me there, as it was the closest to where we were staying on this trip. He warned me that it wasn’t “good” Vancouver sushi, and that I shouldn’t base my Vancouver sushi on this restaurant.

Geez – it was delicious! The fish was so fresh – and REAL crab!! Yippee!

1. Alpha (1099 Richards Street – Yaletown) Vancouver, B.C.

I wish you could have a #1 that goes beyond #1…like a #0 or just a shocked face ( 80 – that’s my sideways shocked face) or something to that effect. I have NEVER tasted anything this good. It was melt in my mouth, an explosion of amazing flavours, with an outstanding staff to boot. Of course, I went there in style…with the former mayor of Vancouver. Yep, that’s how I roll. Sushi roll.

I am going to give an honourable mention to my homemade sushi – she says modestly. I’m pretty impressed, the three times I have made it. It just needs a bit of fresh fish going on, instead of the safe cucumber, avacado, fake crab, and smoked salmon business.

If I lived in Vancouver, or I have been to a few more sushi restaurants – like  Tojo’s or Blue Water Cafe – my top 5 would wipe out any hint of Toronto sushi. In a city that is home to the creator of the California Roll. You just can’t beat fresh seafood on the coast. The end.