Browsing Tag


A Mommy Break at the Four Seasons Toronto

Canada, ROAM By January 30, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

It’s so new, not even the cabbies now where this new sleek beast is located.  Once we found it, I simply bailed from the cab and walked.  Yorkville used to be my ‘hood’ and I missed the vibe.  I must admit that I was a bit intimidated in entering the lobby.  Where to go?  What are these ‘men in black’ doing?  Wow how I needed a mommy break at the Four Seasons Toronto.  But who doesn’t, really?

Checking-in made me feel like Kate Middleton.  The MontBlanc signing blotters didn’t hurt.  And the gentleman who excused my cellphone call and had my key waiting was so lovely.  He would never utter the room number for safety reasons and escorted me to the elevator showing me the # and indicating that I would be on the Xth floor.  #GoodJob

When a girl is in need of some TLC, rooms such as these cause a mixture of heart palpatations and weepiness. The bathtub was round and large.  I ran the water immediately and imagined myself looking out the window from the water.  The nespresso was next (though it took a while to finish my degree in engineering and figure it out).  Free wireless.  (Thank you.)  And the softest sheets and pillows you could ever imagine.  Sleeping on a cloud?  This is it.

My only complaint was trying to figure out a way to enjoy the room enough for one night.  Sleep?  Bathe?  Chill?  Wired-in music?  TV in the bathroom mirror?  You know… Stay for more than one.  And though I didn’t have kids in tow this time around, there are very few chains who treat children as well.  We have a few ideas for things to do with kids in Toronto.  And we also know a few great nanny services.. in case you just want to experience the softness of the sheets in silence. ; )


Harrison Hot Springs Resort with Kids

Canada, ROAM By July 11, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

“I’ll meet you at the Bear.”  (That would be the 5 foot high stuffed one in the lobby of the Harrison Springs Resort and Spa.)  I just loved saying it.  Invited for a spring night’s getaway, my two boys and I made the short drive up Highway 1 from Vancouver to Harrison and as my lovely Welsh friend says, I was gob-smacked.  A broad lake with an enticing bright yellow slide and bouncy play contraption floating off the beach greeted us as we drove into the resort.  A dock for boating and fishing activities anchored the quaint town filled with painted Sasquatch footprints and pedicabs built for 5 ($25/hour, Jamie’s Quadricycle Rentals, 604-703-8951).  The shopping in this mining area was great for gifts, and I was able to pick up several specimens of ‘gems’ as a birthday gift for a future geologist.

The room overlooked the lake (I later sat happily on the balcony after the boys were fast asleep) and the fluffy spare blanket was a perfect wrap on the abnormally chilly spring night.  Upon arrival the boys were in their swimsuits before I had taken off my shoes.  The natural hot springs beconed.  Originally used by the Salish Coast Indians for medicinal properties and rejuvenating effects, the Harrison Hot Springs Spa and pools have attracted visitors for years, including famous guests such as Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michael Buble, Robin Williams and Liam Neeson.  We’re not nearly as famous – ah-hem – but I could certainly see the rejeuvenating qualities after I’d soaked (and played) in the pools.  The resort includes 5 different mineral-fed baths, including a 4,000 square foot outdoor family pool.  The tranquil indoor space reminded me of Saratoga in New York or Baden Baden in Germany.  The symmetry of the architecture and the echoes of the water made my son decide that we would be celebrating his 5th birthday in this location.

A hike through the grounds through a trellised rose garden and then the forest over 11 bridges led us to the original source of the springs.  The 65 DEGREE CELSIUS water is mixed with the cool lakewater to feed the 5 hot springs pools at temperatures ranging from 27 to 36 degrees celsius.  And I can’t even set my PVR.

First Nations have known about the water for 100’s of years…The hot springs themselves were originally used and revered by the Sts’Ailes (Chehalis) First Nations people who live along the Harrison River nearby. The first Europeans may have been exhausted gold miners returning from the Cariboo Gold Fields in the early 1860’s – falling out of their canoe on the southern shore of what is now Harrison Lake only to find the water warm.

The Healing Springs Spa on the resort premises invited me for a facial which ended up being one of the best I’d ever had.  Ironically, my kids were with me.  (Don’t laugh – I’ve even had a massage while nursing one of them).  The boys thought the waterfall in the spa lobby was cool and each picked a nail polish they wanted me to buy.  For them.  The highlight, though (for all of us), came when the spa manager took them to Miss Margaret’s – an in-house cafe – for a giant and fantastically delicious cookie.

With great room service, the ability to tire out the kids and pet friendly policies, I’ll be back.  For a birthday party apparently.  And I think there will be gems and giant cookies in every goody bag.

Family Packages at Harrison Hots Springs Resort include the Get Wet Package and the Summer Soaker for Kids.

Disclosure: UrbanMommies was provided a room at the resort and 30 minute facial for the purposes of a review.  As always, our opinions are our own.

kingswoodpark fredricton

Things to Do with Kids in Fredericton, New Brunswick

Canada, ROAM By July 2, 2012 Tags: , , , 5 Comments

Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, enjoys a milder climate than many other places in Canada, and is well-known for its culture, arts, and learning. You’ll find lots of variety in terms of ethnic cuisine, and a great music and art scene, plus a variety of outdoor stuff to do with the whole family. Here are some highlights for things to do with kids in Fredericton.

The Top 100 Things All Canadians Should Know

The Top 100 Things All Canadians Should Know

FAM, kids By June 26, 2012 Tags: , , No Comments

In preparing for Canada Day, we often reminisce about times gone by.  But have we perhaps been lazy with our heritage and our own education?  Here are the top 100 things all Canadians should know about – either at a cocktail party or in answer to your children’s questions.  We’re bracing ourselves for lots of comments about what we may be missing…  please add your thoughts below.  We sometimes forget that we are our children’s best teachers and role models.  So if a few of these things are fuzzy in your mind… you’ve got a fun activity brewing for the long weekend.


Hotel Le Germain, Mercer Street Toronto

Canada, ROAM By February 27, 2012 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

I stayed at Hotel Le Germain a few months ago and then life happened so I was thrilled when I got the chance to stay once again.  When I think of Hotel Le Germain two things pop out –  the lobby bar and this crazy rope table the entrance. Oh, and the glass-encased shower that allows you to see into the bedroom.  And the water glasses with your room number etched into them.  And the ‘g’ chiseled into the granite in the bathroom.  And linens to die for. Oh wait.  That was like, 6 things. Yeah, I like the hotel lots.


Things to Do with Kids in St. Johns

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , 4 Comments

St. Johns, found in ruggedly beautiful Newfoundland, is the oldest English-founded city on the continent! Its roots are in the sea, where the cod fishery once formed the foundation of its importance, and when the fisheries collapsed the city and province slumped; the discovery of oil nearby has flushed St. John’s and Newfoundland with new life. It is a wonderful place to visit, with many things to do and see as a family. Here are some of our favourite things to do with kids in St Johns.


Kids Activities in Kelowna

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , 3 Comments

Kelowna, the British Columbia town found on the shores of Lake Okanagan, is known for its rustic beauty and scenery. Kelowna is a top destination for winter sports, but that’s not all this charming, pretty city has to offer. Here are some of our favorite things to do with kids in Kelowna…and no, Ogopogo sighting isn’t on the list!

things to do with kids in edmonton

Things to Do with Kids in Edmonton

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Alberta’s capital city of Edmonton is known for its rugged and beautiful outdoors: more parkland per capita than any other city in North America. Besides outdoor activities, there is also plenty of other kinds of fun and culture in Edmonton. Here are some of our favorite things to do with kids in Edmonton.

Jurassic Forest and Learning Centre. ( This educational and fun facility teaches the whole family about the forest and paleontology, which is especially important to Alberta, one of the biggest dinosaur fossil “hot spots” in the world. Situated on a forty acre plot of old-growth, natural forest, the Centre has kilometers of trails, featuring life-size, animatronic dinosaurs at every turn! In the facility’s center you will find displays, concessions, and a gift shop.

Telus World of Science Edmonton. (www.telusworldofscience/edmonton)  Similar to its sister facility in Calgary, the Telus World of Science in Edmonton aims to make science as fun and interesting as possible for all ages. This facility has five huge, interactive galleries, each with its own scientific focus. Younger kids will love Discoveryland, where they can play in the water, sand and dirt while building and constructing.

Valley Zoo. ( This facility is home to over a hundred endangered species, both native and exotic. You can see tigers, zebras, red pandas, elephants, and much more, plus tons of interactive activities for kids. The little guys will love the train, carousel, and paddleboats.

Devonian Botanic Garden. These beautiful gardens and indoor displays of local and exotic plants, flowers, and butterflies are found in Devon, just thirty minutes outside of Edmonton. Enjoy the Japanese garden, browse the gift shop, and take an interactive tour or course.

John Janzen Nature Centre. Found next to the Fort Edmonton Park, this recently-renovated exhibition takes its visitors through interactive exhibits, programs, and special events designed to promote nature awareness in an urban setting. The Tegler Discovery Zone recreated local wildlife and habitats in the form of an indoor play area, where the kids can climb and crawl through play structures. You can also watch the wildlife and take a self-guided tour on the trails, which encompass four kilometers through the river valley.

Art Gallery of Alberta. ( Not so fast, this isn’t your grandmother’s art museum! The Art Gallery of Alberta does a great job of fostering interest in the arts in kids through fun and hands-on exhibits and activities, such as their BMO World of Creativity, which has periodic themes, such as “Play on Architecture.” There are also Tours for Tots every Wednesday morning.

West Edmonton Mall. ( Surprise, surprise: the largest shopping center in North America is located in Edmonton! This megalithic complex of shops, restaurants, and attractions will keep you and the kids occupied for days. The ice rink, two miniature golf courses, bumper boats, bowling, billiards, underground aquarium, World Waterpark, and Galaxyland (the biggest indoor amusement park in the world) all call the West Edmonton Mall home. Besides that, you should check out Toddler Time, the ultimate play date experience! Kids five and under can exhaust themselves at the Galaxy Kids Playpark (a play area complete with slides, ball pits, and caves) or at the World Waterpark, all while the parents look on in bemusement.

Fort Edmonton Park. ( Fort Edmonton is located just outside of Edmonton, and it is home to countless living historical exhibits that both educate and entertain. Fort Edmonton Park teaches visitors about four distinct historical periods in Alberta history between 1846 and 1929, complete with authentic period costumes and buildings. There is a working steam train, you can play frontier games and learn old ways to make bread and more. There is an antique Midway, even a beautiful old carousel. It’s fantastic fun for everyone, with unique events year-round.

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