Toronto & Fan Expo Canada 2019 Haul

On a much needed weekend getaway, Toronto and Fan Expo Canada 2019 was a really great time to say the least. Arriving in the early afternoon on Friday, we all had the day to just get into town and settle into the Airbnb. My to-do list had quite a few things including Vaughan Mills to check out a few stores and stock up on stuff on sale as well as hit T&T Supermarket for groceries like breakfast and snacks and stuff to bring home and of course, taking a stop at LCBO to see what there is new there to check out.

Uniqlo

Uniqlo

Some very normal stuff here. I was at Uniqlo looking for T-Shirts and found one. I don’t know any of the manga that they were doing T-shirts for but I liked this one the most. Other than that, I was looking for tank tops and whatnot. Its a really good selection over here so I picked up some stuff that I think will be good.

Disney Store

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While there was a lot of cool plushes at this Disney store, there was no doubt that Sebastian was the one that caught my eye mostly because it was the 30th anniversary new arrival that the sales rep said just got to the store that week. Plus, I already have a lonely Flounder sitting next to my bed and have been meaning to wrap up The Little Mermaid collection.

LCBO

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We also make a stop at LCBO (or whichever provincial alcohol store) whenever we head out of town to try and find something that we can’t find here. One of the things is the VQA Niagara Peninsula always has more choices and then there’s a lot more selection for the ciders. We bought a few more than these three but over the time on the trip, it was consumed between us. I had the Queen Street 501 that I had already written about before on a Wine Recap and we also had the Molson Cider as well as a few flavors from the Crazy Uncle collection other than the root beer, an orange crush version, cream soda version and lemonade version. These three are what made it back: Smirnoff Sangria (red – which means I won’t be drinking it but might give it a sip to try), Thornbury Village Craft Apple Cider and a Riesling white wine.

FAN EXPO CANADA 2019

If you didn’t catch my Fan Expo recap, I didn’t have a lot of time to do much wandering and shopping during the event so really only went through the North Building and didn’t look at any of the retailers or artist alley in the South Building.

Black Fawn Distribution

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I realized that Black Fawn Distribution was going to be there really close to when I decided to head out. Luckily, they were in the North building and we had time to do that on Saturday and they had the movies that I was looking for since they haven’t been to Fantasia in a year or two (I think). We did talk to them and they are hoping to be at Fantasia next year so crossing my fingers for that. Either way, they had a whole signing thing going on so I managed to sneak back during the afternoon between some lining up to get The Heretics signed but didn’t realize that on Sunday they also had signing for I’ll Take Your Dead so that one only has the director that signed. Looking forward to watching these as always since I’ve always liked Black Fawn films and appreciated what they’d do for indie horror films.

Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore

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What’s really impressive about Fan Expo is the amount of authors and books that are sold there. Some big publishers are there also. Its incredibly amazing which makes me want to slap myself a little for not trying to find more time to go through South Building but then, where we were had a lot of choices too and they had this one: Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore which had a lot of books that looked and sounded really good when I read their synopsis. In the end, I went back to pick up this Asian sci-fi and fantasy anthology called Where the Stars Rise. The premise and such caught my eye right away so I’m excited to check this out after my string of reading commitments is done.

Aside from this haul, we did get a free poster of The Fanatic from the advanced screening. We also each got a free Fan Expo T-Shirt from past expos that were given out. I skipped sharing T&T Supermarket stuff as there’s nothing too extraordinary except that I bought moon cakes in anticipation for the upcoming Midautumn Festival and stocked up on some drinks and such.

That’s it for this Toronto/Fan Expo haul!!
Did you go to Fan Expo Canada?

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Fan Expo Canada 2019 Recap

Our first Fan Expo everyone! Its been one that I’ve been meaning to get to for quite a while but this year, we didn’t go to Toronto Comiccon and EGLX is now in October which is a conflicting month so my fellow blogathon co-host Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews met up with us in Toronto and we headed to check out Fan Expo this past weekend. A nice little meetup and a cool event to check out together.

I’ll do a haul post later for the trip as a whole since my trip started out on Friday when we arrived and went to Vaughan Mills for a late lunch and a stroll to take advantage of some shopping since I hadn’t been to a Uniqlo in Canada yet either.

While the actual event started on Thursday, we were there for the last 2 days: Saturday and Sunday. We had a pretty tight schedule especially when factoring in all the lining up and such.

After a crazy run through bag check at security, getting our badge and then having to activate it, we finally got to go in. Drew and I split up to do our own panels for some part of the day on Saturday so maybe he will recap it or whatnot but here is what I checked out!

SATURDAY

Panel: Brendan Fraser

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Brendan Fraser was a really cool panel with a ton of laughs. He was asked to imitate some parts of movies like George of the Jungle yell. It was a lighthearted one and a great way to start off the day. He had some fun things to talk about and shared his thoughts on doing another Mummy and his opinion on the new one. He talked about some his current projects and upcoming one that he just finished filming in Johannesburg.

It does feel like Brendan Fraser hasn’t been in movies as much but definitely feels like there are things in the horizon to look forward to as he promises that he isn’t going anywhere when a fan asked him where he has been.

Panel: The Umbrella Academy
Tom Hopper and Emmy Raver-Lampman

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Next up is Umbrella Academy’s panel with Tom Hopper and Emmy Raver-Lampman who play Luther and Allison respectively. Its rare that we get a show done in the year of its launch so we were all about checking this panel out especially since I had caught another two cast members back at Montreal Comiccon in July. This panel was a lot of fun. The dynamic between these two cast members are great and it really shows as they talk about their roles and moments and such.  There were some fun questions by the fans  as well. There were a lot of questions on the direction of Season 2 since its currently filming which they obviously couldn’t say anything about.

Panel: Blade Runner
Sean Young & Edward James Olmos

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While I have yet to watch Blade Runner completely, the next panel was for my husband who wanted to check it out as he is a huge fan. I have very basic knowledge of this one however, the panel itself was pretty good as well. Edward James Olmos did a lot of the talking in the panel  especially when they talked a lot about how each of them had their own way of approaching their roles with their different experience at the time. There were questions about how it was working Ridley Scott and their feelings towards Blade Runner 2049. There’s some bitterness here towards a few things but at the end of the day, it was really nice as Edward James Olmos took a moment right after the host closed the panel to add a thanks to everyone that showed up and the fandom for giving them a chance to reunite together because it hasn’t happened in decades so its a great memory for them as well. Its pretty nice to see an actor to show appreciation because I haven’t actually had any panels have their guests do it so it was quite nice to hear.

Advanced Screening: The Fanatic

the fanatic

With John Travolta being one of the headliners of this year’s Fan Expo and having his panel on Sunday (which we had to miss), they got the advanced screening of The Fanatic to show at the expo as an ending showing on Saturday evening. While it wasn’t anything like a theatre and had a lot of maneuvering around to see the screen throughout and there was some technical difficulty with the movie’s ending, it eventually all got worked out and we saw the whole movie in completion. I had pondered whether to review it as I have some pretty straight forward thoughts on it but nothing for a full review however, I’ll still give it go and have the review go up later this week (hopefully before it hits theatres on August 30th).

SUNDAY

Sunday was one of those added days for ourselves because the headliner we wanted to see was only there. It was also a shorter day in general for the last day of the Fan Expo and we ended up leaving fairly earlier while still catching two panels.

Panel: Jeff Goldblum

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Jeff Golblum changed up  his panel and took out all the Q&A portions and it was unscripted sort of deal for 20 minutes or so. He is a charming man to say the very least and it was a lot of fun as he played a movie game with the audience and opened the panel with singing O Canada  with the audience. Its a nice touch but then his line-up was crazy long and for the wait time and meeting him, it did feel like meeting royalty and less of a fan interaction thing. However, it still had some laughs and entertainment. Unique execution of a panel.

Panel: The Goonies
Sean Astin, Ke Huy Quan, Corey Feldman

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Last panel of Fan Expo before we headed back on the road back to Montreal (my husband and I..Drew stayed later for the John Travolta panel) as we checked out The Goonies which had Sean Astin, Ke Huy Quan and Corey Feldman. It was a great way to end the Fan Expo for ourselves since this panel was a ton of fun and because all of them were kids when it was being filmed, there was a lot of chatter about the different props and sets and anecdotes and moments which was entertaining to listen to it and a lot of times pretty funny as well. They talked about different scenes and the stars that dropped by the set during filming of The Goonies. Sean Astin got questions about Lord of the Rings while Corey Feldman got questions about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, most of the topics did stay within The Goonies which was great.

OVERALL…

The first Fan Expo Canada that we went to was pretty well. We talked about going again if there were guests that we’d liked that came but staying longer so that we can check out the show floor. The expo is separated into two building and the biggest issue and time wasting element was going from one building to the next and time management which pretty much was a decision of where the panels were and how feasible it was to go to the South Building where the big exhibition floor was.  In the end, my husband and I did end up missing out on Artist Alley and exhibition floor stuff over on that side but checked out a ton of the gaming stuff. Luckily, we had time to check out the North Building retailers so at least that worked out.

Organization was fairly alright and it had a lot of presence whether inside or outside to make sure people knew where they were going and that’s pretty good. There was a whole picking up your pass and then having to activate which felt a bit crazy but in the end, the process was fairly quick. Fan Expo Canada is a tad pricey but they did give out a ton of free t-shirts before all the panels so lucky people did end up getting it. It had screenings and panels for certain topics and the guest list was pretty good despite the fact that there were a good few last minute cancellations which disappointed a lot of fans. Its all part of the risk, I suppose.

Despite some little things, its a nice venue and a good event. Hopefully, we’ll be heading back again in the coming years. It is a pricier one, so we’ll see how it all goes. We chose to go for Fan Expo 25 so being a milestone year, it probably did have its own perks.

Toronto Haul – August 2018

I go to Toronto more than I actually should. Actually this year was the exception to the equation. I usually just go about once a year or something unless something else comes up and well, something else came up. This past weekend was my best friend’s wedding. Her husband is from Toronto so they ended up holding their wedding there. I honestly think I’ve been to more wedding outside of Montreal than in Montreal. Its a weird thought and shows how many of my friends have moved away, I guess.

Either way, it was a really fun weekend. We ate some awesome food, tried out some new places: two of which I’ll do a restaurant overview for during this week. I’ll show more of the wedding stuff in the next Weekly Adventures, mostly because well, it seems we may have skipped the last one. I know I did and it was deliberate.

Before I jump off onto another tangent, let’s check out some stuff I got in Toronto.

Things I Bought Because I Was Forgetful..
Scarborough Town Centre – Yves Rocher & Walmart

Cosmetics and Lotion

First stop on Friday in Toronto was the hunt for everything we remembered that we forgot during packing for the wedding stuff. For myself, it was not exactly all forgot but I don’t use make-up a lot so a lot of mine had expired and I needed to get some new stuff. Nothing heavy since I don’t do eye make-up because it causes eye infections for myself so just some simple concealer to do the job and seeing Fantasia and work destroyed my sleeping schedule, I’m currently rocking some puffy panda eyes and I had forgotten my eye cream. A trip to Yves Rocher was in the stars and the closest we could find on the way to the hotel was at Scarborough Town Centre. I’ll share the eventful moment there in the Weekly Adventures but one of the great things was the great service at Yves Rocher but a lovely lady who gave me some really fantastic suggestions and actually suggested that I changed to the other skincare line as my skin had changed and its why I was having all the blemishes I’ve been having lately. I didn’t get the skincare line seeing as I was away and didn’t really want to spend so much just yet but I loved the service of just sharing the knowledge of it all. So I got some body lotion and the eye care gel at Yves Rocher.

At Walmart, I got a concealer and some nail polish. I actually ended up not painting my nails for the event but I did also pick up this interesting product called a blur stick which I’m still exploring whether its something I could use or not as it felt really oily. I’m not sure the texture works well for my skin type, so I passed on using it and am still researching. If you all know what it is and have any suggestions or dos and don’ts, please do share with me.

T&T Supermarket (2 Trips)

T&T Supermarket

Most of the snacks and such were bought on the first stop. We didn’t think that we would go back but we did end up going again on Sunday. Friday was to pick up a late lunch of dimsum, which I didn’t take pictures of. We stocked up on drinks which I also didn’t take pictures so and they are all consumed. I can tell you that I was on a semi caffeine detox since March where I cut tea out of my life completely. I don’t drink coffee so its a given, I suppose. Either way, this weekend, I drank all the tea that I didn’t drink in the last few months or at least it felt that way. However, the Vita brand which usually is known for its lemon tea and such actually has this Green Tea and Japanese Green Tea which both tastes fantastic and its unsweetened so its the legit ones. Going back to the picture, look at these flavors, its like a world tour of Lay’s flavors.

T&T Supermarket

During the first trip, we saw these pokemon Ocean Bomb sparkling water. Actually when we went back in the second trip, we saw one new one and lost two so I guess I shouldn’t procrastinate so much in buying stuff. Either way, that was a spontaneous purchase although I’m still fairly unsure about trying the Pikachu Cucumber flavor. We also saw this KIM brand drink for bird’s nest drink. I’m not sure how many people know about bird nest’s drinks. Regardless, the happiest purchase here is the black sesame stuff because I love black sesame paste. Its my favorite dessert. I’ve never tried this brand so hopefully it’ll be good. I ended up sharing the bag with my mom.

Big Apple & 401 Brewery

Big Apple

Our always must-stop location is The Big Apple. I love to grab a pie and strudel and my husband loves the brownies. It is quite amazing to see how this location as grown in size and variety of what they offer. I remember stopping there the first time and it was still known but not quite as popular as it is now. I kind of miss the quieter days but they have really diversified and made it a truly Canadian experience with what they offer also.

401 Brewery

In the building, they have the store for 401 Brewery. We’ve never had anything from there before. Seeing as we didn’t manage to pick up anything at LCBO this time, we decided to grab some ciders. We picked the traditional apple cider and then a peach cider and a pear cider to try. We also saw a sparkling oaked cider which seems like it could be a nice smoky taste sort of experience. We are looking forward to trying it out eventually.

That wraps up this shorter Toronto haul as I get things into order!

Toronto 2018: EGLX 2018

Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo 2018, aka EGLX ran from March 9th to 11th at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Game Warp didn’t quite meet the requirements so we didn’t bother to try to get the press pass. I might have just been busy and a little lazy. Either way, its nice to get back into the gaming expo coverage gear because I didn’t realize how much I did miss it especially since while there were a few familiar faces here from Montreal, a lot of games were fresh and new. Its nice to go to these expo also with friends because it gives so much opportunity to get into multiplayer games and there were a great deal of those.

If you want to see a indie game zone coverage, its over at That Moment In here.

EGLX is quite the fantastic gaming convention. Aside from the Indie Zone. There was a ton of cool stuff to look at. It was something like a ton of fests meshed together but balanced out to be a nice glimpse into the gaming world. Its always fun to jump into this atmosphere as its like being cut from the real world for a little while. I sometimes think its why I love gaming so much. The concentration and different worlds is such a nice escape.

EGLX 2018

A fraction of the indie games I checked out

EGLX 2018

Super Smash Bros Tournament

EGLX 2018

Giant Catan board

EGLX 2018

Nintendo booth

EGLX 2018

Cosplay (one of the many)

EGLX 2018

Furious Seas in the VR zone

There was some tech stuff from MSI and Microsoft and other hardware and other gaming-related gears. We went to try out some racing and gaming seats. Something we are definitely looking at especially myself  with my constant back issues. The effects of an office job and blogging and gaming after hours resulting in a lot of sitting time plus, my cat is destroying my current chair. Anyways, its an investment down the road. There was a lot of stuff going on that aren’t in pictures like retro zones and arcades, etc.

We wrapped up the day with the cosplay competition except this one is quite unique as its one where the contestants are groups that had a few hours with  designated materials like cardboard and whatnot to put together a costume while giving themselves a story and a special finishing move. There were four contestants and lets just say, it was pretty funny.

To see the EGLX haul, you can find here.

This wraps up the EGLX 2018 recap (as well as Toronto 2018)!

Toronto 2018: Toronto Zoo

On the first day in town, we actually didn’t go to EGLX yet but rather went for a day at the zoo. Normally, whenever we go to zoos, its pretty much a quick max 4 hour experience but Drew had mentioned that he was set for a full day there and other than a short lunch break, Toronto Zoo did have a lot to see and we stayed for about 7 hours. The highlight for Toronto Zoo which ends this weekend is saying goodbye to the Giant Pandas, who happen to be the first pandas born in Canada.

Toronto Zoo is pretty huge. It covers a lot of different continents. Due it still being in the winter schedule, it had a lot of empty spots so some areas like Africa was just a walk through the place and then checking out the pavilion. I think that is what sets it apart is that there are a few pavilions to go through for the more exotic animals and it gives it a lot more space to check out some cool birds and more.

Since this was a huge day and I have like 800 pictures or something, I’m going to trim it down to pictures that turned out well or animals that I found were pretty unique to this location.

And here you go! Not all of them are really that rare but its always a challenge to get pictures of animals because of how far away they are. A lot of really cool ones here in all the different areas plus a lot of them are various levels of endangered which really makes it worth it to see them protected. There was a ton more than what I have here from meerkats to sloths and all kinds of monkeys and a lot of fishes and frogs and snakes and other reptiles and insects. I could go on and on.

Toronto Zoo is really worth it to just see what they have. Not a lot of zoos have such a huge terrain with indoor pavilions and outside areas. It would be nice one year to visit when its the summer to see how its set up when a lot of the warm climate animals are back.

Plus, luck was really on our side for the zoo. A lot of times we would be right on time for feeding times or speaking by the carers of a certain animal. Sometimes, we’d double back and the animal would have woken up from their nap and started moving around. It was a really great time!

Toronto 2018: Meals Recap!

Toronto is the closest haven for good Asian food. Of course, after last year’s success with Asian Legend for Drew, I started thinking up some spots to go to already. There were some changes in plans but in general, it all tastes pretty awesome and we had a few nice chats and some great drinks.

Lets check out where and what we ate!

Day 1 Dinner: Kinton Ramen, Markham

Kinton Ramen

Hogtown Ale, Sake Mojito and Bamboo

Kinton Ramen

Chicken Ramen

On the day we arrived in Toronto and even the day after, we had still some snowfall and what beats winter like eating some hot ramen. It helps that my husband was so excited to go. And when we got there and they had the whole Yakuza game soundtrack sort of music blasting, it was super good for everyone’s mood.

Day 2: Moxie’s Grill and Bar at CF Fairview

Moxie's

Moxie's

Starters: Sushi Cones

Moxie's

Half rack ribs

Hunger after a long day at the zoo and then some shopping took us to a more convenient location at the mall. We have had Moxie’s before in Markham and Vancouver and both experiences either left us with a sour taste from bad service or kind of average food for the price tag. The one at this Fairview mall however gets a thumbs up in both categories. It had some delicious food and pretty decent drinks.

Day 3: Korean Grill House in Markham

Korean Grill House

Cherry Blossom (Gin + Orange Juice)

Korean Grill House

Special Bibimbap (Spicy)

Korean Grill House

Chicken Bibimbap

The original plan was to do the whole Korean grill experience since my  husband hasn’t tried it before but since we were all fairly tired after EGLX, we ended up just going with some bibimbap. I personally love it a lot but wasn’t feeling quite as hungry so just took the chicken bibimbap. In the afterthought, I probably should have gotten beef but it still tasted fantastic. There was a choice to add on the spicy sauce but I didn’t take any. My husband on the other hand took the special bibimbap which had chicken, shrimp and beef and also added in one spoon of the spicy sauce.

Day 4 Brunch: Ding Tai Fung Restaurant

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Soup-filled Steam Dumplings

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Fried Rice

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Fried Pork Buns

To wrap things up, we went for a lovely little brunch at Ding Tai Fung for a little dim sum. Of course, there was no denying the soup-filled steamed dumplings because they are my faves. We also ordered a few other dumplings and such from the menu as well as a fried rice to wrap it all up. Everything still takes very good. I haven’t been here in 2 to 3 years and its nice to see the food quality still very much the way I remembered it.

Overall, a great foodie trip (as much as it was everything else)! 
We had some nice chats and tried some nice cocktails and beers.
Awesome company usually makes it even better!

Toronto still has lots of great food that we’re going to be trying out soon (or next year)!
The recap of our two main highlights of the trip are coming up!

Toronto: Casa Loma 

Toronto Comicon weekend was super busy. However, being the troopers we were, we managed to meet up earlier and skip out on one panel and made our tourist attraction visit to Casa Loma happen. Drew and I had originally planned for a Friday afternoon visit but realized it would be too rushed. Seeing as we did see Beauty and the Beast the night before and it was snowing in the morning when we arrived, it was the perfect memory of the Beast’s castle in real life (although it isn’t the same).

Casa Loma

The entrance for Casa Loma is $27, which might seem a little steep but you will soon realize as we did, that it is pretty worth it, plus this castle was used for quite a few movies as well.

Here is how we visited Casa Loma!

The First Floor

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Library

Casa Loma

The first floor of Casa Loma highlights the elegance of the building. You walk in to an open high ceiling area. Its something of a reception area. Down the hall are socializing areas. The billiard room was closed but on the other side, there was a beautiful library and a conservatory with a beautiful glass dome. There’s some fun facts about the office which has two secret passages: one that goes to the second floor and the second to the basement. The basement pretty much takes us to a vault. However, these are only two of the supposed three secret passages, however the third hasn’t been found.

Casa Loma

Secret Passage upstairs

The Second Floor: Guest Room

Casa Loma

The secret passage way leads up to a corridor next to the Guest Room which has a Chinese theme which is exactly up my alley, of course. This was an incredibly pretty room and very reminiscent of a lot of Chinese antiques. We only did this room which lead to stairs going up to the 3rd floor. We’ll come back to the second floor later.

Casa Loma

The Third Floor

Casa Loma

Walking up to the third floor was the Queen’s Own Rifle Museum which showed a lot of the history behind the war and military facts. It lined the hallway and leads into the Formation Room. Walking to the other end was the Group of Seven Room and other spaces. The military portion was one that Drew liked a lot whereas I’m not quite into this sort of history. However, the third floor does lead up to the two towers which we could look out the windows and also a lookout on one for a nice vantage point. Plus, it was snowing so it made for some nice scenery.

The Towers

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

A little eerie at first to walk up those stairs and then decide where to go and then keep going up on these super twirly narrow steps but the view is quite beautiful. It is a gloomy day so while Toronto would make a fantastic backdrop, perhaps the nicest part is capturing a different view of the castle along with its details.

The Second Floor (other half)

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Going back down to the other part of the second floor was mostly the suits for the Lady and Sir Pellatt who owned this castle. They had some super elegant bathrooms (which I didn’t show here) and some fantastically charming bedrooms. Just to say, its important to note how far our bathrooms, especially showers have gone since then.

The Tunnel

Casa Loma

Lucky for us, Drew was around and we headed down to the Lower Level where we happened to realize there’s still one really long tunnel with a Castles and Dragons medieval theme with paintings and animations projected on the walls which seemed to tell a story. It was pretty cool to see. This tunnel lead to The Stables which also had an antique car exhibit and carriage room along with the garage and potting shed. The stalls actually had two horses which I didn’t capture any clear enough to add here.

Casa Loma

The Movies

Casa Loma Casa Loma

There’s at least a dozen more films that were shot here but I can’t show them all here. These are some of the pretty popular ones. As I waited for Drew at the gift shop, I ended up watching all the clips of which movies and what rooms were used.

Would you look at all that? The pictures I used are only highlights and my favorite rooms. Plus, I only had my phone and not my DSLR so the pictures aren’t quite as refined. They still turned out alright. Casa Loma was a pleasant surprise with everything it had and we didn’t even watch any of the scheduled performances so if we had more time, there is still more to do, like going in the summer and having a chance to visit the gardens.

Have you visited any castles?