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Mixedwood Plains

City life!
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Here I'll put a brief summary or overview of this article.

The holiday season and break time (for most families) is fast approaching! What better way is there to spend your Holiday break than travelling? In the Mixedwood Plains there are eight major cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, London, Hamilton, Windsor & Missisauga. We sent our best city-goers to the biggest four of these cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa & Quebec City to scout out the very best of each city for you! They focused on entertainment, recreation & food! Here's a brief overview of what they discovered in the four biggest cities of the Mixedwood Plains. Enjoy!

Toronto (5 million people)The biggest city in the Canada is not big without things to do, far from it! During the countdown to the holidays, there is plenty to do, see and of course eat! If you're into plays and shows this season Toronto has what you want! Now playing in the brand new and very modern opera house (located in the heart of downtown) is the classic Nutcracker Ballet. The best part is that this show is not put on by just anyone, it is being performed by Canada's very own National Ballet! If you are more into funny plays, Peter Pan featuring Kurt Brown is also now playing. Museums in Toronto are not just ordinary museums; the fabulous Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is situated in downtown Toronto. The ROM has numerous exhibits and the new and very modern addition; the Crystal is now open! Some other must-see buildings that the whole family will love are the Infamous CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Legislative buildings. All of the above buildings are fun, fascinating and guaranteed to capture memories! Getting hungry? Well never fear, Toronto's thousands of restaurants are here! Being the most multi-cultural city in the Canada means having any kind of food of any culture at your fingertips! Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian whatever you choose! If you are into fancy and gourmet dining Sassafraz (located in the heart of Yorkville) is a must -eat! One can enjoy a scrumptious gourmet dinner of romaine salad and gnocchi for a price of about $45.00 (that is only one meal example). If you are into a more laid-back (and affordable) meal try Wimpy's diner (various locations across the city) and enjoy a classic meal for under $20.00. What would travelling in a city during the winter be without skating? Well don’t worry, Toronto will not disappoint! There are countless public skating rinks across Toronto. Some of the more popular choices of rinks are: Nathan Philips square (refer to Fig.1), Mel Lastman Square, High Park and Harbourfront square. Don’t forget to warm up with a cup of coffee (or cocoa) afterwards, at one of Toronto's hundred's of locations of Starbucks!

Montreal (1 620 693 people)"Joie de Vivre" the joy of living. This applies to Montreal because there is so much to do and see. The French culture is very prominent and lets you experience a whole different lifestyle (and improve your French!). In addition, the French culture gives Montreal a charming European flavor. Of course, no city would be a city without museums! Montreal has a few. One can enjoy the Science center and learn about culture at the same time as learning about science and technology. Also a must-see museum is the Montreal Biodome. The Montreal Biodome recreated the world's four major ecozones : Arctic & Antarctic, St. Lawrence Marine ecozone, the Laurentian forest and the tropical forest. The Biodome is amazing! For those who like the opera, Montreal is just the place! During the month of December, the Opera de Montreal (which is also the largest francophone Opera Company in North America) puts on its annual show Gala. The show is wonderful and a great entertainment option.There is plenty to do in Montreal. It would be extremely difficult to get bored. One can have fun skating on the indoor skating rink in the majestic building 1000 de la Gauchetiere. Skate rentals and a snack bar are available. Another fun option is to go for a walk down Crescent Street. Crescent Street is lively at almost any time of the year, and always has something going on. Most of the street is a pedestrian mall, which makes it safe and easy to look in the shops and boutiques. Crescent street in widely known for it wide variety of restaurants, and one is guaranteed to find something that they like! Montreal is known for many different things, but what it is mainly known for is its fine cuisine! Like Toronto (and many other large Canadian cities) Montreal restaurant offer a variety of different cultural foods. Though while in Montreal, the best thing to try is some fine and very authentic French cuisine! At La Gargote " Cuisine Franšaise Restaurant de Quartie" one can enjoy: an endive salad with blue cheese and walnuts and Mallard duck magret with varoise tapenade for about $31.50 (that is only one meal example). Another delicious option is to enjoy a Swiss cheese fondue (refer to Fig.2) at La Fonderie for $22.00 (again only one of the options!).

Ottawa (875 000 people) In Canada's capital there is much to do, see and eat (of course). Ottawa not only is full of history but is full of vibrant culture that is a must-experience! If you are interested in seeing the history and museums of Ottawa, there is no better place to start than to go take a guided tour of the Parliament Buildings (refer to fig.3). Fascinating history and beautiful architecture, the Parliament Buildings are fantastic! Another museum that you must visit is the Canadian War Museum. This awe-inspiring museum will take you back to all the wars that Canada has been involved in and the history will fascinate you. Also interesting, and a great place to learn about Canadian history is the Canadian museum of Civilization. Is the shopping the highlight of your travels? (Me too!) Well Ottawa is prepared for this and can offer some of the best shopping around! Homemade and handmade crafts are on sale at Ottawa's yearly Craft Sale in Landsdowne Park. Another (must-shop) place is the St.Laurent center. With 195 stores inside, you are guaranteed to find just what you were looking for! Bon appetite! Ottawa is filled with many different cultures of cuisine's! What would a French/English speaking city be without fine French cuisine? Not much! So you must check out Restaurant E18hteen. At this restaurant you will find fine and modern French Cuisine. You can enjoy a vine ripened tomato salad and pan roasted heritage salmon for a price of about $41.00 (that is only one meal example). If you want a quick bite to go, then grabbing a quick bite of sushi at "Sushi Zone" is another delectable and fun option! Of course, while visiting Ottawa one must stop by at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Byward Market, and take full advantage of its many exquisite options! No one's (winter) visit to Ottawa is complete without skating on the Rideau Canal The fun part about the Rideau Canal is that along the canal (and easily accessible by skates) are fun exhibits and activities! The Rideau Canal is a wonderful family activity, or just something peaceful to enjoy by yourself. Afterwards, treat yourself to a warm beavertail near the beginning of the canal. Now also available in Ottawa is cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park. In the park there is a total of 200 km of cross-country skiing trails that one can follow and more than half of these are currently open and in use! If you are not the cross-country skiing type, then snowshoeing is also an option! Last but not least, one must take advantage of Byward market! Byward market is a combination of outdoor street vendors (though these are found mostly in the summertime) and unique stores. One can always find something fascinating there, so check it out!

Quebec City (528 595 people) Quebec City is probably the city in Canada with the most European charm. The whole city glows with it! Whether you are taking a walk in old Quebec, or just enjoying a meal in one of the many fine dining restaurants the charm is everywhere! The Honey Econo Museum is probably one of the most unique museums that you will encounter! Take a "Bee safari" and participate in activities such as trying the find the queen bee in an enclosed wall of live bees! The museum's gift shop features treats and souvenirs with a .. You guess it, a honey theme! If finding charming confectionery shops is right up your alley, Quebec City is the place for you! You can take a tour at La Fudgerie and try as many samples as you want! La Fudgerie is Quebec first fudge-making company, and it is delicious and well worth it trip! Another option is visiting "Choco-Musee Erico" which is a chocolate museum! This tiny museum which is located in old Quebec, is a fabulous chocolate shop with a fascinating exhibit on the history of chocolate in the back. You can buy a treat and walk around and read the facts!One of the things that Quebec City is best known for is Mont-Saint Anne. Mon- Saint Anne is a ski mountain with an attached resort, that is located only 40 km away from Quebec City. While visiting (or staying at the attached lodge) Mont-Saint Anne, one can engage in cross- country or downhill skiing. Attached to Mont-Saint Anne is "Les Secrets Nordiques", which has 65 beautiful huskies and the option of taking a dog sled ride in the winter! Shopping in Quebec City is as charming as it is fun! Though the city has five major shopping centers, the best place to shop is in old Quebec (refer to Fig.4 ). Old Quebec is located in the heart of Quebec City, and features many charming stores boutiques and restaurants. Souvenirs, clothes or just window shopping, Old Quebec will make the best of it. In addition to great places, many of the buildings in Old Quebec are older, with a charming European flair! While visiting Quebec City you must try the food! Many different cultures and of course delectable and authentic French cuisine give you many options! At la Cremaillere (which serves fine Italian and French cuisine) one can enjoy: a crepe with seafood glazed with parmesan cheese and Penne with grilled sweet bell peppers, artichokes and Brie for about $33.00 (that is only one meal example). At the restaurant "Pub d'Orsay" (which features a European pub-style) one can enjoy: French onion soup and spaghetti with tomato and meat sauce for about $20.45 (that is only one meal example). The food is delectable, the feel is charminge what's not to love?

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By: Mary

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