Mike Cohen travels to Toronto East

On our way back from a recent winter trip to Niagara Falls, we had no intention of just passing by Toronto on the way home. We always enjoy spending time in Canada’s largest city and look no further than right off Highway 401 and the Radisson Toronto East. We stayed at this property three years earlier and enjoyed it. The location is terrific, for it is one exit away from the Don Valley Parkway – a quick 20-minute route to the theatre district and Eaton Centre.

The Radisson is managed by the Westmont Hospitality Group, which also oversees Les Suites in Ottawa, the Hilton in Windsor and the Staybridge Suites in Oakville ( places I have stayed at).

Nestled in a corporate hub, surrounded by malls and major attractions, the hotel is precisely located at 401 and Victoria Park. All rooms have Sleep Number Beds, where the firmness of the mattress can be adjusted for your best sleeping comfort. Complimentary high-speed internet is available in each room as well. You can unwind in the bar lounge, take a splash in the indoor swimming pool or tone yourself in the fitness center. Other convenient amenities include a complimentary shuttle service to local businesses within the vicinity. There is a full-service restaurant, Le Café, and room service to take care of your taste buds.
While I usually seek out a suite for my family when travelling, the Radisson Toronto East is excellent for seeking out the option of an adjoining room. We had two rooms, one with two double beds and another with a king. Upon request, we got a fridge and microwave. With a large grocery store only two blocks away we were able to stock up on our own foods to make breakfast and lunch. The rooms have comfortable desks, perfect for working on a laptop, chairs, ample cupboard and drawer space and two telephones. At the front desk, the staff is very attentive to all of your needs.

There are handicapped parking spots in the lot and the entrance is fully wheelchair accessible, leading to three good-sized elevators. Handicapped accessible rooms are available.

The exact address is 55 Hallcrown Place. You can make reservations by calling 1- 1-800-395-7046 or emailing rhi_toea@radisson.com

SHOPPING: There is plenty of shopping in the area. Near the hotel, you will find the Fairview Shopping Centre and the Yorkdale Mall. In terms of dinner and entertainment, Toronto is home to one of the phenomenal Dave and Busters (www.daveandbusters.com) franchises at 120 Interchange Way in Vaughan. This is a gigantic facility where you can “eat, drink and play.” The menu is extensive and the choice of terrific games is pretty endless. You won’t want to leave this place. If you have kids under 19, keep in mind Ontario liquor laws will force you to depart by 10 p.m.

ATTRACTIONS: Toronto has a lot of fun options year-round. Just log on to www.seetorontonow.com for many options. Of course, this place is now kind of famous for its huge musical theatre offerings. We saw the second to last showing of Rock of Ages at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Just go to www.mirvish.com to see what is playing when you are in town. If you are looking ahead to next summer, Canada’s Wonderland and the Toronto Zoo are musts. So is Ontario Place.

If you plan to visit the CN Tower (www.cntower.ca), the world’s tallest building during the busier summer season, the following are a few suggestions from marketing director Irene Knight to shorten or eliminate any potential wait times at the CN Tower and also some cost saving tips: the busiest season to visit is from May to October so come outside of these months and you can usually avoid any potential waits; from May to October, the busiest time of the day is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m; CityPass provides express elevation to see the world-famous LookOut and Glass Floor observation levels at the CN Tower; Total Tower is a “do it all” CN Tower ticket providing express elevation to the Look Out and Glass Floor observation levels at the CN Tower as well as admission to all the attractions available here; online ticket purchases allow you to go directly to the ticketholder line and avoid the box office. At a height of 553.33m (1,815 ft., 5 inches), it is the world’s tallest building, a Wonder of the Modern World, an important telecommunications hub, the centre of tourism in Toronto and a first-class dining and event centre. Each year, approximately two million people visit. Each year, approximately two million people visit.

The Ontario Science Centre (www.ontariosciencecentre.ca) is barrier-free, offering extra-wide parking, free wheelchairs and strollers, wheelchair seating in the Shoppers Drug Mart® OMNIMAX® Theatre and Imperial Oil Auditorium, barrier-free elevators, a washroom for special needs persons and safe areas of refuge in case of emergency. Their Access Guide for Visually Impaired Persons lists exhibits that can be experienced through touch, taste, hearing and smell. Organizations serving disabled people are admitted for free to the Ontario Science Centre, as part of a registered program of therapy. Escorts of disabled visitors are admitted free to the Ontario Science Centre.

Ontario Place (www.ontarioplace.com) is an internationally acclaimed cultural, leisure and entertainment parkland, extending throughout three man-made islands along the Lake Ontario waterfront. It opened in May 1971 and features a five-pod pavilion complex- The Forum, pedal boats, a marina, restaurants and the world’s first permanent IMAX®theatre, the Cinesphere. Built as a showcase for the province of Ontario, this is a great spot to cool off in the summer thanks to Soak City. Toronto’s biggest outdoor waterpark, it features the Pink Twister, Purple Pipeline and Hydrorefuge water slides, as well as the Rush River Ride which allows up to four people to go down Rush River’s eight-story tower in a giant yellow raft. Soak City is also home to Canada’s tallest tipping bucket. There are some 30 other fabulous attractions to explore here, including a variety of rides and live shows on stage.

Canada’s Wonderland (www.canadas-wonderland.com) is Canada’s premier theme park and features over 200 attractions, more than 60 thrilling rides, North America’s greatest variety of roller coasters, and Splash Works, a 20-acre water park featuring over two million gallons of heated water fun. Check out The Plunge, Supersoaker, The Lazy River, and Pumphouse. The park, located in suburban Vaughn just off Highway 400, opens in early May and closes on Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend.

Mike Cohen’s e-mail address is info@mikecohen.ca. Log on to www.sandboxworld/travel for his online travel advice.