Mike Cohen travels to Oakville: Ontario

The Staybridge Suites Oakville Burlington offers one and two-bedroom suites, with all the conveniences of home to suit your extended stay or short-term needs. The hotel offers apartment-like suites featuring fully-equipped kitchens, cable TV, free wired and wireless internet and direct dial phone number with personalized voicemail. There is a 24-hour business center with free internet, print/fax/copy capabilities, free laundry facilities, a fitness center, an indoor pool, a home theatre room with a 50-inch plasma TV, gas BBQ grills, a putting green, the Bridgemart “Suite” Shop, a free deluxe breakfast buffet, evening sundowner receptions (Monday through Thursdays) and signing privileges next door at the Marquis Bistro Restaurant and Grill, which is also under the WHG umbrella. You can help yourself to free soft drinks and juices in the lobby 24/7. This hotel is pet friendly so that of course includes service animals. It is fully wheelchair accessible and has one room with accessibility standards and handicapped parking at the front entrance.

A vibrant and impressive community within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Oakville is a beautiful lakeside town with a strong heritage, preserved and celebrated by residents and visitors alike. Founded in 1857, this thriving municipality of about 165,000 residents provides all the advantages of a well-serviced urban center, while also maintaining its small-town ambiance. Along historical downtown streets, Oakville offers a mix of converted 19th-century buildings which accommodate over 400 fine shops, services, and restaurants.

A 30-minute drive from downtown Toronto, and an hour’s drive from the U.S. border, Oakville boasts an $88 million tourism industry, with over 1.4 million visitors annually. On our recent trip to the Niagara Falls area, we decided to stop over in Oakville for a day. We checked into the beautiful Staybridge Suites Extended Stay Hotel Oakville Burlington (www.staybridge.com/oakvilleon), located at the QEW and Bronte Road at 2511 Wyecroft. This three-year-old property still looks spanking new. It is managed by the Westmont Hospitality Group (WHG), which I hold in high regard, having stayed at their locales in Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor.

Our one night there went too quickly and we will definitely be back. For reservations call 1 877 660 8550, 905-847 2600, or email staybridgeoakville@whg.com. The hotel lobby is fully wheelchair accessible.

DINING: When in Oakville I would recommend you make it a point to dine at the Marquis Bistro (www.marquisbistro.com), a 60-second walk from the Staybridge Suites lobby. It is open for breakfast, lunch and supper. We chose to have dinner there and were very pleased with the quality of the selections. The menus are all online. We shared the lemon calamari and the pan-seared scallops to start and give high marks for the spaghetti bolognese, the chicken parmesan and the delicious chocolate bundt cake for dessert. There are also a number of soups and salads to choose from, such as other pasta dishes, steaks, racks of lamb, and seafood. For reservations call 905-465-4480.This is a very pretty restaurant, with booths and tables. There is a large flat-screen television and an attractive wine cabinet when you walk in.

WHAT TO DO: Residents and visitors enjoy theatre, dance, music and comedy performances at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. They can visit the museum at Erchless Estate, located in the home of the Chisolms, Oakville’s founding family. Other points of interest include galleries, historical societies and local architecture, especially in heritage neighbourhoods.

Among the many special attractions and activities for the whole family, Oakville’s annual WaterfrontFestival and Jazz Festival draw crowds from around the GTA. The community also provides plenty of recreational opportunities. Golfers can play at one of seven golf courses, including PGA-recognized Glen Abbey Golf Course, which has hosted the Canadian Open for many years.

Enjoy over 2,400 acres of park space, many with groomed hiking trails, or join a recreation center that provides programs for all ages. For boaters, Oakville features two picturesque harbors with docks and slips for sail and powerboats. The Oakville Public Library’s Events Calendar is the ultimate resource for everything happening in the Town of Oakville, including the acclaimed Jazz Festival.

The Town of Oakville hosts the Community Spirit Awards, and the ever-popular Santa Claus Parade, and is often the host venue for the Black History Month Kickoff Celebration at the beginning of February. The Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate also celebrates Oakville’s Black History with a travelling exhibit as well as a permanent bilingual exhibit called, The Underground Railroad – Next Stop, Freedom!

Every November, in honour of Remembrance Day, Town Hall hosts the Shadows of War exhibit, which is generously provided by the Oakville Museum of Erchless Estate. The Oakville and Bronte legions also organize their own public Remembrance Day ceremonies in early November.

A vibrant community filled with culture and natural heritage, Oakville is renowned for its beautiful shopping districts which include the historic, yet sophisticated Downtown – one of the foremost shopping and dining destinations in Ontario – with architecturally preserved storefronts, the quaint waterfront Village of Bronte and the eclectic multicultural Kerr Village. Each shopping district offers an assortment of cafes, restaurants, spas, galleries, and nearby parks and trails to unwind and enjoy the change in seasons.

Photos courtesy of the Town of Oakville.