Rave: Childhood summer vacations

There’s nothing quite like summer to make us nostalgic about our childhood. Two months of blissful, school-free days filled with swimming, ice cream and road trips. The heat must be getting to us On The Fourth Floor, because the other day we started reminiscing about our favourite memories of past summer vacations.

My grandparents used to live on a lake near Parry Sound – it’s my favourite place in the world. We’d be outside all day and in my case, most of the time was spent in the water. At night we’d hang around the fire and play horseshoes. I have such great memories of being up there. Lots of laughter, jokes and love.

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Just picture a mini-Lisa jumping off that dock.

I spent every summer from ages nine to 19 at Camp Winnebagoe. Life was good. I made lifelong friends, spent every waking moment outside and learned so much.

I love Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlour in Streetsville. My grandpa used to take me when I was about five, and it was always the happening spot in the summer. All the cute soccer playing boys would hang out there, which was nice little eye candy to go along with the ice cream. I still get a kiddy scoop of Caribou Tracks when I go there now.
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My family always takes an annual summer trip to Stowe, Vermont. It’s the annual Stark Stowe reunion. We make T-shirts every year. We usually stay at the Golden Eagle resort and hit the bike path, alpine slidesBen and Jerry’s factory, and a dinner at The Whip. These trips have become especially fun and meaningful since both my brother and I have had kids.

I loved going to the Toronto Zoo. I always had a fascination with watching animals and thought of it as such an adventure. I still dream of going to African Lion Safari – maybe this is the summer!

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The mighty polar bears at the Toronto Zoo.

I grew up spending summers in Bass River, Nova Scotia. As a city girl, I adapted quickly to country living (with a ton of allergy pills and nose spray) and soon learned to milk a cow, drive a tractor and race around on a four wheeler. My favourite memory is when we spent two weeks camping across Newfoundland with our best family friends. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. 
I loved the cottage that my family used to rent just north of Sudbury. My brother, sister and I would basically be left on our own for the entire time, and we loved it. We’d swim, fish, explore in the woods, read books (well, only I would do that), stay up late and roast marshmallows over campfires at night. I still love going to cottages, and try to get to a friend’s every chance I get. To me, it’s the essence of summer in Canada.

I also spent my summers up at camp in Perth, Ontario. It is where I found my independence, hit puberty and fell in love. I also learned how to build a fire, camp out with just a tarp and play capture the flag. I love the memories that I have and wouldn’t trade those summers for anything.

What is your favourite summer memory? Leave a comment, or tweet us @rockitpromo.

Happy Canada Day!

Whether or not you’re attending Pride as part of the Canada Day celebrations, we hope you have a happy, fun and safe long weekend.
Some fun facts to wow your friends (or make quick conversation at the bbq/cottage/date you are on this weekend):
Did you know Canadians consume more macaroni and cheese than any other nation on earth? Source.
We’re home to the longest street, highway, coastline and freshwater beach in the world. Source
We have more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Source.

Quebec produces over 70% of the worlds’ maple syrup, and is the only walled city north of Mexico. Coincidence? You decide. 

This guy is ready to party. Image source

Happy long weekend!

City Living: Hot Ways to Cool Off

In our new series, City Living, we spill about Toronto’s latest hot spots, our favourite things to do and see, and great things happening in the city. 

Finally, we’ve got the sunshine and heat we’ve craved for the past eight months or so. Now that it’s here, avoid complaining about it by keeping cool this summer. We’ll tell you our top ways to beat the heat. Now you have no excuse but to enjoy our brief summer.

If you’ve got money and time..
Head up to the lake! There’s nothing quite like an afternoon by the lake, on the dock, cold beer in hand. You’ll be hard pressed to find cottage country near Toronto that isn’t uber-expensive, so either cozy up to a friend who has a cottage, or settle for lounging poolside in the city. 
A little slice of heaven.

If you’ve got more time than money…
Lounge at aforementioned city pool! Toronto has a ton of pools for everyone to enjoy, and no, they aren’t filled with pee. They are actually clean and a fun throwback to being a kid, when you’d give anything to dive into the deep end and stay there all day. Best part? They’re free! We’re especially partial to the pool at Christie Pits but there are 57 more to choose from in the city. Score.
How can you say no to that slide?
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If you’re craving an internal cool down…
We’ve already dished about our favourite patios in the city, so this cool down tip is dedicated to the actual drink you’d enjoy on said patio. Nothing beats lemonade on a sunny day, and we especially like the Drake Hotel’s lavender version on the Sky Yard (they have an entire lemonade stand). 

You may have noticed that rose is making a comeback at the LCBO – this light wine is no longer just for cougars. French versions are dry and refreshing. Also, you can never say no to a fruity, cool sip of sangria. We love the one at Kalendar – especially for the College St. people watching that comes with it. 

Get there early to snag a prime people-watching seat.
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If you’re fancy…

Some of you don’t do public pools, and for you, there’s spots like the Thompson Hotel rooftop. This sleek, shiny infinity pool is gorgeous and only open for those with the rare member’s key or guests of the hotel. 

Who wouldn’t want the key to this place?
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If you aren’t a card carrying member, you can always enjoy the rooftop patio at the downtown Radisson. For a mere $25 (or $35 on the weekend or a holiday), you get a towel and access to this lovely oasis in the city for as long as you like. 
Hotel pool relief for everyone!

If you’re hungry….
Pop a hot pepper or spicy bowl of curry into your mouth. While this seems like the last thing you’d want to do when burning up, the heat in the food causes you to perspire, which will cool your body temperature pretty quickly. Try a bowl of tasty Massaman curry at Khao San Road and ask for Thai-style spice. You’ll be wiping your brow in no time and will enjoy every minute of it.
This little bowl of tastiness is your key to keeping cool. 
What are you favourite ways to cool down? Tweet us @rockitpromo

Rants and Raves: Oceans vs. Lakes

Summertime and the living is… outdoors. Long weekends, trips to the cottage and backyard barbeques with friends and family really make summer Canada’s most popular season. This week, we had some inner office debate about waterfront lounging, which brings us to our most recent Rant and Rave: Lakes vs. Oceans. Surf and sand go up against docks and still water. The ladies that grew up on Canada’s coasts were firmly on the side of oceans, while those of us who grew up in lake-loving Ontario preferred freshwater.

The Ocean

Pensive by the ocean

– Salty sea water does wonders for beachy hair waves, heals wounds and makes your tan glow. Plus, beer tastes better on the beach.
– Sand provides an instant pedicure and can easily be moulded into the perfect beach chair, killer sand castle creation or hilarious burying hole.
– Watching the sun set over the water is pretty special when there’s nothing but blue as far as the eye can see.
– Canada has some of the world’s most beautiful coasts (especially Nova Scotia and British Columbia)
– Tides are pretty magical. Low tide makes for a lovely beach walk, and the tide pools left behind are an amazing glimpse into sea life. High tide is great for water fun like surfing, boogie boarding or sailing.

Tide pool at Peggy’s Cove

– Sand in your bikini bottoms. Exfoliates, but sucks.
– Jellyfish. They sting (and the common remedy is to pee on the affected area).
– Salty water can ruin a new colour job on your ‘do, and dry out your skin.
– Scary thoughts of the big, toothy sea creatures that lurk below the surface.
– Tides can steal beach toys and flip flops if you aren’t careful.

The Lake

Lake Huron

– You don’t have to be on a coast to find a gorgeous lake. Some are even smack dab in the middle of our city.
– There’s nothing like jumping off a dock or rock into the water after a long week in the office. Beer tastes great on a dock too!
– Water skiing and tubing are two of the most fun ways to spend an afternoon.
– Ontario has a gorgeous array of lakes dotting the province. We love Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, Lake Joseph in Muskoka and Canoe Lake in Algonquin (to name just a few!).

– Leeches. They are dirty blood suckers.
– You can’t really surf on the lake, unless you are nuts and go mid-winter.
– Stepping on gross lake weeds on the bottom.
– Hot summer evenings near the lake = masses of mosquitoes.
– Muskrats, otters and beavers. They’ll get you.

A Canadian muskrat. He doesn’t look so scary!

What do you like better?

Photo credits:
Peggy’s Cove: http://www.fineartamerica.com/
Lake Huron: ted.coe.wayne.edu/sse/wq/Roth/Resource.html
Muskrat: http://www.sudburyaviation.on.ca/