Monday, June 19, 2017

Celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary & a Giveaway!

I recently read an article listing Canada, which is honoring its 150th anniversary, as one of the best places to travel in 2017, which sparked my interest in finally setting dates for our trip. Because we can't take a major vacation until winter, we're instead looking at places to explore that aren't too far of a drive from Chicago and have lots of activities to do as a family, especially outdoors. I've written about my desire to go to Toronto, Ontario, on this blog before, but now that trip seems more like a possibility. I'm eyeing an extra-long weekend in September to celebrate our third anniversary, and I can't wait!

I'm finding that the trip is a lot more affordable than I initially thought. Radisson makes it easy to book a Toronto hotel room within our budget. To get the best bang for your travel buck, you can also join Club Carlson, which lets you rack up points that can be easily redeemed for hotel nights. I know this based on personal experience: When I redeemed my Club Carlson points in January I had no trouble at all finding available rooms. I was able to use the rewards at a variety of hotels, including Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.

Club Carlson hotel rewards points allowed us to take a family vacation during the dreaded Chicago winter while saving us some cash. We had two of our hotel nights accounted for, which left more in the budget for Orlando and Clearwater, Florida, fun! We stayed at the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration in Kissimmee, which was nicely decorated and conveniently located for all the activities we wanted to do on our road trip. We also stayed at a Radisson-Carlson hotel in Atlanta on the drive back, and the room was similarly comfortable, clean and nicely appointed. On this particular trip, we will be staying at the Radisson Hotel Toronto East (shown below).

Radisson Hotel Toronto East

For our Canada road trip, we plan to take advantage of a new Radisson rewards redemption option with Petro-Canada. With just 18,000 points, we can get a Petro-Canada gas card to use on our drive, and we're already on our way there with the points we have left over from our last family road trip. Plus, Radisson has a free interactive map feature on its website where you can visualize your road trip and plan your things to do.

15 places to explore in Ontario:

Our upcoming Canada road trip from Chicago will be an 8-hour drive, which is nothing compared to the distances we have covered in the past. We have a list of family-friendly places to go that reflect our love of the outdoors and family-friendly fun. These attractions are all located either on the drive to Toronto from Chicago, in Toronto or close enough to make a day trip from the Radisson Hotel Toronto East, where we plan to stay.
  1. Point Pelee National Park of Canada: Exploring the trails and seeing the wildlife. It would be a pit stop on the way to Toronto.
  2. Niagara Falls: Taking in the views of the waterfalls on day and night cruises. Victoria was intrigued by photos of the colorfully illuminated falls at night.
  3. Skylon Tower Observation Deck: Getting another view of the falls.
  4. Toronto Botanical Garden: Taking one of the free weekly tours of the grounds. 
  5. Toronto Blue Jays game: Crossing off another MLB ballpark.
  6. CN Tower in Toronto: Checking out the views from the building.
  7. St. Lawrence Market: Strolling and grabbing lunch.
  8. Harbourfront Centre: Admiring the visual arts installations or just walking along the Boardwalk.
  9. Toronto Zoo: Saying hello to our animal friends.
  10. Royal Ontario Museum: Getting lost in the museum that contains more than 6 million specimens, objects and artifacts.
  11. Canada's Wonderland: Riding the amusement rides and eating too much food.
  12. Casa Loma: Touring the majestic castle.
  13. Clifton Hill Skywheel: Riding Canada's largest observation wheel!
  14. Hershey Chocolate World: Treating ourselves to too much chocolate.
  15. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada: Our toddler would love this place!
I am not sure if we can get to all of these amazing attractions in just one trip, but we will sure try to cross off as many as we can.

We are excited about going on a Niagara Falls boat cruise!

Finding more affordable things to do in Canada this year would be no problem: Canada's parks, historic sites and national monuments are free in 2017 in honor of the country's 150th anniversary. While researching our trip we found more than 40 national parks, monuments and historic sites in Ontario alone. We could easily swap out a stop at one of those free sites if we wanted to save some cash.

To help you plan your own getaway, Radisson is giving away a one-night stay certificate to use on your Canada trip! See details below to enter. You can also save on a two-night stay (12 percent off) with Radisson's Summer Promotion.

Are you a member of Club Carlson? What's your ideal Canada vacation? Use the interactive map feature and let me know where you would go!

Enter the Radisson Giveaway!

 Plan your trip with Radisson.
Victoria was captivated by photos of all the fun offered at Niagara Falls.

One reader will receive a one night stay certificate. The winner will be picked at random on July 7. To be eligible to win, you must:

1. Share my Facebook post.
2. Tag @Radisson.
3. Comment below!

Note: Winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be asked for an email address to send the certificate. Hotel certificate may be used in U.S. or Canada.
Click here to learn how to travel to Canada on its 150th anniversary.