How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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When my 15-year-old cousin Jaymee asked if he could come for a visit from Wales this summer, we said absolutely…and began planning our activities weeks in advance! Purely for his enjoyment, of course. 🙂 I felt such a responsibility to show him everything I could during his first trip to Canada!

We took it easy on him as he adjusted to his jet lag, doing some shopping at the Eaton Centre, visiting with friends, and walking the dogs.  The dogs are always game for a day in the off-leash park at Cherry Beach, where they like to get as dirty as possible!

Sydney at Cherry Beach © Allyson Scott

Sydney at Cherry Beach © Allyson Scott

Knowing that we wanted to see a few of the local major attractions, we bought the Toronto City Pass and headed down to Ripley’s Aquarium. I hadn’t been there before, and it surpassed all my expectations! Jaymee’s too, I think.

Shark at Ripley's Aquarium © Allyson Scott

Shark at Ripley’s Aquarium © Allyson Scott

Jaymee at Ripley's Aquarium © Allyson Scott

Jaymee at Ripley’s Aquarium © Allyson Scott

Jellyfish at Ripley's Aquarium © Allyson Scott

Jellyfish at Ripley’s Aquarium © Allyson Scott

The aquarium is open until 11 p.m. (which I wish we’d realized before we went during peak hours), and offers special events like jazz nights on the second Friday of every month, as well as scuba diving packages inside the tanks!

The next place we had to check off our must-see list was Canada’s Wonderland, where the lines were outrageous but the roller coasters were as much fun as I remembered – and Jaymee got to try out the new slingshot ride!

The Leviathan roller coaster at Wonderland © Allyson Scott

The Leviathan roller coaster at Wonderland © Allyson Scott

The slingshot ride at Wonderland © Allyson Scott

Jaymee on the slingshot ride at Wonderland © Allyson Scott

The weather during his visit was spectacular, allowing us to spend an afternoon taking advantage of my in-laws’ pool, and then escaping the heat at an indoor glow-in-the-dark mini putt golf course and arcade.

Testing the pool at Grandma's house © Allyson Scott

Testing the pool at Grandma’s house © Allyson Scott

Cleaning up at the arcade after mini golf © Allyson Scott

Cleaning up at the arcade after mini golf © Allyson Scott

Anyone who sees my Facebook posts knows that I’m a huge Blue Jays fan, so I had to take my cousin to a baseball game. Thanks to a good friend with season’s tickets we had amazing seats, and Jaymee got to ride the TTC rocket for the first time!

Jays game selfie

Jays game selfie  © Jody McDonnell

No visit to Toronto would be complete without going to the top of the CN Tower, which we haven’t done in many years. The view is incredible, and makes all the construction headaches seem worthwhile!

Jaymee and I looking out from the CN Tower © Allyson Scott

Jaymee and I looking out from the CN Tower © Allyson Scott

View of Toronto from the CN Tower © Allyson Scott

View of Toronto from the CN Tower © Allyson Scott

From there we headed up to the ROM to take in the new Dale Chihuly glass exhibit (on until January 2), as well as the history of tattoos. It made for a long day, but was well worth the trip!

Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the ROM © Allyson Scott

Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the ROM © Allyson Scott

History of tattoos exhibit at the ROM © Allyson Scott

History of tattoos exhibit at the ROM © Allyson Scott

The next day while I was out with clients in Brampton and Orangeville, it made sense to drop Jaymee and Ali at the Playdium in Mississauga. The two of the them spent hours at the arcade, batting cage, and go-kart track. Unfortunately Jaymee’s iPhone did not survive the experience. 🙁

Jaymee at the Playdium go-kart track © Allyson Scott

Jaymee at the Playdium go-kart track © Allyson Scott

Jaymee's iPhone after go-karting © Allyson Scott

Jaymee’s iPhone after go-karting © Allyson Scott

We knew we were going to take a day trip to Niagara to show Jaymee the falls, but I discovered there is a brand new ziplining experience for an even bigger wow factor. Sign me up! Ali decided she was good with just taking the photos.

Jaymee and I at Niagara Falls © Allyson Scott

Jaymee and I at Niagara Falls © Allyson Scott

Ziplining over Niagara Falls © Allyson Scott

Ziplining over Niagara Falls © Allyson Scott

Ziplining over Niagara Falls © Allyson Scott

Ziplining over Niagara Falls © Allyson Scott

It was a much smaller-scale trip the next day to take the ferry across to the Toronto Islands, but we’re always looking for activities where we can include our dogs. We weren’t sure how our shy mastiff Grace would do with the whole experience, but she handled it like a champ. It was a great day just enjoying the outdoors and walking around the islands.

Taking the ferry to Ward's Island © Allyson Scott

Taking the ferry to Ward’s Island © Allyson Scott

Jaymee taking a breather at Ward's Island © Allyson Scott

Jaymee taking a breather at Ward’s Island © Allyson Scott

We saved an unusual experience for Jaymee’s last day, and took him indoor skydiving at iFly in Mississauga. I did this myself on my birthday last year, and thought it was a blast! They give you about a half hour of instruction before you fly, and then the instructor gets in the wind tunnel with you to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. For an extra $10, the instructor will take you right up the top of the chamber, which looked pretty cool!

Jaymee and his instructor at iFly © Allyson Scott

Jaymee and his instructor at iFly © Allyson Scott

Jaymee flying solo © Allyson Scott

Jaymee flying solo © Allyson Scott

Jaymee flying to the top of the tunnel © Allyson Scott

Jaymee flying to the top of the tunnel © Allyson Scott

On the way home, we made one last stop at the go-kart track at the Port Lands….and this time we left the iPhones in the car. 🙂

Having a blast go-karting © Allyson Scott

Having a blast go-karting © Allyson Scott

It was hard to say goodbye to Jaymee because we had so much fun with him, and Wales is a long way to go for a visit. But I also realized I’m not as young as I used to be, and I was really looking forward to catching up on some sleep!

What an amazing city we live in. Hope you enjoyed it Jaymee!

Jaymee heading home to Cardiff © Allyson Scott

Jaymee heading home to Cardiff © Allyson Scott

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