Monday, January 19, 2015

Surrounded By Sharks

Canadian Romance, Eh?
Blog Post by: Kali Willows

Surrounded By Sharks

The word from many readers, fellow authors, and even family abroad, is that there seems to be a limited idea of what Canada has to offer, by way of tourism and adventure. I know, I know, we are renowned for maple syrup, poutine, beaver tails, and hockey, lots of snow and frost-bite temperatures. 

There are the famous attractions of Niagara Falls, Montreal/Quebec, CN Tower, the Dome, and Maple Leaf Gardens, or maybe even Pioneer Village, for the more traditional tourists.
Living in rural Eastern Ontario, in the cold winter, sub-zero months, it is easy to find ourselves feeling secluded from civilization. Especially me, given I grew up in Toronto and had endless adventures just at my doorstep. I’m partial to cozying up by my wood burning stove now, with a nice hot cup of tea and typing away to my heart’s desire. Not so much, the hiking in snow shoes, skating or vast array of winter sports-to my husband’s dismay. I’m not a big fan of being cold.

What about the curious minds of our Canadian-born children? Shirley, they need more life experience than that? Don’t get me wrong, tobogganing, bond fires and building snowman is an every day favourite along with hot chocolate and marsh mellows. It’s a great foundation with lots of tradition, and knowing their roots, but they crave more. Quite frankly, so do I!

To blow off the winter blues this month, I took my son and daughter on the adventure of a lifetime…(well, in their opinion, lol) We drove to Toronto and plunged into the latest-great attraction in the heart of downtown.

After a four hour drive, we arrived at the hotel, small, quaint and just the right price. We checked in with the intention of dropping the bags off and a quick pit-stop before we hit the big attraction. Unbeknownst to me, jumping on the hotel beds and free, unlimited wi-fi proved to be just as exciting for the little minions then going to Ripley’s Aquarium; although, for the record, I don’t condone jumping on the bed. ;-) It took some convincing to get them out of the room and into a cab! Even the elevator and the cab ride proved highly impressive to my impressionable little ones.

Once we pulled up, their jaws dropped and the excitement began. Eager to keep up with my overzealous children, I traipsed after them, where we found ourselves in awe of the exquisite aquatic creatures and displays, geared for learning and experience.

It wasn’t until I found myself in a tunnel, on a small conveyor belt, surrounded by swimming sharks, sting rays and a vast variety of other unique fish, that the moment struck me as sensational. The serene, yet surreal experience of witnessing the beauty of creatures both feared and admired in motion, left me awestruck and so thankful I had the opportunity to share this with my kids. We loved petting the sting rays, sharks, and the up close neon colours of the jelly fish. The “ray-dive,” consists of a wall sized window, where you watch as a diver feeds the sting-rays while an MC gives the animated tutorial. A favourite, I must say.

We had such a wonderful time; we went through the whole thing for a second round of awe-inspiring enjoyment. By the end, we were tired and starving. Although they had a mini-restaurant there, my minions biggest wish to complete the adventure was to go back to the hotel, order pizza and have a swim and hot tub at the hotel, which I’m happy to say, on a Thursday night, we had all to ourselves!

Canadian living, at it’s best.

Cheers and happy reading!


  1. We visited Toronto for my birthday and walked by the aquarium -- there was a line up waiting to get in so we continued past. One of these days I'll get back there. It looks great!

    1. We went on a This, after holidays, the kids got a fee days off school, but no line ups!

      Hope you get another chance soon, Leah :-)

  2. We plan to take the kids this summer. Oldest went with some friends this past one but said she didn't get to see half of the place. Youngest went with his school in Sept for class trip, and he said there were a lot of things he wanted to stay longer at. So we'll head down there this summer. I heard best time to go (during summer) is in the evening. Lines aren't as long.
    Glad your kiddos had so much fun, Kali. I can't wait to go myself!!

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    2. A friend of mine did the sleepover this week and they loved it! Hope you get to go soon, Kacey :-)