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Family Trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls Review

| January 23, 2014 | 18 Comments

Last August, we decided as a family to spend four days in Toronto and Niagara Falls. I searched for hours on the internet for the perfect 3 or 4 stars hotel since I wasn’t quite sure where we wanted to stay. I looked up downtown Toronto, suburbs and Niagara Falls for accommodations. After thoroughly reading the reviews of hotels on the internet, which I strongly recommend before booking, I found the Radisson Plaza Mississauga Toronto Airport to be ideal for our family. It was a about a 35 minutes drive to downtown Toronto and 75 minutes to Niagara Falls.

Radisson Plaza Mississauga Toronto Airport

We were certainly not disappointed with our choice. The all-suite hotel was recently built and offers the best of both worlds, with easy access to the city of Toronto and a quiet location close to attractions in Mississauga. Hotel amenities include a Business Centre, Fitness Centre and heated salt water indoor pool, while the hotel’s suites offer comfort and style with the best in features and decor, including complimentary high-speed Internet access, a mini-fridge, a microwave, a fireplace and 2 flat-screen TVs. For added comfort, our room was equipped with 2 Sleep Number® beds that you can adjust the firmness to your liking.  We stayed in the Parlour Suite – standard suite is 400 square feet and features two queen beds. The sitting area includes a sofa bed. Even if the hotel was fully booked, you didn’t hear any noise from the other rooms as they are truly sound proof. We pretty much felt like Royalty!

Because we stayed for 3 nights, we took advantage of the special promotion of 20% off each night. Most hotels give rebates when you stay at least 2-3 nights during the summer months, therefore saving you money when you book at the same hotel for your stay. You can also purchase in advance on-line and pay less.  I don’t like the last option since there is a NON-REFUNDABLE CREDIT CARD PRE-PAYMENT REQUIRED AT THE TIME OF BOOKING FOR THE ENTIRE STAY. I prefer to book with the Hotel directly as there is no hassle to cancel my stay. This hotel will be switching to Park Inn by Radisson on January 24th, 2014.

Marineland

On our second day, we left for Niagara Falls and had lunch at Marineland.  The hotel is located near highways 401 and 407.  We opted to use the 407 and pay the fee that ended up costing $23 round trip.  It was well worth it as there were hardly any vehicles on the road so we just flew down the highway.  I find it awful that the residents have to pay for this highway.  It’s not a luxury, but a necessity in Toronto!

Marineland was just like the commercial we had seen on TV; dolphins, killer whales and belugas shows and many rides for the kids.  My husband and daughter went on the Sky Screamer, the world’s highest triple tower ride, takes you over 137.2 metres (450) feet skyward giving you a thrilling ride not to mention a spectacular view of the Falls and surrounding Niagara landscape.  It launches you up and down at speeds of up to 96 km/h (60 mph).  My only disappointment was not seeing a bigger aquarium, but they are in the process of building the World’s Largest Aquarium.  We will definitely go back when it’s finished.

  • Bonus: 4 years of age and under are FREE.
  • Parking is FREE
  • Alert: Get a Season Pass for an extra $5 so if you intend to be there for 2 days, it’s worth it.

The Falls- Niagara Falls

Around 5pm, we left to go see the magnificent Falls. What a true gem!  The mist was strong but it didn’t stop us from contemplating it for almost 2 hours. Unbelievable site! Parking was $20 and right across from the Falls. To find out where to eat with the kids in Niagara Falls, you can read more on our blog.

On our way back to the hotel, my husband whispered in the car that he wants us to come back without the kids as a romantic getaway and visit some of Niagara Falls famous wineries!

On day three, time to see Toronto! We drove by downtown Mississauga rather than taking the Highway. It was well worth it to drive along side Lake Ontario to downtown Toronto.

Hockey Hall of Fame-CN Tower- Toronto
We are a huge hockey fanatic family and ended up at the Hockey Hall of Fame.  My son took shots at real-time goalies; stopped the shots of Gretzky and Messier; called the play-by-play of some of hockey’s greatest goals; viewed hockey films in the theatre; saw a reproduction of the Habs dressing room, got up close and personal with the Stanley Cup; explored the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world and so much more!

Afterwards, time for the CN Tower! We purchased the Observation Experience and it took about 40 minutes waiting time to get to the Look Out. Keep in mind that to reach the Sky Pod, you must take another elevator from the Look Out, so more waiting time. Once in the elevator, in 58 seconds, we found ourselves at a height of 346m (1,136’). The Look Out level offers breathtaking views.  One level down you will find not only the Glass Floor, but the Outdoor Observation level. Feel the breeze at 342m (1,122’) above the ground.

Canada’s National Tower offers an extreme attraction called the EdgeWalk. The first of its kind in North America, EdgeWalk is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 5 ft (1.5 m) wide ledge encircling the top of the CN Tower’s main pod, 356m, (1168 ft , 116 stories) above the ground. This adrenalin-fueled experience will allow thrill seekers to walk the edge of one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders.

We finished our fun-filled day by resting on the shore of Lake Ontario. Our feet were so tired from all that walking!

To help save on some of the costs of these attractions, I contacted the OntarioToronto and Niagara Falls Tourism offices to get coupons for the attractions. You can also obtain maps, event and hotel accommodation guides. We also used our TD Aeroplan card to get 1 mile for every $1 we spent on all our vacation purchases. I am really hoping to have enough points to fly to New York for our next family summer trip!

 

Rating (out of 10):
Hotel: 9
The Falls: 10
Marineland: 8.5
Hockey Hall of Fame: 9
CN Tower: 8
Ontario Shore: 9
Toronto: 8.5
Mississauga: 8
Niagara Falls: 8.5

 

Where are you planning to take your family for your next summer vacation?

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Category: Attractions, Attractions & Venues, Living, Ontario, Reviews, Thursday Reviews, Travel, Weekly Themes

About the Author ()

Lyne is happily married and has two teenagers: a 16 year old son and a 20 year old daughter. She is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. It has always been her dream to create a website dedicated just for Moms since her children were young. Thus, after 10 years, she finally accomplished it, and the Ottawa Mommy Club was born in May 2011. She is also the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the Mayor's City Builder Award. Author's website.

Comments (18)

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  1. Lynda Cook says:

    I’m glad your family had such a great time, I love Niagara Falls and everything they have to offer and for Toronto I’ve never been, well only three times and that was to go with my husband (he is a tow driver) but we did drive on Lakeshore so I got to see the beach and lake

  2. sarah sar says:

    I love Niagara Falls! We try to visit at least once a year in the summer when the weather is warm. A great outing for the whole family!

  3. DebH says:

    I love going to Niagara Falls; I try to go there for a day trip every summer.

  4. Victoria Ess says:

    What a great trip!! I live in Toronto and love heading to Niagara Falls for a mini-vacation.

  5. I have never even been more east then Alberta. I have always wanted to go to Niagara Falls.

  6. Sounds like a great trip. Love the pictures!

  7. Cassey C says:

    Seems like you had lots of fun!

  8. Darlene Wissenz says:

    Where I live either Toronto or Niagara Falls are approximately an hour away, we take full advantage of attractions in both cities

  9. Laurie P says:

    I was born and raised in T.O, and moved to Niagara 3 yrs ago. Always love driving back to the city for day trips and attactions, and visiting family/friends. Living in Niagara is really different, but love heading towards the falls on any given day and walking along the river. The Niagara Gorge is a favorite! Haven’t done the winery tour yet….soon tho 🙂

  10. KD says:

    I love your pictures of the falls…it makes me want to go back and bring my daughter! Have you tried the Maid of the Mist boat cruise? I think my daughter would enjoy that.

  11. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    sounds like a fun time was had by all. I enjoyed our trip when we visited Toronto and Niagra Falls, which really are awe-inspiring and to think that some have gone over the falls in barrels is way over my head!

  12. kathy downey says:

    I would love to go there,so many cool attractions

  13. Debbie White Beattie says:

    I live 15 minutes from Niagara Falls so I know about the attractions there and I hate Marineland because the animals are neglected badly. But I don’t go to Toronto but I really think I should.

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