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Great Reasons to Visit Stratford, Ontario

A couple weeks ago I went on an autumn adventure to Stratford, Ontario.¬† Home of Justin Bieber and the Stratford Festival, the city has lots to offer and is just a 2hr drive from downtown Toronto. We have so many great plces¬†to visit within a 2hr drive of Toronto and it was so nice to visit Stratford again. I hadn’t been since I was a kid! I spent the day with Stratford Tourism¬†and learned it’s quite the quaint destination for culture, food, shopping, and of course theatre. I was happy to find a few cute boutiques¬†with vintage finds, local¬†brands,¬†unique jewellery, and beautiful housewares. Luckily I drove so I had room to fit my purchases in the boot!¬†

What to Do: Stratford Ontario

Here’s a few of the things I really loved about Stratford aside from catching a show. If theatre is your jam it’s definitely worth seeing one of the many nightly shows,¬†we saw To Kill A Mockingbird which was great.¬†(I did not know this story which is like¬†whoaaa¬†btw).

Image result for stratford festival logo

The Stratford Festival is world renowned and for $29 you can get a bus to and from the theatre from Downtown Toronto. Upcoming shows include Billy Elliot, Othello, The Neverending Story and more. See the full list here.


Shopping ūüõć

  • La Osa Vintage – This store is amazing. It’s on a¬†side street from Market Square and FULL of vintage and new items from Canadian designers. They also carry heaps of unique jewellery. I could have really lit some $$$ on ūüĒ•ūüĒ•ūüĒ• in there!
  • Wills & Prior – This spot in the heart of Market Square has heaps of beautiful items for your home. The owner used to live in TO and work in PR and she’s left the city for small-town life. I was kinda jealous hearing about her journey and the store is so beautiful you’ll want to move right in!¬†
  • Distill¬†Gallery¬† ¬†– The spot for well-crafted¬†Canadian design,¬†this shop has over a hundred different artisans and they have heaps of great accessories and gifts, plus a great selection of creative cards. I picked up a pair of gorgeous silk socks by Strathcona.¬†¬†
This is from the La Osa website, their store and Instagram are SO COOL. I love the looks from their latest shoot. Check out the shop at @pamela_osa. 

Food ūü•ô

  • Revival House – This spot is an old church that’s been renovated and is run by a local couple. It’s a beautiful space for weddings and the huge windows let the light in to create a bright dining space. Upstairs is a bar called Belfry Lounge that offers incredible cocktails made with local ingredients. On Thursdays, they have a record night where people can bring their¬†own records and the owner DJs. It caters to the 35+ crowd and honestly sounds like a total blast. Great spot.
  • Revel Coffee – This shop is a hub for fairtrade coffee and homemade pastry & sweets made in their open kitchen. It had a steady flow of locals and lots of tables if you want some creative time. We all sat at a large main table with recycled wood from the shop the used to occupy the space. They have a great patio for warm temperatures and are located right in Market Square.¬†

Stratford For the Holidays ūüéĄ

  • Christmas Trail -This is a shopping tour of 25 shops downtown Stratford.¬† You’ll get six gifts along the tour for just $30(+HST). You’ll even be able to see lookout for seven swans a swimming! ūü¶Ę It runs until Dec. 20th, details here.¬†
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  • Outdoor Christmas Market – Their Very Victorian Christmas is at Market Square and has all kinds of cute things that will surely get you in the spirit and boost up your holidays¬†IG content. ūü§∂ūüŹľ¬†Ex. carousel rides, mini markets and Santa, of course.

For more info on Stratford check out visitstratford.ca. Huge thank you to the team at Stratford Tourism for taking us on an adventure. Great to explore part of Ontario I hadn’t seen in a while!

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Stratford Tourism invited me and covered my expenses but the experience is all mine! 



Mexico: Vacation Better – Sunwing Commercial!

Mexico: Vacation Better – Sunwing Commercial!

If you haven’t seen this yet on CTV, Global, or CP24, here it is! I was in Mexico earlier this month and I was a little hush hush about what I was doing there and now I can share, we were shooting a commercial for Sunwing Vacations! It’s part of their fall-winter¬†2018¬†Vacation Better¬†campaign¬†and the entire thing was shot on iPhones!

Watch Here

From finding the perfect couples getaway with the best on-site spas to booking the most Instagram worthy swim-out suites and everything in between, we want you to #VacationBetter this winter! Look for our tips all season long to help you make the most out of your next vacation! Watch on Facebook. 


We stayed a new all-inclusive resort called Riu Dunamar,¬†30min from Cancun.¬† Heaps of food variety, bars, pools, waterpark, spa, nightclub, shopping, minibar, and huge comfy beds. We were shooting¬†most the time but I still carved out a bit of time to get a massage at the spa and read by the pool and with a pi√Īa colada. One thing I learned is to always¬†bring a white outfit because white parties are totally a resort¬†thing. I had nothing!¬† On our last full day we went in on a catamaran cruise to Isla Mejures,¬†a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea about 13km from Cancun. It was beautiful.¬†

I’m obsessed with these sunnies from Shade & Glory. My friend Mel who lives in California now started a sunnies company and sent me a couple pairs. Thank you!!! Check out other styles here and use code ‘shipit‘ for free Canadian shipping, USA shipping is free.¬†


This week I am shooting a commercial with Spin Master for a new game. A couple friends are in it as well so it will surely be a hilarious day for behind the scenes. 

Here’s to a great week!

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Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Earlier this year I was in Vancouver for a city planning conference and stayed an extra day to pop by the Telus office and have lunch with a friend. I’ve been working with Telus since my days at Much/MTV Canada, about 8 years ago.¬† I’ve had the opportunity to do some really neat stuff like volunteering, videos, city adventures, and making friends.

A couple years ago I helped them with some ideas to create their influencer program and it’s really grown into something awesome. Next month, they’re taking the ENTIRE GROUP of Canadian influencers (including me!) to their HQ in Vancouver.


Telus Garden

I was really stoked to visit this building. I remember when it started in 2012 and was opened in 2016. The Telus Garden building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver, totalling 1M sq ft. It has amazing energy saving features, a fantastic garden, and has won a bunch of awards for the design and sustainability. Unfortunately, I was there in winter so I didn’t get to see the outside areas, it snowed!¬†¬†

‚ÄúTELUS Garden is Canada‚Äôs most beautiful and ambitious LEED Platinum building, and one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America,‚ÄĚ Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO


Telus Innovation Centre

I met up with Ana from Telus (check out her IG @msanadouglas) and she took us up to the Innovation Centre where. I was amazed to see a beautiful bright space filled with technology.


One of the coolest features were the doors. Telus has created a set of doors that have screens instead of windows. Hello, why didn’t I think of that!? They’re the only 4 doors like this IN THE WORLD and they’re right here at Telus in Vancouver. A couple of them have cameras where you can host meetings and have the person you are talking with will show up on the screen. Other ones have touchscreen and heat sensors, so they can tell when there’s a person standing in front of them. This blew my¬†mind. Imagine the possibilities? Our guide said they were originally developed for hospitals (Telus Health does heaps in healthcare, telushealth.co).


The space has a number of workstations, fully equipped with pop-up monitors for video conferencing. They pop up OUT of the tables! The card with wifi details doubles as seeds you can plant later at home. As a lifelong lover of tech, this was like being a kid in a candy store! 

They also have a 3D printer where they create and test out innovative ways to make our lives easier. For example, this small purple object made with PLA plastic could never be made by hand but it is 3D printed in a way that makes it unique and super strong, you can stand on it without it breaking. It can hold up to 300lbs!

I was really impressed to¬†check out the mock apartment¬†they have to test smart home technology. I’m not just talking a couple smart lights, they’ve got smart home everything. It’s not just the appliances and light bulbs, there’s a laser that reads prescriptions in your cupboard, smart pillows, smart bed. It was like living in the future and tbh, I’m totally into it.¬†


I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast with the #TeamTelus crew. There’s some really rad people on the team, a few I’ve known for years and some I’ve never met. I’ll be documenting as I go next week and fill you in on the details.

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Mexico: A Few Days Down South Will Do You Good

Mexico: A Few Days Down South Will Do You Good

It’s amazing what a few days away will do! This week I was on a client project in Cancun, Mexico and it was so great. In between the things we needed to get done I made time for some self-care. I read my book at the pool, drank pi√Īa coladas in the sun, and went to the spa. I walked along the beach, ate great food, made new friends, and danced at the disco.¬†

I landed today in the crazy wind storm and it’s nice to be home. I’m excited to share more about this project over the next few weeks but for now, I’m looking forward to some family time.¬†I’m feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready for the weekend!

We stayed at  Riu Dunamar (via Sunwing) in Costa Mujeres near Cancun and it was so great!

Sending you love and sunshine through the internet!

casiestewart, blog, blogger, toronto, canada, travel, tech
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New Zealand: Aeroplan + Moments Worth Millions

New Zealand: Aeroplan + Moments Worth Millions

What would you do with a Million Miles? Where would you go? I visited New Zealand and Portugal #withAeroplan this year and if I had a million miles I’d be off to India, South Africa, and Japan. I’m so inspired by adventure! Travelling is the best¬†way to enrich your soul, feed your curiosity, and expand your mind.¬†Portugal #withAeroplan¬†

Aeroplan is back this summer with their incredibly cool contest, Moments Worth Millions. They’re giving away 5 Million Miles over the course of 5 weeks where 5 winners will each win 1 million miles. Think of the possibilities?

5 weeks. 5 winners. 5 million miles.



Do you know how many trips you can take with a million miles? You can take 20 friends to Hawaii in economy or a handful of besties in business. You can take 40 trips from Toronto to LA or take someone you love on a first class trip around the world. 

To enter the contest, follow @Aeroplan and share your favourite travel memory and tag #withAeroplan.

For more information see this link. 

Last summer I wrote about the Million Miles¬†contest and how I was planning to use my miles to visit family in New Zealand. Little did I know I’d be heading there so soon with mum over the holidays.

That trip created so many memories and was really special for mum and I.  Road trip sing-alongs in the car while driving the other side of the road, exploring the North Island, Eketahuna, Taupo, Dessert Road, visiting family, friends, and spending our last moments with Nana. It was an experience that enriched my life in so many ways my heart swells with love thinking about it. 

Leaving NZ with so many goodies to bring home!

If you win the contest and need a great travel buddy. I’m always here haha. Love you!¬†

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This post is in partnership #withAeroplan!

Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

I went to Sintra, Portugal, the most romantic place!¬†The true romance was really how great this blazer matched the Pena Palace.¬† I bought it just before leaving Toronto knowing full well that it would¬†match perfectly. Ha! Aeroplan was open to me picking the places I wanted to visit for this trip and Sintra was top of my list. It’s a small resort town in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, about a 20min Uber from Lisbon. It’s amazing¬†how close this is to Lisbon and yet so different than the city. There are a couple beaches nearby, but¬†unfortunately,¬†I didn’t make it there.

Casa do Valle

I stayed at a beautiful place in Sintra about a 10 min walk from the centre of the tourist area. I booked it almost 2 months ahead and paid $149.42 CAD the garden suite near the pool. When I check to extend my stay there, it was almost double the price. Book early! Get $40 if you use this booking.com link. 

Casa do Valle is owned by a family from Finland, they built it to have family stay with them but they didn’t come so they turned it into a bed and breakfast. We met them they were so incredibly nice. Breakfast was served in our room and we had a few different options to pick from + coffee and tea. Wifi was included and from the pool area, you can see Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Pena Palace

This is the red/yellow castle. I mapped this place out and added it to my itinerary as soon right away. I was told to get there early in the day to avoid crowds but we went around 4:30pm and it was busy, but not ridiculous. I was still able to get great photos without too many people in the background. I was actually quite surprised how patient people were for everyone taking photos. Thanks, Instagram! 

I purchased ‘Park & Pena Palace: Skip the Line’ mobile tickets from tiqets.com a couple hours before visiting or 14 Euros. I really didn’t need the ‘Skip the Line’, there was no line.

The hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace is known for its design and bright colours. You can get a great view from the mountain top and explore the beautiful park before the castle. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you have to walk from the park up the hill to the castle and you’ll really feel it in your booty.

When leaving Pena Palace you pass the Castle of The Moors, a medieval castle where you can tour the grounds to a lookout over Sintra. (You’ll need to buy a ticket!)

Sintra

Sintra’s downtown is a cute little area beside¬†The¬†Palace¬†of¬†Sintra¬†is in the heart of the old town. There are cabs, Uber, and tuk-tuks to take you around the tourist areas. I didn’t have any great meals but there’s a pastry you must have a¬†Piriquita, the most famous pastry in Sintra.


I highly recommend going to Sintra. It’s magical!

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This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo
 

About Casie Stewart

Casie Stewart is a Canadian writer, director, and entrepreneur. She’s an award-winning content creator and expert in digital. During her decade-long career in media, she’s been named Canadian Screen Award Winner (Voice Pioneer), Best Travel Blog, and Top 30 Lifestyle Blogs in Canada. Casie¬†has been a keynote speaker at SXSW, NXNE, TEDx, and spoken at YouTube Canada and the United Nations of Canada. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend and loves summer weekends at the cottage when she’s not travelling.

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