The Pan Am Games of 2015 will begin today, Friday, July 10 in Toronto, Ontario. I am very excited as this is one of the larger events which occur in the country. As a huge badminton fan, I have booked some tickets for the preliminary rounds of the event in Toronto this weekend.
Where to Book a Hotel
As for my previous Toronto trip, I had much frustration trying to book a proper hotel with a group of 11 friends, but this time the group is relatively smaller which makes this easier. The event will take place at the Atos Markham Pan Am Centre on Sunday. So we decided that just booking in Markham will be the best option (so thankful we’re not going downtown).
For this trip, I decided to do a bit of my research using Hipmunk. I get about 130 results when I choose to search for hotels in Markham. Luckily, Hipmunk has this wonderful function of searching for hotels near the address, landmark, or point of interest in which you are planning to visit. Now I will type the venue information in.
Great, now it shows me all the hotels close by in vicinity. The event begins at 9:00 AM, so I would like to be as close to the venue as possible.
If you are planning to visit the Pan Am Games this weekend as well, here are some options for hotels:
Park Inn by Radisson Toronto-Markham $101 per night
Located on 555 Cochrane Drive, Markham, Ontario
Brand: Club Carlson
Hotel Star: 3 star
Hilton Suites Conference Centre and Spa $133 per night
Located on 8500 Warden Ave, Markham, Ontario
Hotel Stars: 4 star
Delta Markham $93 per night
Located on 50 East Valhalla Drive, Markham, Ontario
Hotel Stars: 3 star
Courtyard by Marriot Toronto Markham $116 per night
Located on 65 Minthorn Boulevard
Hotel Star: 3 star
Homewood Suites by Hilton Toronto-Markham $188 per night
Located on 50 Bodrington Court, Markham, Ontario
Hotel Star: 3 star
Comfort Inn Toronto Northeast $101 per night
Located on 8330 Woodbine Ave, Markham, Ontario
Hotel Star: 2 star
Since a bunch of us are Hilton and Marriot frequent stayers, it is with high probability that we will stay in one of these brands. There are many other options in Markham, so depending on which loyalty program you frequent, you may want to look at hotels which are further away from the venue in order to redeem some miles.
What To Do
Most tourist attractions are located around Central Toronto, but if you’re hanging around the suburbs (as I am), there are a few things you can hit up and have fun with:
Prison Breaker Room Escape Adventures
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it is an adventure game in which a specified number of individuals are locked up in a room in which they will need to utilize clues to escape the room. I have done one of these in the past, the game requires you to think a lot outside the box and to be observant, but once you’ve solved each clue, it is extremely satisfying. I would highly recommend this one.
There are many great restaurants in Markham, especially in Asian cuisine. If you’re into traditional dim sum cuisine, I would highly recommend Premiere Ballroom & Convention Centre located on 9019 Leslie Street in Richmond Hill. This restaurant specializes in recreating traditional dim sum dishes in a unique and innovative way, such as their bird’s nest egg tarts and pumpkin infused congee. Of course, if you’re not a big fan of Asian cuisine, you would not hit a bad alternative in Toronto (or at least I haven’t yet).
Markham is known for its karaoke lounges with independent rooms where you can sing amongst your friends. You can choose to pop in around their happy hours times, which is between 3:00 to 9:00PM for about half the price or you can book a room after 9:00PM. I’m no Mariah Carey, but Karaoke Lounges are a great hang out place; you can order food, have a few drinks, play games, sing a few songs and have an amazing time.
Visit the Markham Museum
One of the things I love about travelling is visiting that city’s museum as you can learn lots about the culture and history. Let’s start with a short history lesson. The Markham Museum was established in 1971, and it is dedicated to Markham’s past of transforming from a rural village to an urban society. There are about 30 buildings located inside the Markham Museum which each takes representation of a piece of Markham’s past. If you love learning about culture, this is a place I would recommend taking a peek at.
Toronto is the capital city of the province of Ontario with a growing population of almost three million people. It is the fourth most populated city in North America. As a city in the Greater Toronto area, Markham has a population of 302,000 people. The Toronto Pearson International Airport has become a major hub for Air Canada and WestJet, while the Billy Bishop Airport on the Toronto Islands serves as a hub for Porter Airlines. It has been estimated that 14.3 million tourists visited the city in 2014, increasing by 23% of the previous year.
Having family in the Toronto-Markham area really offsets the idea of becoming a true tourist of the city. For this trip, I would really love to take on a tourist approach and squeeze in as many attractions as I am able to. I will definitely be visiting the Markham Museum and making a debut at one of the Karaoke Lounges located in Markham. Oh, and most importantly, making my way down to the Atos Markham Centre to watch the Pan Am Games!