Ilona Kauremszky

Correspondent

  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ilona Kauremszky is a correspondent who lives in Toronto and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. A syndicated travel columnist, Kauremszky is also a blogger and web producer of mycompass.ca. She has appeared as a travel expert on TV and radio for NPR, CBC News Now and Egyptian National Television, to name a few. Kauremszky recently received the Discover America Travel Writer Award presented by the U.S. Travel Association. A self-confessed travel scribe, Kauremszky admits she’s forever on the prowl for the next cool story. Follow her discoveries on Twitter and YouTube @mycompasstv.

  • On May 29, 2013

    #TBEX bloggers welcome to Toronto. The scheduled events, sessions not to mention all the fun-filled trips look pretty AWESOME!! Can hardly wait to see everyone on my home turf :-)

  • On May 29, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best day trips near Toronto?

    Not only is Toronto accessible via major highways but folks who want to dash out from the city for a weekend getaway have their choice of doing so by train, plane or by bus too.

    Wine lovers will enjoy basking in the vineyards located in the Niagara region. A quick 1.5 hour drive south gets you into some beautiful countryside scenes with many wineries situated near towns like Niagara-on-the-Lake, Jordan, Grimsby and Beamsville.

    Theatre lovers have their pickings in summer. For Shakespeare fans the Stratford Festival gets top billing. This esteemed festival includes works from the Great Bard but also has modern productions like musicals. This summer’s biggie is the Tony-award winning Tommy.  In Niagara-on-the-Lake playwright contemporaries of George Bernard Shaw including works from the great playwright himself are celebrated at the Shaw Festival.

    Antique fans and locavore enthusiasts enjoy searching for old timey gadgets and seasonal produce at St. Jacobs. A favourite rural destination west of the city, one-of-a-kind finds and fresh baked apple pies are some of the surprises you’ll discover.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best day trips near Toronto?

    Not only is Toronto accessible via major highways but folks who want to dash out from the city for a weekend getaway have their choice of doing so by train, plane or by bus too.

    Wine lovers will enjoy basking in the vineyards located in the Niagara region. A quick 1.5 hour drive south gets you into some beautiful countryside scenes with many wineries situated near towns like Niagara-on-the-Lake, Jordan, Grimsby and Beamsville.

    Theatre lovers have their pickings in summer. For Shakespeare fans the Stratford Festival gets top billing. This esteemed festival includes works from the Great Bard but also has modern productions like musicals. This summer’s biggie is the Tony-award winning Tommy.  In Niagara-on-the-Lake playwright contemporaries of George Bernard Shaw including works from the great playwright himself are celebrated at the Shaw Festival.

    Antique fans and locavore enthusiasts enjoy searching for old timey gadgets and seasonal produce at St. Jacob’s. A favourite rural destination west of the city, one-of-a-kind finds and fresh baked apple pies are some of the surprises you’ll discover.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What new hotels are in Toronto?

    Wow – Toronto’s gained some fabulous luxury properties as of late.

    The Four Seasons Hotel which is headquartered in Toronto reopened its Yorkville location. The huge new luxury property offers 259 rooms plus 52 suites all exquisitely designed by international design house Yabu Pushelberg.

    For Ritz-Carlton lovers head to this gorgeous 267-room property, the only five-diamond hotel in Toronto and be prepared to be pampered in the fabulous Ritz fashion.

    The Asian company Shangri-La which has been expanding its brand worldwide now can lay claim to Toronto too. The new 202-room Shangri-La Hotel’s bold statement besides the sheer opulence is an ultra sweet piece of public art called Rising you see on University Avenue.

    Of course the likes of New York’s SoHo can’t be overlooked. The popular Thompson small luxury hotel chain which is known for mod, hip, fresh and edgy opened a new hotel in the city’s emerging west end. The private rooftop infinity pool is a place to see and to be seen.

    Toronto’s Trump International Hotel showcases luxurious decadence as soon as you walk through the lobby. An eye-popping 3,000 pound crystal art piece of cherry blossoms from the Czech Republic flanks the wall by the check-in.  The suites themselves meanwhile boast some of the largest you’ll find in the city.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What should you pack for a trip to Toronto?

    Toronto is a four-season city so a large determinant in your packing essentials will be based on when you visit.

    The nice thing about visiting a city like Toronto is if you forget something you can always purchase it at one of the thousands of shops plus the helpful concierges at your hotel can direct you to the nearest stores.

    Still if you visit it’s a good idea to pack the necessary items needed each season. In winter, it’s boots, a winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves. During spring it is more raingear themed so from rain repellant wind breakers to those fashionable rain boots. Summer’s nice for the soft cotton dresses, chinos, and big sun hats. And of course, autumn’s got that back-to-school-look going so tweeds, wool sweaters, and handsome jackets are always smart and welcomed.

    Sensible walking shoes are a must. Downtown Toronto is pedestrian friendly and many of the shops and attractions are closely situated.

    Pack the usual sunscreen to void off UV rays, the umbrella for the days of unexpected rain.

    Bring some evening outfits for those night-out-on-the-town jaunts as Toronto is hopping with nightlife.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky is now following the question:
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What is the weather like right now in Toronto?

    Boy is it pretty.

    Spring is in the air and green is everywhere. The tree-lined residential streets are canopied in soft pink and pale vanilla blossoms and the neatly manicured gardens are revealing seasonal bouquets of sweet peonies, tulips and bold irises.

    Everyone has left behind the cold days of winter. Like the season, there’s a new leaf being turned in the city’s forever changing landscape with gardeners arranging delightful floral arrangements around nearly every corner.

    The return of the cardinals, blue jays, and robins can be heard with their chirpy songs that echo against the din of city life.

    Most people are seen with the layered look that is spring coats or sweater sets but of course there are the bolder types fronting shorts and sandals on the odd occasion.

    Blessed in spring with a moderate lake effect from Lake Ontario, Toronto’s weather remains mild. Local weather offices have sometimes compared the city’s weather to that of Cannes and the French Riviera as it’s on the same latitude.  

    For the most part expect seasonal spring temperatures dipping from 7ºC / 45ºF up to 17ºC / 63ºF.

  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best restaurants in Toronto?

    Toronto (pronounced TA-RHAN-NAH) is in the middle of a restaurant boom, a culinary renaissance that makes for a vigorously exciting and competitive scene.

    Culinary aficionados are cueing to sample the array of restaurant offerings across the city. Its distinct neighborhoods cater to a wide range of ethnic specialties and possibilities.

    The culinary darling at the moment is Shōtō part of the Momofuku complex with its four-eateries-in-one location adjacent to the new Shangri-La Hotel.

    But still French traditionalists who crave a modern slant on cooking can opt for the prestigious Scaramouche Restaurant helmed by Keith Froggett, the renowned chef with more than a little staying power (try 30 years this year).

    Toronto’s Financial District has a cluster of restaurants for those posh business lunches but if its view, ambiance, and award-winning Canadian inspired cuisine you’re after, Canoe on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower hits all these marks.

    For a restaurant in the cloud experience that boasts the world’s highest cellar in the sky head to 360 at the CN Tower.

    Often the best restaurants are hidden in those thriving old yet newly born neighborhoods. A narrow strip by Ossington Avenue has attracted oodles of top-notch restaurants recently. As of late it’s where the tech savvy entrepreneurs converge for lattes or where young hipster chefs open up new territory in old industrial spaces.

    The gastronomic landscape in Toronto is changing faster than the score at a Leaf’s game.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best bars in Toronto?

    The classic hotel bar is making a comeback in Toronto thanks to a slew of new luxury properties in the downtown core.

    Hipsters congregate by The Lobby Bar at the oh-so hip Thompson Hotel to sip on cocktails like the Saison D’Amere, a vodka drink infused with blood orange and lime juices served in a delightful chilled coquette.

    The theatre crowd head to the Ritz Bar at the Ritz Carlton Toronto for post or pre performance chatter over some of the finest herb-infused cocktails in the city. You know cocktail making is serious stuff when the mixologist grows his own indoor fresh herb garden at the bar.

    Whenever Donald Trump’s name is associated with anything you expect it to be “YEW-GE!”  A lot of punch and bravado go with the territory and The Trump Toronto does not disappoint. It has two bars: the Stock Bar and the Suits Lobby Lounge. Both bars boast fabulous decor alongside cocktail menus fit for any film celeb or real estate baron.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    Where is the best shopping in Toronto?

    Hello can we talk? Not only will you find the best shops are in T.O. but it’s the sheer array of stores from those American big box (you know who they are ;-) ) to eclectic boites that serve to please the discerning shopper.

    My favourite retail haunt has been around Yorkville’s Mink Mile. This tony stretch is located east of the Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor Street West until you hit Bay Street. There are plenty of RTW shops from the likes of Prada, Chanel, Cole Haan and for the guys Harry Rosen or Rolex.

    Holt Renfrew, Canada’s answer to Barneys or Saks, has been catering to the high brow set ever since the days of Queen Victoria. Find the newest and chicest labels on these ritzy floors of high-end retail. For those who don’t have the time or need some shopping tips, try their personal shopper service. Valet parking available at the end of the week also helps.

    If it’s shopping in the newer contemporary retail concept shops that catches your eye then hit the new hr2 at Vaughan Mills. Holt Renfrew’s sibling shop opened in spring and mixes those mid-priced labels with discounted seasonal designer wear in an unfrilly setting that’s fresh and unpretentious.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best activities to do in Toronto?

    Pick any season in Toronto and get ready for boundless activities.

    In spring, it’s time to explore the city during a fabulous weekend event called Doors Open Toronto. That’s when some of the most exclusive postal codes (no zip codes in Canada) alongside a handful of historic properties open its doors to the public showcasing fascinating behind-the-scenes and interiors of rarely seen landmarks.

    In summer, festival season takes over the city streets. Whether it’s jazz, arts or a multicultural mix of street parties, get ready to let your hair down. I love to hang in the city’s east end called The Beach for the Beaches International Jazz Festival now celebrating its 25th season. The huge crowd there shows you how much we like to have fun in the sun.

    In fall, as the city streets turn golden and ochre from the canopied oak and maple trees lining the residential neighborhoods, everyone is in movie mode anxiously awaiting the celebrity invasion. That’s when we host TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), the world renowned film festival.

    In winter the snow blankets the city. That means outdoor skating by the countless ice rinks spread across Toronto. Head to Toronto’s famous one at Nathan Phillips Square to practice your perfect eights. The backdrop of City Hall, festive lights brightening the square, and the magnificent Christmas tree are just some of the reasons why skating here has been so popular. Skate rentals are also available.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best attractions in Toronto?

    They don’t call Ontario’s capital Toronto for nothing. Derived from an old Huron word meaning ‘meeting place’ the waterfront city and Canada’s biggest has definitely lived up to its ancient roots with plenty of attractions to pack in the crowds.

    Some of the best attractions are the world class cultural institutions. One favourite is the Royal Ontario Museum or how the locals call it the ROM (pronounced RAW-AAHM).

    Sightseers and architecture gawkers love to photograph the massive geometric crystal-like façade jetting onto the city streets. A design stunner from world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the ROM addition caused quite a stir when it was completed a few years ago.

    But the biggest appeal is the extraordinary extent of its collections (try nearly six million objects!). Talk about wandering through Canada’s largest museum for hours. That’s easy. The permanent exhibitions house some of the world’s most iconic and rare antiquities.

    Head to the central staircase to see glorious totem poles exquisitely carved by the Nisga'a and Haida, a ROM must-see treasure.  In the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Dinosaurs, a Jurassic Park of dinosaur proportions has been cleverly resurrected at this bone yard to showcase the prehistoric monsters. The barosaurus Gordo is a huge crowd pleaser. By the Bat Cave, kids squeal at the reproduced beasties hanging around. 

    Feel overwhelmed? Try a museum tour or better yet find a nook on one of the floors and spend hours submerged in that period. I prefer exploring the Egyptian antiquities for my musings. Housing Canada’s largest ancient Egyptian collection, it’s there where I like to make believe I was a Cleopatra and stare closely at her granite bust.
  • On May 28, 2013
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    Ilona Kauremszky is now following Julia Weiler
  • On May 10, 2013
    Julia Weiler is now following Ilona Kauremszky