Toronto Ontario, Report

By Joanna Ninh

The purpose of this tour was to determine whether or not the activities of the Toronto One Day Tour are appropriate for Sheridan Tours, who are thinking of investing in quality tours. I have been selected to research and report back on a new area for potential emerging markets. My task is to explore the St. Lawrence Market and Distillery District in downtown Toronto. I have been invited to visit the PANAM 2015 Games office, where I will be listening in on a presentation which offers diverse cuisines and historical walking tours guided by professional tour guide speaker, Bruce Bell.

Before settlement Toronto was crucial for its series of trails and water routes. Today buildings, pavements and roads cover what used to be waterways. The great body of water is what brought settlement together and the buildings and condos by the lake are what have been developed over the years. Historian Bruce Bell, spoke about the settlement of Toronto and stopped at important sights where every street had significant value, such as Old Town Toronto on George Street founded in 1793.

Toronto’s infrastructure is always being improved, replaced and expanded to keep up with the needs of Torontonians. Support in the tourism area is greatly looked after by the continuing maintenance work to uphold the reputation to help bring in more tourists. The better the infrastructure of the city is maintained, the higher the probability of locals will contribute to help keep the area clean. It helps to benefit the economic, environment, and the social of the tourism in the area, which in return helps the locals.

The superstructure I found during the walking tour was very interesting. The first stop was the St. Lawrence Market which was open to public access. The markets are also home to the first City Hall of Toronto which is now renovated into a museum. The Historical walk was my preferred part of the entire day tour especially after learning about how Toronto was once covered with black smoke because of the use of coal in chimneys. This was later banned because of the negative effects it had on the environment. What stood out to me was when Bruce Bell spoke about how the black bricks we saw around the buildings found at the destinations were the result of the black coal stains. The final stop was at the Distillery District. We were able to have a very quick history lesson about the prohibition and a very infamous character that visited Toronto. The notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone visited the Toronto Distillery District and ordered liquor to be made and shipped. Our tour guide pointed out the exact location where Al Capone’s liquor was once stored.

Our last stop of the day was at the Corus Entertainment building (the headquarters of the PANAM 2015 Games office), located by the waterfront. We had a brief tour of the building where we learned that it is a Canadian based media and an entertainment company, home to television and radio stations. From our observation the building promotes “green” efficiency all around its facilities, such as initiative features including energy efficient lighting, a living five stored bio-wall for clean oxygen, use of local and recycled materials and reused rain water to reduce water consumption amongst other initiatives. We later gathered in the presentation room, where amongst us were the organizers of the PANAM 2015 Games. The speakers spoke of volunteer opportunities, employment and Toronto outbound tourism.

Our walking tour guide, Bruce Bell was very welcoming and perky so much so that our large group didn’t want to split up into two groups. He was very engaging and spoke with passion during the entire tour and made the experience even more enjoyable. Not only was he a professional tour guide but, a historian and an author. The employees of the PANAM were very friendly and prompt. They welcomed all questions and gave promotional wrist bands that had ‘PANAM 2015 Games’ written on it. I enjoyed how they started the presentation with an activity warm up, where an audience member got a prize.

The value of the tour was very reasonable, considering the cost of the luxury coach bus and the walking tour for such a large group. I especially liked how the tour consisted of going out for lunch instead of prepaid lunch menu; we were able to pick what we wanted instead. This was a great opportunity considering the St. Lawrence Market had a variety of choice to select from. The tour group was able to go out and enjoy what they wanted at a very good lengthy time. Overall my only suggestion is that instead of finishing the walking tour at the Distillery District, somewhere closer to the St. Lawrence Market would be a better choice. My final thought of the Toronto One Day Tour is it would be a great investment for Sheridan Tours because of the unknown history that few people know about Toronto.


Explore Ontario

By Joanna Ninh

The purpose of this tour was to determine whether or not Paris, Ontario suits Sheridan Tours inbound international student groups for our upcoming tours. I have been selected to research and report back on a new area for potential emerging markets. My task is to explore in the Brant County area of Ontario and from suggestion it has brought me to Paris, Ontario. This location offers river raft educational and aboriginal experiences.

From first impression I can tell that Paris, Ontario is filled with natural resources. Paris, being a small town with a population of 11,763, is located on the Grand River. Needless to say the plants, wildlife, forest, wetlands and parks are all protected for ecosystems and the tourism factor the Brant County is trying to establish. I found that the tour guides were very well trained and informative with respect to where to go and the history of this small town. My tour guide Jack took my rafting group to a special remote area where pure spring water was flowing and one by one let use drink from the small stream. He was also well educated about the birds and how the climate changes during the winter months which I think the inbound international student groups would enjoy and appreciate during their tour.

During my walk around town with the Brant County Tour guides, we stopped at every location that supported the tourism in the area. Areas such as, the bridge crossing over the Grand River, the building where the world’s first long distance telephone call was made by Alexander Grand Bell, the inventor of the telephone. This is where he successfully called his son. We also stopped at the Syl Apps hockey stadium, where great Canadian hockey players, like Charles Joseph Sylvanus trained in. Lastly, there was one surviving building from the tragic fire the town endured where you can see the aged bricks and old styled building. The place that stood out the most to me was the Asa Wolverton House. Today it is home to a very kind lady and her husband that maintain the property very well. She was kind enough to talk about the history of the house and was even willing to give a tour around the property, but unfortunately there wasn’t that much time in the tour for it. I would comment that the infrastructure permitted to tourist is well maintained and indicated for Sheridan Tours clients.

The town was established in 1800, where the first settlement in 1829, was founded by Hiram Capron. The buildings of mills and the small town of Paris was officially established in 1856. Since then, Paris’ population has grown and buildings were built on top of buildings and the significance of the land it was built on still prospers. For instance, the first long distance telephone call was successfully made on the top of a building that has since been renovated, but the significance still remains the same today. The futures of supporting the type of groups Sheridan Tours take on are replied on places such as this because of the history the land supports on.

The hospitality that was the Brant County and a special guest of the member of the aboriginal Iroquois tribe was a warm welcome with a traditional cleansing for those who wanted to participate. Other activities were the drumming and the quick lesson of the history of the Iroquois tribe where men and women were allowed to play the drums together. Being a history fanatic, the only thing I like to recommend is maybe a longer lesson on the history. For those who are interested to book something if Brant County offers it for more in-depth history lessons on the culture and history of the Iroquois people. It was well put together; perhaps that’s what they were aiming for, wanting people to come back for more!

The value of the trip was $42.00 which was reasonable considering the transportation on coach and the lunch menu at the hotel. It was a disappointment learning that the menu was changed day of, and the frustration people had with the new menu. For people with food allergies or religious reasons, it was not convenient. I will say bravo to the hotel that did their best to accommodate us. They ended up arranging the original menus for the right people with allergies and religious diets. I would say considering what was offered it was money well spent. The only thing I would change is to let the customer dine where they wish and let them explore more of the town as well. By extending the time limit of the tours, it could benefit those who wish to explore as well as the town itself.

Overall, I enjoyed the one day tour at Paris, Ontario and would recommend it to anyone. With the research conducted, I hope it will bring more people back because it is a very beautiful place to travel. Especially to those participating in the river rafting, it was the biggest highlight of this trip. It’s definitely a must do! I for one, was not a fan at first, but with the help of the guide and the weather that went along, it all contributed to a well spent day and great tour conducted by the Brant County.