Over the span of eight years, you would assume that I have shared (and probably overshared) everything you could possibly imagine about who I am. The fun part about the blog is that it has grown and evolved, changed and changed again with me as I did the same. All these years later, I still get excited to share intimate moments and memories to help you understand me as a person. Now a husband, soon to be a Dad in the coming years, and always avidly travelling with you in tow on social media, this blog post is a love letter of sorts to three things you may not know yet that make me who I am today.
I guess you could say that an upcoming trip to Toronto inspired this post – as most things in Toronto do. The juxtaposition of Ottawa and Toronto are actually a much bigger part of me than most people realize. But we’ll get to that!
The #1 thing that most people don’t realize about me – at least those of you new to the blog in the past few years – is that I am born (and mostly raised) in Montreal. My birth last name was Desforges before changing it when I got married, and I am fluently bilingual in French and English. It still makes me smile to see people’s reaction when I switch to French in front of them for the first time because I have no accent. Plus it helps to get Julio in the mood when I speak French, so that’s always a plus too. I quite proud to be French Canadian and enjoy trips back when I can with Julio. There is nothing like the energy of coming home when I get to Montreal and it’s so exciting to see how the city has grown since we moved all those years ago.
The #2 that most people don’t know is that when I was a young boy we moved a lot in between Montreal and Toronto for my parents and their work. So before I called home for ten years, the big city was a part of who I was as a young man. Though short lived, it planted a seed in me that would one day bring all of this – blog and marriage included – to life for me. It wasn’t an easy path to live my best life in Toronto, but there is nothing quite like the invigorating energy I feel each and every time I get to Toronto.
The #3 thing that most people don’t realize about me is that for a large part of my life, Ottawa was in fact home. Yes, before this triumphant return in an effort to fast track our path to adoption, I lived and went to highschool and university here. It’s where I met Catherine. It’s where my immediate family lives. And it’s where I now find myself falling in love with its charm and food scene.
So I guess the three secrets about me are the three cities that have shaped who I am today both personally and professionally. It’s why it’s just too perfect that I am helping to share the latest collaboration between the three cities in their #CityFriendsWithBenefits campaign. By now if you haven’t seen the catchy campaign, let me remind you about it a little bit.
So where am I going with all of this? Back to Toronto as an Ottawa influencer, that’s where! And I’m bringing you along while I play tourist in the city I once called home. From food to fashion, scenery to experiences I’ve never had before, I am genuinely excited.
Of course it wouldn’t be a magical trip to Toronto without a stay at Fairmont Royal York – we of course are huge fans of this property and the Fairmont family of hotels across the country. Click here to read about our most recent glamorous stay ahead of this upcoming getaway.
So what are some of the things we will be doing on this getaway to Toronto you ask? Well, you’ll of course have to follow along in real time via social media for the inside scoop but here’s just a few items on my personal to do list in Toronto that I encourage those of you in Ottawa and Montreal (and of course everywhere else too) to consider on your next trip:
- The immersive Vincent Van Gogh Exhibit is an absolute must for those of you wanting an art experience that is beyond Instagram worthy.
- Toronto’s Newest Attraction – Little Canada
- The CN Tower EdgeWalk is something I did many years ago, but for those of you looking for a one of a kind thrilling experience, THIS is it!
- Cider tasting at Brickworks Cider House – need I say more?
- Dinner at Akira Back – this one of a kind restaurant is a MUST for the foodies out there
- St. Lawrence Market & Old Town Toronto tours to enjoy the history and heritage of Toronto
- SUP Night Paddle Board Experience at sunset – this one is all about #Views
- Brunch at The Drake Hotel followed by exploring Queen Street West / West Queen West
And of course many many more things that I can’t wait to share with you all live. Remember that if you need some inspiration for your upcoming staycation / vacations you can head to the #NeverHaveIEverTO website for inspiration. And of course, if we’re talking about travel between the three cities, make sure to share your #CityFriendsWithBenefites memories in Ottawa and Montreal as well!
For more inspiration for your upcoming travel plans between the three cities that made me into the man I am, make sure to follow @destination_toronto, @ottawatourism & @montreal and tag #CityFriendsWithBenefits – and of course come along with Julio & I if you aren’t following us yet at @dothedaniel & @fashionights on all platforms!
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands I’m working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. I’d love to have you join on the adventures.
Photos: Daniel Reyes & All Social Media accounts listed above
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
*Promotional consideration may have been offered by participating brands – all opinions expressed are my own and my disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.