A Very Communauto Christmas: Tips and Tricks for “Navigating” the Holidays

The holidays can be such a wonderful time of year, magic and wonder and … WONDERING how you’ll possibly get everything done. It’s a very busy time! We know how overwhelming it can feel trying to fit in all the decorating, shopping, parties, and—of course—family time. Here are our top tips for how to best use your Communauto to keep the stress out and keep the magic in—this holiday season.

The tree

Although strange sights are an expected part of your TTC ride, lugging your Christmas tree onboard may not be the most convenient or well-received option. Here are three great places where you can take your Communauto to pick up the perfect tree:

  1. St. Lawrence Market is steeped in Toronto tradition and history, which includes Christmas trees! Jeff the Christmas Tree Guy has been selling trees at the market for more than 25 years! While you’re there, you can also wander throughout the market and get all your shopping for Christmas dinner done as well. Jeff is open until December 24, 2019, for any of you last-minute decorators and it’s located at Front and Jarvis where there’s a fair bit of Communauto parking nearby.
  2. Evergreen Garden Market has trees from 2.5 – 14ft tall so you’re sure to find your perfect fit. This little garden market is located right at Evergreen Brick Works, where there is also the cutest little outdoor, but covered skating trail, a café, and all the makings of a winter wonderland. Tucked right in the Don Valley, this stop is a beautiful choice.
  3. Pinedale Farms is the perfect option for the authentic cut-your-own experience. They have various types and sizes for you to find the tree of your Christmas vision. They also offer a tree-bagging service to protect your tree for the ride home on top of your Communauto. Located just outside of Hamilton, this spot is an easy drive and a short day trip.

The gifts

We know that the holidays are not about gifts, but if you’re like us … giving just feels oh so good! There’s a joy that comes with seeing someone’s face light up when they unwrap the perfect gift. Shopping during the holidays can be stressful: the malls are crowded, the parking lots are packed, the bills add up, and hauling all your purchases home is a struggle. Here are our top suggestions for some quick Communauto shopping trips:

  1. Fair in the Square, happening December 7-23, 2019, at Nathan Phillips Square, has it all! Skating, hot beverages, sweets and other eats, and a host of quaint artisans and vendors to get all of your holiday shopping done! Who wants to brave the mall this time of year when you can shop in the festive and romantic ambiance of this holiday market? Take your haul home with a Communauto!
  2. The Trinity Bellwoods Flea Market moves indoors for the Happy Holidays Market on December 15, 2019. This is a truly Toronto shopping experience hosted in the historic Great Hall and packed with more that 100 local makers, artisans, crafters, and merchants! You are sure to find something unique and Communauto is the most reliable way to get all those treasures home safely.
  3. Withrow’s Winter Market is a perfect shopping stop for anyone with last-minute items to cross off their holiday list since the market is open on December 21, 2019, at the Crow’s Theatre. Stocked with local goods and treats, this is another great way to support local this holiday season! This market is not only convenient for East-enders but it is located right in the middle of a Communauto zone! Whether you want to drive there and shop, or shop and drive home, be reassured that there’s convenient parking nearby. *Hot tip: drive just one block south and wander the incredible indie shops on Queen Street East for final stocking stuffers … all still in the Communauto zone!

The lights

Nothing says holiday magic like the twinkle of lights. But not everyone can pull off the Christmas-Vacation-Griswold-level light display, taking a Communauto to tour some of Toronto’s best light displays is an excellent alternative! Here are some of our favourite spots to see the holiday lights:

  1. Eastern Beaches will be lit up with more than 20,000 ft of string lights—that’s 80,000 individual LED lights! This is a great way to enjoy the beach and boardwalk even in the colder months and the lights are a magical way to experience one of Toronto’s most iconic locations, the Leuty Lifeguard post. Importantly, the beaches are well within a Communauto parking zone.
  2. Casa Loma is already a magical place, but with a holiday makeover, it really is spectacular. After a walk through the grounds basking in the light show, the heated seats of the Communauto are a welcome treat for the ride home.
  3. Toronto Christmas Market is, of course, a must! Here the light display and the fully decorated Christmas tree will put a twinkle in anyone’s eye. There are plenty of options for warm treats, hot chocolate, and mulled wine (which is only available during the Toronto Christmas Market until December 22—get it while it’s mulled). Parking at the Christmas Market can be more than tricky. *Hot tip: By taking a Communauto, the parking permit will allow you park on the streets south of Front, between Parliament and Jarvis!

Family and friends

Well, this one we can’t stress enough! Take a Communauto out of the city, overnight, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the holidays!

10 best (and closest) pumpkin patches to explore in the GTA and beyond

Toronto, it’s that time of year and it’s not too late to trek to the pumpkin patch to get your autumn haul of non-ugly pumpkins, or maybe plan for a trip next fall. We know baby pumpkins are the best for pumpkin pies and you’ll be able to find that at your local grocer, but for the best Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, head to any of these 10 pumpkin patches.

We’ve ordered the list of 10 by proximity to Toronto’s downtown core. Remember that 150 km is included per trip (and $0.25 per additional kilometer).

1. Reesor’s Farm Market, 0.75 hours, 44 km
2. Albion Orchards, 1 hour, 56-62 km
3. Springridge Farm, 1 hour, 62-66 km
4. Hutchinson Farm, 1 hour, 63-69 km
5. Andrew’s Scenic Acres,  1.25 hours, 65 km
6. Downey’s Farm Market, 1 hour, 66 km
7. Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze, 1 hour, 70-82 km
8. Forsythe Family Farms, 1.25 hours, 80-85 km
9. Brooks Farms, 1-1.25 hours, 68-101 km
10. Pingle’s Farm Market, 1-1.25 hours, 77-110 km

For more information about each pumpkin patch, see below:

1. Reesor’s Farm Market
10825 Ninth Line, Markham, ON L6B 1A8
+1 905-640-4568
reesors.ca
Rating: 4.4

Pick your own pumpkins and check out Reesor’s corn maze. There are lots of ready-picked pumpkins in the farm market and town market. Also, apples, squash, carrots, lettuce,  oh my. You’ll love their cookies and fruit pies, too.

2. Albion Orchards
14800 Innis Lake Rd, Caledon East, ON L7C 2Y8
+1 905-584-0354
www.albionorchards.com
Rating: 3.9

Looking for more than a perfect pumpkin? Come experience farm-fresh produce and explore the bountiful apple orchards. Albion Orchards doesn’t charge for admission, only for apple picking. The pumpkin patch is open until Halloween, but come back to pick your next Christmas tree.

3. Springridge Farm
7256 Bell School Line, Milton, ON L9E 0N7
+1 905-878-4908
www.springridgefarm.com
Rating: 4.5

There are plenty of pumpkins to choose from:  Jack-O-Lantern, Cinderella, Ghost, and Knucklehead. But Springridge Farm also grows strawberries, gourds, and harvest honey from 1 million bees that live in hives beside their pond.

4. Hutchinson Farm
6202 Walkers Line, Burlington, ON L7M 0R3
+1 905-335-2515
www.hutchinsonfarm.ca
Rating: 4.6

Shhhh! Hutchinson Farm’s Great Pumpkin Art Silent Auction is a mainstay at the farm.  They have some talented graffiti artists on staff who’ve painted some amazing pumpkins this year. The farm is known for their exotic pumpkin varieties and heirloom garlic.

5. . Andrew’s Scenic Acres
9365 10 Side Rd, Milton, ON L9T 2X9
+1 905-878-5807
www.andrewsfarm.ca
Rating: 3.4

PWYC Pumpkins! Pay-what-you-can pumpkins are a hit at Andrew’s Scenic Acres. Get your Halloween pumpkins and propose your own price. And there’s free admission for the last weekend of October.

6. Downey’s Farm Market
13682 Heart Lake Rd, Inglewood, ON L7C 2J5
+1 905-838-2990
www.downeysfarm.com
Rating: 4.3

Downey’s Pumpkinfest opens daily from the end of September until October 31st from 10am – 5pm. Last admission at 4pm. There are wagon rides, farm animals, live entertainment, and an eight-acre corn maze!

7. Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze
266 Ashworth Rd, Zephyr, ON L0E 1T0
+1 905-830-4521
www.coopersfarm.ca
Rating: 4.4

Cooper’s Farm and 10-acre corn maze runs until the end of October but they’re open on select Saturdays between November and May. They pride themselves in farming through natural and sustainable practices and ethically raised cattle.

8. Forsythe Family Farms
1025 Cragg Rd, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1R3
+1 905-887-1087
www.forsythefamilyfarms.com
Rating: 4.5

Take a walk through this family farm’s Sunflower Trail. The sunflowers have grown 8-12 feet tall and are at their peak bloom mid-September. Nothing says fall like a corn maze, which is open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm. Fresh picked apples are available in their market with over five varieties as the season progresses.

9. Brooks Farms
122 Ashworth Rd, Mount Albert, ON L0G 1M0
+1 905-473-3246
www.brooksfarms.com
Rating: 4.4

For over a decade, Brooks Farms has hosted an awesome Fall Fun Festival that gets bigger and better every year: pumpkin cannon show, train rides, zip lines, bouncing ponies, playhouses, and slides. The last weekend of October is their infamous pumpkin smash!

10. Pingle’s Farm Market
1805 Taunton Rd, Hampton, ON L0B 1J0
+1 905-725-6089
www.pinglesfarmmarket.com
Rating: 4.0

Pingle’s Farm Market is celebrating 32 years of farm fun. Pick your own pumpkins and apples, have a wander through their corn maze, pet some farm animals, check out the pedal carts, giant slide, trike track, mini putt, pumpkin cannon show, giant sand pile, jump pad, and straw jump.

4 places to visit this autumn to escape the city

Muskoka – 2.5 hours away

Photo credit: Discover Muskoka

Let the city fall away … (see what we did there) … and book a fall getaway to Muskoka for a romantic vacation in a naturally beautiful setting, or take the whole family for an autumn vacation at one of the many lakeside resorts.

Prince Edward County – 2.75-3 hours away

Photo credit: The Regent Theatre

Prince Edward County is known for its quaint inns, chalets, and wine tours. Get out of the city and escape to the Sandbanks Provincial Park and its towering limestone cliffs. Have a night at the Regent Theatre, a restored Edwardian opera house. Walk through Macaulay Heritage Park to take a gander at their local history through its 19th-century buildings.

Peterborough and the Kawarthas – 2 hours away

Check out Peterborough and the Kawarthas’ independent craft breweries, cideries, distillers, Feast On restaurants, and farmers’ markets. Watch the leaves change on one of their cycle tours or carve your own paddle at the Canadian Canoe Museum!

Collingwood – 2.5 hours away

Photo credit: Town of Collingwood

There’s nothing like a good walk. Once you arrive in your FLEX car, hit the pavement on foot with a self-guided discovery walk through Collingwood’s artistic, historical, architectural, culinary and natural features. Since you’re already walking, you could take a Good Food Stroll and discover the unique restaurants, bars, craft breweries, coffee houses and specialty food shops.