Tag Archives: Canada

2021: Year In Review

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Despite constantly evolving regional and international pandemic restrictions, 2021 was a satisfying year for both my travels and for Seeking Saudades. To mark the start of a new year, I put together a brief overview of 2021: what I did, where I went, my top posts, and the overall statistics of the website and blog. You’ll also find a list of my favourite YouTube channels and creators of the year, and links to their respective pages. As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by.


| Travel Recap

2021 was marked by driving, and a lot of it. I worked in Algonquin Provincial Park again this summer, and spent a large amount of time commuting back and forth, as well as doing a little exploring on the side. I also went on a western Canadian road-trip which involved an incredible amount of time and distance behind the wheel. Here’s to more flying, and less driving in 2022!

1. Western Canada Road-Trip

In Septemeber, my friend Sam and I went on a 9-day road trip through 5 provinces to western Canada. There’s a lot to unpack on this journey, and as such I’ve procrastinated actually writing about it. However to summarize, it was a long, yet rewarding journey full of stunning landscapes, good company, and expensive auto-repair bills. Stay tuned for a full write-up in the future, but for now here’s some highlights of the journey:

Hwy 17, Lake Superior, ON
Kakabeka Falls, ON
Manitoba Welcome Sign
The Badlands, Alberta
Banff National Park
Lake Louise, Banff National Park
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2. Algonquin Provincial Park

2021 was my second year working in Algonquin park which meant plenty of time for hiking, camping, seeing wildlife, and photography. I managed to walk every trail in the park except 1 this summer, which means lots of trail guides incoming. Algonquin Park has become a special place to me, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to explore so much of it again this year, and yet I’ve only scratched the surface. Among the many highlights were the 52 moose I encountered. Further into this post you’ll find a YouTube video of one of these encounters.

Centennial Ridges Trail
Lake of Two Rivers
Booth’s Rock Trail
Track and Tower Trail
3. Niagara Falls

I listed Niagara Falls as one of my must see travel destinations in 2021 and I stayed true to my own advise, visiting twice over the course of the year. One of the highlights this time around was the Journey Behind the Falls experience, where I was able to walk the tunnels behind the Canadian Horseshoe falls, and stand within a stones throw of the water crashing down below. I’ve still yet to explore the American side of Niagara Falls, so maybe next year I’ll change things up a little and finally cross over.

Canadian Horsehoe Falls
The Niagara River
Journey Behind the Falls Tour
Below Niagara Falls
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4. BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
Outside BMO Field

Home of Major League Soccer’s Toronto F.C. and the unofficial national stadium for Canada’s men’s national soccer team, BMO Field was the lifegiving force for me this year. Pandemic restrictions in Ontario were finally eased in July, meaning for the first time in almost 2 years we were all able to gather to watch live sports again. The first Toronto F.C. game back was special and although the team was absolutely awful this year I was happy to have the chance to finally voice my displeasure in person again.

Canada’s national soccer team was also in the midst of attempting to qualify for our first World Cup since 1986, and I was lucky enough to attend their qualifying match against Panama. Behind a near-capacity crowd, Canada rallied to a 4-1 win, strengthing our chance at finally making back to a World Cup. The highlight of the night was an Alphonso Davies wondergoal, which I’ve included a clip of below. The roar of the crowd and the energy that night was extremely theraputic and a semblance of normalcy finally begining to return.

Canadian Supporters
Toronto FC Pregame
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| Overall Website Statistics

As I will dicuss later, search engine optimization was definitely my friend this year. A large percentage of the views came from just a select few posts and contributed to a more than tripling of total views, almost 5x the unique visitors and a doubling of followers as compared to 2020. While I’m very grateful and happy for these numbers, I know that with more commitment to creating content and regular posting, 2022 can be even more successful.


Where You’re Reading:

In 2021, Seeking Saudades was viewed in 76 countries and territories from around the world. This just blows my mind, and it’s amazing to see the kind of reach the content on here has had over the last year. Here is a map and list of where you’re all from, and a breakdown of each location’s total views.

1. Breakdown by Map
Shaded countries represent where Seeking Saudades was viewed
2. Breakdown by List
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Most Viewed Post:
The Kayak’s Maiden Voyage (Evoke Algonquin Kayak Review)

This post was by far the most viewed of the year, gaining a lot of attention from being highly ranked in Google search results. It’s a concise kayak review, but it also includes some pictures from a short paddle around the lake on a spring day.

Most Liked Post:
What’s the Luckiest You’ve Ever Been While Travelling?

In this post I recall the incredibly lucky fortune my brother and I had on a trip to Japan in September of 2019 which involved narrowly missing an earthquake, and dodging 2 typhoons.

Personal Favourite Post:
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower – Kitchener, Ontario

This post was one of the first of 2021, and took the most amount of time and effort to write. In it, I explore the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower in Kitchener, Ontario and discuss the landmark’s significance and history. This article is a good example of the type of writing I’d like to do more of on this blog, so check it out and let me know what you think!


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| YouTube Statistics

I only posted 3 videos to YouTube this year, and while they’re obviously not going to be up for any Streamy Awards, I was happy to get the ball rolling on setting things up. Video creation is definitely an avenue I’d like to pursue so I have big hopes for my YouTube channel in the future. Here’s 2 of the videos I posted this year:

Stunning Views from Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Algonquin Park Moose Encounter
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| Favourite Travel Channels

1. Kara and Nate

Kara and Nate are from Tennessee, USA, but have spent very little time in their home state over the course of the last 6 years as they’ve been travelling almost non-stop to 100 countries around the world. What started off as a 1 year break from regular life, quickly turned into one of the most successful travel channels on YouTube. I basically spent the last year binge-watching over 4 years of their travel videos and highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already. Here’s their 100th country documentary which outlines all of their travels to 100 countries from 2016-2020:

2. Gabriel Traveler

I’ve been watching Gabriel’s videos for a while now, and for good reason: his videos are authentic, raw and generally show the sides of travel that other, more highly-produced YouTubers like to gloss over. Gabriel has been travelling the world since the 90s but has been vlogging his experiences since 2009. As mentioned, his videos aren’t very flashy; it’s just a man and his action-camera. However, I feel that this makes his content very relateable and gives you the feeling of being on the journey with him, rather than watching a highlight reel of someone’s vacation. I especially enjoy his Himalayan trekking videos:

3. Eamon and Bec

While Eamon and Bec are generally known as vanlife YouTubers, I discovered their channel through their Canadian cabin renovation series which they began during the height of the pandemic. Eamon and Bec are incredibly down to earth and positive people, and in my opinion that directly translates to what makes their content so enjoyable. Recently, they’ve gotten back into international travel and have been touring around Morroco in a converted sprinter van. Here’s their final cabin renovation tour:

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| Looking to 2022

While there was growth, I fell short of my own goals and expectations in 2021. This year, I am recommiting and as such there are big plans in place that I intend to capitalize on. Stay tuned for next week’s post which will outline my travel plans, overall goals for Seeking Saudades and what you can expect to see from me in 2022.

I appreciate all those who have taken the time to read and watch, and thank all of you for the support in 2021. Happy new year, and cheers to a successful, happy, and healthy 2022!


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[Video] Stunning Views from Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

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Happy Wednesday!

I’m just checking in to inform you that I’ve published a new video on my YouTube channel, and if you read my last Photo Friday, you’ll find that this clip is essentially the video version of the picture I showcased in that post.

I just felt I had to share some more of those stunning views from Moraine Lake in beautiful Banff National Park.

Check it out below and enjoy!


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*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

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Moraine Lake, Banff National Park – Photo Friday #17

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

Earlier this month, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting one of the most beautiful places in the world: Moraine Lake, located in stunning Banff National Park, Alberta.

This visit was part of a cross-Canada road trip that spanned 9-days, 5 provinces, 7100 kilometres, and 75 hours worth of driving from my home province of Ontario to British Columbia. Looking back on this photo, and others from my time in the country’s oldest national Park, it’s still hard to believe that this was a real place.

The mountains seemed like they were CGI’d into the background, the water looked as though it was scooped up and delivered straight from the Bahamas, and the trees seemed to go on for eternity. I was only able to spend 24-hours in Banff before having to turn around and begin the long drive home, but it was worth every single second and penny that it took to get there…

…including the $1,300 emergency brake job I had to get in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, but that’s a story for another time.

See you next week!

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada (ca. Sept. 2021)

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Algonquin Park Moose Encounter – Photo Friday #16

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week, I’m sharing a video I took of one of the many (46 thus far!) moose encounters I’ve had in Algonquin Provincial Park this summer.

Taken in June 2021, I was lucky enough to have spotted a cow and her calf munching on some leaves for a midday snack. From where I was standing, the moose couldn’t have been more than 25 feet away, one of the closest encounters I’ve had to date.

Of course, moose can be extremely dangerous, especially if they feel threatened or are protecting their young. However, I was calmed by knowing that this particular mother had been raising her calves in the busy campgrounds of Algonquin Park for years, and had become relatively unbothered by humans in her presence.

While they may seen like elusive animals, spotting a moose in Algonquin Park is far easier than it may seem. I’ve encountered upwards of 70 in the past 2 summers! If you’re looking to see some moose of your own, be sure to keep an eye out for my Algonquin Park moose spotting guide here in the near future!


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Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Park – Photo Friday #15

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s picture was taken at the lookout on the Track and Tower Trail, located in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada last month in June 2021.

The longest hike I’ve done this year, and certainly the most interesting, the Track and Tower Trail had a wide variety of historical stops, wooded paths, river crossings, and scenic lookouts. Keep an eye out for a full trail report here on seekingsaudades.com in the coming future.

In un-related news, I’ve finally received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which means I’m fully vaccinated, Canada is closer to completely reopening, and international travel isn’t too far away either.

Exciting times ahead!

Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada (ca. June 2021)

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The Kayak’s Maiden Voyage (Evoke Algonquin Kayak Review)

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Earlier this year, my parents and I split the cost of a new kayak, something we’ve been thinking of purchasing for a few years now. We bought it from our local Canadian Tire for around CAD $999. After accessorizing paddles, roof mounts, and other various items the final total was bumped up towards CAD $1200. We decided on the Evoke Algonquin 12-ft. *Edit: Be sure to read to the end for a 6-month update*

We’ve had a canoe up at the lake for years, but it’s extremely heavy, hard to maneuver, and a pain to take out for longer trips. After spending a significant amount of time in Algonquin Provincial Park last year, I aspired to find more time to spend outdoors, and so I felt it was finally time to bite the bullet and look for a boat that could both be used at the cottage for a good workout, and something that could potentially be taken out into the backcountry on weekend portage camping trips. Seeing as most new lightweight canoes will set you back upwards of CAD $5000, the next best option for us was to look for a kayak which could check off the same wish list as a canoe, but at a more reasonable price, resulting in the purchase of the Evoke Algonquin 12-ft.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and the water was finally warm enough (46 ℉) to feel confident that I could attempt to take it out for a spin without risking death if I fell overboard. I had been in a kayak once before at my buddy Alex’s cottage, and I came pretty close to going for an unwanted swim several times, so I was skeptical about my chances of staying dry this time around.

evoke 12 ft kayak

In the end, the new kayak proved to be extremely roomy, stable, and tracked in the water like a dream. It took some thinking, but I was also able to get in and out of the kayak pretty easy. It’s still a bit of a heavier boat at 56 pounds, but I didn’t really feel it during the paddle, and it was easy enough to carry. Some of the features include an adjustable seat and foot rests, 2 storage compartments, 2 rod holders, and a removable front dash. I’m yet to try and stash any overnight gear in it yet, but it looks like there’s plenty of room for some potential camping trips later this summer. (Update: it was a little tight and took some thinking, but I was able to fit several days worth of gear into the boat with limited effect on comfort and manuverability)

evoke 12 ft kayak

The total length of the maiden voyage ended up being around 4 km, and took about an hour, the most of which was used up getting a feel for paddling, fiddling with things, and stopping to take some pictures. After about a week straight of rain, it turned out to be a calm, warm, and overall really nice day for a trip out on to the lake.

evoke 12 ft kayak
evoke 12 ft kayak
evoke 12 ft kayak

Despite being 10 days into May, the tree’s have yet to show their leaves. I didn’t take a picture of it, but there was actually a large pile of snow and ice still holding on for dear life a little ways back into the forest. I figure there’s still another week or so until the leaves start to appear, and while it looks dreary at the moment, it means that the blackflies and mosquitos are still yet to arrive, so it’s not all bad.

evoke 12 ft kayak

Overall, the kayak’s maiden voyage turned out to be a great success, and I’ve got big plans for it in the coming months, most of which involve Algonquin Park in some respect. However, before I do that I figure the kayak should have a name, because you know, all proper boats do.

So if you’ve got a suggestion for a name, or have any questions about the kayak itself, let me know in the comments below!


*6 Month Update*:

In my opinions, the Algonquin Evoke 12-ft kayak has turned out to be a very good purchase, and I recommend it if your in the market for a kayak. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Here’s a quick summary of the boat’s pros and cons thus far:

Pros:

  • I still find it easy to carry and transport
  • It withstood an entire summer of admittedly pretty rough use with only a few scratches
  • The color held up flawlessly despite being in the sun 24/7
  • It tracks very well in the water and feels incredibly stable, even under light chop
  • Enough storage for overnight camping trips
  • The centre-console is fantastic
  • The hull rarely warped, but quickly bounced back when it did
  • The seat is fairly comfortable and never became an issue while paddling

Cons:

  • The adhesive/glue on the knee padding started to peel on very hot days, but I was able to get it to restick
  • The seat-back adjustment is very weak and will fold under pressure if fully extended. You’re best to either keep it at the lowest position or brace it with something to remedy this.

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

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Canadian Sunset Timelapse – Photo Friday #12

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Welcome back to Photo Video Friday!

I was finally able to make it out to the lake last weekend, thanks to the ice going out earlier than expected. This means a whole bunch of good things, most notable of which is the ability to sit on the dock with a piping hot coffee to watch the sun as it sets below the horizon.

Long before I started this blog, or even made seekingsaudades.com, I created a YouTube channel with the intent of one day posting travel videos. Until now, I’ve never uploaded anything, instead choosing to focus on creating content here. I figured I needed to get the YouTube train rolling at some point, and so today I decided to do just that.

Luckily, time-lapses are technically photos, so I can shamelessly promote my YouTube channel here and still have it loosely connect to the blog. This particular time-lapse was taken on April 17, 2020 in Algonquin Highlands, Ontario.

I would greatly appreciate it if you considered subscribing to my YouTube channel once you’re finished watching the video. While I don’t have any immediate plans to post a bunch of content, I will be making an effort this summer to try and put together some videos of whatever travels I end up doing.

Thanks for all of your support, and see you next week!


Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021

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For most, 2021 is shaping up to be a really great year to explore what’s in your own backyard. The Province of Ontario has so much to offer, which makes it hard to narrow down the list of things to see and do, and so to help, I put together a shortlist of my top 5 Ontario travel destinations to consider in 2021.

Tl;dr: Manitoulin Island, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Pickle Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Niagara Falls.


1. Manitoulin Island

In my opinion, Manitoulin Island is one of the most underrated destinations in all of Ontario. I visited Manitoulin Island last year and fell in love with the place almost instantly. Surrounded by Lake Huron, dotted with a number of lakes, and covered by dense forests, the natural beauty of this place is just stunning. I recommend taking the time to hike the Cup & Saucer Trail, which offers a number of lookouts over the island, and navigates a northern section of the Niagara Escarpment.

Aside from the natural beauty, Manitoulin Island is home to around 14,000 people, a good portion of whom belong to the many thriving Indigenous communities on the island. This means if you’re looking to learn more about Indigenous history and culture, Manitoulin Island is the place to be.

To get here, you can take the ferry across from Tobermory, or drive along the north shore of Georgian Bay, west of Sudbury. If you’re doing the latter, I recommend staying at Chutes Provincial Park to break up the trip.

Cup and Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island. The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021.
Cup & Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island
2. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers some of the most iconic views in the entire province. Located an hour outside Thunder Bay, along the north shore of Lake Superior, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is one of those destinations I think the majority of Ontarians never get around to seeing, mainly due to its sheer distance from the southern portion of the province.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers over 100 kilometres of hiking trails, car-camping, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and of course a number of stunning lookouts and views you just can’t find anywhere else. If you’re willing to make the almost 15-hour drive from Toronto, you won’t be disappointed with what you find here.

Sleeping Giant//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

(Photo Source: Ontario Parks on Flickr)

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3. Pickle Lake

Pickle Lake is my one obligatory oddball destination on this list, and somewhere most people probably haven’t heard of. It’s also one of those places that’s more about the journey to get there, than the destination itself.

See, Pickle Lake is… kind of in the middle of nowhere. It has a population of less than 400 people, and is a staggering 22-hour drive, and 2,000 kilometres away from Toronto. So why would I include this as one of the top 5 destinations in 2021? Well as it turns out, Pickle Lake lies at the end of the northernmost point of the Ontario provincial highway system.

I might be alone on this one, but I just can’t help but think how cool it would be to say that you’ve driven to the most northern drivable point in Ontario. You might want to think about bringing an extra jerry can though.

4. Algonquin Provincial Park

Alright, back to reality with this one.

Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada, and one of the largest in the province as well, covering a staggering 7,600 squared kilometres. The best part? It’s only a 3-hour drive from Toronto; great for those looking to escape for the day or weekend.

Algonquin Park offers activities for everyone, and for all ages. Car camping, backcountry camping, hiking, fishing, guided tours, historical sites, and more. If you’re looking for it, chances are Algonquin Park offers it, which no doubt contributes to it being one of the most visited and popular provincial parks in Ontario, year after year.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Algonquin Park has to offer, make sure to check out some of my Algonquin guides here.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park. The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
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5. Niagara Falls

Now, I know what you’re thinking with this one: “Niagara Falls? Wow, how original…”

But hear me out, when’s the last time you actually went to Niagara Falls? Those of us who are within driving distance of Niagara Falls tend to take for granted just how lucky we are to live so close to one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world, something people travel from all over the world to come see. Most of the people I’ve met in my life have been to Niagara Falls at least once, but can’t remember when they went, or who they went with last. Just because you’ve been there before, doesn’t mean it’s not worth going again, especially when it comes to Niagara Falls. It could even make for a good Tim’s Run destination!

I mean, it sure beats sitting on the couch, right?

The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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What locations would you add to this list? Where are you looking forward to visiting the most this year? Let me know in the comments below!


Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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The First Signs of Spring – Photo Friday #10

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

It’s finally April, and the first signs of spring are starting to appear in Central Ontario. This image, taken in the Algonquin Highlands, Canada on April 2, 2021 shows that the temperature is rising, the snows are melting, and the lakes are finally thawing. Although it will more than likely be a few weeks until the lakes are fully open, its nice to see the water appearing along the shoreline and the ice retreating.

I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out here once university is all wrapped up for the term, and to do more exploring this summer. Warmer, sunnier days are just around the corner, and more posts documenting them will be sure to follow.

See you next week!

Algonquin Highlands, Ontario, Canada (ca. April 2021)

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Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade – Photo Friday #9

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s photo was taken in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada during the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA Championship Parade.

There’s a lot I can say about this day: the sheer number of people, the complete disorganization, the 5-hour time delay, the heatwave. In a city that had been so starved for a winning team in one of North America’s “big four” leagues (NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB), we sure did go all in for the celebration. Some estimates have some 1.5 million plus people taking part in at least some of the festivities that day, and in a city that only has a population of around 3 million.

I have a ton of pictures and stories I can show and tell from my experience at the Raptors’ Championship Parade, so I’ll write a separate post that goes into further detail sometime in the near future. For now, here’s a little sneak peek.

See you next week!

Toronto Raptors Championship Parade, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto Raptors Championship Parade, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (ca. June 2019)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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