Even though I've been working downtown for more than four years (and living in the city for a little over a year), besides my daily work and life routine, it's hard to get out and explore different pockets of Toronto sometimes. Recently James, Frenzi and I were invited to spend 44 hours at 44 Charles Street West in Manulife Centre, a 51-storey commercial and residential tower, right in the heart of Yorkville (corner of Bay and Bloor), and we truly got to experience the fast-paced downtown living that they always talk about in the movies.
We had a luxurious furnished rental suite for the weekend, which had 2 bedrooms (both with a full bathroom), living room, dining room and a kitchen with appliances. The whole space was about 1200 square feet, that's a loooot larger than the condo we are currently at. Frenzi was excited to run and look out from the big, bright windows (and of course, bark bark bark).
While the place was beautifully furnished and decorated, I have to say my favourite part of the rental suite at 44 Charles was the dining room!
James and I love entertaining guests for dinner and typically hold festive parties and birthdays at our place; this was no exception. More on our fun little gathering later, but I promise, this dining table was used well.
Since we got to 44 Charles a bit later on Friday evening, we dropped our bags and got ready for dinner. Yorkville is known to have some of Toronto and Canada's best restaurants; we opted for a date night at Sassafraz!
Everything on the menu at Sassafraz sounded amazing, so we got a few things to share: frenched chicken drumettes, fish tacos and a beef striploin! For dessert, we had some maple beignets; such a delight! I'm still dreaming about the drumettes though, can't wait to go back for more.
After dinner we stopped by a convenience store to pick up a few necessities and strolled back to 44 Charles and immediately passed out.
One of the nice things about living at 44 Charles Street is how convenient things are. We knew Saturday was going to be VERY busy, so James went downstairs to L'Express, Bloor Street Diner's takeout counter, and got breakfast for two: bagels, pastries, fruit, juice and coffee. He did all of this without stepping outside in the cold!
After breakfast we took a tour of the residential building and got to see some of the other suite layouts and all the amenities that 44 Charles has to offer; one can NEVER get bored here.
44 Charles has everything you could ever need in a residential building: concierge, library, a garden for residents to hang out or host get-togethers in the summer, sauna, a party room, games area, fitness centre and swimming pool (with a stunning city view). There are also guest suites that you could get on a per-night basis if you have friends or family visiting! Besides all of the above, Manulife Centre (attached to the residential building) has great shops, restaurants, Loblaw's Bloor St. Market and even a movie theatre.
Shortly after the tour, we continued with our day by grabbing lunch at Scaccia (photographed here), a reasonably-priced Italian takeout or eat-in restaurant, and headed to Gardiner Museum to check out the current exhibits.
Confession time: James and I had never been to the Gardiner Museum prior to this. I also didn't know much about the art of porcelain or history behind it until we got to check out the exhibit; it is truly magnificent. They've done a great job displaying it all and if you've never been here before, I definitely recommend it! We also got to catch the 12 Trees of Christmas exhibit, which is apparently an annual tradition. We're excited to go back around this time next year.
After the museum we walked back towards 44 Charles and went shopping for our games night party. We grabbed some new board games and card games from Indigo that none of our friends had played before, and also picked up some cutlery and disposable plates, cups, essentials from the Dollar store located inside Manulife Centre. We then got rotisserie chicken, finger food, drinks and snacks from Loblaw's Bloor St. Market + a special treat for dessert. I was shocked that we did all of this in less than 40 minutes!
Our games night was a HUGE success! James and I hosted six friends for dinner, and we hung out in the Club Room at 44 Charles Street. It was also conveniently one of my friend's birthday, so we all got to celebrate together and eat cake for dessert! The Club Room was really sweet, there was a billiards table, lots of comfy seating, TV, and a kitchen close by for us to keep our food warm. Closer to 10 p.m. we moved the party back up to our furnished rental suite, where we lounged and continued to play games.
By Sunday morning, I was feeling exhausted but also a little sad that the weekend and our lovely stay in Yorkville was coming to an end. Of course, no vacation is complete without brunch so we walked over to Mark McEwan's ONE Restaurant.
I woke up with a sweet tooth so I got the decadent french toast with sweet iced tea, and James got a yummy salad and hot tea. We slowly ate and recalled all the fun memories from the weekend during our stay at 44 Charles. With a few hours to kill before going back home, we lounged, went to the gym and swam a bit before packing up.
In just 44 hours I had already started to get used to the busy, fast-paced Yorkville lifestyle and both James and I loved every bit of it. 44 Charles is conveniently located in the heart of the city with lots to do within walking distance! I love that you can shop, check out museums and art, or even just go for a stroll; there is ALWAYS something to do. The residential suites are also affordable considering how easily you can access everything. Even Frenzi had fun exploring the streets and smelling all the new things! :)
I hope you enjoyed experiencing 44 Charles with us! Be sure to check out the hashtag #Explore44 on Twitter and Instagram for more details of our mini-vacation.
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This is a sponsored post. However, all photos and opinions are my own.