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via rail canada

Via Rail’s Bike Train service connects Windsor to Quebec City

Bikes on trains. Photo by Sandbanks Pro

Bike enthusiasts looking to explore another city’s streets should consider a weekend two-wheel road trip enabled by one of VIA Rail Canada’s bike trains. Cyclists can bring their bikes on board for $20 per direction, and then sit back and relax until they arrive. Cities serviced include the well-travelled streets of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, and a few lesser-trod spots like London and Windsor in Ontario and Jonquière and Senneterre in Quebec.

Take the family on Ottawa’s Capital parkway network, which is the reason why our capital often pops up on lists of the best cities in North America to cycle. With the views of the Ottawa River and well-groomed parks, you won’t feel like you’re in a metropolis. In Senneterre, bikers can check out Mount Bell and the dense pines of Aiguebelle Park. Cyclers travelling to Windsor have the vast 42 km Chrysler Canada Greenway ahead of them—rural routes, wineries and the beaches of Lake Erie offer something for all.

Via offers bike transportation on trains with bike racks until October 31, 2011. Find details at http://www.viarail.ca/bike.

Fashion Week, Day Four

Calling all fashionistas! Strap on your stilettos and strut your way to the city’s most stylish event, LG Fashion Week. This season’s jam-packed schedule is bursting at the (very chic) seams with designer runway shows and exclusive parties. All week long Where Toronto brings you highlights from the hottest spring 2010 collections and tips on where to shop right now for all your wardrobe must-haves.

Aime's spring 2010 collection offers a Mediterranean aesthetic.

Aime's spring 2010 collection offers a Mediterranean aesthetic.

Designers to Watch
Recent Ryerson University grad Monica Mei is making a name for herself thanks to the effortless, flirty fashions of her label, Aime. Influenced by a philosophy of “sustainable luxury,” all Aime pieces are constructed with supple, natural fabrics such as cashmere, silk, bamboo and organic cotton. Fashion Week Mainstage, 4 p.m.

After making his debut on the national fashion scene as the inaugural winner of Project Runway Canada, Evan Biddell quickly staked his claim as one of Canada’s most promising young designers. The Saskatchewan-born couturier’s clean lines and loud colour palate define a street-savvy style. Mainstage, 6 p.m.

Flirty frocks are on display courtesy of NADA.

Form-flattering frocks are on display courtesy of NADA.

Nada Shepherd plays with classic tailoring and yet always manages to inject an exuberant edge into the clothing offered by her eponymous label, NADA. Combining sensual fabrics, flattering silhouettes and exquisite detailing, Shepherd’s designs have been described as “exciting and imaginative” by Jeanne Beker, the ubiquitous host of Fashion Television. Mainstage, 8 p.m.

Shop the Shows
To outfit yourself in pretty pieces from Aime, take some time to discover French Accents (111 Yorkville Ave., 416-964-1171). A veritable treasure trove of feminine fashion, this boutique carries luxe Parisienne labels as well as a number of Canadian designers.

A trip to Queen West’s Pho Pa will help get you noticed—especially if you emerge with an armful of Evan Biddell’s hip togs.  The funky shop carries a diverse selection of trendsetting labels from local designers.

You can also try out unique looks from NADA at Maxi Boutique. The Danforth retailer traffics in chic denim, knits and dresses from more than 70 international and Canadian designers.

Hot Ticket
This afternoon in the Fashion Week VIP lounge, VIA Rail Canada announces the winner of its uniform-design contest. Launched at last year’s Toronto Fashion Week, the Fashion Design Council of Canada and VIA Rail invited Canadian designers to showcase their talent and create a new uniform concept for the company’s front-line employees. All three finalists will be on hand, and their design images on display. The winning concept will serve as inspiration for the company’s new uniforms, expected to launch in 2012. VIP Lounge, 3:30 p.m.

Dedicated chroniclers of the fashion world will be out in full force to see the latest depiction of that rarified sphere at a screening of R.J. Cutler’s documentary, The September Issue, which follows notorious Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as she prepares the fashion bible’s fall 2007 issue. Mainstage, $15, 9 p.m.

TIP! Visit Toronto Life’s Style Blog and FASHION magazine for more on Fashion Week.

Niagara—Take a Tour

See all that the region has to offer, including the awe-inspiring natural world wonder that has royalty, celebrities, honeymooners and globetrotters all hankering for a view.
—By Viviane Kertész

Chariots of Fire Niagara Falls Tour offers a $60 round-trip excursion that includes visiting either the Maid of the Mist or the Skylon Tower, free time at the Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, picture stops, plus a complimentary tasting at Magnotta Cellars, returning to Toronto by 5 p.m.

Gray Line Niagara Tour operates several first-class sightseeing packages from $95 including a drive through the orchard-laden Niagara Peninsula, boarding the Maid of the Mist and a winery stopover in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Pricier options feature helicopter trips.

In operation since 1978, the
Niagara Falls Day Tour lets you explore either Pillitteri Estates Winery or Reif Estate Winery, scenic stops for photos, a ticket to the Maid of the Mist and two free hours at the Falls for $69.

By train, hop aboard VIA Rail Canada from Toronto’s Union Station (65 Front St. W.). By car, take the Gardiner Expressway from downtown Toronto, which becomes the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) outside the city and stretches all the way to Niagara Falls.