Our son is a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan. So, there was no better way of ending the summer of 2014 then taking him to be a part of the Blue Jays Honda Super Camp at the Rogers Centre. Since we live north of the city and camp started at 8 am, my girlfriend and I decided to turn this into a mini staycation for our boys.
We stayed overnight at the fabulous Toronto Renaissance Hotel, located inside the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only were we less than a 5-minute walk away from home plate but the hotel is centrally located in the heart of downtown Toronto. There were plenty of restaurants within walking distance in addition to famous Toronto attractions like the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium, also just steps away from the hotel.
What makes the Toronto Renaissance unique is that 70 guest rooms overlook the playing field. So you can watch a live Major League Baseball game right from the comfort of your hotel room – no tickets required. Another advantage to the field-view rooms is that you avoid facing the train track. Our very large room faced the track so it was noisy as trains rolled in to Union Station. But our room was bright, modern and clean with very comfortable beds. In-room conveniences like a mini fridge and coffee maker came in real handy for us.
Although we didn’t have time to swim, the Toronto Renaissance has a very nice indoor swimming pool. I was a bit surprised that they even had an indoor pool being a downtown hotel. Kids would love getting away from the hustle and bustle to take a break for a swim.
We were lucky that the Jays were actually playing at home during our stay. So needless to say, we attended a few games, including watching one from Arriba, the restaurant inside the hotel. Arriba have tables next to large floor to ceiling windows that overlook the field and bullpens. It was a great experience to watch the game below during dinner.
Tip: If you’re interested in this option, I highly recommend you reserve a table ahead of time to guarantee a window seat.
They do ask that every guest orders a meal but other than that, there are no added costs to catching the game from the restaurant. Our dinner at Arriba was excellent. The kids menu was reasonably priced with everything a picky eater could want including pizza, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, burgers and pasta. The adult menu was considerably pricier but our meals were very good also. We enjoyed Arriba so much that we ate most of our meals there. The kids got to see the Boston Red Sox at batting practice from the lounge, so that was an added bonus. The lounge is located next to the restaurant but window tables are available on a first come first serve only.
Tip: If you visit Ripley’s Aquarium, show your ticket and save 15% off your bill at Arriba Restaurant.
My son had an awesome time at the Blue Jays Honda Super Camp. Scheduled over 3 days from 8am-noon, over 150 boys and girls ages 9+ took part with Blue Jays alumni instructors such as Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, Devon White, Duane Ward, Lloyd Moseby and Sandy Alomar Sr. Campers were grouped by age (not skill) and each group rotated between 8 stations that focused on various aspects of the game. Campers even got to tour the Jays clubhouse, sit in their dugout, get autographs from all the instructors and even received an Alomar glove on the last day of camp. Parents were welcome to stay and watch. And being a huge baseball fan myself back in the day, I was star struck to see so many familiar players.
Even though DS had no idea who any of the alumni were, he knows a few won back-to-back World Series championships as Toronto Blue Jays. Honestly, I don’t know what thrilled him more – actually playing on the field at Rogers Centre, having Alomar throw him balls, touring the clubhouse, hanging in the Jays dugout, throwing pitches in the bullpen or staying at the Toronto Renaissance Hotel. It was an incredible experience, something we will never forget.
In between our baseball staycation, we couldn’t resist visiting Ripley’s Aquarium as it was very close to the Toronto Renaissance. Being that it was the last week of summer, the place was packed. One of the highlights for us was Dangerous Lagoon, where a moving sidewalk takes visitors through a underwater tunnel with sharks swimming all around you.
It never ever ceases to amaze me all the fabulous things Toronto has to offer. As residents, we often miss out on things that are on our very doorstep.
Thank you to the Toronto Renaissance for accommodating us for this review. All opinions and comments are my own.
About Wendy Morelli
Wendy loves her 2 kids and her iPhone, not necessarily always in that order. She is an app obsessed mom who loves everything tech and is (unfortunately) old enough to remember the brick Motorola cell phone and the Commodore computer. Her love for technology stems back to the 10+ years of working for technology based companies. Wendy's alter ego, "AppHipMom" has been featured in Canadian Family, iVillage, Women in Biz, EverythingMom, BlogHer and Savvy Mom.