5 Scenic Drives in the GTA You Need to Take This Fall

Fall is arguably one of Canada's most beautiful seasons. The changing colours in the leaves make for some stunning landscapes across Ontario, and people travel great distances to see them. What better time to take advantage of and appreciate our country's beauty than with your family over the Thanksgiving long weekend?

Here are 5 scenic drives in the GTA you need to take this weekend.

Dundas Peak

Hamilton, ON is known for its abundance of waterfalls and conservation areas, and while most people prefer to visit in the summer when the temperatures are a little higher, don't underestimate how beautiful it is in the fall. Dundas Peak is the perfect lookout point to see all the changing leaves, and if you're still feeling adventurous after the hike up, you have plenty of waterfalls to choose from--the most well-known being Webster and Tews Falls.

Forks of the Credit Road

If you're looking to a day-trip with multiple stops and a variety of scenery, take a trip up to the Niagara Escarpment. Along the way, you can first stop at the Baldands in Caledon--the closest to Mars you'll probably get in this life time.  If you're in the mood for a hike (perhaps you ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving), you can either walk along the Bruce Trail while you're here (although you probably shouldn't attempt to do the full 890 km stretch after having eaten so much!), or hop back in the car and head up to Forks of the Credit Road, where you can follow the Tramble Trail. 

Wherever your drive takes you, Forks of the Credit Road is just as picturesque as your destination(s) will be.

Rattlesnake Point

For the adventurous, Rattlesnake Point offers so much more than a good view (for the best one, head to Buffalo Crag lookout point). The conservation park hosts rock climbing events and yoga in the park, and camping is available year-round.

The $7 entry fee (adults; $5.25 for kids) will give you access to all Halton parks for the day.  

Scarborough Bluffs

Tall cliffs, rocky beaches, and plush, Whether you choose to hike or drive it, the Scarborough Bluffs are a Toronto point of pride. It's the closest thing to really being in nature for Torontonians, and it offers the best views of Lake Ontario.

If it's good enough for the tons of engagement shoots that are taken here, it's good enough for you and your family to spend a day admiring the fall colours.

Dorset Lookout Tower

Although it's a few hours from the city, Dorset lookout tower is truly worth a visit. At 465 feet tall, the top of the tower offers a 360-degree view of the Lake of Bays in Haliburton. The trail allows vehicles, so you can drive right up to the lookout point (until 5:30pm). 

If you plan to spend the day, you can also check out Haliburton Highlands Brewery and Boshkung Brewery, or visit the Haliburton Forest for some more family-friendly wilderness activities.

4 Tips for Driving in Fog

Those of us in Toronto and the GTA woke up this morning to a thick layer of fog. After torrential downpours and snowstorms, fog is our least favourite condition to drive in, but according to DriversEd, it may actually be the most dangerous. Depending on its thickness, fog can severely impact road visibility, causing cars to drift across lanes or not see cars stopped ahead. Keep these next quick tips in mind when you're driving to and from work on foggy days like today. Use Fog Lights

Some cars have lights specifically built to help you see in fog. It may sound obvious to use to fog lights to drive in fog, but many drivers don't even know about this option. If you have them, use them. If you don't, follow the next tip.

Use Low-Beams

If your car doesn't have fog lights, DO NOT use your high-beams, which can actually worsen your visibility. High beams will reflect off the fog, causing the light to reflect into your eyes and the fog to become more visible instead of the road. Again, it may seem obvious, but Instead, put on your low beams which will allow you to see the road, but the less intense light won't highlight the fog and nearly blind you.

Use the Line on the Right Side of the Road as a Guide

It's way easier to spot the bright yellow lines in the middle of the road in poor weather than it is to spot the white lines to your right. One of the first things you learn when you start driving, however, is that your driving follows your eyes. In other words, wherever you look, your car will start to drift that way. It's much safer to drift to the shoulder of the road than it is to drift into the centre of the road towards oncoming traffic.

 Slow Down and Be Aware of Your Surroundings

We know. At the end of the day you want to get home as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the most important thing to keep in mind when you're driving on a foggy day, is to slow down and be aware of your surroundings. Often, we zone out when we drive because it becomes second nature to us. We stop being aware of how fast we're going and of the other cars around us (a huge factor in most collisions). On foggy days, it's especially important to be aware. As we mentioned in the previous tip, the centre line may be easier to see in the fog, but you always drift where you're looking. And so do oncoming drivers. Keep an eye on the cars around you in case you notice one of them starting to drift toward you, so that you can react accordingly.

 

Fog is the least ideal climate to drive in (in our opinion), but if you keep these four tips in mind, you'll get home slowly but surely (and safely).

May 19, 2017 - Your Perfect Road Trip Playlist

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the start of warmer weather and road trip season. Whether you're a parent, a student, or a young professional,  you've probably started planning your summer trips, both within and out of Canada. Sure, visiting a new country is fun, and it would be nice if we all had unlimited funds and could take weeks or months at a time off of work to travel, but unfortunately we're weighed down by mortgages and car insurance and ridiculously high phone bills. Still, weekends (and especially long weekends) are for road trips! If you're getting bored of hearing the same Top 40 songs on the radio, we've put together the perfect 4-hour playlist with a mix of classics and more modern songs to make your next road trip feel as close to a real vacation as possible. With the windows down and the wind in your hair, you can at least pretend you're driving through the Amalfi Coast.

Mar 23, 2017 - Celebrities Who Look Like Their Cars

We've all heard that if you spend enough time with your pet or significant other, you start to look like them. But we never hear about people who look like their cars. The average person spends over four years of their life driving and 38 hours a year stuck in traffic, so perhaps it's possible for a person to end up looking like their car. Or maybe there's a weird science where we subconsciously pick cars that reflect who we are. Either way, these next 5 celebrities and their cars could almost pass for twins (if it wasn't for the whole animate-inanimate thing.) Paris Hilton & her Bentley Continental

Car enthusiasts might cringe at the fact that Paris Hilton had her Bentley Continental painted bubblegum pink with matching rims, seats, and a steering wheel, but can you deny the pair's similarities? While cars like BMW, Lamborghini, and Ferrari are seen as cars for people who want to flaunt their "new money", Bentley is an "old money" car for people who have so much money they don't need to flaunt how much they have.

David Beckham & his Porsche Turbo

Since he was signed to Manchester United at 17, David Beckham has become one of the most valued and well-known soccer players in the world. Yes, we're using David and his Turbo as an example partly because of its name (the car is fast... David Beckham runs fast... get it?), but also because after a 20-year career, he's still considered one of the best. Since the Porsche 911's creation in 1963, it's been upgraded and reimagined infinite times, and its Turbo counterpart remains one of the best sports cars out there. Okay, this example isn't so much about Beckham looking like his car as it is the overall resemblances between the two.

James Bond & his Aston Martin(s)

Understated, timeless, and incomparable. The Aston Martin is significantly lesser known than other high-end cars (like the Lamborghini, Ferrari...), making it the perfect match for an elusive, badass CIA agent like James Bond. We say Aston Martins plural because no one Aston Martin in the James Bond series is less perfect than the others. Pictured above, Daniel Craig looks identical to his DB5 in (suit) colour and in suaveness. This is our idea of a dynamic duo.

Nicki Minaj & her Lamborghini Aventador

We know. Another pink car. It's an abomination. But again, Nicki Minaj's matte bright pink $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador is the perfect complement to her over-the-top, caricature-like personality. Unlike Paris' Bentley, the Aventador is a lot more flamboyant, with its dramatic angles and scissor-doors, much like Minaj's personality.

Jay-Z and his Maybach Exelero

Jay-Z is one of the most successful rappers (the 3rd richest, and with a net worth of $550million), and he's very open about his expensive taste in jewellery and cars. His Maybach Exelero is proof of that at $8million and one of the most expensive celebrity cars. The sleek black finish with chrome detailing matches Jay's sleek black suit and extravagant bling to a tee.

Feb 15, 2017 - 4 Belated Valentine's Day Gifts That Won't Make it Look Like You Forgot Valentine's Day

Is it just us or is 2017 flying by? Valentine's Day has already come and gone, and while many of you probably celebrated with your significant other this past weekend, it's completely understandable that you may have forgotten the holiday altogether (what, with it being on a Tuesday and all). On the plus side: if Valentine's Day DID slip your mind last weekend, you can just blame it on the inconvenient mid-week date it fell on this year. We're big fans of buying loved ones experiences, not more stuff. It's so much more personal to share a crazy experience with someone you care about than to give them something they, in all honesty, will probably never use. We've made a list of great last-minute gift-experiences that will make your s/o believe your plan was to celebrate after the fact this entire time!

CN Tower Edge Walk 

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It's like a trust-fall for adrenaline junkies and the best gift for the adventurous couple. What better way to bond with your significant other than by hanging 1,168ft above the ground together. Really though, numerous proposals and even weddings have happened on the Edge Walk. There must be something about the adrenaline rush you get when you're hanging over the edge of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere with nothing but a thick string keeping you from falling to your death that makes you think how romantic.

Niagara-on-the-Lake 

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If you're looking for a scenic, relaxing Valentine's weekend, consider heading to Niagara-on-the-Lake; with the heavy snowfall we had last week, you might even get lucky enough to find yourselves in the midst of a winter wonderland. Stay in a charming, vintage-inspired hotel like the Prince Charles of Wales, and spend the weekend relaxing and reconnecting. Check out events like Days of Wine & Chocolate, sign up for the Winter Wonderland Food Tour, or, you know, do what most people do when they visit Niagara-on-the-Lake: drink wine.

Sign up for a Cooking Class

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The Chef Upstairs offers both group and private cooking classes in Toronto. For the more social couple, why not sign up for one of their fixed-menu group classes. If you're more keen on staying in (as so many of us are in the winter months), you can sign up for a private dining experience in your own home. The Chef Upstairs offers interactive cooking classes for those who like to be a part of the experience, or if you don't trust your cooking abilities, the chef will prepare a meal for you and your S/O, and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and have a glass of wine.

Bruce Peninsula

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It was the must-see day trip destination for Torontonians and the GTA this past summer for its crystal blue water and dramatic cliffs. You probably won't get a tan while you're there in February, but the Bruce Peninsula is no less stunning in the winter. If you and your S/O are big on traveling but also can't just pack up and head to Paris or London for a Valentine's getaway, consider making the ~4 hour drive up to Tobermory for a couple days. Cottage rentals are available, or if you love nature as much as you love each other, just sleep outside.

Jan 20, 2017 - Throwback to the 6 Most Futuristic Concept Cars

We're all a little intrigued by the future. It's fun to speculate where technology will be in ten or twenty years, because really, anything is possible. The new year especially, is a time to reflect on the last year's personal and worldly changes, as well as to surmise the coming year's. The automotive industry is no different. Every year, manufacturers present their newest concept cars. Some are totally feasible and end up being selected as the next year's newest models. Others are completely outrageous and unpractical, and never end up being produced. These ones are our favourites; they're over-the-top, innovative, and creative.

In anticipation for what we hope to be a great new year, we're looking back on a few of the most futuristic concept cars that were (and still are) way ahead of their time.

Mazda Furai Concept

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The Mazda Furai concept from 2008 looks like a souped up Batmobile. The Furai was designed to look like a race car meant for the road, and haven't we all, at some point, pretended we were driving a race car down an empty highway? (*Disclaimer: We do not encourage speeding.*) The TopGear website even refers to the Furai as, "the defining concept car of its era". Unfortunately, it never made it to mass production, but the design was so ahead of its time that perhaps once all the kinks are ironed out, the Furai can make a brand new entrance that doesn't end up in flames.

2005 Ford-Shelby GR-1 Concept

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Maybe it's just the chrome finish, but the 2005 Ford-Shelby GR-1 looks like the Terminator-cum-spaceship, to us. If only the exhausts threw flamethrowers. The GR-1 was almost feasible to manufacture, aside from a few tweaks to meet safety regulations and an unappealingly low sales projection. But like the Furai, this car was enough ahead of its time that it could still make a comeback in the future.

eXtremes by Marianna Merenmies 

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The three-seater crossover designed for the "eXtreme" Russian climate would fit right in with James Bond's snow-chase scene in Spectre. Lightweight and aerodynamic, its upward-opening doors make it the perfect getaway car for a Secret Service Agent. Made with a carbon fibre frame, the eXtreme protects against heat, cold, and noise. Just throw in some bullet-proof windows and it's almost as if it were developed for Russian spies.

The Lamborghini Ferruccio by Mark Hostler.

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The Lamborghini Ferruccio concept looks like it's about to transform into Optimus Prime's worst enemy. The aggressive design and narrowed headlights that resemble glaring eyes look like it's ready to attack anyone who gets in its way. Every part of the Ferruccio was inspired by the brand's lineage: it's named after Ferruccio Lamborghini, the company's founder, and inspired by the Countach and Miura designs.

McLaren JetSet by Marianna Merenmies

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The JetSet concept is a sleek and undoubtedly attractive to its intended premium clientele. The car's thin rear reduces its weight and increases its travel efficiency, making it easier to navigate through the high-traffic city streets. Generally, a sharp design evokes a more futuristic feel, but the JetSet is curvy in all the right places, and the unexpected fins are what elevate a generic sports car to an innovative one.

Taihoo Car Concept 2046 By Hao Huang.

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The Taihoo looks like a hover board. Is there anything more futuristic than a hover board? We don't think so.

Nov 9, 2016 - Is Premium Gas Worth the Extra Cost?

We're conditioned to react more favourably to terms like premium and exclusive, as though these words dictate the true quality of a product or service. We will happily pay a higher price tag thinking we're getting a better value for them. After all, higher price equals higher quality, right? When it comes to gas, our biggest decision is whether to use regular (cheaper) gas or premium (more expensive) gas. When we choose premium, we feel like we're doing better for our vehicle, whereas when we "settle" for the cheaper option, we can have the false impression that we're hurting it. AAA recently published an article announcing that in 2016, Americans wasted $2.1 billion on premium gas for vehicles that really don't need premium gas.

We get it, a car is one of the largest purchases you'll make in your life, so why not treat it well in order to lengthen its life. But what exactly is the difference between regular and premium gas, and is the extra 15-20 cents worth the upgrade?

Premium gas is more expensive because it has an octane level of about 92-93, as opposed to regular gas, which has an octane level of 87.

What does that mean?

Octane levels are designated with your car engine's compression ratio in mind. That is, the ratio of the volume of your car's combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-03-36-pm

When your car requires the use of a premium gas, the lower octane levels in regular fuel can increase your car's exhaust-gas temperatures and can sometimes lead to knocking (that sound you hear when the fuel and air mixture in your car's cylinder doesn't start correctly, and a pocket of the mixture explodes outside of the normal combustion front).

If your car requires premium gas, these two symptoms can have adverse effects on your car in the long run. If your car does not specify that it requires premium gas, that means the lower octane levels of regular gas will not cause the increased exhaust-gas temperatures that can lead to knocking.

Premium gas does help your car's performance, however it will only improve its ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h about half a second more quickly than with regular gas.

Although premium gas doesn't really benefit your car if it doesn't require the higher octane levels, it also won't harm it. What it comes down to is whether saving those extra 15-20 cents every time you fill up your tank is important to you.

If you'd like to see if your 2016-2017 vehicle requires premium gas, check out the list on BestRide.com.