Travel With Kids! Yeah! As Much As Possible, Please!

I opened my Twitter feed this morning (I’m @urbandaddyblog if you’re not following me yet – and if you’re not… SHAME!) and the first tweet that greeted me was this one;

“Up next with on Travel Edition. Are healthy eating and traveling even possible with hotel stays and security restrictions? Tune in to hear more…

Then I thought about all of the travel we have done over the years with the kids and food, make that nutritious food, has never been an issue… anywhere!

By “travel”, I’m not just referring to East York, Mississauga, or GASP, Richmond Hill – which if you live in or near the Greater Toronto Area, you will know take 40 minutes to an hour no matter what time of day, and literally used to take “5-minutes” when I was younger…

Here are some of the places we’ve taken the kids (current ages are 8-13);

  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • PEI
  • England
  • France
    • Paris 3 times
    • Drove the country heading south
  • Spain
    • Barcelona
    • Madrid
    • Seville
    • Drove the country / took trains
  • Italy
    • Venice
    • Rome
    • Amalfi Coast
    • Florence
    • Drove the country / took trains
    • Tuscany
  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Holland
    • Amsterdam
    • Ghent
    • Edam
  • Florida

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some…

We’re big into the experience, so I’m not including cruises, but we backpack – take the least amount possible, and when we look for places to stay, there are no hotels.  We want to experience our destination as the locals would, which is why Air BnB is great for us.

With Air BnB not only do we save on accommodations because 5 people at hotels require an extra room, or extra charge, but we ensure we have WiFi, Air Conditioning and most importantly a kitchen!

With a kitchen, the food, especially healthy food, never becomes an issue.   We are so lucky to have a spouse who is almost certified as a nutritionist, and who is so incredibly organized that when we (read: she) plans our accommodations and itinerary around grocery stores so we can gather the food we need for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Without having to rely on eating out all the time, we save money, and eat much better and much healthier, plus we have snacks available for taking with us on our excursions / day-trips.

That’s how we get to experience the world with children, while eating healthy, and having a ton of fun.




March 8th, 2018: International Woman’s Day!

IWD logo 2018

Today, March 8th, 2018, is International Woman’s Day, and as I said to my wife this morning, “Happy International Woman’s Day! I wish we didn’t need this day”, to which she responded, “Neither do we!”

International Women’s Day commemorates the movement for women’s rights, and is observed around the world with celebrations, protests, marches, and awareness that woman are people too.

It astounds me to think that in 2018, some women cannot drive, be elected to government, and cannot live their lives without being sexually harassed or assaulted just because they are women.

The “MeToo” movement really brought up a lot of controversial topics which were swept under the rug for way too long, which is why on this day, I support my wife and my daughter and hope that they will one day not be judged in comparison to men but on their own merit.

It still sickens me to think that on a daily basis, women all around the world are concerned about their physical well-being by the actions of men, just because of the fact they are women.

While so much has changed…  As a society, we still have SO far to go!

Remember how we would muse that if women ran the world, there would be no wars, no wasted money, and everyone would get along…

It’s time!


Halloween Safety Reminder for Adults from Rayovac!

Have a Scary, but Safe, Halloween from Rayovac!

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Ghosts and goblins, little witches and skeletons — and more than likely the latest Disney princesses and comic book characters — will be roaming the streets come Halloween.

A scary as the subtext of Halloween may be, it’s not meant to be dangerous day. While adult costume parties are increasingly popular, it is still a day meant for the kids, and you want to do all that you can to keep it safe for them without taking the spirit of the day away.

“Halloween is such a fun time of year, with the costumes, parties and scary décor,” says Namita Gupta, Senior Marketing Manager for Rayovac at Spectrum Brands. “You don’t want to dampen that fun with an accident or emergency that could have been avoided by taking the right precautions.”

Namita offers the following tips to keep your Halloween safe without taking away any of the fun:

Drive carefully.

Ideally, you won’t have to get in your vehicle on Halloween. But if you do, remember there will be scores of excited youngsters roaming the streets, and they could be darting out into the road unexpectedly. Please pay attention.

Keep an eye on those kids.

Kids can be quick and crafty. To keep them from running out into the road unattended, sampling some candy you haven’t inspected or entering a stranger’s house, don’t divert your attention from their Halloween frivolity.

Illuminate from within.

The Jack O’Lantern is a time-honoured Halloween tradition. Carve a scary face into the side of pumpkin, put in a candle and voila! a creepy glowing scary face out front of your house. But anytime you are using a live flame, like a candle, there is a risk of fire. Mitigate that risk by using small battery-powered lights to give your Jack its spooky aura.

Light the way.

No question, Halloween is best enjoyed after dark. But it can be treacherous walking to streets with limited visibility after the sun goes down. Best to carry a small flashlight with you to ensure no tripping hazards are in your path.

Charge up.

Taking the kids out trick or treating is the Halloween mainstay, the kids decked out in their costumes going door-to-door for some free candy. No doubt you will want to snap some pictures on your mobile phone, coordinate with the parents of your children’s friends, or — worst case — maybe even need your phone in the event of an emergency. It’s not a time you want to be running out of juice. Bring along a portable charger to ensure your phone is ready when you are.

Enjoy cautiously.For the kids, it’s all about the candy. Mini chocolate bars, bags of chips, rockets, molasses kisses … by the end of the night their treat bags are a veritable cornucopia of junk food.  Parents should closely inspect all of the candy the kids bring home on Halloween, looking closely for any evidence it may have been tampered with. It is also a wise idea to monitor how much they are eating to ensure it stays in balance with a relatively healthy diet.


For more information on Rayovac, please visit


About Rayovac:

Rayovac is a brand of consumer products owned by Spectrum Brands Inc. Rayovac® products lead the world in battery power and innovation. Backed by a long history of bringing the latest innovations to the marketplace, Rayovac® offers a full range of high-performance batteries to meet the power needs of today’s consumers. From long-lasting alkaline batteries to advanced rechargeable technology to mercury free, enhanced hearing aid batteries, Rayovac’s state-of-the-art products offer more power for the money. The company also manufactures a wide selection of high-quality flashlights. For more information, visit


About Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc:

Spectrum Brands Holdings, a member of the Russell 2000 Index, is a global and diversified consumer products company and a leading supplier of consumer batteries, residential locksets, residential builders’ hardware, plumbing, shaving and grooming products, personal care products, small household appliances, specialty pet supplies, lawn and garden and home pest control products, personal insect repellents, and auto care products. Helping to meet the needs of consumers worldwide, our Company offers a broad portfolio of market-leading, well-known and widely trusted brands including Rayovac®, VARTA®, Kwikset®, Weiser®, Baldwin®, National Hardware®, Pfister®, Remington®, George Foreman®, Russell Hobbs®, Black+ Decker®, Tetra®, Marineland®, Nature’s Miracle®, Dingo®, 8-in-1®, FURminator®, IAMS®, Eukanuba®, Digest-eeze™, Healthy-Hide®, Littermaid®, Spectracide®, Cutter®, Repel®, Hot Shot®, Black Flag®, Liquid Fence®, Armor All®, STP® and A/C PRO®. Spectrum Brands Canada is based in Mississauga, ON. The Global Auto Care Division manages the Armor All® and STP® brands. Spectrum Brands Holdingsbased in Middleton, Wisconsin, generated net sales of approximately $4.69 billion in fiscal 2015, employs more than 13,500 employees worldwide and sells to the top 25 global retailers with products in more than one million stores. For more information, visit


Halloween Safety Reminder from Health Canada (and from The Urban Daddy)

Halloween Safety

During the Halloween season it is important to keep your child’s safety in mind when planning costumes, decorations, treats and activities. Make sure that Halloween is a safe and happy experience for the whole family by preparing ahead of time.

Choose the right costume

      • Look for costumes and accessories such as beards, wigs, wings and tails that are labelled flame-resistant. Flowing skirts and capes, baggy sleeves and over-sized costumes can all be hazards around candles or flames.
      • Pick brightly coloured costumes that can be clearly seen by motorists. Add reflective tape to the costume to increase visibility.
      • Use make-up or face paint instead of masks – improperly fitted masks can interfere with your child’s vision or breathing. If you do choose a mask, make sure it fits properly and allows them to see and breathe easily.
      • Do not use contact lenses that change eye colour or create special effects because they can cause injury to a child’s eyes.

Avoid danger when decorating

      • To avoid injuries, let children draw a face or design on the pumpkin and then have an adult carve it.
      • Candles, jack-o-lanterns, lighters and matches are all fire hazards. Place lighted candles and jack-o-lanterns away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave them unattended.  Instead of candles, consider using a small flashlight or battery candle to light your jack-o-lantern.
      • Keep candles, matches, lighters and other fire hazards in a place that children cannot reach.
      • Check indoor and outdoor decorative lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Do not overload extension cords.

Stay secure while trick or treating

      • Go trick or treating with your children each year until they are old enough to go with a friend.
      • Give each child a flashlight to carry, to make them more visible to motorists and others.
      • Tell your children to stay in well-lit areas and only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on.
      • Make sure they know never to go inside homes or cars.
      • Teach your children to be careful when crossing the street. Make sure they look both ways and only cross when no cars are coming. Cross streets at the corner, and never cross between parked cars.

For more safety tips, visit:

Health Canada
Communications and Public Affairs Branch
Ontario Region


If you’ve made it this far, The Urban Daddy’s tip is this;  Trade the candy your children get for a toy.  Give out the candy you don’t want to eat (lol) and let them keep 5-10 pieces.

The candy will be long gone, but the toy will last until they lose interest in it.


Works like a charm!

Michelin Canada Proves Tires are VERY Important to Keep Our Families Safe!

I cannot imagine what I consider to be more important to me than the safety of my family.  With that in mind, I was made very aware the other day that the brand of tires I choose to put on my car can have a significant impact on how safe they are when they are in the car with me.

Even more incredible is that while I can make my car safer by having the correct tires on my vehicle, it can help by also alerting people that as the weather warms up, driving around with your winter tires still on your car is dangerous to everyone inside and outside your vehicle?

I’ve never used winter tires, so I was not aware.

Now I know.

Now we all know!

On April 14th, I was invited to attend an information session put on my Michelin Canada to learn about the perils of driving with winter tires on their car in warmer weather, and to see Michelin’s newest tire, the Premier LTX.  The session was at the Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario, and along with learning about winter tires, I was also educated about benefits of Michelin’s Premier LTX, and taken for a drive in a 2016 Kia Sorrento with these tires, in a variety of conditions.  To be more correct, I drove the vehicle with Michelin’s professional drivers who double as professional race car drivers competing all over the world.  These guys KNOW how to drive!

Let me begin by stating that I receive quite a lot of offers to experience, try, test and taste new products and while I would happily review and cover them all, my schedule – business and family priorities – do not allow the time for it all.  However, once I saw there would be an opportunity to speak with a professional driver about how to be a better driver, and to be honest, since I know very little about cars, I could not pass up this opportunity and I am thankful that I did not.

Upon my arrival, I met with Professional race car driver and Michelin driving expert Carl Nadeau, for a lively discussion with myself and Andrew Clarke, the Globe and Mail auto expert.  Nadeau encouraged us to get the word out to all Canadians to remain vigilant while driving this summer and reminds them of the importance of using tires adapted to the season: “As temperatures rise, some drivers don’t give a second thought to the state of their all-season or summer tires. Worse, some even decide to keep their winter tires on. With temperatures steadily above 7°C, winter tires decline in grip and control, requiring a much greater distance to come to a complete stop compared to all-season or summer tires. And the lack of traction and control only gets worse as temperatures rise.”

I certainly did not know that!

I asked the dumb question about the importance of having winter tires on a car because in my… 27 years driving a car, I have never had them.  I’m Canadian born and raised and thus learned to drive in the winter.  I see ice and laugh at it.  Do I really need winter tires?!?

“Yes” was the obvious response.

Then I learned about the tire… I know tires are rubber and have treads… That’s all.

Sylvaine Cuniberti the Marketing Director for Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. Explained the new Michelin tire and how it is different from any other tire available right now.  “The revolutionary MICHELIN® Premier™ LTX™  tire features the EverGrip™ tread, which evolves as it wears to prolong safety.”  In English (or French) as tires wear, they get bald, or the treads which hold them to the ground wear away and the car slips and slides in cold or wet.

So as the Michelin Premier LTX tires wear, the grooves get wider, so that the tire maintains it’s ability to provide traction and that means there tires stay as safe as they were when first purchased.

So smart!

Presently available to dealers for order, the MICHELIN® Premier™ LTX™ tire will be introduced to the general public as of June 1st and will initially be available in 30 sizes (from 16 to 22 inches) fitting a range of SUVs/CUVs/light trucks and utility vehicles such as the Ford Escape, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, and 2016 Kia Sorento among others.  To complete the Premier family expansion, the MICHELIN® Premier™ A/S will also be available in an additional 12 sizes (from 15 to 17 inches).

After the discussion, Mr. Nadeau gave us safety tips which I quickly jotted down while trying to visualize my own driving style and approach to my vehicle.

Michelin Canada encourages drivers to conduct proper safety checks and adhering to a few safe-driving tips.

Check Your Tires: After all, tires are the only part of your car that touch the road.

  • Check your tires for wear – Using the “Quarter Test’’, put the Quarter head first into your tread. The top part of the figurehead should be partially covered by the tread. If you can see the whole head, it’s time to replace the tire.
  • Check the air pressure – Tires can lose up to 1 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure every month. Use a proper pressure gauge to check pressure when tires are cold (before driving or three hours after driving). Make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure that’s listed on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your car.  (My car has an electronic sensor which alerts me as to the amount of tire pressure each tire has compared to what it should have).

Other tips include, sitting straight up while driving – no leaning back – make sure your thumbs are inside the steering wheel for the best control, don’t hold the steering wheel in a death-grip, make sure you are far enough back from the brake pedal so that you can press it with your entire foot without having to extend your toes, or fully extend your leg in case of emergency.

More tips on safe driving, visit

Then I got to drive… Fast.  On tight turns.  I got to slam on the brakes with the car travelling over 60km/h and was shocked, yes shocked when the car just stopped.  No skidding or screeching, and there was no feeling that the car was still moving as I slammed my foot down.  The car just stopped.

It was unreal.

I tried in on curves, in wet conditions, and dry and time after time, the tires taught me a lesson.  They taught me that whatever tires I have on my car and not the right tires for my family.  They taught me that great tires DO make a difference and they taught me that I need to buy a set of winter tires for my car.

Michelin invited me to educate me, and they did far more than that.  They enlightened me, and I will no longer accept sub-par tires for my car, and that my family deserves better.

Thank you Michelin.

I was compensated for this post by getting the opportunity to learn to drive a car with incredible tires in all kinds of conditions and along with the safety tips, I will be a better driver on the road.  I also received a tire-shaped cooler to keep in my trunk.