You might be thinking, why on Earth is this girl writing about DraftKings… and I would likely be thinking the exact same thing if I were you, haha. And your assumptions are totally right. I don’t know a thing about sports or daily fantasy sports. However, I do know exactly what it’s like to be married to a man who is very successful in playing daily fantasy sports. In fact, he won five entries into the DraftKings 2016 Fantasy Baseball World Championship that was held in Toronto last weekend. I’m a very proud wifey. 🙂
Each package won included an entry to play in the tournament, a three-night trip to Toronto for two, and $1,200 cash for airfare and transfers. After my husband won his first package, he asked if I would be interested in going. Having already attended the 2014 Fantasy Baseball World Championship in the Bahamas, there were no questions asked – I was in. DraftKings knows how to host an event and I was not about to miss out. Shortly thereafter, he won four more entries. Lol. We decided to invite a few family members and a few friends and it turned out to be an excellent crew.
DraftKings obviously spares no expense when it comes to advertising and as we’ve personally experienced, they spare no expense when it comes to entertaining either. They rented out the entire Le Germain Hotel Toronto Maple Leaf Square located in downtown Toronto. Upon our arrival, their logo was plastered everywhere.
My husband and I were hooked up with an unbelievable room, The Apartment Suite. It had two bathrooms, a living area, a dining/conference area, kitchen, bedroom, and a rather large balcony. I was in heaven purely because of the amount of space. My husband works an insane amount of hours and is typically up until 2 or 3 am. I love sleep. If I could be in bed by 9 pm every night, that would be a dream. So… having a hotel room where my husband could technically be two rooms away to work was incredible. Haha! The rest of our group members were provided with The Classic style rooms.
After we settled in, we headed down to the lobby lounge to nosh on some gourmet snacks and drink from the open bar. You know… after a long day of travel. (Haha, the flight from Chicago is like an hour.)
Later that night, DraftKings hosted a welcome party at E11even. They had another open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, a taco making station, and a chicken wing station. This event was basically just an excuse to rub elbows with fellow players. After the event concluded, a few of us went out on the town.
Toronto nightlife felt exactly like River North in Chicago. The DJs seemed to favor their authentic Canadian tunes – The Biebs and Drake. (Absolutely, no complaints here.) One of the places I personally enjoyed was this bar called Belfast Love.
They gave us this menu that helped map out what cocktail to order.
And they had a whole wall full of draft beers. (Sorry about the quality of the photo – it was dark and I was tipsy, haha)
The next day we picked up our Toronto City Passes (c/o DraftKings) from the hotel’s front desk. Allegedly, not many players picked up these passes and if that rumor is true, they really missed out. Obviously, these passes were given to us for free, but I would highly recommend anyone visiting Toronto to buy these. They saved us a lot of time just by skipping the lines. If we were to purchase these on our own, we would have saved 43% over combined attraction prices.
Our first stop of the day was CN Tower due to it’s proximity to our hotel. It was just your standard super tall building with unparalleled views of the city. It was neat to see Toronto from a bird’s eye view, but I think I’ve been spoiled by the Willis Tower in Chicago. Plus, my husband and I went up to the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai about a year ago. They are all kind of the same. A few things that set CN Tower apart are the glass floor you can stand on (definitely made my stomach flip) and their glass elevator that takes you to the top (also made my stomach flip). We did this at the start of our day, but my brother-in-law took a sick photo of it at night.
We then jumped in cabs and headed to Casa Loma. This was my favorite “touristy” thing we did. Casa Loma is a majestic castle that is over 200,000 sq ft. We allowed ourselves an hour and a half to tour, but honestly I would recommend allowing three hours. We did the self-guided tour and were given mobile phones. Each room had a number that you would then type into the phone and listen to the description. The descriptions got pretty lengthy at times, so we tended to stop listening about halfway through each one to keep up our pace. The entire castle is opened to be toured including the two towers, secret passageways, the stable, garage, and grounds.
We were all starving after exploring this humongous castle. We grabbed lunch at Amsterdam BrewHouse. This place had an awesome atmosphere and was right on the water. The wait to sit outside was incredibly long, so we opted for indoor seating. I have mixed reviews on the food though. Mainly – steer clear of the salads. They were pricey and to be honest, didn’t taste good at all. Everyone else that ordered a normal meal really enjoyed what they ordered.
We all parted ways after lunch to refresh and recoup before the Toronto Blue Jays game that evening. DraftKings rented out the Summit Suite at the Rogers Centre for all of the players and guests to watch the game. Even though I’m not a sports person per say, I do love attending baseball games and checking out stadiums in cities other than Chicago. Rogers Centre was an incredibly nice stadium. The views from our suite were incredible. The food was average, but it was free and there was an open bar. Side note, I just can’t get over the fact that there is literally a hotel connected to this stadium. We could see people looking out their windows watching the game from their room! Bizarre. I would recommend anyone visiting Toronto to try and catch a game at this stadium though. If you sit along the third base line, you will also get an excellent view of CN Tower. CN Tower was changing colors all throughout the evening and was really a nice backdrop for the game.
The next day we grabbed our City Passes and headed to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. This attraction is located right next to CN Tower, which were both about 2 blocks from our hotel. Supposedly this is a really great aquarium, but again I think the one in Chicago is pretty good too and that’s my only frame of reference. I guess I assumed this Toronto one would be bigger than it actually was. We got through the whole thing in about an hour, but be aware that it is very dark and crowded in there. Our large group got separated within minutes.
After the aquarium, everyone parted ways again. A few continued to use their City Passes and went to the Royal Ontario Museum, a few went exploring Toronto on foot, and my sister, my friend, and I decided to check out the fashion district. My group spent the afternoon brunching and shopping. We all walked away with a few cute items.
My husband did not come with us as he had to be focusing on his work and setting up his five teams for the Fantasy Baseball World Championship. The event started at 6 pm at Real Sports Bar & Grill. I went down early to reserve a few tables for our group and thank god I did. We had prime viewing spots and were all able to sit together.
Although the outcome of the event didn’t turn out to be the best it could possibly be for us, my husband’s teams placed all over the map with his best being 35th place. The 1st place recipient won a cool $1 Million and was from Chicago! Go Chitown!
Here are a few more fun pictures of our group.
After the event concluded, a few of us decided to meet the winners out at Cube Nightclub. This club was lit. The line to get in was around the block, but we were conveniently able to skip the line and head up to the roof. If I were to ever go back to this club (unlikely, but who knows), I would only come here for their rooftop. Again, this place had a very “river north” type of vibe. We eventually made our way downstairs to sit with the winner and his crew at their VIP table, however we didn’t stay very long as it was a long day for all of us.
All in all, DraftKings hosted yet another fabulous Fantasy Baseball World Championship. We had a blast and can only hope that my husband secures an entry into the 2017 event.
Please note that this post is in no way sponsored by DraftKings or any of the businesses mentioned.
Special thanks to Nick Moore (IG: @iamnickmoore) for allowing me to use a few of his incredible photos.