As Canada’s biggest city, Toronto has a lot to offer tourists. This up and coming tourist destination is slowly making it onto everyone’s travel list and for good reason.
For those of you unfamiliar, Toronto is located in the Province of Ontario and is only 2 hours driving distance from the American border.
As a Torontonian born and raised, I’m always boasting to fellow travelers what an amazing city this place is. There is a vibrant foodie scene, tons of activities, and the city is constantly booming.
Toronto’s Main Attractions
No trip to Toronto is complete without a trek up the CN Tower. What was once the world’s tallest building, the large structure still towers over the city skyline. However, the cost isn’t cheap. Priced at $76 per adult, it’s one of those must-see attractions.
For the adventure seekers, you can take part in the CN Tower EdgeWalk. Held by only a suspension cord, you traverse the outside of the CN Tower!
Royal Ontario Museum
If you love to learn more about the culture, then the best museum to visit is the Royal Ontario Museum, also known as the ROM. Here you will get to experience and see some of the world’s best art, culture, and natural history. If you’re short on time, head up to the Yorkville neighborhood. If you are short on time, be sure to at least check out the building’s architecture, it is incredible!
One of the most underrated spots in Toronto is Casa Loma. It was originally a private residence but has since been turned into a museum and landmark. It is the closest thing to a castle that you will see in Toronto, and it is worth a visit. While visiting Casa Loma, you are able to tour inside the building and through the outdoor gardens.
My personal favorite spot in Toronto is the Distillery District. The Distillery District is filled with some of the best restaurants in the city and it is the perfect place to end a day of exploring. My personal favorite restaurant is El Catrin, a Mexican style bar with a beautiful patio.
One of my favorite escapes from the city, Torontonians take the ferry across to the islands all summer. On the islands, you’ll find beautiful beaches, a mini theme park, and tons of outdoor activities. If you plan on heading over for the day make sure to bring your own food, as it can be really expensive to buy food on the island.
Make sure to take a walk around the beautiful gardens on the island. If you’re feeling free, head to Hanlan’s point where you’ll spot Toronto’s only nude beach.
Most of what makes touring Toronto great is really just getting around the city and exploring the different neighborhoods. They aren’t always super close together, but they are all easy to get to on public transportation. Here are some of the best neighborhoods to explore:
- Kensington Market: a hipster’s paradise
- Danforth neighborhood: the best Greek food you’ll ever have
- Trinity Bellwoods: the perfect park to spend time at on a sunny Saturday afternoon
- Queen West: here you will find fashion, boutique restaurants, and the best street art in the city
- Entertainment district: this one speaks for itself
Getting around Toronto
As mentioned above, it’s easy enough to get around the city. There are only 4 subway lines, and only two of those go through central Toronto. Each ride costs $3.25. You can either buy a Presto card (similar to the Oyster card in London) or buy tokens where you’ll pay 1 token per ride.
Another unique aspect of Toronto is the streetcars. They are in the process of changing from the old ones to new ones, but you’ll still be able to spot the iconic trams trekking through the city. They cost the same as the subway, $3.25 per ride.
Places to Stay in Toronto
Being a financial hub and a popular tourist spot, you won’t have any problem finding a place to stay. If you’re looking to be close to all of the major spots, you should definitely try to look for a hotel near Union Station or in the Entertainment District. A few of my favourite hotels include:
- Fairmont Royal York (this is where the British Royal family stays)
- The Thompson Hotel (a bit outside of the city but unreal views)
- One King West Hotel (very central with beautiful views)
The city of Toronto is currently in the process of changing the rules regarding short term rentals, but for the time being you’ll find plenty of places to stay at cheap and affordable prices.
Don’t miss out on Toronto’s
Food Scene: You absolutely need to take advantage of all the amazing restaurants Toronto has to offer. Being such a multicultural city, you’ll be able to find every kind of food you could imagine.
Escape the city: When visiting Toronto, you don’t have to stay in the city the entire time. One of the best natural sites is within an hour and a half drive from Toronto, Niagara Falls. Rent a car and make the trip to the falls, I promise you won’t regret it.
TIFF: If you can, try and visit the city during the Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place the first two weeks in September every year. This festival has become one of the largest in the world and attracts some of the biggest celebrities. What makes it unique is that you’ll actually be up close to the celebrities.
Canadian Things You Should Know…
We aren’t a country with a fully formed culture. We are made up of so many amazing immigrants (my husband included), that we have done well as a country, and especially the city of Toronto. Canada has done a great job in blending together the different cultures that we were brought up from.
That being said, there are a few things that make us unique, that you must try during your visit to Toronto:
Poutine: every fitness fanatics nightmare is one of Canada’s best foods. This Canadian food is made up of fries, gravy and cheese curds. There are a number of spots that you can get poutine as your after bar snack and it truly is magic.
Caesar: No this isn’t a Bloody Mary. It is better. A Caesar is made with a ‘special’ tomato juice, Clamato, which is mixed with different concoctions. In Toronto, it’s a competition of who can provide the most extravagant garnish on a Caesar. One of the restaurants in Toronto even adds a slice of pizza as a garnish!
Hockey: You can’t visit Canada without watching a hockey game. While the tickets are expensive, it’s definitely worth paying to see our national sport live!
Toronto is one of the best cities in North America and definitely worth a visit!
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Madi started The Restless Worker in 2015 to encourage other young professionals to see the world while working the regular ol’ 9 to 5. She spends her time as a Social Media Manager during the day and traveling as much as possible at home and abroad in her free time. Working with her husband, who she met while traveling, Madi hopes to inspire others to see the world while building a valuable career at the same time.