To get a feel of the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet, Toronto, one need to imagine a city with 140 spoken languages, sights and sounds, cuisines and cultures of almost every nation in the world converging on its streets. Vibrant in summer, colorful in spring and beautiful in winter, Toronto attracts visitors all around the year.
How to Get There
Toronto is accessible by various modes of transportation including multiple highways, air, train, buses and subways. If you are driving, Highways 2, the 401, 407 and the QEW all travel into Toronto. Be aware of one-way streets and construction in this city; it is better to find overnight parking and travel by street cars and subways. The subway can take you to the most north, south, east and west points of the city and the street cars are available on most streets and well into the night. Flying is also a popular option, with Toronto boasting of two separate airports. The Toronto Pearson International Airport is located approximately 25 minutes from downtown with shuttles and cabs available at your leisure. The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is located on Toronto Island, and is minutes away from downtown by a short ferry ride. For a relaxing trip, try the Via Rail or the Go Train that will take you right into the downtown core and connect to the underground subway.
When to Go
Catch the Raptors and the Leafs playing in colder seasons, and take advantage of the beautiful parks and cozy café’s while the snow falls. Don’t miss out on Toronto in the spring and summer; there are concerts, music festivals and exploring to be done. Discover the pathways along Lake Ontario, rooftop patios and amazing outdoor nightlife. The city never sleeps when it’s warm out.
What to Do
Be sure to take a trip up the CN Tower, Toronto’s tallest and most well-known structure in the city. Experience the Look Out, a structure 346m high for a 360 degree bird’s eye view of the city. Go even higher to enjoy dinner at the 360, an exquisite restaurant that slowly turns on its axis for you to enjoy full views of the city as you enjoy your meal.
Get a taste of Toronto’s history at the St. Lawrence Market, located in Old Town Toronto stretching through three historic buildings. Explore the restaurants, art exhibits, and artisan’s trinkets, and stop by the farmer’s market every Saturday. Find fresh produce and foods in this busy social scene, and join a tour of the 200-year old market.
Need a thrill? Visitors to Toronto always save a day for Canada’s Wonderland, boasting over 69 rides and fun for the whole family. Pack a suit for the Typhoon and Splash Station, visit Planet Snoopy with the kids, and don’t miss out on Leviathan, one of the highest coasters in the world.
Toronto has the third largest theatre scene in the world, with Mirvish Theatres running four different theatres. Visit the Princess of Wales Theatre to enjoy shows like Blithe Spirit and Titanic, and stop by Ed Mirvish Theatre to see Newsies in July or August.
Where to Eat
Family-friendly Barque Smokehouse (299 Roncesvalles Avenue) is a great choice to entice everyone’s tastes. Fair prices and large portions are great for groups who are sharing, and a large kid’s menu gives them dinner drinks and dessert for $10. Try their smoked duck tacos and their sweet heat ribs for a filling, fantastic meal.
If you’re on the go, your best bet is one of Toronto’s amazing food trucks. Check out Gorilla Cheese for the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever had. Enjoy the original, or add sides of bacon, apples, onions, feta, pickles…the options are endless! Try something out of the box.
Toronto is known for its multicultural population, and here you can experience many cuisines from all over the world. For that warm Indian taste, try 309 Dhaba Indian Excellence (309 King Street West), one of the best-rated Indian restaurants in Toronto. Open until 3am; enjoy specialty dishes, traditional and modern plates, and even options for the vegan and vegetarian in your group.
Where to Stay
A popular destination for enjoyable amenities is the Courtyard by Marriot Downtown Toronto. Located close to great shopping and various restaurants, the Marriot offers free high-speed internet, a lap pool, office spaces and a fitness center. The hotel is a quick walk to a lot of hot spots, so leave your car in valet parking and enjoy the city streets before heading back to spacious, cozy rooms.
For something different and innovative, check out the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West). The hotel boasts about its small rooms that are cozy, simple yet stylish, and exactly what you need; nothing more. The building is not just for sleeping; there are lounges, restaurants, a bar scene and much more. Find everything you need in this one amazing location.
Searching for something more like home? By the Park B&B was awarded the Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor in 2011-12-13-14. The bed and breakfasts are self-catered with continental breakfasts, free parking and Wi-Fi and a short walk to the stunning High Park. Enjoy the short walk to stores and restaurants without the loud bustle of the close-by city streets.
Where to Shop
Queen West boasts two kilometers of shops, boutiques and food along both sides of its street. Queen and Spadina offers retailers like Lulu Lemon and H&M, or continue west for specialty shops, tattoo parlors and jewelry makers. Heading east will lead you to the Eaton Centre for more shopping delights, or stop for a break at any of the café’s, pubs or fast food chains along your way.
Don’t be fooled by its name, the Distillery District is a great place to shop. The pedestrian-only village has tons of art galleries, pubs, designer boutiques and artisan shops. The cobblestone streets and old buildings have an architectural abundance, so feel free to grab an outdoor patio and take a break to enjoy the sights. Women’s and men’s fashions, home décor and chocolatier’s are just some of the things offered here.
If you’re looking for more mainstream stores, check out the Toronto Eaton Centre. More than 230 stores are available to meet your needs, with fashion, tech gadgets, staple items and much more. Peruse the different levels for hours and enjoy the bustle of one of Toronto’s most popular shopping destinations.
Toronto’s nightlife is an impressive part of its culture. Nightclubs and dance venues are abundant on almost every main street for the night crawler in everyone, but check out Queen West and Parkdale for a definite good time. Live music and aspiring artists are central to Toronto’s entertainment, and you’re sure to find your taste in sound and food on almost any corner off the subway. Concerts are always available throughout the year at the Sound Academy, Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre, or cheer on the Raptors and Jays depending on the season.