I may be biased but Toronto, Canada is one of the best cities in the world. Not only is it one of the most livable cities but there is so much to do for tourists. Between the sports games, museums, nature, and restaurants you won’t find it hard to fill up a weekend or even a week in this city.
While you could spend a week touring around Toronto, you could also see all of the major sites within a long weekend. The best time to visit is definitely in the summer. The city and the people seem to come alive after so many months stuck indoors from cold weather. Like most major cities, Toronto is located along a waterfront which definitely adds to its charm.
Having entertained many foreigners and visitors to Toronto we have a pretty good sense of what itinerary can make a great trip. Here are 7 unique things for you to do on your next trip to Toronto.
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1. Visit the Toronto Islands
In the summertime, travelling to the Toronto Islands is a local favourite. It’s a place that no one really knows about if you haven’t travelled to the city before. Even locals sometimes forget how amazing the Islands can be. To get there you need to take a ferry or a water taxi. Both are under $10 per person and the ride is about 15-20 minutes. If you take the ferry there are three ports to choose from; Ward’s Island, Hanlan’s Point and Centreville. The view from the ferry is also unbelievable, it’s definitely the best view of the city skyline.
Ward’s Island is a mini beach town with one of the best-secluded beaches in Toronto. The beach is usually filled with 20 and 30-somethings looking to relax for the day. It’s also one of the only places in Toronto where you can drink in public with little repercussions. While it’s illegal to drink in public in Ontario, there’s definitely quite a few people that sneak over a beer or two to secretly enjoy.
Hanlan’s Point is the nudist beach of Toronto. Yup, you read that right, we have a nudist beach. I personally have never been there but I do know clothing is not an option. You must be nude. Also, no pictures, which I think goes without saying.
Centreville is the best spot for families. It’s a mini amusement park surrounded by greenery and a few other beach options. I used to spend a lot of my childhood summers here enjoying the rides. I absolutely loved it.
2. Watch Sports game
While going to a sports game may not seem that unique, it’s definitely a different experience in Toronto. In Canada, we only have one basketball team and one baseball team which are both based out of Toronto. For that reason you basically have a nation of dedicated fans supporting one team.
Depending what season you’re traveling check out the Toronto Blue Jays (baseball), Toronto Raptors (basketball), Toronto Maple Leafs (hockey), Toronto Football Club (soccer) or the Toronto Argonauts (football). All of the stadiums are right in the city so you won’t have to travel far to catch a game. Tickets can be rather expensive so make sure to look into them sooner than later. Worst case there are always tons of scalpers around for you to take advantage of.
3. Go to Kensington Market
Kensington Market is such a cool part of the city. Located almost smack dab in the middle of downtown it’s pretty easy to get to by transit or the downtown core. The spot is a hippie’s paradise.
All of the buildings are covered with graffiti and the restaurants are really cheap. This is also the perfect place to be if you’re on a budget. The food is probably the cheapest in the city (and in some cases the freshest). Plus, the restaurants are quite reasonable as well.
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4. St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is one of the oldest spots in Toronto. The indoor market is filled with vendors and mini shops that have been passed down from generation to generation. Locals love grabbing lunch or groceries here because most of the markets have food grown or produced locally.
The prices are pretty great as well. Bring your hunger if you are visiting though because this place has the best peameal bacon sandwiches in the country. That’s not an exaggeration either. Although make sure you check the days because the market is closed on Sundays and Mondays, as it has been for many years.
5. Distillery District
The Distillery District is the most beautiful spots in Toronto. The old world charm just can’t be beaten. Most of the area is just nice to walk around in but there are some amazing restaurants here as well. El Catrin and Cluny’s are local favourites.
In the summer there are usually a bunch of things happening in this pocket of the city. Anything from artisan markets to outdoor concerts you’ll find it. In the winter you’ll find the best Christmas market in Ontario. You can do a bit of research before your trip to figure out what’s going on here to really take advantage.
6. Steam Whistle Brewery
Located right near the CN Tower, and beside the Toronto roundhouse, the Steam Whistle Brewery is a favourite among Torontonians. Founded in 2000 the distillery quickly became a local favourite and in some people’s opinion, the beer of the city.
There are only four ingredients used in making the beer. The ingredients include; spring water from nearby Caledon, hops from Czech Republic and Germany, two-row barley and yeast. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a beer connoisseur but I would definitely say this beer is pretty damn good. Take a tour of the facility and you’ll get to try your fair share as well!
7. Scarborough Bluffs
Last but not least is an area located a bit outside of the city but a spot to check out if you love nature. There is street parking all around or a mini marina you can park in as well.
There are some great trails around the area but the best are down by the rocks. The highest point is 300 ft above the water. They are famous for being a ‘geological wonder’ in North America. Visiting them you won’t feel as if you’re close to the city at all. Just make sure you’re careful around the area. Taking an epic picture is great but the fall is really steep.
Where to Stay in Toronto, Canada?
Best Budget Hotel in Toronto, Canada – HI Toronto Hostel
HI- Toronto Hostel is within walking distance to CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre, a bus terminal, Union Station, and other major attractions. This property is 13 minutes walk from the beach.
Rooms at HI- Toronto Hostel have large windows and a reading lamp for each guest. . WiFi, linens, and towels are included in each room.
Guests can use the coin-operated laundry facilities at the hostel. The hostel also has a tour desk to assist guests in finding their way around Toronto.
Best Mid Range Hotel in Toronto, Canada – The Novotel Toronto Centre
The Toronto Centre Novotel is a 4-minute walk from the Hockey Hall of Fame. The CN Tower is less than 1.5 km away and 8 minutes walk from the beach. Located within a 10-minute walk of Toronto Union Station and the Air Canada Centre.
Large windows, cable TV and a minibar are provided in the modern rooms of The Novotel Toronto Centre. A coffee maker, work desk and ironing facilities are also included. An indoor pool, whirlpool and fitness centre are open to all guests of the Toronto Novotel. Vending machines and laundry facilities are also available.
Café Nicole serves international meals in an intimate setting. Cocktails can be enjoyed at the Stage Door Lounge and room service is available at all times.
Best Luxury Hotel in Toronto, Canada – The Ritz-Carlton
This property is 11 minutes walk from the beach. The Princess of Wales Theatre is 1 block from the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. The Hockey Hall of Fame is 2 blocks from the hotel. Ripley’s Aquarium, Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre are all less than 850 m away.
Each of the modern guest rooms at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto is furnished with floor-to-ceiling windows and a minibar. The marble bathroom has a large soaking tub. An iPod docking station is provided.
The on-site spa boasts an indoor lap pool, hot tub, and a yoga studio. A gym with cardio machines and strength training equipment is also open to guests.
About the Writer
Madisyn founded The Restless Worker as a way to encourage young professionals that they can see the world without quitting the 9 to 5 or selling all of their belongings. She hopes to inspire others to take advantage of their vacation days and push themselves to explore places around them!