When most people think of Canada, they picture rugged, snow-capped mountains, placid impossibly blue, glacier lakes, bears and moose everywhere, and snow. None of which you’ll get when visiting my home town, Toronto… Well, except maybe snow.
Toronto may not be the Canada you’ll be expecting, but it does have some redeeming factors. So, if you’re already heading over to see the Rocky Mountains, why not consider adding on a few days in the country’s largest city?
Here’s a list of some must-do’s in Toronto:
See: Tickets don’t come cheap, but how can you not see an ice hockey game while in town? If you’re in town October through April, try to score some tickets to a Maple Leafs game. Can’t get NHL tickets? Consider scooping up a few seats to a Marlies game. Part of the AHL and playing at the smaller Ricoh Colloseum, Marlies games are often just a fraction of the cost of an NHL game but just as exciting.
Watch: Outside of New York and London, Toronto’s actually home to one of the largest theatre cultures in the world. Whether Broadway-style productions, multi-million dollar musicals or a local theatre group’s intimate shows are more your thing, there’s always something worth checking out.
Eat: Canada’s signature dish may be poutine (that’s the irresistible combination of cheese, chips and gravy), but I’d recommend popping into St Lawrence Market for an iconic peameal bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery. If that’s not your thing, being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, there’s always plenty on offer. Head to Little India or Italy, China-, Greek- or Koreatown – there’s a neighbourhood catering to any and all tastes.
Drink: Head to Mill Street Brewery for some award-winning, home-brewed beers. They’ve been producing a range of brews for more than 100 years and the fact they’re located in the beautiful, historic Distillery District is a huge bonus.
Move: Affectionately known as ‘streetcars’, Toronto’s trams won’t get you anywhere fast, while they rumble down the streets in the downtown core and across to The Beaches in the east end. You probably won’t be jumping into the waters of Lake Ontario so quickly (although, it is a blue-flag certified beach), but the boardwalk is a great place to walk along on a sunny afternoon. Also consider hopping on a ferry to the Toronto Islands, just $7 return from the city. It’s the perfect place for a picnic, stroll or bike ride and has great views of the skyline.
Leave: Get out of the city for a few days and visit picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario’s premier wine region. Dozens of wineries in the area offer tours and the charming town is a great place to stop for some shopping, dining or even a show during the Shaw Festival (April through November). Oh, and Niagara Falls is just a 15-minute drive away.