3 Magnificent Days in Toronto
Toronto is Ontario’s capital city and Canada’s economic powerhouse, it’s also one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America and is reflected as each neighborhood takes on a colour of their own. You’ll often find history, culture, food, and of course shopping all wrapped into one area.
Toronto can be a big city to tackle at first and it’s not always easy to get a good feel of the metropolis in a few days. We’ve put together three days’ worth of grouped activities that will help you experience Toronto from a local perspective, as well as get the most of your stay in our beautiful city.
1. Parks & Biking
If there is one thing Torontonians love, it’s for green space and biking. The core of Toronto isn’t as big as most people think which makes it ideal to briskly cycle from one end of the city to the other. Add in the many parks, both large and small and you get an interesting city-scape.
Getting your own set of wheels is very easy, there are a number of bike rental businesses in Toronto such as Yellow Bike Rentals which offers daily bike rentals for $25. However, the better option is Toronto’s Bike Share which has self-serving stations located all over the city core. The bikes cost just $7 for a full 24 hour rental, you just need to be sure there’s a bike station nearby when you want to walk around a bit. Be sure to take a ride around the core (safely of course), then see if you can make it out to Trinity Bell Woods Park in the west. Or if you’re feeling daring, try riding all the way over to Woodbine Beach.
One of the best parks in the city is without question, High Park. Accessed easily by bike, streetcar, and subways stations on Line 2, this massive park has dozens of crisscrossing trails and a number of open parkland spaces perfect for enjoying lunch. If you visit in the spring months you might be able to catch the cherry blossoms blooming which is definitely a sight you have to see to appreciate.
Canadians and Torontonians in particular love to find good deals on all their favorite brands and products. As a result Toronto has started to attract high end companies, in addition to cultivating a unique culture of boutique shops and specialty stores. One of the best places to find a variety of luxurious and affordable shopping is the Eaton’s Center on Younge between Queen Street and Dundas Street. Yorkville shopping center is where you go for the finer things farther north of the city.
If you’re looking for more unique items than those found in department stores, Queen Street West from University Avenue to the far reaches of Roncesvalles is where you’ll find a variety of small shops and restaurants serving up everything from designer hats to bacon wrapped mars bars (yes, those exist). One final stop at Honest Eds on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst to wrap up the day with some severely discounted options is always nice if you can spare the time.
It wouldn’t be a good day in Toronto without bringing in the local cuisine. One of the things the city is known for is its ethnic diversity. Toronto is home to a plethora of restaurants that have dishes from all over the world, as well as its distinct neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Little Italy, Koreatown, and Little Portugal each with their own take on their countries specialty dishes.
If open markets are more of your style you’ll find a buffet of options at St. Laurence Market on Front Street. The old market has been sitting near Toronto’s waterfront for over a hundred years. Over that time merchants have come and gone but the air is still filled with smells of fresh meats and home cooked recipes, all for sale of course. There’s also Kensington Market which despite its looks offers a wide range of bistros, cafes, and eclectic boutique shops. Kensington is just after Spadina and is within easy walking distance of the Spadina streetcar and the College St streetcar.
The all-time best place to grab a bite to eat though is the food pavilion at the Canadian National Exhibition, or The Ex for short. The Ex only happens once a year usually around the end of August and the first week of September. In the previous years the Ex’s food pavilion has played host to a number of culinary concoctions such as the doughnut burger, butter coffee, and just about anything deep fried and wrapped in bacon. Most Torontonians go just to see what’s on the menu each year and if the dish is good, eat as much as possible.
Toronto has plenty of other activities, but when time is of the essence you’ll want to get as much done as possible, all while making your classes on time at GEOS of course.