City Guide: Toronto

Catch a game of “America’s past-time” and grab some Indian-inspired Canadian poutine, all in one city. I might be biased but Toronto is a great city.

Catch a game of “America’s past-time” and grab some Indian-inspired Canadian poutine, all in one city. I might be biased but Toronto is a great city.

Diverse, it’s the best way to describe the city of Toronto. Located in Southern Ontario, it’s known as Canada’s largest city and while it’s not the capital of Canada (that’s Ottawa), many people mistake it as the capital.

From historic landmarks to great food, here’s my list of the top seven things to see and do while visiting the city.

1. The CN Tower

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The CN Tower. Photo: cbc.ca

The CN Tower held the world’s tallest free-standing structure and world’s tallest tower records for 34 years (until the completion of Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower in 2010).

For starters, look 342 m (1,122 ft) straight down while standing on the famous Glass Floor. We applaud anyone who’s stomach hasn’t turned upside down while doing this.

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View from the CN Tower’s glass floor. Photo: images.travelpod.com

Dine at 360 The Restaurant with a revolving view of Toronto more than 351 metres (1,151 ft) below.

For any thrill-seekers, it offers the world’s highest hands-free walk.

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The CN Tower’s Edgewalk. Photo: digitaljournal.com

With visibility up to 160km away to Niagara Falls and New York State, it’s worth a spot in your itinerary.

 

2. The St. Lawrence Market

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View from inside the St. Lawrence Market. Photo: digitaltoronto.com

It’s one of the world’s great markets – filled with 120 vendors, merchants and artisans.

In fact, it was named the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012.

It’s filled with farmer’s markets, antique markets, restaurants, delis, bakeries and meat shops.

If that doesn’t float your boat, you can always travel to Toronto’s other notable market, Kensington Market, which is home to eclectic shops and cafes.

 

3. Ripley’s Aquarium 

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View from inside Ripley’s Aquarium. Photo: smartcanucks.ca

Conveniently located within walking distance of the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre and Union Station.

It’s home to 16,000 aquatic animals and features North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel with more than 5.7 million litres of water.

Not to mention, nine carefully curated galleries showcasing a cross section of saltwater and freshwater environments from around the world.

 

4. Rogers Centre

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The Rogers Centre. Photo: wikipedia.org

Most notable as being the home of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. If you are in town between April and September, it’s highly recommended to catch a game – not to mention, they play the historic New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox frequently.

 

5. The Toronto Islands

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View of the city from the Toronto Islands. Photo: cdn.aarp.net

If you want to take a photo that looks like the Toronto you see on postcards, this is the place to do it from.

It’s a small chain of islands that comprise the largest urban car-free community in North America.

There are several swimming beaches on the islands, including one that’s clothing optional for all you free birds out there.

 

6. Shopping

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Shops along Queen St. West. Photo: davidkaufmanphotography.com

The Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre are staples in the city but there is a lot more to shopping than the malls.

Queen St. West is Toronto’s eclectic shopping destination. It’s ultra-trendy with diverse fashion and design outlets.

 

7. Food and drink

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Butter Chicken Poutine. Photo: blogto.com

In the diverse city of Toronto, the options are endless.

There are different ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto that focus on specific cuisines.

You can have Caribbean food in the Eglinton West neighbourhood, Polish cuisine in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood or even head to Rexdale for Indian, Punjabi and Pakistani cuisine.

August is a big month for Greek cuisine as the Taste of the Danforth is held early in the month. It’s a weekend festival that allows people to enjoy modestly priced samples of cuisine available at restaurants Danforth Avenue. Messini’s usually boasts a large lineup at their food stand.

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People gather for Taste of the Danforth. Photo: nationalpost.com

In the Yorkville district, you have celebrity favourites in Sassafraz (Colin Firth, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro and Susan Surandon have been spotted here) and Sotto Sotto (Ewan McGregor, Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman have been spotted here).

If you’re into hamburgers, The Burger’s Priest is the holiest of them all. They have a secret menu with a burger called Vatican City – it boasts two grilled cheese sandwiches (made from buns) and two cheeseburgers.

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A Burger’s Preist burger and fries plate. Photo: Google Images

If you like nachos, Sneaky Dee’s offers the best nachos in Toronto – voted by almost anyone you talk to from Toronto. Also, it’s a good place for young, cash-strapped people to have a night out thanks to it’s upstairs club.

Down the street from Sneaky’s, there’s a cozy, candlelit pub called Communist’s Daughter where hipsters, locals, artists, students, and blue-collars alike attend.

And down the street from that you have Snakes & Lagers Board Game Bar. No explanation necessary.

Alas, you can’t go to Toronto, or any part of Canada for that matter, without trying poutine.

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A view from outside Smoke’s Poutinerie. Photo: Google Images

Over the years Toronto has adopted the French-Canadian dish and offers an array of different shops dedicated to it.

Speaking to diverse cuisine in Toronto, we present you Butter Chicken Poutine.

But what about the nightlife club scene? All you have to do is walk down King West and you’ll find the heart of Toronto’s club scene with the likes of F-Stop, Maison Mercer, Brassaii and Bloke to name a few.

Like your beer? You’ll love Toronto. It’s home to over 25 breweries from big names like Molson to local favourite Bellwoods Brewery.

Have you been to Toronto? What was your favourite part about the city?