I’m not sure why it’s taken me nearly two years to write about my trip to Toronto, Canada. In-person, I couldn’t wait to tell people about it; I guess the reason why I might have failed up till now to get the words written down was that I feel this pressure to do the city justice, to really portray this wonderful place as if it were my own hometown. With that being said, this guide briefly describes what to do in Toronto that will make you fall in love with it, just like I did. The great thing about this large city is that there are a million and one different neighbourhoods and places to explore. So even though this guide is pretty tourist-focused, I hope it provides a small insight into what this city (and surrounding area) offers.
What to do in Toronto: Visit the Distillery District
The Distillery District is a must-visit when you are in Toronto. A historic district full of majestic Victorian industrial buildings, formerly known as the Gooderham & Worts Distillery, has transformed into an art and cultural hub. Wander through the old brick buildings and stone pathways, and you’ll be greeted with unique sculptures and independent stores and eateries. Brimming with creativity, the Distillery District is the place for entertainment and a spot of culture.
What to do in Toronto: Take a stroll down Yonge Street
Toronto’s main street spans from the shores of Lake Ontario to the edge of Lake Simcoe. Throughout the year, Yonge Street plays host various parades and performances. I remember the first piece of advice we were told when we first stepped onto Canadian soil. As long as we made our way to Yonge Street, we would be able to navigate Toronto without a hitch. This is because the street runs through most of the city’s neighbourhoods, meaning even the most novice of map readers can walk Toronto’s streets and find their way.
What to do in Toronto if you’re a sports fan: Cheer on the Blue Jays!
We decided to buy tickets to a baseball game and go cheer on Toronto’s finest, the Blue Jays. I loved baseball way more than I thought I would. I actually had goosebumps when a local school sang Canada’s National Anthem, and I screamed and clapped way louder than I should have when the Blue Jays won. We followed the crowd as people gathered outside the Rogers Centre and cheered when we left. It was magical.
What to do in Toronto: Cycle around the Islands
Keep heading down Yonge towards Lake Ontario, then hop on a ferry for 15 minutes and head over to Toronto Islands to view the city you could only dream of. If you’re not familiar with Toronto, you’re probably confused when I say the city has a lot of beaches. That’s right. A city with beaches. Skyscrapers and sand. If you vacate to Toronto Islands in the Summer, you can head on over to the shore and bask in front of Lake Ontario. We decided to rent a bike and cycle around the Islands instead. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the quaint houses surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking a view unlike any other. This day put Toronto in my heart forever.
What to do in Toronto: Go shopping at Kensington Market
If you’re anything like me, you love wandering around flea markets looking at all the handmade goods and vintage pieces. I’d heard Kensington Market was like the Camden of Toronto, so of course, I had to go! Full of colourful buildings, street art and lots of food, Kensington was so much fun to explore! This multicultural district regularly holds festivals. If you head there on a Sunday, you’ll be greeted by street musicians and stalls galore selling a mix of vintage clothes, handmade jewellery and old records. The atmosphere in this place is just incredible! So if you’ve got a good heart and a funky soul, Kensington Market is for you.
What to do in Toronto: See the city from above!
I get why people tell tourists to avoid the CN Tower. It’s expensive, but I think if you’re the type of person who loves a view, you’ve gotta try it. I love heights, so the 1,815.3 ft size didn’t bother me. I loved jumping around (and lying down) on the glass floor just to scare, then reassuring those who were too scared to try it.
What to do in Toronto: Go on a free walking tour
I think this is an absolute must if you really like to explore a city and learn more about its history. We booked the Downtown Toronto tour with Tour Guys, and I highly recommend them. We learnt so much about the Downtown area in the 90-minute tour and discovered places we would never have stumbled across ourselves. We still tell people about some of the stories we were told on this tour, so they’re definitely worth your time even if you’re not in the city very long. Just make sure you tip your guide! History buffs, unite!
Don’t miss out on the food at St Lawrence Market
I say ‘the food’, but I really mean the cakes. You won’t be able to walk around St Lawrence Market without buying something delicious. The cakes are awe-inspiring, but there’s also plenty of fresh fruit and savoury Canadian delicacies to sample.
So there we have it! If you’re heading there for the first time, I thoroughly recommend doing the above. Oh, and head to Tim Horton’s every day for breakfast, of course.