Toronto is no ordinary big city. As cosmopolitan as it may be and beyond the treasure trove of iconic landmarks, it is also brimming with green spaces, beautiful lakeside views and atmospheric haunts where you can rub shoulders with the locals. Better yet, it’s the most multicultural city in the world, which means global eats are always on the menu. Add to that the raft of jazz bars and it’s no wonder Toronto wins over travellers time and time again.
There’s no better way to start the day than by indulging in great foodie finds in a bustling atmosphere that’s sure to gently rattle away any last signs of jetlag. Do exactly that at colourful St Lawrence Market, widely regarded as the world’s greatest food market. Treat yourself to a sit-down breakfast or pick up a bite to go so you can chew while you peruse the stalls. From beloved bagel joints that have been going strong for over 20 years to the world famous Peameal Bacon on a Bun (a classic Toronto sandwich), the options are endless and forever tasty. Note that on Mondays the market is closed and Sundays sees it filled with antiques.
No visit to Toronto is complete without scaling the iconic CN Tower – Toronto’s tallest and most defining landmark. Reaching more than 550 metres into the sky, it’s easy to find. Make your way to the top and step out onto the glass floor to feel as though you’re on thin air, hovering 342 metres above the ground. Or, travel higher up the tower to the Sky Pod. At 447 metres high, it’s one of the highest observation platforms in the world.
Toronto is more than its city centre. The Toronto Islands are an iconic piece of the cityscape and the best way to witness this is from the water. Jump on one of the Toronto Harbour Tours boats, departing every half-hour from Queens Quay West. For an hour, you’ll be chauffeured around Toronto’s beautiful waterfront and through the Toronto Islands archipelago to the tune of entertaining narration live from the captain. It is also possible to jump off and catch a later returning boat.
Enjoy lunch with a side of city views at Toula Restaurant. Located on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle, the panoramas include the lofty heights of the CN Tower. Dishing up authentic fine dining Italian flavours, it’s sophisticated and the service spot on.
Don’t miss your chance to wander along Queens Quay to spot more iconic Toronto highlights, like the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), Union Station and the Air Canada Centre, accompanied by beautiful lakefront views.
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Toronto is home to some fascinating museums; pick one that appeals to your interests. Art lovers will enjoy the works on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario, while those interested in natural history and world culture may prefer the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The Hockey Hall of Fame, Textile Museum of Canada, Bata Shoe Museum and the magnificent display of Ceramics at the Gardiner Museum prove equally as mesmerising.
Start winding down the afternoon with a craft beer or two in the historic Distillery District. Home to many of the city’s finest designer boutiques, cafes, artisan shops, galleries and award-winning restaurants, this pedestrian-only village brimming with restored red brick, Victorian-era buildings is a hip and happening spot for locals and tourists alike.
After a big day of sightseeing, it’s time to head back to your hotel to relax and freshen up before the evening commences.
Toronto is renowned as one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The array of flavours on offer in the city attests to this. We suggest you wine and dine in lovely Little Portugal. A unique enclave of restaurants, as well as the delicious Portuguese eateries you can also discover some great Polish, French and even a few Canadian stops for an alternate take on dinner.
Lovers of jazz and blues will relish the chance to enjoy a glimpse of the local music scene, which makes it easy to find a live set every night of the week. Our picks for jazz include the fancy and rather new Jazz Bistro as well as the more relaxed The Rex Hotel, which has dominated Toronto’s jazz scene for over 40 years. Step inside and let the music take over as the clock slowly makes its way towards midnight.
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