Toronto: A Quick Guide

Toronto. The Queen City. The Six. T-Dot. The City of Drake.

Having spent a few weeks in this fabulous city, I can safely say it is one of my all-time favourites. It’s a huge melting pot of cultures with over 200 ethnic groups speaking over 140 languages and half the total population born outside the country. The people are genuinely lovely, the food is spectacular and there is so much to see and do it’s mind-boggling.  Here are a few of my tips and tricks for a visit

Cool things to do

CN Tower:
You can’t miss this iconic part of the Toronto skyline, featured on Drake’s Views album and a variety of TV and movie productions. It offers spectacular views of the Greater Toronto Area and Lake Ontario from its 342 metre high observation deck, complete with glass floor to see the street below. For those looking for a more adrenaline-filled experience there is the EdgeWalk, a full-circle and hands-free walk around the top of the pod (don’t worry, you are attached on overhead harnesses!). If a more relaxing experience is what you are after, the 360 revolving restaurant offers market fresh cuisine with a view that no other Toronto restaurants can match.

Graffiti Alley:
Is it touristy? Yes. Is it always crowded with other tourists? Yes. Is it still worth going? Absolutely! You’ll find it located between Spadina and Portland Streets, close to the Downtown, Chinatown and Kensington Market areas. The art is world class and if you are lucky you will see some local artists putting up a new piece. Bring a friend, a fully charged camera/phone and get the perfect #instaworthy shot.

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Niagara Falls:
One of the most spectacular natural phenomenon’s in the world, only 1.5 hours’ drive from Toronto, located on the border of New York State. The Canadian side has the best views and a large (if gaudy) entertainment district but you can enter via the USA side where the famous Maid of the Mist leaves from (note: Maid of the Mist only runs from late May to Early November).

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High Park Cherry Blossoms:
When the long winter finally breaks and the locals come out of hibernation (both the people and bears), it is Cherry Blossom season. High Park on the West side of Toronto has a huge amount of Sakura trees which begin to bloom in early April – mid May (depending on the length and severity of the winter). It is very popular with tourists and locals alike; however the park is quite large so there are a few relatively uncrowded spots to get the perfect #instaworthy shot or just sit and enjoy the ambiance.

Sportsball:
Whether it’s the Leafs (Hockey), Blue Jays (Baseball) or Raptors (Basketball), Torontonians are absolutely sports mad. With the combination of these three major league sports you can catch a game nearly year-round. Hint: Buy the local Jersey to take to the game; otherwise you may be (good-naturedly) heckled by your seatmates

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The Lakes:
If you are in Toronto in the summer, escape the city and head out to the shores of Lake Ontario. This is their equivalent of a beach weekend and if you’re lucky enough to befriend a local, many of them have lake houses to enjoy. If you don’t have the local connection, you can always rent them out on AirBnb or similar sites.

Eating and drinking:

7 Lives
Located in the trendy Kensington Market, this standing room only taqueria dishes out the best tacos north of the border. The line is often out the door and onto the sidewalk, but the wait is 100% worth it and is great value at only 6 bucks a pop.

Starving Artist
If you like waffles, this cafe is heaven on earth. They serve everything on a bed of a variety of waffles; savoury, sweet and gluten free. The ultimate hangover cure, just be ready for a long line on the weekends.

The Boat
Throwback party tunes with a fun crowd and cheap drinks are the name of the game at this nightclub in the very cool Kensington Market. It is probably the most hipster nightclub in all of Toronto, but a great time regardless (just remember it’s cash only).

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