Express Guide to: Toronto, CanadaBy Alicia Grimshaw
Planning the perfect trip to Toronto? We’ve got you covered. We absolutely love Toronto – it’s such a fun, vibrant city; the people are friendly, the restaurant scene is unbeatable, and there’s plenty of things to do regardless of budget.
This guide doesn’t scratch the surface of how much Toronto has to offer, however, we’ve whittled down our favourite things to do, and, of course, eat. The city’s residents love Toronto. We love Toronto. And here’s why this Canadian city should be next on your holiday list:
Toronto Guide: Where to Stay
The Run-Down: Filled with charm, class and steeped in history, Fairmont Royal York is a Toronto institution. Following a recent multi-million dollar guest room revitalisation, the hotels offers modern downtown comfort in a historic part of town. The hotel is home to a pool and health spa, complete with brand new exercise equipment, and four dining and drinking options including the Library Bar – a secluded watering hole serving world-class cocktails.
The Rooms: Fairmont Royal York houses a total of 898 Luxury and Signature Rooms across 11 floors. Fairmont’s Luxury Rooms feature one King, one Queen or two Double Beds with an upgraded sleep experience, sleek furnishings, a work desk with extra outlets and media hub, and a Keurig coffee machine.
Where: 100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 1E3, Canada
The Run-Down: A hot bed for culture, community and fairly priced cocktails, The Drake Hotel on Queen St West goes far beyond the hotel blueprint. They’ve mastered the urban retreat; a rooftop bar, seasonal driven menus from morning until late night, Drake Underground – a basement club which regularly hosts local DJs and up and coming artists, and a separate mid century inspired lounge area.
The Rooms: Rooms range from the cosy nook rooms right up to the spacious XL suites. Planning to stay a few nights? The S Crash Pad is an intimate room, and is an unapologetic escape for couples, business folk and anyone passing through. It’s adorable, yet trendy with high ceilings, chilled vibes and all the comforts you need.
Where: 1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
Toronto Guide: Where to Eat
Toronto’s food scene is popping; you can eat the world without leaving the city. It’s multiculturalism runs through the veins of Toronto’s restaurant industry, and the city is finally getting recognition on the world stage. The food offering is interesting, diverse and most of all, delicious.
The Lowdown: Chef Susur Lee is the mastermind behind Luckee, a high-end Chinese dim sum restaurant focusing on classic dishes and dim sum from the culinary traditions of Guangzhou, Hunan, Shanghai and Szechuan regions. Luckee deserves to have its own star on the Toronto Walk of Fame, or some sort of award. This is honestly one of the tastiest Chinese feasts we have ever eaten. It’s traffic haltingly good.
Eat and Drink: Where to start, where to start. Well, the pudgy steamed parcels of a prawn and pork are a good place to get things going. The menu is designed to be shared, so over order on everything and get your chopsticks stuck in (every dish is a certified banger). Our picks are the dumpling four ways; shrimp dumplings, presented into the shape of a lobster (#InstagramYes); the glossy, sickly sweet char siu pork ribs, and superb Thai rice noodles.
Where: 328 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario
The Lowdown: A former city hall and jail house from 1845 to 1899, St Lawrence Market first opened as a public market in 1902. Since then, having undergone a renovation in the 1970s, St Lawrence Market continues to attract locals, lunch time dwellers and tourists thanks to its massive, and varied selection of street food stalls, artisan bakeries, butches, bakers and candle stick makers. A fancy food hall with more selection that Harrods, grab everything and anything from pizza slices to homemade jam, freshly baked bread and larder essentials.
Eat and Drink: An iconic Toronto eat is the world famous peameal bacon sandwich (named so because of the cured bacon made from pork loin was originally rolled in ground yellow peas), and you can grab one at Carousel Bakery, an historic bakery stall that has been dishing this sarnies up for decades. Carniceros sure know how to make a good chilli cheese dog, St. Urbain’s original Montreal-style bagels are unmissable, and St Lawrence Pizza and Pasta bake excellent carb creations.
Where: 93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
The Lowdown: Founder by Wander Beaver, Wander’s Pie in the Sky is well known on the bakery circuit in Toronto. Famous for homemade pies, bakes, cookies and treats – Wander’s Pie in the Sky sells everything to satisfy your sweet tooth. Pies are sold whole or by the slice (more of a wedge), and served with a range of tea, coffees, or lunchtime salads if you’re feeling peckish.
Eat and Drink: BUTTER TARTS. Gloriously filled, little buttery, flaky butter tarts that will have you stock piling the lot into your suitcase. And pies; deep-filled, light and short crust, dessert pies. We’re not lying when we say the pie selection is huge: cherry pies, coconut cream pies, key lime pies, banoffee pie, chocolate and peanut butter pies, and peach praline pies. Honestly, we could go on. Did we mention they bake really. good. butter. tarts?
Where: 287 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2M2, Canada
Toronto Guide: What to Do
The Lowdown: The CN Tower dominates the Toronto skyline – the city’s tallest landmark (553.3m) – and remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. The CN Tower has a number of attractions including their LookOut level with a glass floor and foor-to-ceiling panoramic window walls, and the 360 restaurant. Enjoy your beef sirloin in the comfort of the restaurant, sure, or your picture perfect pose behind the safety glass, or you could think to hell with that, and book yourself a place on the CN Tower’s Edgewalk. We did, and we’re not sure if we’ve recovered.
What to Expect: The Edgewalk is an adrenaline junkie’s dream: walk on the roof of the CN Tower’s restaurant, a terryifing 356m above ground. The whole process takes around two hours – you’re first harnessed up and checked before heading up for the 30 minute edge walk experience. The views are insane. Just don’t look down.
Where: 301 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2T6, Canada
The Lowdown: Kensington Market is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood in Toronto; a maze of narrow streets and alleys, lined with brightly-coloured Victorian houses. There’s everything here; ethnic restaurants, vegan hangouts, vintage shops, cheese shops, cafes, art and galleries.
What to Expect: Streets upon streets of quirky boutiques, and everything your purse and stomach requires. We especially like Global Cheese for fromage from around the world, Burganator, for the finest burger creations in the city, Urban Catwalk for new and vintage clothing, and Modern Citizen for clothes and accessories made by local designers.
Where: Kensington Market, Canada
Photo Credit: padsniper | Kara
For more information on Ontario and Toronto, please see here. Air Canada lead-in return Economy fare London Heathrow to Toronto is currently GBP461.91 (incl taxes). Edge walk is $225 (£128) per person (aged 13+).