Located on the shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is the largest (by population) city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It’s a city of neighborhoods, and with a population of over two and a half million residents, it also has a dynamic downtown core.
As Canada’s commercial center, Toronto attracts its fair share of business travelers, but it is also a city that’s offers plenty of options for a getaway weekend.
Here are a few suggestions for a city getaway to Toronto.
Toronto has a beautiful skyline, so as you’re walking around be sure to look up and appreciate it. Enjoy the view from the CN Tower, offering great views from the observation deck as well as a chance to enjoy the Sky Walk, an adventure of a lifetime at over 1,800 feet. Do you dare?
The Rogers Centre is home field for the Toronto Blue Jays (Major League Baseball) and the Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League), so catch a game if you’re in town. There are a lot of sports teams in Toronto to choose from.
While we’re talking about sports, there’s nothing more quintessentially Canadian than hockey. Even if you’re not in town to catch a game, you can stop by the Hockey Hall of Fame to get a fix. Even non-sports fans should find something to enjoy.
Since you’re already there, take time to explore the rest of Brookfield Place (formerly known as BCE Place). In addition to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and plenty of business and legal firms, there are shops and restaurants worth a visit. If you’ve had a busy morning, this is a great opportunity to stop for a bite to eat and something to drink.
And while you’re enjoying your respite, take time to look up and enjoy the arched canopy created by the free standing steel supports that are the hallmark of the building.
There are six Chinatowns in the Greater Toronto area, with two to be found downtown. The primary Chinatown can be found west of the city along Dundas Street West and Spadina. East Chinatown extends along both of those streets from the intersection of Broadview and Gerrard.
Spend an afternoon poking around in the shops and curious contents, look about at the quirky street art, and when you feel like you can’t walk another step, stop off for a pot of tea and some dumplings.
Toronto offers some of the best hotels around whether you’re looking for over-the-top luxury (like this Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons Toronto), or for a hotel offering a little more of a value proposition. Much of the city is walkable, and when it’s not, you can grab public transportation or a cab.
Eat & Drink
Given the diverse population of Toronto, it’s not surprising to find nearly any kind of ethnic restaurant imaginable. As you hotel concierge for a restaurant recommendation, wander the neighborhoods and pop in somewhere that looks yummy, or ask around for a great recommendation.
Try Volos for Greek food.
Whether it’s a classic Greek salad, one of Volos’ classic dishes infused with a modern spin, or maybe just stop by for some rich baklava for dessert.
And don’t forget to try out some Greek wine. You’ll be surprised at how many delicious pairings you can put together.
For a different ethnic experience, try Patria for Spanish food. Start out with some Sangria, a delicious conconction teasing the flavors to come.
The Sangria pairs deliciously with dates wrapped in Iberico ham, complemented with a spicy sauce.
Save room for the specialty of the house – paella. You’ll need to allow a little extra time if your ordering one of the paella dishes, but there are plenty of appetizer choices to hold you over. And it’s well worth the wait.
At Marben’s you’ll find contemporary Canadian cuisine, with presentations as delicious looking as they are tasting.
For vegetarian and vegan selections, try Fresh, with several locations around the city. Delicious salads, full of flavor, that prove eating vegan doesn’t have to be boring.
Worth a Try
I’m a big fan of just wandering a city and letting the day – and your choice – evolve. If that’s not your style, or perhaps you’d like a little bit of a head start in getting to know Toronto, here are a few ideas for your consideration.
- CN Tower – Just look up and you’ll find it. Tours available.
- Rogers Centre – Go for a game, concert or other event, or for a tour.
- Hockey Hall of Fame – Display, interactive exhibits, and the Stanley Cup (30 Yonge Street, Toronto, in Brookfield Place)
- Brookfield Place – Shopping and dining in a business complex in the heart of the financial district.
- Toronto Chinatown – Vibrant community (two actually) in the downtown area where Asian immigrants live, work, and have created community. Try it for shopping and dining.
- Four Seasons Toronto – 55 floors of luxury in Yorkville (60 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto)
- Volos – Traditional Greek cooking with a modern twist, just like you were eating in someone’s home (133 Richmond Street West, Toronto)
- Patria – Spanish food served in a sexy and bold settling (480 King Street West, Toronto)
- Marben – Contemporary Canadian cuisine in a homey atmosphere(488 Wellington Street West, Toronto).
- Fresh – Vegetarian and vegan food, multiple locations.
Photo credit: All from the Instagram collection of Mary Jo Manzanares