Now that summer is in full-swing, we hope your wanderlust is too!
The feeling that comes with the exploration and adventure of travel is unrivaled. But, you don’t have to book a long-haul flight in order achieve it. Each province of Canada is uniquely different – some offering sweeping landscapes and turquoise lakes, others providing nightlife and culture. If you’re North America based, Canada is easy to add to your summer travel itinerary. To help you do that, we’ve put together a city-guide to one of the country’s most dynamic, bustling and surprising metropolises: Toronto.
Below you’ll find suggestions broken down into four categories: Museums, Outdoors, Architecture, and Dining. Whether you want to explore with all your senses, or take it in through the lens of your camera, these suggestions will give you plenty of opportunity to experience what is affectionately known as “T-dot.”
In a city rich with options, you’ll want to be able to get around as quickly and efficiently as possible. We recommend setting PayPal as your default payment on your Uber app to maximize your travel time. Getting around quickly means you’ll have more time for mouthwatering eats and CN Tower views.
Art Gallery of Ontario:
With over 115 years under its belt, the Gehry-designed Art Gallery of Ontario, or AGO, is a cultural cornerstone and an architectural wonder. Housing over 90,000 works of art that span centuries, the AGO is a host to many world-renowned exhibitions.Take a break and enjoy a coffee in Galleria Italia, a display of wood and glass that spans an entire city block, easily an exhibit in its own right.
Art Around the City:
Toronto is a living and breathing art installation waiting for you to interact and discover what it has to offer. Street Art feels commonplace throughout the city with many well-known artist leaving traces of their craft throughout the city. You’ll be surprised what you can find tucked in a nearby alleyway.
The Royal Ontario Museum houses over six million items focused on art, culture, and natural history. It is the largest in Canada and the nation’s largest field-research institution. It displays impressive collections of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, Near Eastern and African Art, Art of East Asia, and European and Canadian history. Its main entrance, which opened in 2007, features Daniel Libeskind’s The Crystal, an elaborate aluminum, glass and steel construction that envelopes the heritage buildings.
Outdoors and Nature:
An easy escape from the bustling downtown core, Toronto Island is a short ferry ride away. The island is an interconnected web of trails, pathways and channels. Without car access to the island, it’s the perfect place to bring your bike or to let yourself roam. Stop off for a quick dip in Lake Ontario’s refreshing waters in one of three beaches, or find your own access point. The best part? Plan your visit in tandem with golden hour and sunset to admire sweeping views of Toronto’s famous skyline.
Trinity Bellwoods Park:
Situated in the west end of the city, Trinity Bellwoods is sandwiched between two of Toronto’s transportation nexuses: Queen Street West and Dundas Street West. Make your way here on the weekend, and you’ll find yourself among an eclectic mix of Toronto’s west-enders sunbathing, picnicking, walking their dogs, or playing sports. Grab your friends, grab some take-out from the plethora of options in the area (Mac + Cheese anyone?) and enjoy some of the best people watching in the city.
Hard to miss from any point in Toronto, the CN Tower is a key landmark and emblem of the city. It was completed in 1976, and up until 2010, it was both the world’s tallest freestanding structure and the world’s tallest tower (after which it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa and the Canton Tower).
Set aside some time for a visit and, if you’re feeling very adventurous, consider the adrenaline-inducing EdgeWalk.
As you make your way into the city, it’s fascinating to admire the metropolis that is Toronto. From Bathurst Bridge, not only do you get a view of the famous CN Tower, but also the many high-rises that seem introduce themselves every year to its skyline. Feel the pulse of the city during rush-hour as you capture commuters making their way in and out of the city on the rails.
Eating and Drinking:
A true melting pot of culture and traditions that finds itself among Toronto’s core, it’s Eastern , South American and Caribbean influence is palpable. Whether it’s delicious traditional or fusion food, vintage finds, refreshing snacks and desserts, or a little bit of cultural discovery – Kensington Market’s got it. Head over here on the weekend for Pedestrian Sundays.
A somewhat recent addition to the city’s always-growing food scene, Wilbur Mexicana is a popular spot for delicious tacos and other mexican-fare. We recommend the tinga tacos and cali burrito. Here with a group of friends? Try the chips, guac and queso fundido! If you feel the need to burn off some of those delicious calories you just consumed, hop over to SPIN for some ping-pong and drinks. When it comes time to settle the bill, your friends can pay you back using the PayPal app.
Hop in a teleportation machine to Barcelona for a meal at Bar Raval. Located in Toronto’s Little Italy, this 40 person pintxo parlor harkens back to Gaudi’s distinctive style. The torsion of woodwork is mesmerizing, while the exterior is equally pleasing. While its nighttime hours tend to be the busiest, you should be able to get a table for lunch or brunch during the day.
The Amsterdam Brewhouse by Amsterdam Brewery is a welcome addition to Toronto’s buzzing craft beer scene. Right alongside Lake Ontario, make your way here for some great suds and delicious foods while you gaze at Toronto Island on one side, and the CN tower on the other. This is a perfect stop-over before a Toronto Blue Jays game.
Whether you’re from Canada or further afield, Toronto can be a dizzying place to spend a couple of days. From taking the ferry to Toronto Island and finishing the day with brews at the Amsterdam Brewhouse, you’ll want to pack it all in. Set yourself up for success by paying for flights, hotels or taxis in advance to ensure a smooth trip.
This piece was created in partnership with PayPal.