The last part of our recent Canada trip took place in Toronto. We did not have nearly enough time in this city and didn’t get to do half of what we wanted because sight-seeing was intermixed with seeing family. Nonetheless, we got to see a ton of cool places and still got at least some of the Toronto experience.
Toronto Island (Centre Island) is definitely my favorite thing we got to do in the city. If you have the time, you could probably spend a whole day just there. We took the ferry from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal which is located at the foot of Bay Street at Queens Quay. The ferry comes every half hour and the ride itself is 15 minutes but in that 15 minutes you get to see an amazing view of Toronto (see above for the skyline picture). Once you get to the island, there are so many things you can do. You can walk to the beach and lay out there (the water is frigid so unless you are a polar bear), you should probably just stay on the sand) and look at the gorgeous colored lake. You can walk around the island and look at the gardens and fountains they have around. You can have a picnic with a view of the Toronto skyline. If you have children, there is a whole part of the island that is an amusement park and has plenty of things to do for children. There are also a variety of restaurants on the island, they’ll have you covered from fast food to seafood. Definitely worth checking out.
If you are someone that enjoys botanical gardens, this is definitely one to see. It’s a little outside the city so definitely more doable with a car or bus pass in the city, but it’s worth the trip. The gardens also have a little farmer’s market where you can buy some fresh berries and vegetables and also some souvenirs like home-made maple syrup and honey. The gardens have a very long walking path so it could also be great for a run or work out. The entrance to the gardens is free which is also a big plus.
If you are looking to find maple syrup in a maple leaf shaped bottle, mugs with moose and bears on them, keychains, magnets and other souvenirs without spending a fortune, this is the place to go. Located in downtown Toronto extending along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, I would recommend checking it out. Also, you can walk straight to Yonge-Dundas Square from there after you’re done getting all your family members a little souvenir from Canada. Also very close to Kensington Market if you’re looking for more upscale shopping.
Yonge-Dundas square is a huge area which is the center point of the city. It is a place where a lot of the action happens in the city. There are bars and restaurants everywhere and is an exciting place to spend an evening. It sometimes gets referred to as the “Times Square” of Canada. Yonge Street is actually the longest street in the world – so it’s definitely fun to point out after the trip that you got to walk on that street. Also Yonge Street runs through Yorkville which you could say is a quaint part of town, north of Yonge-Dundas. There are some shops in that area of up and coming designers and lots of authentic restaurants.
This is technically not in Toronto but we made the 90 minute trip while we were staying there so that’s why it’s found a place into this post. We went to the falls around 9 pm – it was still light but was about to get dark at the time (early June). We got to see the falls while it was light out and then got to see them get lit up in different colors when it started getting dark. Around 10 pm the fireworks started and let me tell you – fireworks above lit up Niagara Falls is not something you see every day. This was indescribably beautiful and well worth the trip.
There are special days during the year when the falls get lit up in specific colors in honor of events like World AIDS Day, World Alzheimers Day, etc. The full list of those special days can be found here. The fireworks also only take place on Wednesdays, Friday and Sundays according to a sign we saw at the falls (which is different than what we read online prior to coming to the falls).
We unfortunately had an extensive list of things that we wanted to do in Toronto but didn’t have time for, so we are definitely looking to go back and check them out.
Other places to see in Toronto (that we did not get to see):
-Hockey Hall of Fame
As always, I hope this was helpful and let me know if you have any other suggestions of what to do in Toronto!