Toronto Travel Guide

Filed under Destination Guides, featured, travel

by Pip Macken

Toronto skyline (Skitterphoto)


Canada’s largest city, perched on the tip of Lake Ontario, is a medley of cultures, histories and lifestyles. Toronto’s dynamic blend of distinct neighbourhoods, vibrant downtown scene and non-stop events makes this one of Canada’s most compelling urban destinations.

Traditionally known as ‘Hogtown’ and ‘Big Smoke’, the city recently acquired the nickname ‘The Six’, bestowed by Toronto rapper, Drake. Its meaning is up for debate, though it’s widely accepted that it refers to the 1998 unification of the city’s six boroughs – Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York, East York and Etobicoke.  Whatever the origin, the moniker has stuck, with Toronto’s residents proud of the city’s ever-changing identity.

The capital city of Ontario, Toronto is a thriving platform for contemporary art, music and performance of all kinds, with a multicultural food scene rivalling the best in the world. Visitors can hear up to 128 languages and dialects in a metropolis adorned with beaches, galleries, sidewalk cafes and endless shops, featuring everything from vintage boutiques to designer outlets.  

Explore the Toronto Islands on two wheels, spend an evening in the theatre district, and take a daytrip to Niagara, just 110 kilometres away. Whether you’re here for a weekend or a week, you’ll discover something new about Toronto with every visit.


With its wildly varying neighbourhoods, home to residents from a multitude of nationalities and walks of life, Toronto feels like an exciting enigma. The complex personality of this beautiful city takes some effort to grasp and appreciate. Tick off our ten not-to-be-missed experiences and you’ll be well on the way to falling in love with Toronto.

Old Toronto
This historic downtown precinct is where the action is. Shop along Queen Street West, where edgy meets trendy. Eat your way through Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, Little India and Little Portugal, and take in a free jazz concert in St James Park.  

St Lawrence Market
Wander through this food emporium frequented by locals and professional chefs. More than 120 vendors sell their wares, including fresh produce, meats, fish, herbs and spices. Stop to sample Kozlik’s Mustard – did you know that 90 per cent of the world’s mustard is grown in Canada?   

Day trip to Niagara
Travel by rail or car to the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, just 110 kilomtres from Toronto. Get up close to this natural phenomenon with a Niagara Falls Adventure Pass that includes a Hornblower Niagara Cruise, White Water Walk, Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls.

Live life on the ledge!
Adrenalin junkies love Toronto’s EdgeWalk, a hands-free walk along a 1.5 metre-wide ledge encircling the top of the CN Tower. The 20 – 30 minute ‘stroll’, with a safety cable attached to a body harness for security, offers thrill-seekers a breathtaking 360-degree city panorama.

Toronto Zoo
Visit the only place in Canada where you’ll meet twin giant panda cubs and four white lion cubs. More than 3.5 million people have visited Toronto Zoo since it became home to Er Shun and Da Mao, two adult giant pandas and their panda cubs, born in 2015.

Natrel Ice Rink
Learn to skate on one of the most scenic ice rinks in Canada, Natrel, on the harbour front of Toronto. Take in sweeping views of Lake Ontario as you glide across the smooth outdoor rink during the winter months. Free skate times and lessons are available.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
For the perfect multi-generational experience, head to the enormous ‘Dangerous Lagoon’ at the base of the CN Tower. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada houses more than 16,000 marine animals, including the biggest shark collection in North America, alongside sawfish, barracudas, moray eels, spadefish and green sea turtles.

Neighbourhood Discovery Tour
Explore Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods with a guide who can share the cultural history of each area and its unique architecture. Take advantage of the Tour Guys daily free tours or book a personalised jaunt that delves beneath the skin of the city.

Toronto Islands
Take a ferry and explore the Toronto Islands, North America’s largest car-free urban community. Bridges and boardwalks connect the islands of Centre, Ward’s and Algonquin, each with their own beaches, charming cottages and lighthouses. Family-friendly Centre Island features lush gardens, a maze, beach and paddle boats.

Royal Ontario Museum
Giant totem poles greet you at the Royal Ontario Museum heralding your entry to another world. Canada’s largest museum of world cultures, art and natural history should be top of your ‘to do’ list, with more than six million objects and 40 galleries to explore.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to upscale hotels in Toronto and Niagara. Choose from numerous 4 and 5-star properties within walking distance to the entertainment district, sports stadiums and all-ages tourist attractions. For panoramic views, stay on the harbour front in Toronto or in one of Niagara’s waterfront properties.  

Marriott Niagara Fallsview
Enjoy your front row seat to one of the Seven Wonders of the World at the luxury Marriott Niagara Fallsview and watch 168,000 cubic metres of water cascade over Niagara Falls every minute. Book a tour or relax with a massage at Serenity Spa.

Sheraton On The Falls
In the heart of Falls Avenue Resort, five minutes from Clifton Hill, the 4-star Sheraton On The Falls is ideally placed for your stay in Niagara. Dine on farm-to-table cuisine, enjoy cocktails in the lobby bar and soak up stunning views from the rooftop pool.

Omni King Edward
Old meets new at the elegant Omni King Edward. Almost 120 years old, sophisticated décor defines the graceful suites and ornate lobby. Sip on cocktails in the elegant lounge of this luxury hotel, in a prime downtown location, just two kilometres from the CN Tower.

Sheraton Centre Toronto
The newly renovated Sheraton Centre is a 3.5-star hotel in the downtown precinct, connected to PATH, Toronto’s underground walkway and shopping centres. Enjoy sweeping views of the Toronto skyline over pre-dinner drinks in the Sheraton Club Lounge on the 43rd floor.

Westin Harbour Castle
Stay in contemporary luxury on the shores of Lake Ontario at the Westin Harbour Castle, the ideal base for exploring the waterfront neighbourhood and downtown Toronto. Dine in the hotel’s restaurants and revitalise with a massage at the hotel’s wellness centre, Votre Beaute Spa.

The Ritz-Carlton Toronto
Based in Toronto’s performing arts epicentre across from the Roy Thomson Hall, The Ritz-Carlton serves up 5-star luxury and floor to ceiling windows framing spectacular city and Lake Ontario views. Sip bubbles in the bath and then call your personal butler for gourmet room service.

Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto
Stay in 5-star opulence at the Trump International Hotel & Tower, rated the top Luxury Hotel In Canada by Trip Advisor. The superior hotel looms 65 storeys high, overlooking Toronto’s downtown entertainment borough. Take advantage of the heated pool, saunas, gourmet restaurant and funky bar.

Fairmont Royal York
Steeped in history, the Fairmont Royal York recently completed its multi-million dollar refurbishment, including a revitalised pool, health spa and guest rooms. Base yourself here and spend your days exploring nearby attractions including The CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and the performing arts centre.

Chelsea Hotel
Choose a great value guestroom or suite at Canada’s largest hotel and place yourself in the heart of the downtown neighbourhood. Ideal for families, kids will love Chelsea’s Family Fun Zone heated pool, including a huge corkscrew waterslide, Kid Centre and Club 33 Teen Lounge.

Shangri La Hotel
The Shangri La 5-star hotel on University Avenue is the place to stay if you’re on a tight schedule. Luxury in the vibrant city centre, The Shangri La sits within five blocks of Toronto’s main performance centre, live theatre district, numerous restaurants and endless shopping.


Toronto’s food scene is one of the best in North America, its distinct cafes and restaurants reflecting the city’s diverse neighbourhoods and cultures.  Renowned for its artisan markets and waterfront venues, it’s little wonder the 2016 list of Canada’s best restaurants recognised six Toronto eateries within the top 10.

Feast at FRANK
Eat within the walls of The Art Gallery of Ontario at FRANK, a casual chic restaurant, whose art and food has made it one of Toronto’s dining hot spots. This Frank Gehry-designed space hosts Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille’s mouth-watering global bistro cuisine, paired with Ontario wines.

Nota Bene
Nota Bene delivers a refined ambience, outstanding food and friendly hospitality in downtown Toronto. The globally-inspired cuisine of chef, David Lee, is known for its market fresh, contemporary gastronomy. Think rabbit Capellacci pasta, Quebec boileau venison and Cumbrae Farms hanger steak.

Cafe Belong
Head to Toronto’s lush Don Valley area for brunch. Tucked within the environmental centre of Evergreen Brick Works, Café Belong serves organic meals using sustainable produce, in a light-infused setting with wraparound windows. Owner, Brad Long, is one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed celebrity chefs.

The Peasant Table
This new gastropub in the hip neighbourhood of Leslieville is all about old-school themes, like gourmet crepes, surf & turf and classic desserts. Menu highlights include grilled octopus, smoked swordfish crudo and Wagyu beef carpaccio as well as ample vegetarian options.

Simit & Chai

This new bakery and cafe on King West specialises in Turkish style street bagels and divine loose leaf teas. Sample the signature baked goods in sandwich form loaded with toppings like cream cheese and smoked salmon or pastrami with fava bean puree and dill.

Queue for the best matcha desserts and teas in Toronto at Tsujiri  on Dundas and Bay streets. Feast on sundaes of all flavours, shaved ice and pastries in this popular, Japanese flavoured outlet. With only 10 seats available, it’s worth the trip for luscious take-away sweets.

Fat Beet
A blend of Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and Indian flavours makes this kitchen a hit. Newly opened in March 2016, bring your appetite for pan-roasted halibut with curried potatoes and rasam curry, tandoori lamb chops with fenugreek-mint sauce, and unique cocktails.

El Catrin
Stop here for authentic Mexican cuisine in a funky setting, complete with incredible murals and a relaxed, communal vibe. Three years ago, one of Mexico City’s top chefs was recruited to create El Catrin’s ambitious tapas-style menu, best enjoyed on the heated outdoor patio.    

Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
Cluny has the hallmarks of a classic Parisian bistro, with its cathedral ceilings and wine bottles displayed from floor to ceiling. This is French gastronomy at its best, served from an open kitchen complete with an Art Nouveau raw bar.

Kasa Moto
Make yourself at home on the sprawling rooftop terrace of Kasa Moto in Yorkville for modern Japanese cuisine. Wood ceilings and a thriving indoor topiary set the scene for an unforgettable dining experience that evolves from day to night.


From barista coffee to wine, beer and cocktails, Toronto has no shortage of watering holes. With some of Canada’s finest wines are produced just down the road in Niagara, and impeccable craft beer being brewed daily, you won’t go thirsty in Toronto.  

Skin + Bones
This new wine bar is the new buzz in town. The funky industrial space in the heart of Leslieville plays host to the cool kids in town, serving up cocktails, draft beer, cider tailored for breakfast lunch and dinner, with an impeccable wine list to match.

Snakes + Lattes
This is the perfect rainy day café. Sip your barista coffee and specialty espressos as you guess ‘who dunnit?’ over a rowdy game of Cluedo at Snakes + Lattes. This dedicated board game café offers impeccable coffee and a huge library of board and card games.

Amsterdam Brewhouse

Since 1986, the Amsterdam Brewhouse has created its own ales, lagers, stouts and seasonal beers on premise, staying true to its original promise to serve up flavoursome beer, made daily by hand. Take a free brewery tour and sample the wares of this proud establishment.

Cibo Wine Bar
With arguably the finest vino in Canada produced in nearby Niagara, the industrial chic Cibo Wine Bar is a magnet for local and visiting wine connoisseurs. The uptown bar won’t run dry any time soon, with 2500 bottles in an enormous, award-winning wine room.  

At Actinolite on Ossington Avenue, you’ll find unique wines and cocktails created with sustainable, organic, biodynamic ingredients. The cocktail list doesn’t stay the same for long, but the signature Solstice Sour is a favourite – a mix of sherry, lemon, Cynar, cranberry bitters, sugar and egg white.

Sip on Sake!
Take a brewery tour of the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company and indulge in unpasteurised, locally-brewed sake, made with pure Ontario spring water. The only brewery of its kind in eastern North America, its unique sakes are served in Toronto’s finest restaurants.

Balzac’s Coffee
Inspired by one of history’s consummate coffee aficionados, Honore de Balzac, this artisan coffee house can be found in several Toronto neighbourhoods, uniquely designed to harmonise with the culture of each village. Sip on some of the best coffee in the city, Parisian style!

Mill Street Brewery
It doesn’t get better than this. Three-time Canadian Brewery of the Year, the East Toronto microbrewers serve up organic lager, Tankhouse Pale Ale, Balzac’s Coffee Porter and an ever-expanding portfolio of more than 60 original beers.

Farmhouse Tavern
For classic cocktails and unique blends, head to the Farmhouse Tavern in The Junction. Pull up a tractor seat and  drink classic cocktails served in mason jars. Try the house special, mixing Collingwood Whiskey  and Moondog Bitters with an orange and clove syrup.

Spend a summer afternoon on the relaxed, tree-lined patio of this Irish saloon on Danforth Ave in Greektown. An institution in Toronto, Allen’s offers 340 whiskies, a lengthy scotch and beer list, and more than 100 VQA wines from all regions of Ontario and British Columbia.    


Toronto is arguably the ultimate shopping city in Canada, with everything from the uber-chic Queen Street strip to the retro stores in Kensington Market. Browse locally designed jewellery and shopping strips abundant with vintage and antique wares. The opening of Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom in 2016 will enhance the city’s already-incredible shopping scene.  

Sonic Boom
Toronto is the ultimate place to update your vinyl collection. The huge number of record shops in the city reflects its thriving, diverse musical culture. The largest independent record shop in Canada, head to Sonic Boom for vinyls, CDs and paraphernalia of your favourite band.

Made You Look
Take home a special piece of jewellery to commemorate your time in Toronto. Made You Look on Queen Street West displays original works of more than 100 local designers. Choose your price point, from edgy costume jewellery to pieces made from gold and platinum, adorned with gemstones.

Kensington Market
For something a little left of centre, head to Kensington Market, next to Chinatown, for an abundance of vintage clothing shops, retro outlets, furniture shops and organic produce. The eccentric Blue Banana Market is the best place to pick up one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs.

Toronto Eaton Centre

While away the hours perusing more than 250 stores at the historic Toronto Eaton Centre, a

downtown landmark in its own right. The third largest mall in Canada is filled with high

fashion, designer shoes, budget wear, kids’ gear, books, specialty food, electronics – you name it.

Designer labels
Head to Bloor Avenue, adjacent to the charming Victorian architecture of Yorkville, for high-end shopping, restaurants and art galleries. Here you’ll find designer brands like Holt Renfrew, Prada, Hermes, Gucci and Hazelton Lanes.

AGO Gift Shop
Don’t leave the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) without browsing the Frank Gehry-designed gift shop. Its remarkable wares include impeccable home décor, art prints, silk scarfs, distinctive jewellery, and even has a kids section filled with quality art and craft sets.

Champagne and Cupcakes
Toronto designer, Caroline Lim, showcases killer cocktail dresses and frocks for all occasions in her White Label Collection at Champagne and Cupcakes. In the market for something unique? Lim offers custom-made attire on site at the Queen Street West outlet.

For upscale shopping head straight to the wealthy neighbourhood of Yorkville, where, luxury French footwear brand Christian Louboutin opened its first freestanding Canadian store in 2016. This exclusive shopping district houses high-end boutiques and Canadian designers, such as Jeanne Lottie and Fresh Collective.


You’ll feel alive in the second largest Chinatown in North America, abundant with exotic clothes, unusual jewellery and colourful accessories and multicultural homewares. Rest your feet in one of the dozens of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants dotted throughout the neighbourhood.

Ossington Village
For the trendiest precinct in Toronto, head west to Ossington. Discover the coolest vintage clothing at Penny Arcade, bespoke eye-wear, and retro gear at Emporium by I Miss You. Sip coffee and people watch – this is the place where the hip and funky come to hang out.  


Toronto is a tapestry of hiking trails, bike paths and green spaces. Scale the treetops zipline-style, spend a day at the beach or head to a ballgame. Winter is no excuse to stand still. Hit the toboggan slopes, take a salsa class or join a walking tour. Toronto keeps moving all year round.

Cycle Toronto
Thousands of cyclists taking advantage of Toronto’s extensive bike lanes during the summer months. Join the road warriors and explore Toronto on two wheels. Check out the Welcome Cyclists Network for bike-friendly hotels, cycle tours and hire your wheels through Bike Share Toronto.

Locals know
Local residents make the best tour guides. Want to know more about a particular neighbourhood or district? Tap Into T.O. will match you up with a volunteer ‘Toronto Greeter’ who will show you around and share their local knowledge on the best places to eat, shop and party.

Tee up in Toronto
Practise your swing just minutes from downtown Toronto at Lakeview Golf Course, a designated Ontario Heritage Site and two-time host of the Canadian Open. Its leafy rolling fairways create a course that is both challenging and picturesque. Check out the Pro Shop and dine at the Clubhouse.

Ski & Toboggan
Join the locals as they revel in wintery fun on the many toboggan slopes around the city. Head to Centennial Park in Etobicoke for spectacular winter action with its Ski & Snowboard Centre and an excellent toboggan slope for all ages.

TreeTop Trekking
Soar above the forest canopy and swing Tarzan-style from tree-to tree on the zipline circuits at Treetop Trekking game parks. The Brampton Park zipline courses hover 300 metres above Heart Lake in a stunning conservation area. Appropriate for ages nine and over.  

The Blue Jays are in town!
As any authentic Torontonian will attest, you haven’t seen Toronto until you’ve seen the Blue Jays play at Rogers Centre, ten minutes from Union Station. Join the ocean of blue and white at Toronto’s downtown baseball stadium – it’s worth it just for the electric atmosphere.

Walking dead
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, a walking ghost tour of Toronto is a thrilling way to uncover the city’s darkest secrets and haunted hot spots. The Haunted Streets of Downtown Toronto tour features the Royal Ontario Museum, Queen’s Park, Old City Hall, and historic Osgoode Hall.

Hit the beach
Catch a ferry to the Toronto Islands for a day at the beach. Gibraltar Point and its lonely lighthouse offers a quiet, pristine beach for peaceful sun-baking. Feeling brave? Strip off at Hanlan’s Point Beach, the only official nude beach on the islands.

Salsa at Lula Lounge
Spend an evening at Lula Lounge for live salsa, jazz and world music! Get into the spirit with a free salsa lesson, sip on sangria and dance to the beat of Toronto’s most exciting jazz, Latin and world music talent. Lula Lounge is an epicentre for accomplished performers and emerging musicians.

Take to the trails
Outdoor enthusiasts call Toronto ‘a city within a park’, with its abundant green spaces and hundreds of kilometres of trails ready to be traversed. Head to High Park, west of downtown, resplendent with wild forests, Chinese gardens and hiking trails along the waterfront.


From classic and historical art, to cutting-edge dance and hilarious unscripted comedy, Toronto is a hot bed of creative talent. Check out incredible street art (no admission fee!), satisfy your shoe fetish at the Bata Shoe Museum, or spend an evening at the theatre. Whatever your penchant, Toronto’s got you covered.

Art Gallery of Toronto
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was transformed by Frank Gehry into an architectural masterpiece in 2008. Tear your eyes away from the imposing spiral staircase and peruse the array of Canadian, European, African and contemporary exhibits that form part of the 90,000 pieces on display.

Royal Ontario Museum
Great for all ages, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history.  Check out the ‘Earth’s Treasures’ display of meteorites, minerals and gems, as well as hands-on galleries, artefacts from Egypt, Rome and Africa, and incredible dinosaur exhibits.

Toronto street art
The Toronto street art community is thriving, with new works regularly appearing all over the city. Head to Rush Lane, a.k.a. Graffiti Alley, a kilometre-long strip adorned with vibrant murals. Kensington Market also boasts spectacular, ever-changing wall art reflecting the ethnic cultures of the city.

Bata Shoe Museum
The quirky Bata Shoe Museum features thousands of shoes from diverse eras and cultures. This is a storytelling gallery where every shoe chronicles a fascinating moment in time. Participate in hands-on demonstrations and learn about the pleasures and perils of dress in the 19th century.

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Book worms and history buffs will love the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, the largest rare book library in Canada. Pore over rare collections dating back hundreds of years on subjects as varied as the historic medicine, Aristotle, and Canadian literature.

Shaw Festival
Just 20 minutes from the thunder of Niagara Falls, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-On-The-Lake is one of North America’s finest cultural attractions. Sip on Niagara wine and enjoy a spectacular array of comedies, dramas and all the best work by the infamous playwright, Bernard Shaw.  

Outdoor music
Visit Toronto during the summer months and enjoy free outdoor concerts of all musical genres. Toronto Music Garden hosts the Summer Music in the Garden Series from June to September. If Indie music is more your style, head to Indie Fridays at Yonge-Dundas Square.

An evening of dance
The Harbourfront Centre is a nexus for world class dance, from classical and contemporary ballet to flamenco and indigenous movement. The centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre was the first stage in Canada to be built exclusively for dance, now attracting professional dance companies from around the world.

Just for laughs
Toronto is a city that likes a giggle. No matter what night of the week, comedy clubs around Toronto come alive with stand-up and improv shows. Try Comedy Bar and Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival hosts some of the best live, scripted comedy in Canada for 12 days in March.  

Toronto International Film Festival
For 10 days in September the Toronto International Film Festival screens more than 300 films from 60 countries. Check out the latest flicks and enjoy the electric atmosphere in the city. Keep your camera ready as Toronto is invaded by celebrities and film stars.


Often referred to as Hollywood North, Toronto is recognised for its significant contribution to movie production, playing host to the annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). But there’s a lot more to the city’s events diary. Year round, the city vibrates with music, performance and food festivals, as well as world-class sporting events.  

World Cup of Hockey
In September 2016, 150 top NHL hockey players will face off in Toronto during the World Cup of Hockey. Eight teams featuring players from more than 15 countries will play at Air Canada in this best-on-best international hockey championship. Worth a look for the atmosphere alone.  

Winterlicious / Summerlicious
Toronto’s seasonal culinary celebrations, Summerlicioius and Winterlicious, include the prix fixe program, offering three course menus in more than 200 establishments throughout the city. The festivals feature cooking classes, dinner theatre and intimate chef dinners. Summerlicious: 8 – 24 July 2016. Winterlicious: 27 January – 10 February 2017.

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
From September 8 -18 2016, the Toronto International Film Festival will screen more than 300 films from 60 countries. The city set for blockbusters like Brokeback Mountain, X-Men and The Time Traveller’s Wife, Toronto is the rightful host for the world’s leading public film festival.

Canada Day
Toronto celebrates Canada Confederation on 1 July at Mel Lastman Square with a free, fun-filled evening of live music, dance performances, family activities, and a spectacular fireworks show. With 2017 heralding Canada’s 150th anniversary, Canada Day is set to be the party of the year.

The Calcave of Lights
Toronto residents welcome the onset of winter with the Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square – an annual holiday tradition featuring the first illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas Tree, live musical performances, fireworks and skating parties on the iconic outdoor rink.

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Check out CONTACT, the largest photography event in the world, celebrating its 20th birthday in 2016. More than 1500 Canadian and international photographers exhibit extraordinary, thought-provoking images on streets, billboards, subway platforms and on building interiors and facades throughout the greater Toronto area.

Luminato Festival
Luminato is Toronto’s global multi-arts festival for the open-minded showcases art, music, theatre and dance. Now in its tenth year, the 2016 Luminato Festival will transform one of the city’s industrial landmarks into a public art centre, including a theatre, stage, restaurants and bars.

Pride Toronto Festival
The largest Pride festival in North America, Pride Toronto launches ‘Pride Month’ in 2016, culminating with the annual 10-day Pride Toronto festival. The event is set to make Canadian history in 2016, with the sitting Prime Minister participating in the annual Pride Parade for the first time.

Toronto Fringe Festival
A summer program for performance and theatre enthusiasts, Toronto Fringe Festival features more than 1100 performances in multiple venues, including theatre, dance, art and busking. Tickets are just $12 for adults and $5 for kids, with lots of free programming thrown in. 29 June – 10 July 2016.

Canadian Music Week
A magnet for musos across the globe, Canadian Music Week is part music festival, part conference. As the industry folk gather for panel discussions, grab a wristband and take in hundreds of indie bands and big headline acts at venues throughout Toronto all week long.


One of the greatest things about Toronto is its proximity to natural marvels, charming townships and award-winning wineries. Within a 200 kilometre radius of the city you’ll find the Thousand Islands of the St Lawrence River, historic townships like Stratford, an outstanding  wine region, and Niagara Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Niagara Falls
You’ll hear the power of Niagara Falls before you see them. Take a Journey Behind the Falls, stand in the mist of the mighty Canadian Horseshoe Falls and watch as 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water tumbles from 13 storeys above. Visit during winter and marvel at the mini icebergs floating in the basin and the natural ice sculptures that form from the mist of the falls.

Niagara Falls is one and a half hours drive from Toronto. Rent a car, relax on a Gray Line or Genova bus tour, or travel by rail.

Thousand Islands
Toronto is perfectly placed to capture the natural beauty and fascinating history of the Thousand Islands, a collection of more than 1800 islands along the St Lawrence River. Soak up the sunshine on a day cruise past the elegant Boldt Castle, past Zavicon Island the waterfront mansions of the uber-rich.

Visit historic Fort Henry in Kingston and Bellevue House & Gardens, home of Canada’s first Prime minister, Sir John A Macdonald. Short Trips offers day trips to the Thousand Islands including motorcoach transfers to and from Toronto.

An hour and a half drive from Toronto, thirty minutes from Niagara Falls, lies the romantic town of Niagara-On-The-Lake. The old town is preserved in history, a designated heritage site resplendent with 19th century architecture, historic sites and charming inns.

Discover the boutiques that line the main streets with quaint offerings of antiques, jams, Canadian fashion, rare books and theatre memorabilia.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is the heart of the Niagara wine region, with its unique micro-climate creating the ideal grape-growing environment. Explore the wineries and stop for lunch on the patio at Trius Winery at Hillebrand.

Eco adventures
Scale the treetops, glide over the canopy of the striking Blue Mountains, delve into dark caves, and mine for gemstones at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, 160 kilometres from Toronto.

The entire family will love hiking through the caverns created millions of years ago by glacial ice. Steel your nerves on the Thunderbird twin zipline with its 87-metre vertical drop, and stroll over the suspension bridge with its sweeping views of the Georgian Bay.

Visit during winter for cross-country skiing and guided snowshoe tours in this UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Stratford township
Just 155 kilometres from Toronto in Southwestern Ontario, Stratford is a friendly hub of performance, art and gastronomy. Although best-known for its productions of Shakespearean plays during the annual Stratford Festival, Stratford is well worth a visit all year round.

Foodies will love the smorgasbord of fine cheeses, distilleries and gourmet leaf teas, while art lovers will appreciate exhibitions of needlework, artisan craft and sculptures found in galleries and outdoor spaces around town.

Shop for antiques and vintage clothing, and browse the Stratford Festival Shop brimming with memorabilia to honour Shakespeare’s works.


There’s a thousand ways to fill 24 hours in this vivid city. Burn some energy walking, cycling and paddling Toronto’s roads, markets and waterways, or take in a show, feast on the multicultural cuisine and head to a hockey game. Here’s one way to spend a day and night in Toronto.

Wake up in the glamorous Hazelton Hotel, Toronto’s only member of The Leading Hotels of the World, based in the affluent Yorkville neighbourhood. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and book in for a massage at the Hotel’s luxurious Valmont Spa.

Take a tour with Toronto Urban Adventures and go beyond the tourist hot spots. Feel an instant connection to the city as you discover how Kensington Market and Chinatown evolved from a Jewish market to the avant-garde enclave it is today. Become a pork enthusiast in the city historically known as ‘Hogtown’.

The best vantage point for panoramic city views is at the top of Toronto’s famed CN Tower, the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Take the ultimate selfie on the roof outside as you brave EdgeWalk, Toronto’s tallest urban adventure and the world’s highest hands-free walk.

Kensington Market
Check out this bohemian stomping ground with an international flare in this historic downtown neighbourhood. Old Victorian houses serve as vintage clothing outlets, scattered in between ethnic stores and restaurants.

Hungry? Make a beeline for Mexican eatery Torteria San Cosme at Kensington Market. Feast on sandwiches stacked with breaded chicken and Manchego cheese, or loaded with seared flat iron steak and panela cheese, with a side of churros.

Walk off lunch on a Toronto museum crawl. Start at the classic Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), then head to Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history, the  Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The quirky Bata Shoe Museum is just down the road, featuring thousands of shoes from diverse eras and cultures.

It’s dinner with a difference. Take a leisurely paddle to the Toronto Islands with Culinary Adventure Co, where you’ll feast on a gourmet picnic. Watch the sun set over the island waterways and board your canoe as darkness falls, taking in the magnificent skyline as you return to the city.

Ice hockey is the game that defines Canada, and the 2016-2017 season marks the 100th Anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Grab tickets and head to the Air Canada Centre on Bay Street, or join the fans at Maple Leaf Square where games are broadcast live in the Ford Fan Zone.


The game leaves you buzzing and you’re ready to hit the town. Head to one of the hot night spots, like Early Mercy and The Citizen on King West, Sneaky Dees on College Street, or catch a hip hop show at Toronto’s best low capacity venue, The Underground at Drake Hotel.

You’re in the mood for comfort food before calling it a night. Poutine is more a religion than a food in Canada and Smoke’s Poutinerie serves over 30 mouth-watering varieties. Open until 4am on Queen Street West.

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