It’s no cliche, Toronto really has something for everyone, in a capital that still manages to feel like a small town. Eclectic and cosmopolitan, yet completely unpretentious.
Notably cleaner than most any other major city, Toronto also feels friendlier, safer, and more welcoming. Perhaps the only thing missing is efficient public transport, but it hardly feels fair to bring it up. When visiting restaurants and clubs, follow typical US tipping guidelines of 15% or more for great service.
Toronto is a mix of many varied and diverse neighbourhoods, including a bustling Chinatown, Little Italy, Koreatown, and arts and theatre districts. The main Downtown area is lakeside Harbourfront, home to the Maple Leafs and Bluejays, and many sports bars, off-track betting spots, and ferries perfect to capture the skyline view.
The architectural focal point is the CN tower. Opened in 1976, the Tower offers spectacular views of the town and bay, and features a small area with a glass floor if you dare. Similar newer towers, such as the Tokyo Sky Tree, appear to be modelled off the CN.
Until a few years ago, the CN tower was the world’s tallest manmade structure, though the visitor area is still a fair bit down from the top, which is plenty high enough! The fittingly-named 360 revolving restaurant in the tower is surprisingly good with a wonderful steak and seafood menu, making for a memorable dinner on a clear night.
Nearby Corktown features some of the city’s oldest architecture, and cafe’s, galleries and boutiques in the Distillery District. To the west of downtown, find Kensington Market – fun on a summer Sunday as the streets close to traffic. Many restaurants have open patios, and feature a relaxed casual atmosphere perfect for an afternoon pint.
Toronto is a very LGBT-friendly city, with a Gay Village neighbourhood that hosts a large Pride festival each June. Many parties and patios to be found here, around Church and Wellesley. The Toronto theatre scene pales perhaps only to New York and London, and eponymous Film Festival each September is a strong rival to Cannes.
Visit Second City for nightly improv and sketch comedy shows – perhaps you’ll see a future Dan Aykroyd or John Candy just starting out. This neighbourhood can be found on King and Adelaide Streets, and has seen recent growth of many chic restaurants, clubs, and galleries.
For dinner or later night time haunts, you can’t go wrong browsing Queen Street. Both picturesque by day and chic by night, it is busy with locals and tourists alike. Situated in the middle of Toronto, this stretch is designed for a fun pub crawl, but so much more.
Pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants, offering global epicurean choices, many restaurants have been here for decades but just as many are the “hot new spot”. Over on the west side, known as “Queen West” you’ll find the arts, fashion, boutiques and salons. For nightlife, Toronto has a thriving music scene with clubs for jazz, indie rock, Latin, and after-hours bars for those who want to keep going. Hair of the dog? Many spots offer brunch for your Sunday morning, all the better to recover and plan for the next evening!