Toronto, Canada, is full of food, fun and adventure. Who knew?
I was bowled over by my recent visit to Toronto. I had visited Montreal with my family when I was a kid. It had that French vibe and it felt like you were in Europe. And my dad could have fun practicing his bad French.
But I always thought of Toronto as a modern city without much character. I knew you could go up the CN Tower and see the whole place. But what exactly was there to see?
Well, let me tell you. I only had a few days to explore but I wish I'd had weeks. Below is my short list of things to do and see when you travel to Toronto but it hardly begins to tell the story. For starters you can:
Hop on and off the 501 streetcar along Queen Street
The 501 streetcar route is one of the longest in North America. With a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) day pass, you can hop on and off all day, visiting the many, many shops and restaurants all along most of the line. Bakeries. Clothing shops. Stores selling cool kitchen gadgets. Shoes, shoes and more shoes.
My first day, I went east from the center of town with a group of people from a travel bloggers conference I was attending. A freelancer for the Toronto Star who writes on urban life, guided us through back streets in Corktown, settled by the Irish in the 19th century. Corktown turned seemlessly into Leslieville. If we'd continued east, we would have hit the beach at the end. But we had to head back. It was only, as the Gilligan's Island people said, a three-hour tour.
Another day I walked...and walked...west to the Gladstone Hotel before turning back, catching a streetcar east and then another north to Chinatown.
Visit the CN Tower
You can see the CN Tower from nearly everywhere in the city but at every point, it looks different. And, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Sears Tower in Chicago, many residents in Toronto set their compass by the CN Tower.
I debated going up to the top. It was so pretty and interesting to be on ground level. Why leave it behind for the ant-size view? Well, it would have been a big mistake to miss that trip. The views from on high are spectacular. Of Lake Ontario, of all the buildings from the top, of the Toronto Islands (Toronto has islands??), which I had visited by ferry two days earlier.