What to do in Toronto, Canada
Go the Whole Hog in Toronto
By Richard Jones
Not only is Toronto the largest city in Canada, it is also the friendliest.
In recent times, the urban playground located on the northern shores of Lake Ontario has become year-round, world-class tourist destination, with an underrated culinary culture, diverse neighbourhoods, cutting-edge music scene and even beautiful beaches.
‘Hogtown’ is only seven hours away from the UK by plane, and on June 1, Air Canada is making the city even more accessible as it resumes its direct flights from Manchester, five days per week.
We look at the top 10 things do in Toronto.
1. Hockey Hall of Fame
Canada is an ice-obsessed nation, and the Hockey Hall of Fame in the historic Bank of Montreal building on Yonge St is the permanent home of the Stanley Cup. Visitors can face off against famed NHL players in the Shoot Out simulation and check out the collection of jerseys and other relics in the massive Tissot World of Hockey Zone. During the summer months, the Rogers Centre is where Major League Baseball team the Blue Jays play their home games.
2. Niagara Falls
The awe-inspiring Niagara is a collection of three waterfalls that straddle Ontario and New York – the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Falls. The Canada side is the most picturesque and the Table Rock site allows you to stand barely a metre from the edge of Horseshoe Falls. You can also Journey Behind the Falls in a lift to stand next to the curtain of water, take to the water on a boat, or soar over the falls in a helicopter.
3. Roy Thomson Hall
Hogtown prides itself on its thriving arts scene, and, being the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Roy Thomson Hall is at the heart of it. Whether you want to check out the next Drake at one of the many live music spots or take in an aria with the Canadian Opera Company, there’s always something to hear. The 40th Canadian Music Week takes place from June 6-11, with the North By Northeast Music Festival (NXNE) a week later.
4. Bellwoods Brewery
The craft beer scene is thriving in Toronto and award-winning West End brewery Bellwoods is the top choice. Eccentrically named beers like Fizzy Blaster, Cat Lady and Jelly King say everything you need to know about the vibe here. The brewpub is situated on the busy Ossington Avenue in the west end of the city, beside the original bottle shop. It features a street-side patio with fresh beer on tap, and a full menu of seasonal fare, like wild leek sausage and beef chuck with onion relish.
5. Toronto International Film Festival
During September, stars flock to the film capital of Canada, with theatres across the city screening premieres, award-winning flicks, Hollywood blockbusters and independent foreign films. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place in September at venues including the Scotiabank Theatre, The Princess of Wales Theatre, and the Cinesphere IMAX Theatre. The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is staged in April and May.
6. St Lawrence Market
It’s been going strong since 1803 and today, St Lawrence Market is home to over 120 vendors selling everything from fresh-from-the-farm veggies to gourmet bread straight out of the oven. The South Market is buzzing with restaurants, artisans and specialty food vendors offering visitors the unique and lively atmosphere of an authentic farmers’ market. During the annual Winterlicious and Summerlicious food festivals, 200 of Toronto’s best restaurants showcase their best dishes.
7. CN Tower
The spire of the CN Tower dominates the Toronto landscape. Once the world’s tallest tower, the iconic 553-metre-tall structure features a revolving glass viewpoint at the top, which houses the divine 360 restaurant serving local Canadian specialities and drinks from the world’s highest wine cellar. If extreme thrills are your thing, book one of the tower’s Edgewalks. Or if you’re in the mood for celebrating, packages with bubbly and artisanal chocolates are available.
8. The Distillery District
The collection of 19th-century industrial buildings that once comprised the Gooderham & Worts Distillery is now a major dining, shopping and cultural hub. Walk through the pedestrian-only village to find quaint cafes, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. The 2022 Lavazza IncluCity Festival will take place her for the first time in June and July. It will feature an innovative cinema village, while outdoor theatres and patios will line Trinity Street.
9. Kensington Market
No trip to Hogtown is complete without visiting the iconic Kensington Market. This quirky pocket of the city has a wonderful eclectic and bohemian vibe, with charming cafés, Mexican snack foods, decades-old vintage stores and tasty vegan lunch joints. If you’re looking to explore further, the Trinity Bellwoods public park is not too far away and has three ball diamonds, eight tennis courts, two volleyball courts, an artificial ice rink, a picnic area, a wading pool and a playground.
10. Toronto Islands
Toronto Island Park, a 13-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto, has something to offer for everyone – go to the beach, check out Centreville amusement park or just head out on a hike. The 15 Toronto Islands are all inter-connected by pathways and bridges and although Center Island is the most popular, Ward’s Island is far prettier with a scenic boardwalk and a cute beachy café. Over at Ontario Place, Cirque du Soleil’s magical show has returned under the Big Top.
Air Canada resumes slights from Manchester to Toronto five days per week from June 1. Find out more at www.aircanada.com.
A Toronto CityPass (www.citypass.com/toronto) provides access to key attractions across the city. The passes are £51 for adults and £34 for children.
For more information on attractions in Toronto, please visit DestinationToronto.com