Benefit from exclusive promotions and VIP perks Free Membership!
Four Seasons Toronto | Canada
Available: Jun 1, 2023 - Dec 31, 2023
Park Hyatt Toronto | Canada
Available: Sep 22, 2023 - Apr 30, 2024
The Hazelton Hotel | Canada
Available: Apr 1, 2023 - Dec 31, 2023
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and is known for its diverse culture, charming neighborhoods, and vibrant arts scene. However, with so much to explore, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you plan your trip, we've put together this Toronto travel guide. In it, you'll find tips on where to stay, what to do, and how to make the most of your time in the city. This guide will give you all the information you need to have a memorable time in Toronto.
Although Toronto was officially established on March 6, 1834, by Samuel de Champlain, its roots go back much further. Samuel de Champlain, a famous explorer, sent Etienne Brule into Canada's wilderness in the 1600s to discover what he could find. He discovered the river and portage routes from St. Lawrence to Lake Huron, possibly Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Lake Ontario. This area was known by the native Huron peoples for many centuries. They called it Toronto, believed to be a "meeting place."
Here grew a bustling village called Teiaiagon, which later became the location of a French trading station. However, the trading post was renamed York after the British won the Seven Years' War in 1793. Toronto was given the name again 40 years later. After a failed invasion in 1812, several disastrous fires, and a rebellion in 1837, there was a steady but slow increase in white Anglo-Saxon Protestants through the 20th century. Toronto has been home to many people from around the globe since World War II. Today, it is a popular destination for tourists.
Toronto is best experienced in the warmer months. Winter can be cold and tiring, but there are still plenty of things to do and see.
Moreover, every weekend in spring/summer (May through September), there are countless festivals, events, and performances. It would be best if you caught the Beaches International Jazz Festival and Toronto Caribbean Carnival, the international film festival, Luminato, and Pride, as well as many other neighborhood events that are equally enjoyable.
Winter activities are plentiful in Toronto. Also, make sure you have a warm coat. Toronto Christmas Market, the Light Festival, and outdoor ice skating in public spaces like The Bentway are all great options. It's also the perfect time to visit Toronto's museums and galleries.
Below are some of the best places and things to do in Toronto.
This gallery houses a staggering 95,000-piece collection. These include classic paintings and extraordinary modern sculptures, as well as photographs. Besides, the exhibitions here are constantly on the cutting edge, making it a must-see attraction. Take in Canadian art from the Group of Seven. You can also visit Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room – Let's Survive Forever. This is the first crowdfunding campaign to acquire contemporary art in Canada.
The CN Tower is the centerpiece of Toronto's skyline. It's a must-see attraction that offers a 360-degree bird's eye view and stunning city views. It's also a great experience to ride up the Tower's glass elevator. Besides, the EdgeWalk is a unique experience for daredevils. It allows you to walk around the Tower's central pod without using your hands.
Gooderham & Worts Distillery was once a tiny windmill. But, it grew to become one of the largest British Empire distilleries. It is now an important historical site serving as the city's arts and culture hub. It is a pedestrian-only area that you will love. But you can also walk the cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful Victorian buildings. This area is a testament to Toronto's history.
Harbourfront Centre sits on the city's beautiful lakeshore. It serves as the backdrop for many contemporary arts and community events. It is a vibrant area that you can visit year-round, with its indoor and outdoor spaces of theaters, retail shops, parks, and restaurants. Dancing on the Pier, Canada Day, and other activities are also popular. You can also paddle a boat on Natrel Pond in summer, and it transforms into Natrel Rink in winter. This outdoor public ice skating area is open to the public.
This market is home to some of Toronto's most renowned food vendors. The South Market building in Toronto is a landmark. It houses more than 120 food vendors. It is the perfect place for foodies to experience Toronto's rich history. The famous Carousel Bakery peameal bacon sandwich, lobster rolls, and St. Urbain Bagels and Everything Bagel are just a few options.
This museum, founded in 1914, is one of North America's most renowned museums. Visitors can explore art and cultures from all over the globe with 40 permanent galleries and more than 13,000,000 specimens and objects. It is also home to fascinating exhibitions and other hip events, making it one of the city's most popular attractions.
While English and French are Canada's official languages, you will likely also hear Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, and Tagalog (a language from the Philippines), among other languages. Toronto's diversity and growing immigrant population are the reason for this.
American travelers will experience the most significant difference between the Canadian dollar and the international metric system. The US dollar is equivalent to approximately CA$1.45. However, the exchange rate fluctuates, so check it before you go. It is possible to avoid confusion by becoming familiar with Canadian currency.
There are five denominations for coins: $2, $1, $0.50, and $0.25. $0.10, and $0.05. Besides, they call Canadian dollar coins "loonies," while two-dollar coins are "toonies." There are also five denominations of paper bills: $100, $50, $20, and $10. You can withdraw Canadian money from any ATM in Toronto to avoid high exchange fees.
You may need to make another trip to explore the many culinary delights of Toronto. Toronto has a Little Italy, but you also have Chinatown, Koreatown, and a Greektown. There's also a Little Iran and a Little Portugal just 2 miles west of downtown. Moreover, the Bazaar neighborhood offers top-quality Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Roncesvalles Village, formerly known as Little Poland, is also well-known for its Eastern European restaurants and independent coffee shops. It also hosts the annual Little Poland festival in September. No matter where you stay, the locals will assure you that this area has good food.
If you are looking for a one-stop shop, there are two places to look at: Kensington Market and St. Lawrence Market Old Town. St. Lawrence Market is also a popular spot for foodies. It sells delicious Canadian and international classics. Besides, the Carousel Bakery serves a classic peameal bacon sandwich. Churrascos is a Portuguese stall that's famous for its chicken. Buster's Sea Cove also has fish and chips, while Uno Mustachio offers veal and eggplant parmigiana sandwiches.
Kensington Market is an example of Toronto's diverse dining scene. You're bound to meet the oddest neighbors if you walk down the neighborhood's main streets. For instance, Rasta Pasta is a Jamaican-Italian Fusion restaurant next to Seven Lives on Kensington Avenue. There, you can buy California-style tacos. You can also find vegan Urban Herbivore and Wanda's Pie at the Sky shops and Otto's Berlin Doner, which sells Berlin-style doner kebabs. There are also a wide variety of Asian cuisines within two blocks of each other.
Below are some of the best neighborhoods to stay in in Toronto.
West Queen West is not only one of Toronto's most trendy neighborhoods, but Vogue Magazine says it's also the second-coolest neighborhood in the world. This vibrant and energetic district in central Toronto is where young, creative, and brilliant people congregate day and night.
The Entertainment and Financial District embodies the idea that you can work hard and play together just south of Yonge-Dundas. The Financial District is the heart of Old Toronto. It houses historical sights and modern wonders like the Royal Bank Plaza, a gold-clad skyscraper. The CN Tower, a landmark at 553m high, is to the south.
The Entertainment District was once known as the Garment District. However, they abandoned most of the factories by the 1970s and now use them to house nightclubs and music venues. You'll find modern hotels in this vibrant area. Stay in the nearby Financial District to enjoy elegant lodgings in historic buildings that date back to the beginning of the 20th century.
This is the heart of Toronto and the commercial and economic hub. Downtown is ideal for tourists who want to indulge their taste buds, shop till they drop, and visit beautiful heritage sites. There's something for everyone. From the historical and cultural to the trendy and hip. You can enjoy Toronto's most iconic landmarks and top attractions within minutes.
The area of College Street West has charming restaurants and outdoor cafes, surrounded by gorgeous tree-lined streets with Edwardian-era homes. Cafe Diplomatico, a long-standing community favorite, is open to exploring and eating at your own pace during the day. The neighborhood also becomes a hot spot at night with El Convento Rico and Revival Bar.
Toronto's original neighborhood, the Town of York, has the most 19th-century buildings in the province. This area is rich in local history, has great bars and restaurants, and has a vibrant arts scene. The Gooderham Building, also known locally as the Flatiron Building, Berczy Park's dog fountain, and Sugar Beach are all worth a visit. As well, St. Lawrence Market is a well-known culinary destination. You can also stroll through the Distillery District, one of the country's premier arts and culture destinations.
Yorkville, located north of Yonge-Dundas, is easily accessible via Yonge Road. However, only a few metro stations connect it to Toronto. Bloor Street is home to a variety of boutiques and galleries, as well as upscale restaurants and fancy cafes.
The Annex is a residential neighborhood located to the west of Yorkville. It borders the University of Toronto and has a large student population. The area has beautiful examples of Edwardian and Victorian architecture. It is also easy to get around, thanks to the Spadina and Dupont metro stations.
Boutique lodgings and bed and breakfasts are now available in the Annex. Yorkville also has several high-end international hotels with excellent service.
Toronto's Chinatown is at the intersection of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street. Also bordering this area is Kensington. You will find everything you need in this multicultural area, from Japanese convenience stores to vintage shops.
Kensington Market is a shopping area that also features many small shops. In addition, there are many international restaurants, tea shops, and tree-lined streets. Besides, on Sundays in the summer, the roads are closed to traffic. This makes it a paradise for pedestrians.
Chinatown is not just about Chinese restaurants. There are many other Asian delights as well. You'll find fresh fruits, dumplings, traditional Chinese medicines, and souvenirs along Spadina Avenue. This is also where to go for the Chinese New Year!
This area of town offers accommodation in a variety of hostel-style options. There are also red brick guesthouses and cozy guest houses that offer comfortable, homey accommodations.
Harbourfront is just south of the Entertainment District, bordered to its north by the Gardiner Expressway and the main train line. It is a tranquil area right on Lake Ontario. The Harbourfront Centre also hosts community events throughout the year. You will find people canoeing and outdoor art exhibits in the summer. Besides, enjoy a drink at one of the many cafes along the pedestrian promenade.
You can also hop on a boat to see Toronto's skyline above the water. Or, take the ferry to the Toronto Islands. Furthermore, Harbourfront has a few hotels that are located along the water. These high-end and modern hotels have stunning views of the lake from high up.
Public transportation is the best way to travel around Toronto. Toronto Transit Commission, which runs three modes of public transportation, the subway, streetcar, and bus, has extensive routes throughout Toronto and its suburbs. However, to travel on the TTC, you will need either a token or a pass. Passes are valid for unlimited rides on the three modes of public transportation. In addition, taxis and the subway connect the city to Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and hosts many cultural events each year. But there are still some things to be aware of. It's also easy to get lost. The signs are not very specific, and you may find that the north is not at the top of a map. Sometimes, they show east at the top. If you go in the wrong direction, you could end up in a place you don't want to be.
As a tourist, some people will try to get money, food, cigarettes, or other items from you. They may attack alone or with a group of friends. Also, panhandlers love downtown. Therefore, keep your valuables close at hand and be mindful of your surroundings.
Yonge Street is the longest street in the entire city. So ask for specific addresses when searching for a place to stay. You will also need to be cautious when walking the road after dark.