Road trip guide: Toronto

Photo courtesy of Paul (dex)

Like most people who live in a city their whole lives, I rarely take the time to visit with Toronto and actually see the sights. Sure, I’ve seen them but I usually don’t look at them or appreciate the city the way tourists do. I’ve put together this road trip guide of Toronto based on some of the activities from the Volkswagon Lifestyle event, as well as a few of my favourite places in Toronto.

Cosmopolitan hotel

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This hotel is in a great location for anyone who wants to park the car and visit the city on-foot. I recommend walking over to the St. Lawrence Market for shopping and authentic Montreal-style bagels at St. Urbain Bagel. Plus, you’re right on the edge of the Entertainment District if you’re in the mood for dancing the night away. And conveniently, the perfect place to spend the next morning’s hangover is at the Shizen Spa inside the hotel (photo 2 of 3). I suggest getting a massage from the lovely Belinda Torchia or any of their registered massage therapists at the spa.

Second City

If you prefer improv over musicals than Second City is the place to catch a show in the theatre section of the Entertainment District. Every night there’s a free improv show after the main event (anyone can attend) where the actors practice their improv chops and sometimes invite different actors to join them.

Segway tour of the Distillery District

(Photo 3 of 3)
A few days before I did the segway tour of the Distillery District I caught a mild cold, and unfortunately the day of the tour it was rainy and cold. So like most people, I hate being wet, cold and sick and this should have affected my enjoyment of the segways. It did not, because segways are just that much fun. Plus the guys at Segway Ontario had great attitudes the whole time, and still delivered an interesting tour of the area. I’m definitely going back again on a nice day.

The following neighbourhoods, activities and restaurants are some of my favourites in the city so I couldn’t write a road trip guide of Toronto without including these (and as you can tell, I really love eating).

Kensington Market/Chinatown

Shop for cheese at Mendels Creamery N’appetizer in Kensington Market. I could spend all day chatting with the knowledgeable staff and sampling different cheeses. Heavenly.

The Beaches

The perfect beacher day starts with breakfast at Sunset Grill or The Beacher Cafe, followed by a walk along the boardwalk, and then a leisurely gawking tour of the beautiful real estate (check out these streets: Munro Park, Glen Manor, Pine Cres.)

360 Restaurant at the Tower (CN Tower restaurant)

Sure, it’s touristy but the food is great and it’s a unique view of the city you can’t find anywhere else.

Little Italy

So here’s your meal plan for Little Italy: breakfast at Aunties and Uncles (anticipate waiting in line but the food is worth it!), nachos at Sneaky Dees, gelato at Dolce Gelato. And then find a patio for some good quality people watching.

Toronto Island

Rent bikes and head over on the ferry. If you’re feeling adventurous go for a naked walk at Hanlan’s Point Beach (Toronto’s only nude beach, but don’t worry there usually isn’t very many people there).

Little India

Eat at Lahore Tikka House. I’m eating leftover butter chicken as I write this. This restaurant has been under construction for the last few years so the setting isn’t fancy (they serve the food on paper plates) but the butter chicken and kebabs are the best I’ve found in Toronto. If you’re visiting in the summer they convert their parking lot into a tented patio made of colourful fabric and the staff are always hospitable and pleasant.

Did I miss something? Share your favourite Toronto hot spot in the comments section below.

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  • June 14, 2010 | Permalink |

    I like all your suggestions Dayna…except I can’t picture myself on a seg-way ;)

  • Kathryn
    June 17, 2010 | Permalink |

    I have never been to Toronto Island! Everyone I say that to tells me it’s a must… I can’t wait to go this summer!

    CN Tower is definitely something cool to do though, I’ve been up a few times! Only eaten at the restaurant once though. All of my family (except my mom, dad & I) lives in England, so it’s always a must-do when they come to visit.

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