Toronto is such a cool city. I visited in the days before I’d joined Instagram (so apologies for the quality of photos, it was before I had a good camera), didn’t really use my phone at all, and just absorbed the excitement of being in a new city before the existence of social media in my life. I was unfortunately only there for 3 days, so I could barely scratch the surface.
My overall impressions were how clean it is, how many Tim Horton’s coffee shops there were, and how wide the roads are. It’s also interesting that a lot of the shopping malls are underground, and linked together. Apparently this is because the pedestrian traffic was becoming too crowded on the pavements and office towers/big developments were removing small businesses from the high street – underground shopping is an interesting solution to the problem.
Here are some of my highlights of my visit.
1. The CN Tower
You can’t miss it in Toronto. It towers above the skyline. We were lucky enough to arrive on a day where it was fireworks off the CN Tower so we watched from our hotel’s balcony. We then also went up the CN Tower and had lunch in the restaurant. The food was actually really nice, and the views were fabulous. I thoroughly recommend doing it, just book in advance for an outer table, so you’re right by the window. The room then rotates very slowly all 360 degrees so you get to see the whole city. Cool! (Although it also means the toilets keep moving, as the central part of the restaurant doesn’t rotate – which was very confusing!)
Eating lunch and watching the fireworks
2. Niagara Falls
We hired a car and drove the 1.5hrs out to Niagara Falls. We visited in July so it was pretty crowded, but we still managed to find a parking space easily. The falls are very commercialised, with big restaurants, hotels and theme parks. We arrived in time for lunch, then headed to the falls.
We used the Hornblower ‘Voyage to the Falls’ tour. We had to queue for about 45 minutes, having not purchased tickets in advance, but the queue moved pretty quickly. You get given a huge waterproof cape and off you go to the boat. You do get very wet. My hair and face was soaking by the time we got off. Luckily it was a hot day so I also dried pretty quickly. And the falls are epic.
3. Visit the Roger’s Centre for a tour and a ball game
Like in the USA, Canada is sports mad, especially for hockey. It wasn’t hockey season when we visited, so we watched a baseball game. We actually did a tour of the Roger’s Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays) during the day and then watched a game in the evening. I knew nothing about baseball, and am not the biggest sports fan, but I still really enjoyed the atmosphere, occasion and food! Toronto is also home to professional soccer, football, hockey, basketball and rugby teams so there’s something for everyone!
4. Ripley’s Aquarium
I love a good aquarium and this one was great, with over 20,000 aquatic species to see. I recommend reserving entry times so you don’t have to queue, and if you’re not visiting with young children, the Friday Night Jazz show was really fun!
5. Toronto Rail Museum
This is right at the bottom of the CN Tower and is pretty cool. There’s a small museum and then outside lots of vintage trains, some of which you can climb on to. There’s also a very mini railway for children to ride on which looked fun. We spent about 2 hours looking round it and actually really enjoyed it.
6. Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey is HUGE in Canada. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but still found the Hall of Fame really interesting. It talks through the growth of the game, its origins, and the biggest teams and players in the history of the sport. Plus the Stanley Cup (the biggest trophy in hockey) was in the museum to pose with!
7. Casa Loma
A gothic mansion in Midtown Toronto and not what you expect to find. It’s a nice building with a museum covering The Girl Guides and Vintage Cars. I liked it for the gardens and as a a nice place to just sit and relax.
8. St Lawrence Market
This is basically a giant farmer’s market, with lots of fresh and nice produce. We enjoyed walking around it and having our lunch there at a laid back pace watching the world go by.
And that brings to a close my top things to do in Toronto. Apologies for the poor photography in comparison to my more recent posts – I can’t believe this visit was 5 years ago now! Thank you for reading everyone; stay safe and happy travelling!