If you’re a fan of skyscrapers that tickle the blue sky like iron fingers and impressive portfolios of public transport that make morning commutes leisurely rides instead of traffic-fighting hell, then you’ll like Toronto well enough. However, that only the city on a surface level. Push past the initial aesthetics and you’ll find a cultural hub that’s bursting with color. Toronto boasts nearly 200 different ethnic groups, 140 different languages spoken and a bunch of culturally themed towns like Greektown Korea and Chinatown and Little Italy. Beyond that, there’s a huge variety of reasons that Toronto stands as a Northeastern hub for tourism. Don’t believe us? We’ll show you the best Toronto has to offer. Check it out.
The Toronto Basics
When you’re traveling to Toronto, before you can start exploring the metropolitan Canadian wonderland, you’ll need to have a few nuggets of knowledge. First off, you don’t need a car in Toronto. If you’re planning on traveling outside of the city for a few days, by all means, invest in a rental car for that portion of your trip, but don’t give yourself an unnecessary headache. You don’t want to pay for parking or find a lodging option that allows you to park in the drive. Rely on public transportation and walking, it’s super easy to do around Toronto and is totally worth it. It’ll also be far more cost effective, not even counting what you’d end up paying for parking.
If you’re pondering coming to Toronto, plan your trip during the spring or fall months. Those are down times as kids are in school and the holidays are ramping up. The weather is still nice, but you won’t come across too many spiked price points for hotels and over crowded destinations. If you do intend to go in the spring season, make sure it’s after April, as Toronto locals don’t actually consider winter over until April starts. Once, you’ve got everything planned, including your airfare and lodging, you’re ready to check out the best things to see while in our fair city.
St. Lawrence Market
You know of New York, the yankee’s pride and joy east coast city. But are you familiar with the arguably better Old York? It’s home to one of the best parts of Toronto: St. Lawrence Market. It’s been remodeled from the 1845 South Market and is home to more than 50 different specialized food vendors. You’ll find cheese and fish mongers, pasta crafters, fancy butchers and so much more. If you like food (who doesn’t?) you’ll find the Carousel Bakery and St. Urbain stalls within the market to be art vendors in food form. But it’s not just about food, you’ll find you can access the old council chambers up a flight of stairs and enter the Market Gallery. It’s a literal art gallery that has an ever-changing display of photography, historical relics, and beautiful paintings that will surely make your trip unforgettable.
The Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre
Like the Edwardian Era? You’ll like this piece of perfectly restored history. If you’re unfamiliar with the Edwardian period, you’ll recognize it as the Victorian era, simply expanded into the 20th century. And the last real theatre from the Edwardian/ Victorian era is alive and well and refurbished in Toronto. It’s a double decker theatre with quite a bit of history. The stage on the top floor was made for a Vaudeville act’s base and the downstairs “Elgin” theatre became a movie house in the 1920s. It’s beautiful in a way that only architecture from that era can be, and we highly recommend at least checking it out.
Surprisingly, the Casa Loma has never actually hosted royalty, but it does not lack for opulence and beauty befitting a royal station. There’s a selection of tours that you can take through the estate of Sir Henry Pellat, the millionaire that built the palace-like castle with the money he earned by providing all of Toronto with electricity.
If you like tunnels and weird history, you can view the series of tunnels that used to funnel all of Toronto’s waste away from the city. It’s a weird tour, but it’s also pretty cool. In that same wheelhouse, you can take a tour of the Lower Bay Station, a lost subway that lies beneath the commuter line. Both of these attractions hold a strange and secret sort of beauty that can’t be really well described. You’re better off just checking it out yourself.
Awesome Shopping Options
If you’ve never heard of the Monkey’s Paw, buckle up. It’s basically a booklover’s heaven. It’s stocked with tons of priceless collector’s tomes and features the first “Biblio-Mat” a vending machine that spits out a fresh copy of a new book at random. If you’re interested in just plain weird, you won’t be disappointed with the “SkullStore.” To put it mildly, it’s an oddities shop. But it’s a shop that specifically features skulls of all kinds. There’s a huge variety of exotic animal skulls as well as vintage taxidermy for sale. If you have an old timey library space you’re decorating at home, this is the perfect opportunity. If you’re not planning that, you’ll still enjy how quirky the shop is.
Perhaps one of the key things to see in Toronto, the falls are bookmarked by exceptional culture and extreme natural beauty on all sides of the city, but it still takes the cake. The Falls could be one of the most imposing and impressive sights currently available to see in the Western world which is why there are so many tours that are offered to help you see the Falls in their full glory. VIP Ontario, however, are the only ones with such exceptional options to customize your tour and make your experience with the falls beyond special. Reach out to us to find out more about how to book the perfect Falls tour today.