Toronto Sample Travel Itinerary (Day 1)
Part of what we do as a Toronto Bed and Breakfast owner is to help you plan your stay with interesting things to do while in Toronto. We often tell guests that at least 4 days is needed enjoy what Toronto has to offer. I have put together a sample Itinerary for day 1. Understand that it’s a start, but without meeting you I can’t begin to know where your interests are.
Getting Around in Toronto – If you enjoy walking then you’re in luck because Toronto is a great walking city, just bring comfortable shoes. Otherwise you can use a BIXI (aka Bike Taxi) to get around the city. We recommended renting bikes to go to the Toronto Islands but more about that in our next post. You can also use the TTC or Toronto Transit Commission (city transit). Alternatively you can book a (highly recommended) sightseeing tour aboard a double decker bus offered by City Sightseeing Toronto ($35+tax for 3 days). With the construction and the parking costs we don’t recommend that you drive, unless you are going to the Toronto Zoo or the Science Centre.
All of the options recommended for today have no admission costs unless otherwise noted. You will also find “Not to be missed” notations in todays itinerary that are special insider hints.
Day 1 -Opened in the early 1800 the St. Lawrence Market was our second City Hall in 1845 and is now home to 120 speciality vendors who offer everything from organic produce, speciality cheeses, fresh seafood, honey, jewelry designers, hat makers, tea shops and much more. If you are there on a Saturday you will enjoy the addition of the Farmers Market housed in the North Market which is only open on Saturdays. Please note that the St. Lawrence Market is closed on Sunday and Mondays. Not to be missed: For cooks and foodies you will find everything you need in food preparation tools (or never know you needed) on the top floor at a store called Placewares.
Your not going to be hungry after your full breakfast on the Boatel but after a walk to the St. Lawrence Market you will have built up an appetite to enjoy the World Famous Peameal Back Bacon on a Bun at Carousel Bakery (main level) or after wandering around the market you can head upstairs to Busters Sea Cove for my favorite the Calamari Salad. Note: There are small counters with a few stools, but mostly you’ll find a spot at the communal tables or head outside. St. Lawrence Market: about 1 to 2 hours.
If you are hockey fans than you might want to head to the Hockey Hall of Fame for a visit with Sir Stanley’s cup and explore the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world! General admission fee $17.50 but ask me for the two-for-one tickets!
Next Stop: The Distillery District is a pedestrian-only village lined with cobble stone streets and Victorian-era buildings which were home to the former Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery. In the 1880’s it was the largest distillery in the world. At first it will seem like just brick buildings but wander around and you will discover 70 ground-floor unique retail stores, cafes, 8 galleries, many Artscape Studios, performance venues and 14 cafes and restaurants. We recommend that you get a map of the Distillery District.
Not to be missed: Cube Works Studio to see what they can do with Rubick’s Cubes and The Sweet Escape to try meringue macaroons that you won’t soon forget. You can also rent a Segway to tour the area. We recommend dinner at the Tappo Wine Bar (Italian) where you can dine in or outside, but we prefer inside with the stone walls, white tablecloths and candlelight. Distillery District: you can spend an hour here or 1/2 day. Depending on the timing you can head to the Toronto’s famous Eaton Centre.
The Toronto Eaton Centre is a historical landmark in Toronto and stretching two full city blocks between Queen Street West and Dundas Street West. The six-storey glass-ceiling structure with about 250 stores originated from one man’s dream to revolutionize the Canadian retail industry. Although the now defunct Eaton’s chain filed for bankruptcy in 1999, the Centre has retained its name. Not to be missed: Even if you are not interested in shopping it is worthwhile to go to the Eaton Centre to see the vaulted glass ceiling with the group of fiberglass Canada Geese hanging from the ceiling named Flight Stop by Canadian artist Michael Snow. The Flight Stop were also part of an important court ruling. One year, the management of the Eaton Centre decided to decorate the geese with red ribbons for Christmas, without consulting Snow. Snow sued, arguing that the ribbons made his naturalistic work “ridiculous” and harmed his reputation as an artist, and in a landmark ruling of Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd., the court ruled that even though the Eaton Centre owned the sculpture, the ribbons had infringed Snow’s intellectual property rights and the ribbons were ordered removed.
Alternatively you can head back to the waterfront to Sugar Beach where you can chill out in one of the Adirondack chairs and dig your feet into the sand at one of our two urban beaches. Just look for the pink umbrellas just south of Jarvis and Queens Quay. We also recommend the beer pairing and wonderful menu at the Against the Grain. Not to be missed: Poutine is a French-Canadian style French Fries topped with cheese curds and gravy which are only available in Canada! Against the Grain offers a daily Chef’s Poutine on their menu.
On the way home to the Boatel you may want to venture up the path off the Lakeshore to the Canoe Park Landing to sit in the Big Red Canoe which overlooks the Gardener Expressway. It was voted by BlogTO as one of the 10 best places for couples to make-out in Toronto. The post was sponsored by Trojan Condoms oh how apropos! Just down the hill you can also grab some gourmet poutine at Canoe Landing Park from one of the many mobile food trucks such as Hogtown Smoke. You’ll notice the big fishing bobbers in the background with a water fountain to cool off on a hot day.
If your here August 15-17th then you can enjoy the return of Toronto Port Authority’s Sail-In Cinema™ which is the world’s first two-sided floating movie experience. Canada’s Sugar Beach is magically transformed into Toronto’s largest outdoor theatre. Movies are shown under the open skies on a two-sided screen set atop a barge in Toronto Harbour. You can watch movies for free from Sugar Beach and boaters can also watch from their boats. Tickets are free but you must reserve.
Free outdoor movies are popular in July and August and are offered at various venues in downtown Toronto. Harbourfront Centre’s Free Flicks on the WestJet Stage on Wednesdays start at sunset provides seating on a first come first serve basis. You’ll enjoy a cool breeze from the lake so bring a sweater. Not to be missed: don’t forget to look up and over your left shoulder because you will have breathtaking full view of the lights going up the CN Tower at night. The theme for 2013 is “Invented Worlds” and the line-up includes films such as Galaxy Quest, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and The Triplets of Belleville. For a romantic date night catch one of the free movie screenings at TIFF in the Park at Pecaut Square (near Royal Thompson Hall) sponsored by the Toronto International Film Festival. Starts at sunset on Wednesday nights during July and August but be sure to bring a blanket. The theme for 2013 is romantic classics, and includes Casablanca, Sleepless in Seattle, and Roman Holiday. Alternatively you can go to the Yonge-Dundas Square for the City Cinema This year theme is “Cult Classics”, and the 2013 line-up includes Army of Darkness, Edward Scissorhands, Napoleon Dynamite and more. Screenings are on Tuesday nights through August.
If you are looking for outdoor theatre then head west to Bloor and High Park for aToronto outdoor theatre tradition, with Shakespeare in High Park. This summer for the first time it will alternate between two shows: the tragic Macbeth and comedy The Taming of the Shrew under the stars. Macbeth will run on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with The Taming of the Shrew on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Food, beverages and blankets will be available to purchase on-site. Donations are recommended for the cast.
There is always a nice quiet spot to sit on the Boatel either on the back deck or the sky lounge to put your feet up and relax after a long day.
Stay tuned for our next post and Day 2 of your Toronto Travel Itinerary which will explore a Day on Toronto Islands. Till next week.
Note: you will want to read my post about Outdoor Art because you will be seeing a lot of different sculptures and art pieces through the city.