There are lots of fun things to do in Toronto but here we have narrowed it down to a list of 20 things that take advantage of our beautiful waterfront and are all within walking distance of the Boatel with the exception of the zoo which is a 45 minute drive. At the end you will find links to more detailed blog posts on some of these items.
- Take a sunset paddle – Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard for an evening adventure on the water.
- Pedestrian Friendly City – Ditch the 4 inch heels and slip into the flip-flops or runners (aka tennis shoes) because Toronto is a great city to explore on foot. If its cold or rainy you can also check out the PATH – Toronto’s underground city with shops open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The PATH is an over 30 kilometre (19 mi) and growing network of pedestrian tunnels beneath the downtown office towers. According to Guinness World Records, it is the largest underground shopping complex with 371,600 square metres (4,000,000 sq ft) of retail space.
- Sports, Sports and more Sports – Whether it is Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Football or Soccer, Toronto has professional teams and venues for all sports including tennis and Indy car races.
- Catching a Blue Jays game – this deserves a separate mention because there is nothing like the excitement of a game at the Rogers Centre with the dome open, and of course a beer and hot dog in hand. Go Jays Go. The Rogers Centre is an easy 10 minute walk from the Boatel and getting tickets at the last minute is usually very easy.
- Outdoor Art Walk – Step outside and explore the city while doing your own scavenger hunt to find the more than 700 pieces of Outdoor Art made of bronze, wood, stone or granite that are located throughout the city. There are lots of them located right on or near the waterfront.
- Explore Chinatown – Walk fifteen minutes up Spadina street from the Boatel and immerse yourself in the culture of Chinatown with its sidewalk stores and authentic cuisine. My favorite is authentic Dim Sum for lunch.
- Enjoy a Tall Ship Cruise – Climb aboard Kajama for an afternoon sail outside the harbour or better still sign up for a dinner cruise aboard the Tall Ship Empire Sandy for an enchanting evening.
- Go the Beach – You can sink your feet into the sand at one of the city’s two urban beaches at Sugar Beach or HTO Park West, complete with beach umbrellas and Muskoka (aka Adirondack) chairs. Or head over to Toronto Islands or the Woodbine Beach for a swim, warm weather permitting of course.
- Toronto offers Museums and Art Galleries galore – Natural art, ceramics, shoes, Inuit art, textile, Toronto has over 80 museums to choose from. New is the 3-Pass which offers access to 3 great museums for $20, they include the Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner Museum of ceramics and the Textile Museum. Of course you don’t want to miss out on the world famous Royal Ontario Museum or the Museum of Inuit Art located a few minutes away on Queens Quay at the historic Terminal Building. Also there is the Harbourfront Centre Design Studios where you can watch local artisans at work.
- Let’s Go to The EX – the CNE or Canadian National Exhibition is an 18 day fair at the end of August that has taken place annually since 1879. The EX combines traditional midway rides with a food building, an agricultural fair, shopping pavilions, beer gardens and much more. The event runs until Labour Day weekend and finishes with an Air Show.
- Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market – No cars allowed on one Sunday each month (I wish it was every Sunday!) Kensington Market literally overflows onto the sidewalks with bands, food and shopping in this eclectic little neighbourhood. My favorite is the fresh authentic Mexican food. TIP: Be sure to check out the Blue Banana which is one of the best gift stores in the city – a real hidden gem.
- Foodie-Friendly Toronto – From gourmet food trucks to 5 star restaurants Toronto has it all. With over 6,000 restaurants to choose from the choices are endless. Undecided? check out food-friendly streets such as Baldwin Village or King Street West. Don’t forget to try some decadent French Canadian poutine (French Fries, gravy and cheese curds) offered by food trucks and also in Poutineries that specialize in traditional or gourmet poutine with lobster, smoked meat or a fried egg on top.
- Sit a Spell – Toronto has Public Parks located throughout the city for the enjoyment of visitors and residents alike, including High Park, Toronto’s largest urban park located in the west end of Toronto. The Waterfront BIA (Business Improvement Area) have gone one step further by adding Muskoka chairs all around the waterfront so people can just sit and relax along the waterfront “It’s better by the water”. The Toronto Music Garden is just a short 2 minute walk down the dock from the Boatel and offers free concerts on Thursday evenings at 7pm and Sunday afternoons at 4pm.
- Theatre Everywhere – Spend an evening under the stars with Shakespeare in High Park or check out Young People Theatre or one of the many live productions playing at Toronto’s many theatres. For a night of laughs check out Second City. Currently playing this summer to rave reviews is Kinky Boots at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
- Dancing up a storm Caribbean style – Join the thousands who line Lakeshore Boulevard at Exhibition Place to catch a glimpse of the eye-popping Caribana costumes during this annual Caribbean Festival. You’ll have a hard time not joining in the dancing with the non-stop calypso, soca, reggae and steel bands.
- Lunch at the St. Lawrence Market – My favorites are dim sum, Canadian back bacon on a bun or grilled calamari. Then it’s shopping for speciality cheeses and farm-fresh fruits and veggies.
- Lions and Tigers and Sharks
That’s right the Toronto Zoo is not to be missed. It’s best explored in the cooler part of the day while the animals are more active. Seen here is one of the polar bears doing what he loves, floating on his back on a hot summer day. Closer to home the Ripley’s Aquarium with its amazing shark tank offers an up close view of the hammerhead shark and stunning sawfish and so much more at this new world class aquarium which just opened in 2014.
- Sleepless in Toronto – Nuit Blanche (meaning white night in French) is an annual celebration in October with outdoor art exhibitions set up throughout the downtown core from dusk till dawn.
- The Academy of the Spherical Arts – Imagine playing billiards on a 200 year old table while enjoying a delicious 5-star dinner complete with an impressive selection of single malt scotches. Priceless! Reservations recommended.
- Outdoor Movies in Toronto – Just grab a blanket, your favorite partner and arrive early to enjoy a free movie under the stars at one of the many locations through the city including Harbourfront Centre, Maple Leaf Square, David Pecaut Square and Yonge Dundas Square.
We love Toronto and we are your ambassadors to the city. Please ask us for more information to help plan your stay. You can also read some of our other blog posts for more detailed information on these topics Toronto Zoo; Tall Ship Empire Sandy; Kensington Market; Toronto Outdoor Art; Chinatown; High Park; St Lawrence Market, Toronto Music Garden; Bata Shoe Museum; Chinatown; PATH; Harboufront Centre Design Studio