Toronto is the largest city in Canada living up to the name “Canada’s downtown”. It is in the top 5 entertainment cities in the world as well as a gastronomical superpower. With over 180 languages and dialects spoken, Toronto is the North American multicultural centre; anyone can find their spot in the open minds of Torontonians.
GUEST POST BY ROMI R.
Best time to visit Toronto
Toronto can be an all year round destination. From Christmas markets in the winter to one of the world’s biggest Pride parades in the summer. However, winter temperatures can drop to -30. On the contrary, summers go up to 50 degrees! The best time to go is in September and October when the city puts on it’s colourful fall coat but still sits in the 20 degree weather sweet spot or April and May – when you can catch the cherry blossom season and the city takes on a pink aura! Fall and spring allow you to sightsee while the city is still not overcrowded with tourists, traffic and extreme weather conditions.
A few facts about Toronto
Toronto is Canada’s most populated city with 25 % of the entire country’s population settling in or around the city. You will find over 8000 restaurants with more opening daily, making Toronto to be every foodie’s dream destination. If you consider yourself a food lover, Food and Sightseeing tour is exactly what you should look for by coming to this marvelous city!
Toronto holds the Guinness world record for the longest street in the world, Yonge Street, that stretches for 1896 km!
The city is also known as an “artist mecca”, with over 20 000 artists residing in it as well as 25% of all Hollywood movies filmed in it. Toronto’s film industry brings in approx. 1.5B USD each year.
Top things to do in Toronto
With so many restaurants, museums, sights and sounds it can be overwhelming to try and see everything. Follow this guide and you’ll get the best of Toronto in one day!
Start your day at Union Station
Pearson airport express train will take you straight to Toronto’s busiest subway station – Union. This station has around 300,000 people passing on a standard business day and it’s the perfect start to experience the vibrant lifestyle of the city. Just a few minutes’ walk from here is the Novotel Toronto Center, a great place to stay if you want to start exploring the city first thing in the morning.
Have breakfast at St. Lawrence Market
A short 10 min walk on Front Street will take you to the St. Lawrence Market, named World’s Best Food Market by National Geographic in 2012.
With over 100 vendors, you can find anything from traditional Jewish “bagels” to Ukrainian perogies, local cheeses, or the Canadian peameal bacon sandwich. After you have breakfast have a coffee or a drink in the Great Hall and complete your visit with a walking tour to hear about the Markets 200-year-old history.
Explore the Distillery District
Continue walking on Front Street for 15 minutes and reach the historical Distillery District. The area is the best-preserved collection of Victorian Architecture in North America. It is the home to over 40 heritage buildings and courtyards, boutiques and artisan shops and a popular walking destination. You can shop, eat, explore or wake up your inner photographer here and meet people from all over the world.
Live on The Edge on CN Tower
Take the bus on Front Street or walk up to King Street and take the 504 streetcar that will get you near the CN (Canadian National) tower, before the night crowds. Built in 1976 as a satellite tower, it held the record for the World’s Tallest Building and Freestanding Structure until 2007.
You can choose to take the glass elevator to the observation deck, lie down on the glass floor or test your limits and walk outside on the towers edge around the circumference of the roof! The first of its kind in North America, The Edge Walk makes for a once-in-a-lifetime thrilling experience!
Have lunch in Kensington Market
Hop on the Spadina Streetcar that will take you through the hectic Chinatown all the way to Toronto’s most vibrant neighborhood – Kensington Market. It’s a bohemian neighbourhood populated with artists and packed with affordable cafes and restaurants. Since Canada’s Marijuana legalisation in 2018, you can find a variety of dispensaries and indulge in the local past time before choosing one of the restaurants. You can find Chinese, Portuguese or Colombian cuisine here. Looking to try something different? Try Rasta Pasta – a Jamaican Italian fusion!
Check out Queen Street West
Voted one of the coolest neighbourhoods by Vogue magazine and just a 5 min walk down from Kensington is the trendy Queen Street. The street stretches throughout the city but walk east from Bathurst Street and check out the cool shops like The Condom Shack or have a photo session in the Graffiti Alley. You can shop on the local “TSOQ” (The Store On Queen) for a fresh new look or have a drink at “Bowine Sex Club” (not an actual sex club) – the alternative live music haven downstairs and a relaxing tiki rooftop patio upstairs!
Shop at Eaton Centre and Bloor Street
Take the 501 East to Queen and Yonge and explore the largest Toronto mall on the longest street in the world. You can find clothes, shoes, jewelry at all price ranges here but if you want to indulge in some luxury shopping take the Yonge street and walk over Yonge-Dundas square for some street entertainment all the way up to Bloor Street and check out the stores like Holt Renfrew, Davids, Tiffany, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes for some luxury items.
Watch the sunset at the Harbourfront
Use your last hours to treat all your senses. Hop on the Yonge-University subway back to Union station and walk down to Harbourfront. It is the lakefront neighbourhood overlooking Toronto Islands and Lake Ontario. The views are spectacular and the air is fresh! You can try a local craft beer at Amsterdam Brewery, have a nice dinner or just hang out at Sugar Beach – an urban park beach with live music and festivals. Interested in a planned tour? Try one of the many boat tours. For an added romantic touch take the sunset cruise!
Party in the Fashion District
Still have time left? Take the 510 streetcar up to Fashion District and enjoy a night out. The name derives from the early 20th century when the area was a textile centre. Today, the old factories and warehouses house a variety of clubs and bars, and The Beverley Hotel is a great place from which to visit them all. Want to laugh the night away? Try Second City – a comedy club that gave the world comedians like Mike Myers and Martin Short. Feeling like a drink with a twist? Have one at SpiN nightclub – a martini bar with ping pong tables. Still not enough? Walk out on King St W and just close your eyes, wherever you point you will find a lounge, bar or club to go to!
Where to stay in Toronto
One day in Toronto may not be much, but do try and make the most of it because this city really deserves it. Booking the right hotel can do wonders for your itinerary and save you a whole lot of time you can then use for sightseeing. Depending on when your flight is, you may want to book a room in a hotel near Toronto Pearson International Airport, but if you’re not in a hurry, book a room in the city center right in the middle of it all. To help you enjoy your stay as much as possible, we’ve hand-picked the best hotels in town.
The Omni King Edward Hotel
37 King Street East, M5C 1E9 Toronto, Canada
The original luxury hotel, built in 1903, this establishment has a royal feel to every moment of your stay. While consolidating present day solace and polish, The Omni King Edward Hotel still has the castle like loftiness. Marble washrooms and custom vintage sheets combined with its central location by St. Lawrence market make for a extraordinary stay in Toronto!
The Beverley Hotel
335 Queen Street West, M5V 2A4 Toronto, Canada
Encompassed by shops and eateries, The Beverley Hotel is set on stylish Queen Street West in Toronto. This boutique lodging offers rooms with a moderate stylistic theme and free WiFi. A bar, eatery, rooftop bar, and retail shop are on site so you can relax and enjoy views of the city at any time.
The Novotel Toronto Centre
45 The Esplanade, M5E 1W2 Toronto, Canada
Including an indoor pool, hot tub and spa, the Novotel Toronto Center is situated inside a 10-minute stroll of Toronto Union Station and Air Canada Center. Visitors can appreciate the on-location eatery and free WiFi access all through the property. The Toronto Center Novotel is a 4-minute stroll from the Hockey Hall of Fame. The CN Tower is under 1.5 km away.
HI Toronto Hostel
76 Church Street, M5C 2G1 Toronto, Canada
Situated in Central Toronto and just strides from the neighborhood metro stops HI Toronto Hostel offers roomy shared and private rooms. The on-location bar, The Cavern, includes live bands most evenings of the week make for a fun filled stay in downtown Toronto.
Day trips from Toronto
Desert the Toronto noise for the striking magnificence of Niagara Falls. Begin with a drive through Niagara’s wine district on the way to the falls. Journey up Niagara River for a spectacular view of the great Horseshoe Falls and afterward head down to the Whirlpool Rapids perception deck. After a long day of sightseeing you’ll want a glass of wine. Luckily, one of the many Niagara wineries is there to quench your thirst.
Elora George National Park
Take an hour bus ride up to The Elora Gorge. A prominent vacation spot situated at the western edge of Elora, Ontario, Canada. As the Elora Gorge Conservation Area, it is one of the numerous preservation regions claimed by the Grand River Conservation Authority. Spend the day hiking, swimming, tubing or just enjoying the sights and sounds of untouched nature.
Take the ferry or a taxi boat from Harbourfront to the Centre Toronto Island and spend the day at the Island Zoo, at the beach or sipping beer in one of the many restaurants located around the island. If you’re feeling like going down to your birthday suit take the ferry or a water taxi to Hanlan’s Point drop off and then bike or walk to the beach. (about a 20 min walk). The South end of Hanlan’s Beach is clothing optional!
Extra tips for visiting Toronto
- Buy a TTC Day Pass – instead of spending 3.25 CAD per trip, buy a day pass that allows you to travel all through the city on buses, streetcars and the subway. There are group and family options available as well. You can buy the pass at every Subway Station within the City of Toronto.
- Plan your visit around one of the city’s festivals – September brings Toronto Film Festival and the hottest Hollywood stars flood the city for a week. You can check out one of the films as well. The same month has Nuit Blanche – an all night art installation and performance festival. Bars are open later and the city is packed until early morning the next day.
- Use the bike share program – Toronto loves cyclists! There are public bikes you will find docked all around the city. You can rent them by hour, day or even a week. Just pick one up and drop it off wherever you see another station.
PIN FOR LATER!
If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Toronto Itinerary, feel free to share them in the comments below!
Logistical Tips and Tricks
Organize your trip in five easy steps!
BOOK A FLIGHT!
Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!
BOOK A ROOM!
To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.
GET A CAR!
If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.
INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!
Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.
FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!
Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.