I’ve been to Toronto many times, but usually it’s only a quick little stay, and it’s typically because I’m doing a job there, so there isn’t really a lot of time for site seeing.
I was really happy to come this time to actually explore Toronto, and see all that it has to offer. I probably came at the worst time given the weather advisory for both the heat and the lightning, but for the most part I made it out okay. I mean I drank plenty of water, and iced coffees, but hey you do what you gotta do.
From taking old school selfies at Casa Loma to scaring the lions at the ROM to having the entire city of Toronto beneath my feet and mainlining blueberries at the St Lawrence Market here‘s a HUGE recap of my recent trip to Toronto.
AROMA ESPRESSO BAR
Don’t even think about it just order the Mint Lemonade at Aroma. Perfectly sour and refreshing this blended drink is TDF. I loved it so much I drank two in one day. Yeah I’m not proud of that, but I just had to tell you so you take me seriously YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS.
While you’re having a mo with your bad self and your mint lemonade you might as well take a little jaunt down the street and pick up a macaron or two! Butter Avenue is seriously the cutest little shop ever that you just HAVE to go in there. I got the matcha macaron (I love anything matcha) and I’m STILL thinking about it. I’ll for sure be back next time I’m in town and I can’t wait to try the Earl Gray.
ST LAWRENCE MARKET
If your trip spans the weekend, or you’re spending a bit of time in the city make a trek down to the St Lawrence Market. Snap a photo or two of the baby flat iron while you shop for some local produce, seafood or meat. It’s a great way to support the community, and it’s also just an extremely cute area of the city. It’s sort of removed from the hustle and the bustle of the financial district or the shopping areas, so it kind of feels like a bit of a break from the city if that makes sense. I mean Toronto is lovely and all, but it can get to be a bit much after a while. It’s nice to slow down a bit, and take it all in. Grab a coffee and take a little saunter around the East side there’s plenty of parks, and beautiful churches, and people to gawk at.
While in TO I met up with blogger babe Kaylee (The Blondie Locks) at the Bellwoods Brewery, and we pretty much ordered everything on their menu along with some of their special (if not strong) brews. It was so great to catch up with a fellow blogger, and talk shop. Everything was perfect from being able to sit out side, and enjoy some people watching, to it being completely acceptable to stand on our feet to take the photo of our meal. I love eating with bloggers because they don’t judge you when you do this, and something about being in it together makes it okay. Kaylee is a super sweet girl, and if you don’t follow her you totally should her photos are stunning, and her DIYs are super clever. Adore her to bits!
If you head to the Bellwoods Brewery order the tuna, and the corn I swear you won’t regret it. Probably my favorite meal from my entire trip (both Montreal and Toronto).
When you exit the CN Tower it completely takes you to the OPPOSITE end of the universe okay not really, but we were a lot more south than I wanted to be, and starving, and sweating so we decided to pop into Sobeys to get a vitamin water.
We ended up realizing that we were a lot more hungry than we realized (funny how the heat can do that) so we decided to grab some pizza (of course), and soak up the AC (it was like heaven). When you’re living the hotel life eating out can get a little old, and fast especially when you’re as bonkers about your health as I am. When I’m on the road I like to pop into a local grocery stores and pick up some fruit, and some health snacks like protein bars, nuts or seeds, and steel cut oatmeal so I at LEAST have something decent to eat in between all the burgers, fries, and pizza.
Sobeys is perfect because you can also collect airmiles (YAY! means more travel right?) by simply spending 20$; which isn’t difficult to do when you’re buying fruit and granola bars and what not. It’s all about the little things that add up right?
BUY A CITYPASS
If you’re heading to Toronto and you want to actually explore it like a tourist I would totally suggest the CityPASS. Much like I did in Boston I adored having the cityPASS. Included in the city pass was the CN Tower, Casa Loma, The Toronto Zoo, The ROM, Ontario Museum of Science. I made it to three out of the five, and would have LOVED to have done the other two, but just didn’t have the time. It‘s a major win, and if you’re doing to do all these things you might as well save some cash flow at the same time. Plus is kind of forces you to get going because you want to check everything off your list. For more details on the CityPASS please take a visit to their website >> CityPASS.
Like I mentioned above I’ve been to Toronto several times this year, but never as a tourist, so I was definitely intrigued to learn that everything below Casa Loma used to be UNDER WATER! There’s a point at the entrance (if you travel by bus yeah I be ballin’) where there’s a plaque that mentions that the walk up used to be a lake front. How. bananas. is. that? I mean these are things I like to learn about the city because it really gets you to think about how old the city is, and how much it’s built up in a such a short period of time.
Okay maybe I’m the only nerd who likes to learn about how Toronto gained electricity or what old school showers used to look like, but I LOVED Casa Loma. Not only is it beautiful, but there‘s such an interesting story about the place that you just have to visit it to find out for your self, and I don’t want to ruin it.
From their living quarters to their furniture it’s amazing to me to think that a person‘s house and personal belongings could turn into a tourist attraction. Can you imagine if like 100 years someone was touring around your house, and taking photos of your gorgeous lamps? I mean you’d have to think you did something right.
If you read the book “A Short History of Nearly Everything” you know that we really don’t know as much about dinosaurs as we like to think. Sometimes pieces of them were found really far apart, so we really kind of Frankensteined them back together. Meaning that what we‘ve come to know about dinosaurs really could be all wrong because some would argue we really have no idea. So my favorite game at the ROM is guess the real part of the dinosaur, and you’d be surprised at what turns up.
Beginning on Wednesday July 29, The Rotating Lecture Series will feature demonstrations and discussions from art luminaries and accomplished artists’ onsite in the gallery space, located at 77 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Tickets to the various events range in price from $18 to $23, and are available to purchase online and at the door.
*Andy Warhol: Revisited is only open to Lecture Event Series ticket holders during these dates and times, and will be closed to general admission entrance.
It‘s kind of funny blog reader because I went from literally saying out loud that I was amazed I’d never been to Toronto to having been there now about 6 or 7 times. I always found it odd that I’d been to France to New York I’ve been to Ottawa and Montreal, but never Toronto that was until this year where for a bit there I could probably call Toronto my second home.
Having been traveling to Toronto a lot for fun projects (more on those later) I’ve stayed at my fair share of hotels, so I figure I’d break them down for you a bit in case you’re considering the trip. This time around I decided to extend my stay by a couple days, and with Caribana happening in the city it was tight to find a spot on such short notice. Luckily I discovered Priceline and found a decently priced hotel that was super close to where I‘d already been staying. Just remember that Priceline works in American dollars, so you could get hit with an exchange rate, and you also have to pay upfront.
My only regret is that I wish I’d downloaded the Airmiles browser tool beeeeeeeeefore I purchased my hotel stay because you can earn 1 mile for every $35 which for a hotel in Toronto you can rack up the airmiles pretty quick. Poop on a stick I’m not even going to do the math because I don’t even want to know how many I lost out on Ohhhhhhh well listen learned.
Below are some of the hotels I’ve stayed at and I’ve listed the things I liked about each if you’re planing a stay in TO drop me a line I‘d love to give you a hand with your planning. I am of course I pro by now, and not at modest at all as you can tell.
I love the location of this hotel, located on Queen Street West it‘s super central, and only minutes from the Eaton Centre, and the restos and shops along Queen. These rooms are nothing special especially if you end up in one of the ones that aren‘t renovated, but what I love about this hotel is the GIANT outdoor pool (that’s heated) and has an outdoor bar I might add. I’d been to this hotel a couple times, but my work schedule didn’t allow for my to take a dip in the pool, so this time I was determined to go for a swim (in the rain and in between when my take out was being delivered) and even if I froze my butt off in the process. I’m here to tell you it was worth it, and I may or may not have hopped into the hot tub before going back upstairs and “wait” for my chinese food (which was ddelicious by the way).
Argubly one of the oldest hotels in the city this one is major posh inside. The lobby is absolutely stunning, and whether you want to stay the night or just grab a drink at their bar it’s a great spot. The rooms are a wee bit small, but you’re just sleeping there anyways right? This hotel is all about the experience and if you get to stay on the floor with the private lounge that serves breakfast, Hors d’œuvre or “canapés”, and then desserts at 8? You are in heaven my friends, and there is not enough time in the world to eat all that food.
DOUBLETREE BY HILTON
If you‘re looking for a cost effective hotel in the heart of the city the Double Tree By Hilton is probably your best bet. While it’s nothing super fancy it more certainly does the trick. I stayed here for the last two days of my trip, and while my televison and the towel rack were extremely crooked leading me to think that this hotel was probably put up fast it was a place to sleep, and keep all my stuff, so I wasn‘t going to complain. Also they give you a warm chocolate chip cookie upon you’re arrival, and I’m not mad at that.
WESTON HARBOR CASTLE
With stunning views, and heavenly beds Weston Harbour Castle is a spot you want if you want to be away from all the craziness that is downtown Toronto. While you’re still within a decent distance of everything, you’re also just that little bit away to give you some peace and quiet. The Weston is also super close to eastern side of the city which is super cute, and kind of steals my heart.
If you’re looking for an even more cost effective spot to stay in TO you might want to consider Air B&B. I used Air B&B for that last time I went to Fashion Week in Toronto, and it was SO amazing. Being able to make my own breakfast, and do laundry? Are you serious I felt like I lived in TO, and with that view? I wish I did. Want to see some of the photos from the place I stayed head over to this read this post (or click here).
Toronto gets a bad rap for being a “rude” or “mean” city, but honestly everyone I met was super nice. I mean people have places to be so as long as you get out of their way you’re usually okay. I can respect a hustler when I see one, and if you got some where to be lady then you go for it: who am I to hold you back?
Hope you enjoyed this recap blog reader and if you’re planning your next trip and want some suggestions be sure to drop me a line. I’m happy to help! Now go download that Airmiles tool to your browser already, and get your butt on an airplane to explore whereever it is that you want to go.