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From a tucked-away speakeasy to Shakespeare’s First Folio to a wacky, real-life dollhouse, here are nine alternative spots that are the best-kept secrets in the city of Toronto.
Toronto, Ontario’s capital city, is buzzing with just shy of 3 million residents and a booming tourism industry. In 2017, the city had a record-breaking year, welcoming 43 million visitors – which is no surprise considering the countless tourist attractions, local events and concerts as well as the growing, superb restaurant scene. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still secret gems to be discovered far from the crowds and loved by Torontonians. Here are nine of Toronto’s best-kept secrets and where to find them.
While the city isn’t known for its beaches, surfers gather during the coldest winter days to surf the icy waters at Woodbine Beach. Though you can often find Torontonians hitting the waves year-round, winter storms tend to bring in the biggest waves from December to February. Don’t know how to surf? Local company Surf the Greats will get you started with a 2.5-hour class covering the basics and getting you up on your first wave.
This restaurant may be in Toronto’s busy entertainment district, but with strict reservations, it keeps the crowd small for intimate gatherings. The best part? Follow the champagne tour to discover the secret speakeasy, À Toi, in the back of the restaurant, and get your dancing shoes ready. The restaurant offers the largest collection of champagne in the city, with endless options ranging from cheap sparkling wine to a $4,888 bottle of vintage Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’ Brut – in case you’re feeling fancy.
Find one of Toronto’s strangest curiosities in the quiet neighbourhood of Leslieville, where owner Shirley Sumaiser has decked out her house in hundreds of toys. Known as the resident ‘dollhouse,’ the site gives passers-by the chance to spot Hello Kitties, the Toy Story gang, Mickey Mouse and many more notable characters. With a collection growing for over 20 years, visitors should be sure to stop by time and time again, as there are often seasonal additions for each holiday.