Food, Art and Culture: How to Get the Most out of Toronto

Kensington Market is just one of the delightful spots which deserve a spot on your itinerary
Kensington Market is just one of the delightful spots which deserve a spot on your itinerary | © picturelibrary / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip Travel Team

Known as one of Canada’s best cities for culture, Toronto has an abundance of art, history, culture and food to offer on its streets.

You only have to look at Toronto’s beautifully graffitied city walls, live music venues and wealth of trendy restaurants to know that the capital city of Ontario is one of Canada’s most cultured hubs. Visitors travel to this city from all over the country in order to experience its lively hub of art, music and food. From historic districts and streets hiding unsavoury stories of the past, to lively food and art markets, you will never be at a loss for cultural experiences in this town. Here’s our pick of the best free and outdoor food, art and culture experiences in Toronto.

1. The Distillery Historic District

Distillery, Market

Toronto, The Historic Distillery District. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.
© Pictures Colour Library / Alamy Stock Photo
Toronto’s Distillery Historic District began in 1859 as the site of the Gooderham and Worts whiskey distillery, which operated for 150 years in the heart of the city, before war and prohibition forced its closure. During its time, the distillery produced nearly half of the total volume of spirits in the province of Ontario and was one of the country’s most important manufacturing facilities. Today, this historic district has been transformed into a pedestrian-only village with cobblestone pathways and Victorian-era buildings, popular with local artists and often full of visiting tourists in search of the city’s history. You can choose to either take a free tour of the district with a local guide, or go it alone, taking time to stop at the many galleries, shops and restaurants.

2. St Lawrence Market

Market, Food Court, American, Seafood, Mediterranean

St Lawrence Market, Toronto
© Mark Sawyer / Alamy Stock Photo
An important part of Toronto’s history, St Lawrence Market can be found every weekend, serving the city with a myriad of unique food and drink. Opened over 200 years ago in St Lawrence Hall, the market is known today as one of the best in the world. Spread over three locations, the South Market, the North Market and St Lawrence Hall, visitors can walk through all three to get a look at Toronto’s agricultural scene and local food traders, as well as its bustling street food culture, which attracts thousands of visitors to the market each week.

3. Old Town History Tour Toronto

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

With stories of fires, riots, outbreaks, duels, battles and tornadoes, Toronto has a history that is as dark as it is fascinating. Exploring the history of this city is a must for any visitor, and for those on a limited timeframe, a history tour is the perfect opportunity to absorb as much knowledge as possible. The Old Town History Tour Of Toronto is a free walking tour through some of the city’s most interesting landmarks, visiting the sites of some of Toronto’s greatest tragedies and disasters. The tours cost nothing to attend, however visitors must book a spot of the walking tours website beforehand.

4. Kensington Market


Kensington Market Art Fair | Courtesy of Keep 6 Toronto / Kensington Market Art Fair
Courtesy of Keep 6 Toronto / Kensington Market Art Fair
Located close to downtown Toronto, this bohemian neighbourhood has become a popular destination for visitors, who walk through to soak up the local culture and art, as well as enjoy the trendy eateries. The outdoor pedestrian market can be found between the hours of 11am and 7pm, with many stalls to explore and entertainment playing well into the evening. On a visit to Kensington Market, make sure to look out for a little glimpse of local artistry, including Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture, Mike Gontmakher Foto show, VINTA Gallery and the Toronto School of Burlesque.

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