An un-missable downtown neighborhood is the vibrant, multicultural area of Kensington Market. Here, brightly colored Victorian houses have been converted into some of the city’s most quirky and interesting boutiques as well as vintage stores and community art galleries. The whole area is very walkable, especially during its season of Pedestrian Sundays during the summer, so your best bet is simply to wander and explore. If you are looking for a bite to eat, the neighborhood is also home to a huge number of small, trendy food places: here are our picks of the 10 best.
Kensington Market, Kensington Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 323 1924
Located a little further out in Toronto’s midtown, Casa Loma is definitely worth the short subway ride. Built in the early 20th century, the Gothic-style house is officially North America’s only full sized castle and has now been converted into a museum. Complete with 5 acres of gardens, one of its highlights is the 800ft underground tunnel that connects the house to its hunting lodge and stables, which are now accompanied by a range of exhibitions explaining the historic events that accompany the period.
Opening Hours: 9.30am-5pm daily
Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 923 1171
Royal Ontario Museum
For those interested in world culture or natural history, the Royal Ontario Museum is a great place to spend a day exploring the 6 million+ artefacts that make up their collection. The museum’s 40 galleries house a rotating range of exhibits that cover almost every continent in the world, as well as many hands-on features to engage younger visitors. Delivered by trained volunteers, museum tours are available daily and free of charge with museum admission.
Opening Hours: 10am-5.30pm Saturday to Thursday, 10am-8.30pm Friday
Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 586 8000
St Lawrence Market
As well as Kensington Market, the other major public market in Toronto is St Lawrence Market, which specializes in food and antiques and was named Best Food Market in the World by National Geographic magazine. Composed of two main buildings, the market hosts farmer’s markets on its north side alongside many other delis and bakeries, as well as more permanent restaurants. The main culinary landmark of the city since 1803, this is a must-visit for all foodies.
St Lawrence Market, 92-95 Front Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 392 7219
The Art Gallery of Ontario
Housed in a stunning, glass-pannelled building, the Art Gallery of Ontario is awe-inspiring for more than just its architecture. Inside, the 480,000sq ft of space is filled with the nation’s largest collection of Canadian art, as well as international art dating all the way from the Renaissance era to modern day. Fans of sculptor Henry Moore will also appreciate the sculpture centre named in his honour, which houses over 900 of his personally gifted works.
Opening Hours: 10am-5.30pm Tuesday and Thursday to Sunday, 10am-8.30pm Wednesday, closed Monday
Haunted Tour of Toronto
For a tour of the spookier side of the city, why not try a Haunted Walk? With three different tours to choose from, as well as a version offered in French, the Haunted Walk of Toronto will introduce you into the unknown mysteries behind the classic city landmarks. If you are travelling with a large group, you can also arrange your own private tour to really hype up the suspense!
Haunted Tour of Toronto, 30 Gristmill Lane, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 238 1473
The Eaton Centre
Situated just off Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto’s version of NYC’s Times Square, The Eaton Centre offers unlimited opportunities to shop ‘til you drop. If you are looking for all the most popular stores under one roof, or for somewhere to escape less inclement weather, this is the place. The retail options on offer are fairly standard but there is also a good range of Canadian favorite chain restaurants.
Opening Hours: 10am-9.30pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am-9.30pm Saturday, 10am-7pm Sunday
The Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 598 8560
Enjoying a beautiful outlook over Lake Ontario, Toronto’s Harbourfront is one of the most scenic areas of the city. Having undergone major regeneration in previous years, the area is now a hub of all things cultural and home to the Harbourfront Centre, which organizes over 4000 community events annually. On the same site is both the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and Museum of Inuit Art, where you can learn more about Canada’s rich artistic history.
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 973 4000
Museum of Inuit Art, 207 Queen’s Way West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 640 1571
The Distillery District
Once the site of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, the Distillery District is now a trendy arts and entertainment area, housing many of the city’s most popular performance venues and galleries. The traditional stone-paved area is primarily a pedestrian zone, allowing for a weekly Sunday market and a variety of other local events. For those looking to learn more about the area’s brewing history, the Beer Lovers’ Tour Company offers all-day tours every Saturday that take you all over the Distillery District and include four Brewery visits and tastings to really tune your expertise.
The Distillery District, 55 Mill Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 364 1177
Beer Lovers’ Tour Company, Vaughan, ON, +1 416 662 6312