With only 24 hours in Toronto, I was eager to make the most of my short time in the city. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Toronto’s urban sprawl, but I managed to be productive despite the freezing winds and snow covered streets. I can’t wait to share with you my tips for making your 24 hours in Toronto amazing.
Surely no trip to Canada would be complete without heading to the top of the CN Tower. This enormous concrete communications structure is literally a giant of the Toronto skyline. It’s 553m high, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere and the 9th tallest in the world. A ticket to the observation deck gets you a nail-biting ride in partially see through elevators and a wonderful view out over the Toronto Islands. You can even watch little local airline, Porter, flying in to land at the city’s closest airport from up high. Read more about my trip to the CN Tower here.
An icon of Toronto for those who are sports lovers (my partner included) is the enormous Rogers Center, home ground of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. If you’re down by the CN Tower anyway, then you may as well duck over to the stadium formerly known as the Sky Dome. Even as a non-baseball fan, I loved seeing the sculptures carved into the sides of the stadium – Michael Snow’s The Audience being my favourite. I visited in winter, so baseball was in the off season, but I got a great appreciation for the size and grandeur of the stadium just from a stroll around the outside.
Real Sports Bar & Grill
Continuing on from the sport-lover themed morning and offering a welcome warming stop out of the cold, is the Real Sports Bar and Grill. It’s about 10 mins walk from the Rogers Center. If you or someone you’re travelling with is a sports fan, then this bar will be a huge treat, as the venue has more TV screens than I’ve ever seen in a sports bar before, all broadcasting a different sporting event from around the world. When I was there I could have been watching curling, basketball, darts and ten pin bowling all simultaneously. I’m not that much of a sports fan, but could definitely see why people love this bar!
I’d barely even heard of Poutine before arriving in Canada. This very local food is a simple dish, made up of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Originally from Quebec, this Canadian staple is best represented in Toronto by a visit to one of the many Smokes Poutineries throughout the city. Smokes serves up the traditional Quebec poutine, but they also serve up loaded variations, like pulled pork or bacon. Though the nutrient content is questionable, it’s a great way to warm up for lunch on a winter’s day.
Angel Wings at Calii Love
Are you even travelling if you’re not looking out for the perfect Instagram spot on your 24 hours in Toronto? I got you covered with the awesome Insta-worthy angel wings outside healthy food café Calii Love. Located at 367 King Street West, this aqua wall is waiting for you to become an angel for a moment. Colette Miller is the artist behind the wings and they form part of the Global Angel Wings Project – meaning you can find more wings like these in Kenya, Australia, Taiwan, France, Hawaii, Japan, Italy amongst others.
I am a total sucker for great street art. My home town of Melbourne is famous for its graffitied murals and I love coming across other cities embracing the street art life. If you’re a street art lover like me, then I strongly recommend adding a walk through Graffiti Alley into your 24 hours in Toronto. Located in the Queen Street West neighbourhood, Graffiti Alley (or Rush Lane as it is actually called) is a gorgeous, vibrant and eclectic collection of murals and artworks that run for just under a kilometer.
St Lawrence Market
Food, food and more food! I definitely recommend a visit here on an empty stomach so that you can make the most of all of the wonderful treats the 216-year-old St Lawrence Market has to offer. From fresh fruit and vegetables to cured meats and seafood, this market is loved by locals and tourists alike. If you only have 24 hours in Toronto, then I’d definitely recommend an afternoon stop at St Lawrence market for a delectable Portuguese tart before heading on to the Distillery District.
An extremely picturesque way to close out the day in your 24 hours in Toronto is a visit to the historic Distillery District. Whether your thing is shopping in unique boutiques, beer tasting, photography or grazing on tapas, this well-preserved area has something for you. Whilst the relatively newly opened Distillery District is a more recent addition to Toronto’s drawcards, the area itself is home to the former Gooderham and Wort’s Distillery which opened in 1832 with a beautiful array of Victorian era industrial buildings. For my money, a great experience is a beer tasting at the Mill St. Brew Pub whilst you’re down there.
Doughnuts at Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons are everywhere in Toronto. It seems like on every corner there’s a warm beacon of coffee and doughnuts offering haven from the winter winds. Whilst I can’t say I love Tim’s for the coffee, I do love the doughnuts. They’re cheap, fresh and there’s always a huge range of flavours to be sampled. If you prefer the bit sized variety, then I definitely recommend TimBits, which are the doughy bits cut out to make the holes in the doughnuts. If you’re more in the mood for a heartier size, then how could you go past a Maple Syrup flavoured doughnut when in Canada?
Bar Hopping in Yorkville
After a long day of exploring and as your 24 hours in Toronto comes to a close, I’d recommend visiting the high end, tree lined streets of Yorkville for dinner and bar hopping. Hemingway’s is a great low key bar with New Zealand roots, offering casual drinks and food aplenty. The Pilot is another favourite for sitting by the bar and nursing a drink either watching the Toronto Raptors play or listening to live music.
Toronto is a magical city full of friendly faces, vibrant street art and delicious food. I hope you get longer than 24 hours in Toronto, but if you are limited by time, this itinerary should give you a great insight into why this city is just so delightful.
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