The sprawling and squeaky-clean metropolis of Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and is fast becoming one of the world’s great tourism hotspots, with a record 40 million people paying a visit in 2017. Although the city may once have had a reputation for being somewhat dull, anyone who’s been there for more than two minutes would be able to tell you it’s anything but, as hundreds of years of colourful history, tolerant and progressive politics, and a youthful population have made Toronto a multicultural melting pot and one of the most exciting cities in the world. Here’s a quick run-down on what you need to see, do and eat in “The Six” when you decide to visit!
Toronto probably has one of the richest architectural heritages in North America, and you’d need a lifetime to properly soak it all up. If you’re just here for a quick getaway, your best bet is to start with the iconic and still-controversial CN Tower, once the tallest structure on the planet, which continues to dominate the skyline of Downtown. Head up there for unbeatable views. If you’re into your concrete, brutalist-style architecture, then the Robarts Library complex, an imposing structure lovingly referred to by locals as ‘Fort Book’, is another must see. There’s also a fantastic collection of beautifully-preserved Victorian housing stock, and the best way to soak it all up is by booking yourself on one of Toronto’s acclaimed architecture walking tours.
There’s no shortage of things that can only really be experienced on their home turf, and Toronto is no exception. If you’re coming from outside of Canada, then there’s no doubt you’ll be wanting to catch a game of hockey in what is arguably the spiritual hub of this global sport. The local team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, is one of the Original Six teams of the National Hockey League, and you can catch them on home turf at the Air Canada Centre, located right in the middle of Downtown Toronto. If you’re planning on catching a game while you’re in town, the Maple Leafs are currently +600 in the latest NHL odds to take the Eastern Conference.
The dizzying-number of must-eat dishes in Toronto reflects the city’s history and diversity, and any newcomers to the city should come prepared with their foodie bucket list. Arguably the most iconic Toronto dish is the peameal bacon, a juicy type of back bacon, trimmed fine and rolled in cornmeal, often served up in a Kaiser. The best can be found at The Merseyside, a hip little diner over in West Bend. Another quintessentially Toronto offering is the famous ‘East Indian Roti’, an exciting fusion twist on stuffed roti from the West Indies. Toronto’s sizeable Caribbean and Indian communities are responsible for this glorious coming together of flavours which has to be tasted to be believed.
There’s plenty of vendors all vying for the title of best roti in town, but your best bet is to take a stroll down Queen Street West and pick whichever spot takes your fancy.
While there’s still plenty to uncover, this list covers the essentials of what you absolutely need to do should you find yourself in Toronto. Have a great trip!