One of my favorite vacation spots is Toronto, Canada. Coming from the city of Detroit, it is only about three and half hours away. It is a straight shot up the 401 highway once your cross the border in Detroit.
Toronto has often been called the New York City of Canada. I think it lives up to this comparison. However, Toronto is much cleaner and safer than New York City. I have been amazed at how clean the city is for such a large population. I have also never felt in danger even when walking around past midnight.
As far as things to see and do, you will never run out. I have probably made about twenty five trips to Toronto in my life and I have never been bored. There is always old favorites along with new things popping up all the time.
Below is my list of the top ten things you should see and do in Toronto. These are things that you should not miss on your visit.
1. Take a walk down Bloor Street. This is the Park Avenue of Toronto. You will find all of the fancy shops on this street. Including Gucci, Prada, and the amazing Holt-Renfrew department store. If you can afford $500 for a pair of jeans, this is the place for you. Beyond the expensive stores, it is a nice walk and great people watching. And as always, window shopping is free.
2. Visit the quirky shops of Queen Street. This street is synonymous with the term "Funky". You will find hip clothing stores, independent record shops, and other off the wall type establishments. Favorite bar to visit on this street is the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. Every great Canadian music act has played there.
3. Stroll through Chinatown. Looking for dim sum? Exotic Chinese herbs? Rare teas? Toronto's Chinatown is the place for you. Chinese restaurants shy away from the traditional "North American Chinese" menu. Instead, they serve up variety of authentic dishes that feed the over 400,000 people of Chinese background in Toronto.
4. Shop at the Eaton Center. I am not one for shopping malls. However, I do love the Eaton Center. The mall itself is a six storey glass ceiling structure modeled after Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It has over 285 stores with a great food court on the lower level. Make sure to visit New York fries and order the Poutine. A blend of french fries, cheese curds and gravy.
5. Take a trip on the subway. The Toronto subway is clean, safe, and easy to navigate. There are two main lines, the Younge-University-Spadina and the Bloor-Danforth. From the subway, you can get to all of the main tourist hotspots.
6. Visit the top of the CN Tower. The world's tallest building at 553m (1815 ft). The view is amazing. At the top of the tower is the 360 restaurant. This is a world class restaurant. The floor does a complete rotation every 72 minutes. When dining, you will get to view the city below from each direction.
7. What would a visit to the great white north be without a bit of hockey? Toronto is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hockey has a special place in the national conscious of the Canadians. Make sure to visit the Wayne Gretzky area.
8. Gourmets will love St. Lawrence Market. Considered in the top twenty five markets in the world, it has over 50 specialty vendors. Great vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, and seafood abound. On the lower level, visit the St. Lawrence Market Juice Bar. They specialize in freshly squeezed juices of all kinds and related products.
9. Visit the eclectic Kensington Market area. Dating back to the original settlement of Toronto in 1790s by the British, you will now find a diverse area of shopping representing the cultures of Portuguese, East Indian, Ethiopian and Caribbean.
10. Eat in Little Italy. For my money, the restaurants in Little Italy represent are the best restaurants in all of Toronto. Beyond restaurants, you will find exciting night life in this area. This includes wonderful Italian coffee shops, gelato, music bars, and even Latin dancing.
I hope these tips will help you enjoy your visit to Toronto.