Toronto,ON: activities and first impression

Hello there! We’ve just come back from Canada, so I’m excited to share with you my thoughts on the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet – Toronto. Two years ago we visited Canada for the first time during our anniversary trip and enjoyed our time in beautiful Montreal and Ottawa in fall. It was really cold, so we hoped to come back during the warmer months.
I wanted to explore Toronto but also visit the place that has been on my bucket list since I was a little girl – Niagara Falls. Our itinerary included:

  • the flight from Austin, TX to Detroit, MI;
  • a road trip from Michigan, USA to Toronto, ON;
  • a day trip to Niagara Falls, ON;
  • 3 days in Toronto;
  • road trip to Guelph and London, Canada;
  • 2 nights in Detroit, MI and catch the flight back home to Austin, TX.

Where we stayed:
We usually prefer Airbnb apartments when traveling outside of the USA. They tend to be unique: I love seeing the way people decorate their places around the world.

What we did:
When we started planning the trip, we realized that the city had a lot to offer, so there were only 2 possible outcomes:

  1. We could take time and do a few things during this visit while making Niagara Falls the highlight of the trip.
  2. We could try to do as much as possible and see most attractions.
    And, for the first time in our lives, we went with scenario #1:
  • We spent an entire day walking around Toronto, exploring its famous Distillery District, Old Town, Uptown, Downtown, Chinatown, etc.;
  • Had breakfasts and met people from all over the world in the famous St.Lawrence Market;
  • Visited a few museums and parks.
  • Took a trip to Casa Loma.
    Toronto Islands, CN Tower, and Elgin&Winter Garden Theatre Center were also on the list, but it was really hot in the city during those days and we were exhausted after spending 14 hours at Niagara Falls.

If you are a FOODIE:

  • the best bagels were found at Shmaltz appetizing.
  • Germany-inspired meals and selection of international and domestic beers made my husband happy at WVRST.
  • I finally tried Japanese Soufflé Pancakes at “Fuwa Fuwa Pancakes”
  • Hopes to have good Montreal-inspired poutine were dashed at “Poutini’s House of Poutine”.
  • St. Lawrence Market was on our “must visit” list foodwise: delicious bagel from “St.Urban Bagel” for me and Peameal Bacon Sandwich from “Carousel Bakery” for husband, as well as really good Italian coffee from “Pasta Mia” located on the lower level of the market.
  • We met the sweetest ladies and tried amazing Walnut cakes and Korean pancakes at “Hodo Kwaja”.
  • Had the absolutely delicious 100% mango smoothies at “Real Fruit Bubble Tea” .
  • Visited local brewery called “Bandit Brewery”.
  • We also did some grocery shopping at the store called “Metro”: it turned out the prices were lower than here in Austin, TX. (still can’t make peace with that).

First impression: bitter-sweet.
Let me explain: when you come to Toronto, your expectations are pretty high. That’s probably because of people constantly talking about how beautiful and modern it is. So, when you plan a trip, all you see is pretty pictures of Downtown, so you’re prepared to see something you have never seen before.
Overall, Toronto is a beautifully diverse city that has its charm and is loved by so many Canadians and tourists. It’s full of kind people, good food, and quite unique neighborhoods. However, the quality of the roads, lack of organization in museums and places of interest, as well as the amount of construction work around the city makes the experience bitter-sweet. If you are used to life with A/C 24/7 everywhere in the USA (and, in particular, in hot Austin), you will also notice that many places use only fans. Not a bad thing – just something I was not aware of.

Bottom Line:
Every time we travel to a new place, we try to find something special about it. We were trying to think about that one thing that would make Toronto one of a kind. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that diversity is what makes this city unique.

XX,
Gena.

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