The first real day of properly exploring Toronto meant walking, walking and again, walking. In total I walked around the city for nearly 9 hours, going from my hotel to Casa Loma in the North to the Harbour Front in the South and back again. In the mean time I stopped for lunch at a pop up restaurant to try some local food, sat watching boats and people in the harbour and saw a ton of major sights along the way.
My first stop was going up North to Casa Loma: Toronto’s very own castle. It was built in the early 1900s in a much older style. I chose not to go inside as it is a major tourist attraction and people were dropped off by the busload. In the mean time I came across the Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Conservatory, Bloor Street and some pretty Georgian townhouses.
Royal Ontario Museum
Bloor Street is the high end shopping street op Toronto. Here you find brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes and Cartier. Behind this street lie two neighborhoods: Yorkville & The Annex. After going to Casa Loma, I walked back to Bloor Street via The Annex, Madison Avenue to be exact. This street was so pretty. It was lined with trees that hid the Georgian style houses behind it. Many of these houses look like whether they came straight from a horror movie. There’s houses with porches, turrets, steps and whatnot, much like the haunted houses in cartoons.
Afterwards I set further south, through the University of Toronto’s grounds towards Kensington Market & China Town where I weaved in and out of stores and found a cool midi length floral skirt. I had lunch at a pop up restaurant called Come and Get It on Spadina Avenue (near Queen St W). Here I tried a traditional French/ Canadian dish called Poutine. Poutine is fries, cheese curds, meat and gravy and it was delicious. The place was decked out in retro 90s stuff. There was a nintendo, transformers, video tapes and on old iMac that were used as decoration.
Turning onto Queen W St. I moved a bit further east to find an easy way to walk to the harbourfront. By this time, the CN tower (one of the largest buildings in the world) became more and more prominent. You can see the tower from nearly every spot in town and functions much like a compass when you’re walking around. Next to the CN power there is Roger’s Centre which is a large hockey venue.
CN Tower: your compass in Toronto
Both are situated close to the harbourfront. Here you can have a look at the skyline, go on boat tours or take a well-deserved rest like I did. I just sat at the edge of the boardwalk and watch people and boats go by. The area near the harbourfront is quite a stark difference from the Georgian townhouses a bit further north. Here it is high rise after high rise that looms high in the sky and more are being built.
Performing arts centre with CN Tower in the background
Harbour Front boardwalk
This is one of the boats that you can take a tour of the harbour with
I checked out the ferries that go to the Islands located in the harbour, but decided against it as I was already feeling quite tired and still had to walk uptown (and uphill) to get back to my hotel. In the mean time I already bought my bus ticket to go to Niagara Falls and grabbed some fruit at Loblaws before going back to my hotel. By this time it was nearly 6.30 PM and I had been on the go since 9 AM. I felt beat and decided to take it easy for the rest of the evening.
Typically Toronto: old & new architecture go hand in hand (although not always as pretty as this)
Construction, construction and again construction
So that’s it for day 2. Up for tomorrow: old town, St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District.