Author Topic: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?  (Read 6256 times)

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« on: July 30, 2014, 07:49:56 AM »
In late August, I have to go to Toronto for a board meeting and instead of flying, my son (17) and I are going to drive.   I think I'll actually make money on this because my Prius will cover the 1160 miles (round trip) for less than $100 and the organization has agreed to reimburse me up to the cost of the flight ($400).  We're staying at the Eaton Chelsea with the organization's rate.  I'm excited for us to have a great vacation at minimal cost.

As part of our "see the Major League parks" tradition, we're going to see the Blue Jays play.

What else should we see/ do?
  Off-beat, out-of-the way attractions/ events/ restaurants are preferred.

JoyBlogette

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Location: Canada
    • My Journal
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 08:29:20 AM »
You don't say where you are from, but I'd say Niagara Falls is a must-see if you're in the area.

Toronto attractions worth seeing:
- CNE (summer fair downtown)
- CN Tower (great view of the city)
- Hockey Hall of Fame
- ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)
- AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario)
- Ontario Science Center
- Bata Shoe Museum
- Toronto Zoo

Off the beaten path sites
- Distillery District
- Take the ferry to Toronto Island
- Rollerblade/Walk/Run/Bike down the lakeshore bike/running path

ginklord

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Rochester, NY
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 08:30:35 AM »
I'm interested to hear from others on this - my wife and I are celebrating our anniversary in September and we're looking at a weekend in Toronto.

By the way, you may want to double check the rules on reimbursement - many companies ask for a receipt before they reimburse you.

ginklord

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Rochester, NY
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2014, 08:33:17 AM »
I'm interested to hear from others on this - my wife and I are celebrating our anniversary in September and we're looking at a weekend in Toronto.

By the way, you may want to double check the rules on reimbursement - many companies ask for a receipt before they reimburse you.

Oops - you're probably getting mileage. Sorry.

That worked out for me when I had to commute between Rochester and Syracuse a few years back in my pre-mustachian days. I was driving a newer Elantra with ~40mpg on the all-highway route, so I made out like a bandit when they reimbursed me $.50 / mile.

Researcher

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Michigan
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 08:40:20 AM »
My boyfriend and I did a 3-day anniversary weekend in Toronto last year. We bought a City Pass which has tickets to some of the places JoyBlogette mentioned.

http://www.citypass.com/toronto

We did the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo, Casa Loma and skipped the science center. I loved all of them. The only drawback was that I felt like we were rushing around the city given the closing times of the places and our short stay.

The Taminator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 132
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2014, 08:49:58 AM »
If you don't bring your own, rent bikes and cycle the Don Valley trail. It's like an oasis in the city!

A walk through Cabbagetown is always nice. It's one of Toronto's oldest neighbourhoods. It's got lovely old Victorian homes and there's even a little farm in there.

My current favourite restaurant is Merryberry, also in Cabbagetown. It serves very fresh food at very reasonable prices.

Kensington Market is one of our coolest neighbourhoods. It's packed with great ethnic shops and restaurants and vintage clothing stores. One Sunday a month it's closed to motor vehicles. On those days they also have street performers.

I live and work in downtown Toronto so if you have any other questions, feel free to message me.

HairyUpperLip

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 897
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2014, 08:55:30 AM »
I was born in Toronto and visit every other year for family.

I hang out outside of Toronto more now because of where everyone lives, but I do go downtown with my wife sometimes to enjoy it.

There is an area called Dundas Square in downtown that is pretty cool. It's like a mini Times Square. We ate at one of the restaurants, forget the name, that has a balcony over the square at night time and that was pretty cool itself. The square was always busy, street entertainment, etc.

If you've never been doing the tourist stuff like CNTower is worth it to some extent. It's a cool view for sure.

Either way - it's a great city and really clean.

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2014, 09:10:02 AM »
Great ideas here!  Thanks everyone. 

I love the idea of Kensington Market and Cabbagetown.  We'll likely balance that out with the CN Tower, which my son will really enjoy, thrill seeker that he is.

We're there from 8/22 (late afternoon/ early evening) to the morning of 8/27.  I'll have to check on whether the Kensington Market street is closed that Sunday -- I hope so!  That Sunday afternoon, I have a board meeting to attend and he'll be running the city on his own (he's savvy and well-traveled, so I'm not worried). 

I think we'll bring bikes for the Don Valley trail.  Are helmets required?

PS.  We did Niagara in 2004 (loved it!).   And my reimbursement is fixed at $400 for travel and two nights at the Chelsea, per the president of the organization (it's a small company and his baby) -- no worries there.


Tai

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2014, 10:15:48 AM »
I suggest rather than the Don River taking your bikes out to the Islands on the ferry. There are lots of paths along the shore of Lake Ontario and it's a beautiful area. The Don River area is basically a river valley with an expressway running through the bottom beside the river. The river is usually a dark brown and sometimes there are vagrants down there. It's not a scenic place although both Cabbagetown which Riverdale beside it are ok. Don't go around Riverdale at night though.

Since your son is 17 he might like Canada's Wonderland. It's expensive, but the teen hangout of choice in the summer, huge amusement/water park. You need a car to easily get out there though.

There's also a Chinatown downtown, centered around Dundas and Spadina, that you might like, it's near Kensington Market so you can walk/ride through both.

Niagara Falls is a must see, and you can likely visit that either coming or going from the states.

Enjoy your trip!

The Taminator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 132
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2014, 10:26:51 AM »
My suggestion for biking the Don (and I really don't agree with Tai's view on it, I bike there all the time and it's beautiful. You almost never see the highway through all the trees. But the river is definitely brown :)) is because the Islands are extremely busy at this time of year so not the best for cycling. But the Islands are definitely a must-see and cycling there can be fun. Just watch out for all the people who have rented bikes who don't know how to ride lol. As for helmets, they are not legally required for anyone over 16 (I believe) but I would recommend always riding with one.

I second Canada's Wonderland. And Chinatown. If you like Pho, my favourite place is Pho Hung. I can't remember the intersection but like Tai said, it's right near Kensington.

You are going to love Toronto!

JoyBlogette

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Location: Canada
    • My Journal
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 10:32:08 AM »
  Are helmets required?

For anyone under age 18 they are required.

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3961
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 10:41:29 AM »
+1 to the ROM and the Bata shoe museum! Have a great time :)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2014, 01:25:30 PM »
Just thought of this.... will my Ting/ Sprint phone work in Toronto?

How about my son's Verizon phone?

OSUBearCub

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Tackling student loan debt/not saving dryer lint.
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2014, 02:53:35 PM »
I visit once a year and always stay at the Eaton Chelsea.  I have two must-do's on my list:

1. Poke around and eat in China Town/Kensington Market (Easy trolley ride down Dundas to Spadina Ave, that intersection puts you smack in the middle of the China Town action.)

2. Spend an afternoon at the ROM - there's so much to see so don't rush through it

Bonus:  The Tour Guys offer free walking tours of the downtown area.  Really interesting and fun.  I recommend the "Power, Politics and the Path" tour. Fun fact: the tour makes a stop right in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame entrance which is NOTORIOUSLY hard to find since it's buried in an underground shopping plaza.  http://www.tourguys.ca/#!free-tours/c1l7g

Eaton Chelsea tip - the breakfast offered in the large cafe is rather overpriced.  Walk any direction up or down Younge Street and grab breakfast elsewhere.    Have a beer in the T|Bar in the lobby - the atmosphere and endless bowls of top-notch bar snack mix is worth the price of a draft.

garth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2014, 10:43:38 PM »
What kind of food do you like? The Queen and Beaver is nice for brunch or lunch. Bar Isabel is the hot place right now. I like Pho Pasteur for a cheap meal. Dangerous Dans is a great dive burger place. Grand Funk is supposed to be good for tacos. Bar Volo if you're into beer (they have a bit of food too). Union is good. Stockyards is good. Enoteca Sociale is good. The Crown and Dragon for wings. I'd walk through St Lawrence Market, it's pretty cool.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6256
  • Location: BC
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2014, 02:16:28 AM »
I have been to Toronto several times for work, but never seemed to get out of missisagua, so the last trip, I bolted, went to the yorkdale mall (saw the new Holt Renfrew store, window shopped) and then had a picnic on the west side, on the lake, near the sailboat marina.  It was really really nice place.   Not touristy, not spendy, and relaxing.

 I finally saw why some people actually like living there! 

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2014, 09:03:07 AM »
What kind of food do you like? The Queen and Beaver is nice for brunch or lunch. Bar Isabel is the hot place right now. I like Pho Pasteur for a cheap meal. Dangerous Dans is a great dive burger place. Grand Funk is supposed to be good for tacos. Bar Volo if you're into beer (they have a bit of food too). Union is good. Stockyards is good. Enoteca Sociale is good. The Crown and Dragon for wings. I'd walk through St Lawrence Market, it's pretty cool.

These all sound wonderful!   Thanks!

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13599
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2014, 09:39:32 AM »
You can rent a canoe or kayak and go for a paddle . . . http://torontoadventures.ca/intro-kayaking-canoeing/.  As has been mentioned, there are many great places to cycle http://www.blogto.com/toronto/lists/top_toronto_bike_paths/.  My area of expertise cycling is more in the north east end of Toronto by the zoo, which is a lovely place to go for a longer ride.

The EX is kinda expensive and not as fun as it used to be.  The wife and I have been going to Toronto's ribfest instead for a similar but better feel that's a little cheaper too.  Unfortunately it's over now.

There are many touristy attractions . . . the marina, the zoo, the ROM, Casa Loma, the Hockey Hall of Fame, etc.  Good food should not be too hard to find anywhere in the city.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10156
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2014, 10:17:34 AM »
I have only been to Toronto once, but I loved, loved, loved it! I was there in 2005 when the Air France plane crashed and everyone got out safely. Wow.

Two highlights were taking the ferry & a picnic to Toronto Islands. Since everything had to come by boat, many of the cottages are full of quirks and charm. We stayed at the Intercontinental (fancy!) for the work portion of the trip. The second highlight was the Marriott which is attached to Rogers Stadium, paid with points. Some rooms allow you to watch the game right out your window! We got a free hotel room and a free ballgame, which made our frugal hearts happy. Perhaps you could see one game in person and then another from your hotel room if schedules allow.

I went with a frugal work colleague from the other coast and we called it our Planes, Trains and Automobiles trip. One goal was to use every form of public transportation available. We used a taxi, shuttle, ferry, tram, train, city bus, double decker tour bus, subway, helicopter, airplane and a lot of shank's mare. We had a blast and I'd go again in a heartbeat.

We also did a hop on/hop off bus tour around the city which was fun, because the weather was lovely. We didn't do the City Pass (didn't know about it), but DH and I recently used it in Seattle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Make sure you will be there enough days or it could put too much pressure on you to feel like you got the full value. We had a week. I wouldn't try it for much less than that or that will be all you do.

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2014, 08:08:26 AM »
A big THANKS to everyone who posted ideas here. 

Our trip to Toronto was absolutely amazing.  We used the BikeShare program and rode all over the city (now Son wants a bike -- in the past he teased me about biking).  We went to Kensington Market several times and did some back-to-school shopping in the funky thrift stores there.  My son found a 2003 Derek Jeter World Series Yankees Jersey with a sleeve patch celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the World Series -- for $40.   His eyes nearly popped out of his head.

We ate at Pho Pasteur twice.  At the Queen and Beaver once -- a little pricey but worth every dime for the atmosphere.  We aimed for Dangerous Dans but one of our new friends couldn't eat there so it will have to wait.   

The free Death, Disease, and Destruction walking tour turned into two hours of hanging out in a pub with the tour guide, two Scots, and an Aussie, talking about life and the importance of failure -- a very eye-opening experience for my son.  Side note:  one of the Scots we met is heading from Toronto to NYC to New Orleans.  He sent me a FB message and we're now hosting him and a friend in Richmond, VA this Thurs and Friday.   New friends are great!

The Blue Jays game was outstanding.  A bike ride all over Toronto Island was one of our highlights.

oh, and I lost my purse on the streets of Toronto.  Within an hour I had a phone call from the police station.  Someone had turned it in with everything intact, even the $60 cash.   Wow!

When I was busy with board meeting and conference duties, Son ran the city by himself and had a ball.   

The organization picked up the whole hotel tab.  My total cost for an unforgettable 5 day vacation in Toronto, for two people?   $1043.00  And that includes the shopping, gas to-and-from (yay, Prius), and the motel we stayed in on the way. 

I loved that city and would not hesitate to go back.  Oh Canada!


garth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2014, 11:00:41 AM »
Hooray!

OSUBearCub

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Tackling student loan debt/not saving dryer lint.
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2014, 09:53:55 AM »
The free Death, Disease, and Destruction walking tour turned into two hours of hanging out in a pub with the tour guide, two Scots, and an Aussie, talking about life and the importance of failure -- a very eye-opening experience for my son.  Side note:  one of the Scots we met is heading from Toronto to NYC to New Orleans.  He sent me a FB message and we're now hosting him and a friend in Richmond, VA this Thurs and Friday.   New friends are great!

I'm SO glad you had a good time and took the tour!  Aren't the TourGuys great?!  (Is the sky scraper Garry Hoy fell out of on that tour?)  Bravo on making new friends!  That's the traveler's spirit! :-)


TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2014, 12:52:08 PM »
The free Death, Disease, and Destruction walking tour turned into two hours of hanging out in a pub with the tour guide, two Scots, and an Aussie, talking about life and the importance of failure -- a very eye-opening experience for my son.  Side note:  one of the Scots we met is heading from Toronto to NYC to New Orleans.  He sent me a FB message and we're now hosting him and a friend in Richmond, VA this Thurs and Friday.   New friends are great!

I'm SO glad you had a good time and took the tour!  Aren't the TourGuys great?!  (Is the sky scraper Garry Hoy fell out of on that tour?)  Bravo on making new friends!  That's the traveler's spirit! :-)

The TourGuys are awesome!   Yes, that skyscraper was on the tour.  Ugh.  Though..... really, dude?  Purposefully running into a window to show how strong it was, year after year?  Odds are against you.  ;)

OSUBearCub

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Tackling student loan debt/not saving dryer lint.
Re: Going to Toronto. What should we see/ do?
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2014, 01:45:18 PM »
The free Death, Disease, and Destruction walking tour turned into two hours of hanging out in a pub with the tour guide, two Scots, and an Aussie, talking about life and the importance of failure -- a very eye-opening experience for my son.  Side note:  one of the Scots we met is heading from Toronto to NYC to New Orleans.  He sent me a FB message and we're now hosting him and a friend in Richmond, VA this Thurs and Friday.   New friends are great!

I'm SO glad you had a good time and took the tour!  Aren't the TourGuys great?!  (Is the sky scraper Garry Hoy fell out of on that tour?)  Bravo on making new friends!  That's the traveler's spirit! :-)

The TourGuys are awesome!   Yes, that skyscraper was on the tour.  Ugh.  Though..... really, dude?  Purposefully running into a window to show how strong it was, year after year?  Odds are against you.  ;)

Ha!  So true!