From gourmet restaurants to five-star spas, discover the best of Toronto in just one day.
Toronto, a picturesque modern city of culture and history, nature, unique neighbourhoods, fabulous food and some of the best wine in the country. Plus, with Canada celebrating its 150th year, the city is in a festive mood.
Start your day at St Lawrence Market, a bustling 200-yearold market that captures the culinary essence of Toronto, with over 120 stallholders, an additional farmer’s market on Saturdays and antiques market on Sundays. Begin with coffee from experts, Everyday Gourmet, followed by a peameal bacon sandwich (invented in Toronto) from Carousel Bakery, or for a healthier option Cruda Cafe, which specialises in raw food. Also has great gifts for foodie friends.
Fuelled up, it is time to hit the streets. It is a walkable city and possible to explore several neighbourhoods for shopping, art and hidden gems, or stick to one to explore your preference fully.
For shopping head to the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood, home to the city’s Mink Mile and high-end, luxury brands. For up and coming local designers, or trendsetting fashion finds head to the West Queen West area.
Art, hidden gems, artisanal and eclectic offerings – get some insider advice from the knowledgable guides at the Tour Guys. The company offers a range of pay-what-you-like walking tours, including the fascinating Graffiti Tour. A series of back alleys and side streets bursting with colour, adorned with creative works by local and international artists. The area is akin to an al fresco museum of contemporary art.
Catch a taxi to the CN Tower and take in one of the best views of the city and far beyond at the revolving 360 Restaurant at 350m high. The food is delicious and dishes feature regional ingredients, such as the west coast foraged mushroom chowder, CN Tower rooftop tarragon-infused honey, PEI purple potatoes, smoked barley and toasted quinoa. Opt for the fixed price menu and receive complimentary access to the Glass Floor, which provides a 342m view, straight down.
To appreciate the green side of the city, and to enjoy it from a watery Lake Ontario perspective, hop aboard a harbour tours at the regenerated Queen’s Quay. Take in the three Toronto Islands and their charming lagoons, which feel a world away, plus gorgeous views of the harbour and city skyline.
Get pampered at the Spa My Blend by Clarins at the fivestar The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, only the second luxury spa of its kind in the world; the other is in Paris. Opt for the signature, bespoke My Blend Facial, which combines relaxation techniques, personalised skincare analysis and products, and technologies that promote regenerative anti-ageing, firming, toning and radiance. Launched in April, the Contour Shaper and Body Firming treatment targets density and elasticity, and is said to have a proven sculpting ability.
Looking fabulous and with access to the right means – a car or helicopter – have dinner at a leading Niagara region winery. Red Stone Wines, 90km from the city, is perfect with its combination of stylish al fresco area, sunset views, wonderful wines, ambient live music and tempting dishes featuring local produce. If dining in the city, try Toca for fantastic handcrafted Italian food, a superb selection of Niagara region wines and its cheese room. There is also Grey Gardens wine bar for excellent seafood dishes, or Awai, serving gorgeous plant-based cuisine.
Toronto is known for its music scene with a plethora of options, including the legendary Lee’s Palace, and its diverse range of musical genres featured (Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons have done secret shows here). For cocktails with a literary bent try the quirky Famous Last Words, Gift Shop a bijoux bar hidden at the back of a barber shop or speakeasy-inspired Parlour.
When it comes time for dreamland, retire to a suite at The Ritz- Carlton, Toronto, with great views of the city and Lake Ontario. The elegant hotel is best for celebrity spotting, especially during the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September, when it is the preferred accommodation and party option for the Hollywood A-list.
• Thrill seekers – stroll the CN Tower edge walk, or explore the PATH, the longest underground walkway (30km) on record, linking over 1,200 shops and restaurants.
• Try one of the city’s food trucks. Visit @foodtrucksTO on Twitter to find them.
• In a nod to the yin and yang of life, take a yoga class at In the Spirit, a yoga studio and wine bar, wine optional.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Skyline of the picturesque city; take a break on the urban beach at HTO Park. THIS PAGE: Thrill seekers will enjoy the CN Tower edge walk, the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk; stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, one of the city’s most prestigious hotels.
TORONTO SKYLINE WITH PURPLE LIGHT - TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA/THINKSTOCK.