A few Toronto facts for you: North America’s 4th largest city is home to 5.7 million people, half of whom were born overseas, and all whom enjoy a selection of more than 8000 restaurants. It gets seriously cold in winter (- 32C low) and steamy in summer (40C high), but just right in between.
Over the past two decades, Torontarians have transformed their city from a bland conservative business hub into one of the world’s most fun, cultured and fashionable places to visit. Here are nine things to keep you out of – or get you into – trouble while you’re there.
The Distillery District
If you enjoy a bit of international people-watching and loitering about in the funky parts of unexplored cities, you’ll relish a visit to The Distillery District (pictured).
In this restored area of Victorian buildings you can stroll the brick-lined streets without ever needing to think twice about which way cars might be coming from, pop into boutique shops and relax in cafés, restaurants and bars.
Creativity froths and bubbles in these parts, and you’d be unlucky not stumble across a lively festival, theatre performance, new-age opera or other artistic event.
A hotel needs a fair share of self-confidence to announce itself as an “Urban Zen”, but The Cosmopolitan Hotel Toronto somehow carries it off. Here you can relax in your Tranquillity, Lotus or Zen Suite, with free access to the meditation channel and yoga mats, visit the Shizen spa and dine at the very hip Eight Wine Bar.
Ontario Science Centre
Ladies, will you give bikini-babe Helen Mirren a run for her money at 60? Gentlemen, how about baby faced Beatle Paul McCartney at 70?
You can find out at the Ontario Science Centre’s Amazing Aging machine, which creates an image of you into the future. If the results are seriously depressing, there are plenty of fun exhibitions to lift your mood, such as an interactive floor for dancing, ‘try to spot a liar’ and animating your own short film.
And while outer beauty may fade, you can always join the famous Café Scientifique discussions and turn your brain into fit n sexy thinking machine.
Of course, everyone else will scrub up a little better after you’ve had a few cocktails at the downtown Strathcona Hotel Toronto on site pub.
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is another fun pitstop that combines of old relics, new objects, nature and human themes.
In the kid’s discovery gallery there’s a Dinosaur Dig, costume area with replica clothing and armour, and a tepee. if you’re there on a Saturday morning there are learning labs and workshops too.
‘Elders’, can explore the Digital gallery, Ming tomb from China, totem poles of Canada’s Haida people, Gordo the 9- foot long dinosaur skeleton and see the head of Cleopatra…a granite bust anyway!
The stunning Radisson Admiral Hotel has a great restaurant with panoramic views over the harbour and skyline.
Doors Open Toronto
If you enjoy going along to local Open for Inspections just to see how your neighbours live, you’ll want to be in town for Doors Open Toronto on 26-27 May.
One weekend each year almost 140 buildings open up for the public from 10am to 5pm with free access, guided tours and activities.
Each site has architectural, social, cultural or historic significance and include places of worship, boardrooms, bedrooms, mansions, theatres, factories, and whistle-wetting breweries.
One spectacular building you don’t need an invitation to visit is the Delta Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Canada’s largest hotel. It includes a kids area with Nintendo, painting, crafts and babysitting – just in case you want to pop out and take advantage of the discounts you’ll receive at Toronto attractions just byflashing your room key.
5 more cool things to do in Toronto
– Go ice-skating in winter at one of the 50 outdoor rinks
– Shop in the swanky Yorkville district
– Gorge your way around the globe (Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, Jamaican, Italian and on and on)
– Party all night in the Entertainment District
– Get sprayed at Niagara Falls (90 minutes drive)