As it is nicknamed “Toronto the Good”, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that this North American city is a touch on the boring, prudish side, more suited to your great aunt Beryl than to you and your crew. You couldn’t be more wrong, BUCKiTDREAMER! Thanks to rapid gentrification and a flock of creatives moving east from Vancouver, Toronto has seen a renaissance that has grabbed it by its collar and dragged it up it to take its place as a welcome addition to the thriving creative scene in North America.
To see all that this newly thriving city has to offer, make sure you fill your BUCKiTDREAM planner to the brim with your must-dos before you head off. Forgetting to do so could land you with a serious case of the post-holiday blues!
For your stay in Toronto, it can’t be anywhere else other than the Drake Hotel. This chic hub is not only a hotel but also acts as a music venue/nightclub/art gallery/cinema, depending on what day of the week you’re there. On winter nights, head to the Sky Yard on the roof of the Drake for a night of stargazing and roasting marshmallows, while sipping on a Brown Butter Maple Old Fashioned. Yes, it is somehow even more delicious than it sounds!
Find Your Inner Hipster in Trinity Bellwoods Park Trinity Bellwoods Park is the cutest, liveliest and cleanest park you’re going to find in all of North America. A hub of outdoor activity, the park is the undoubtedly the hipster mecca of Toronto. Beyond your usual park amenities of tennis courts and playgrounds, Trinity Bellwoods plays host to all manner of quirky activities such as yoga, performance art, live music and stands for free hugs.
While you’re enjoying an afternoon sunbathing in the park, why not adopt a tree to help keep Trinity Bellwoods as a thriving green space amidst the urban sprawl of the city. For dog lovers, there’s the Dog Bowl, a locally named leash-free area for the canine residents of the city where you can spend hours squee-ing over the cutest fluffs as they take their daily stroll through the park.
When you’ve finished meeting the local fluffy residents and hugging the trees in Trinity Bellows, take the southerly exit and escape down the side street off of Queen Street West. There you’ll find Graffiti Alley, Toronto’s only legally designated graffiti spot, where you’ll see works of art some Toronto’s premier players on the street art scene.
Gorge On Poutine in Kensington Market Although Europeans are usually trailblazers when it comes to tasty food, they have been slow to get on the poutine train. Poutine is a delicious Canadian dish of French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. It is as simple as it is flavorsome. Thankfully, poutine dispensaries aren’t few and far between in Toronto, but if you want the best, head downtown to the multicultural hub in Kensington Market and sniff out the aptly named Nom Nom Nom Poutine & Crepes.
With a city full of food stalls all vying for the poutine crown Nom Nom Nom Poutine & Crepes is second to none and they have the awards to prove it. Delectable poutine isn’t all that Kensington Market has to offer. Check out the metropolis of stalls that populate the market. Purveyors of everything from fishmongers to vintage clothes reside here and are all receptive to a little light haggling if you think you’re charming enough!
Conquer Your Fears On the Edge Walk Canadians are notoriously fearless, so it’s not surprising that they encourage people to circle the exposed roof of the 356m tall CN Tower with little more than a harness to save them from becoming soup on the concrete below.
The Edge Walk is not for the faint-hearted but for thrill seeking BUCKiTDREAMERS, it’s a Torontonian must-do. Although it’s a little pricey at $195 per ticket, it’s worth paying for the hour and a half long experience.
The CN Tower also plays host to the award-winning 360 Restaurant, but it’s probably for the best that you save eating some of their delicious specialty seafood until after you finish the Edge Walk. When you get up there and see the city from that dizzying height, you’ll know why!
Marvel At the Magic Of Chinatown Occupying the West Toronto streets of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West, Chinatown is a gastronomic and aesthetic feast for all of the senses. When in Chinatown, you must do as the Chinese do and tuck into some world-class dim sum.
Toronto has the best that you’ll experience outside of China. Whilst Rol San maybe the dim sum destination of choice for the less intrepid traveler, if you follow the road less traveled into Rosewood, you’ll find an all-day dim sum menu that is the real gem in Chinatown’s crown.
Although Toronto has strict liquor laws enforcing bars to close at 2 am, many Chinatown eateries have found a creative way of circumventing this problem. Whilst looking for an after-hours drink in the district, simply go into any of the open restaurants and ask for a cold tea and voilà! You’ll be presented with a tall, cold glass of beer.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Toronto for Chinese New Year, brace yourself for the most spectacular show you’re likely to ever see as the streets come alive with dancing dragons, floating lanterns and enough fireworks to set the night sky ablaze.
Catch An Ice Hockey Game At the Air Canada Centre You can’t go to Canada without experiencing ice hockey, and why would you want to? If there’s anything more Canadian than men kicking the crap out of each other in the name of ice hockey then we don’t want to know about it! In all seriousness, ice hockey is one of the most awesome, thrilling sports you can watch and where better to watch it than in its country of birth?
As the Maple Leafs are the official Toronto team, coming by tickets for their games is not only hard but also expensive. If you’re not that bothered about the big names, opt to watch a Toronto Marlies game. These guys are the Maple Leafs top affiliate in the American hockey league and their tickets are easier to come by and much cheaper.
Ice hockey fans have a reputation of not being the polite people if you come between them and their game. ALWAYS go to the bathroom/get snacks before the game starts. If you get up and obstruct someone’s view mid-match, you can expect to get some less than friendly reminders to sit your ass back down. Make sure you’re wearing warm clothes when you’re at the stadium as it’ll be much chillier than you’ll expect.
As Toronto continues to flourish into a creative, multicultural hub, more and more hotspots, adventures and attractions will sprout up, leaving you with a lengthy BUCKiTDREAM planner to work your way through. We’re warning you now, though, it’s impossible to get through all the delights that Toronto has to offer in one trip, so you’ll simply have to keep coming back! Whether you take one trip or many trips to this glorious city, make sure to share the details across your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to inspire your fellow BUCKiTDREAMERS.