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A very Canadian 3 days in Toronto

A 3-Day Toronto itinerary

A very Canadian 3 days in Toronto

Those who think Canada is all about nature have clearly never been to Toronto. Canada’s biggest city stacks up with the best of them, thanks to its diverse cultural communities, unique neighbourhoods, endless restaurants, and enough attractions to keep you occupied for years.


Of course, most travellers won’t have years to spend. So here are a few things you can accomplish in a long weekend:


Day 1: Take your taste buds on holiday

Markets are a great way to learn about the city you're visiting. The foods and product on-sale often offer insight into the people behind the place. Toronto is no exception. There's the classic St. Lawrence MarketExternal Link Title, which at 208 years old has been a big part of the city since nearly the beginning. There you'll find 120 vendors, with the freshest produce, meats, baked good, and dairy products for your perusing. Then there's Kensington MarketExternal Link Title. This incredible neighbourhood really reflects the diversity that makes Toronto so special. Caribbean, Latin American, European, and Vietnamese immigrants have all left their stamp on the city, and that impact can be smelled, tasted, and enjoyed throughout Kensington Market.


Take, for example, Rasta PastaExternal Link Title, which serves up Jamaican and Italian fusion cuisine. Don't balk at it until you try dishes like Reggae Lasagna, which combines jerk chicken with more traditional pasta ingredients, or the Tuscan, a jerk pork panini.


Of course, Toronto's food scene stretches well beyond market overflowing food scene. Here are a few more options more than worth your while.

Small plates, big flavours. That's what The ChaseExternal Link Title literally brings to the table. Named one of Canada's best new restaurants in 2014 by EnRoute magazine, this is somewhere to go for an elegant meal to remember. Order one of their seafood platters for a spread of oysters, snow crab, and tuna that you won't soon forget.  


Another favourite, Hawker BarExternal Link Title serves up dishes inspired by Southeast Asian street food, as well as creative cocktails. Plus, it's open until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can stop by at the end of the night to relax and enjoy their delicious chili wings.

If you're more interested in a drink, head just outside the city to the Junction neighbourhood and pay a visit to Rainhard BrewingExternal Link Title, Halo BreweryExternal Link Title, or countless others in the area. If cocktails are more your speed, there are few more classic Toronto experiences than a drink enjoyed on the rooftop patio of the Drake hotelExternal Link Title.


Rasta Pasta External Link Title

  • Where: Kensington Market 
  • What to order: The Vatican panini and some jerk chicken dumplings
  • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am to 7pm; Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. Closed on Monday.


The ChaseExternal Link Title

  • Where: Downtown

  • What to order: Oysters... or any seafood really

  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 11:30 am - 11 pm, Saturday 5 pm - 12 am, closed on Sunday


Hawker BarExternal Link Title

  • Where: Trinity Bellwoods

  • What to order: Singapore chili chicken wings

  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 6 pm - 10 pm, 6 pm - 2 am Friday, 5 pm - 2 am Saturday, 5 pm - 10 pm Sunday


Day 2: Take your trip to new heights

At 533 metres in height, the emblematic CN Tower dominates the skyline of Toronto, and offers experiences for foodies and adrenaline junkies both.


Take a walk 113 stories above the ground with nothing separating you from the ground except a glass floor and a whole lot of air. Or, if that’s not enough of a thrill, head outside the tower for Toronto’s most extreme attraction. The EdgeWalk sees you strap into a harness, tiptoe onto an exterior walkway, and lean out over the edge. No hands!

Do heights make you lose your lunch? Why not have lunch instead? For a more tame CN Tower experience, enjoy an unforgettable dining experience with a revolving view of Toronto at the 360 Restaurant. In addition to the fantastic food, the restaurant’s wine cellar (Guinness World Record Holder as the highest cellar in the world, by the way) features a tasty array of fine wines.

The CN TowerExternal Link Title

  • Where: Downtown Toronto (Entertainment District)

  • Hours: Observation decks are open from 8:30 am - 11 pm and 360 Restaurant is open from 11 am - 10:15 pm year round (except Christmas day). EdgeWalk runs seasonally, except in electrical storms, high winds, or other extreme weather.

  • Costs: General admission is approximately ?23 (or $38 CAD). The EdgeWalk experience costs approximately ?120 (or $195 CAD).


Day 3: Embrace your inner Canadian

Even though there are a lot of stereotypes about Canadians, it's actually pretty tough to paint a picture of Canada with just one brush (not that being friendly and liking plaid are a bad thing). That being said, Toronto has a few experiences that will leave you feeling like you really embraced your holiday surroundings.  


First, head to the Art Gallery of OntarioExternal Link Title to see the largest collection of Canadian art in the world, including many works from Canada's famous Group of Seven. These are pieces of art that capture the Canadian landscape and way of life, and are a great way to learn about the country. Plus, Canadian works make up only some of the impressive 90,000 works of art that live inside the museum's walls. From photography to sculpture, Picasso to Rembrandt, it's all there. Then there's the building itself, which features an extension designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. If you love art, you'll love the AGO.


Next, there are few things more widely associated with Canada than hockey but that's a stereotype we'll never complain about. In Toronto, the Hockey Hall of FameExternal Link Title is the absolute best place to learn about the sport and its history, all while taking on fun challenges like shooting, goaltending, and hockey trivia.

After a day spent learning, spend your night indulging in some good old-fashioned axe-throwing. While 99 per cent of Canadians have probably never thrown an axe, we certainly love our woodsmen history! Head to Bad Axe ThrowingExternal Link Title, grab an axe that tickles your fancy, and throw it at a wooden target until you hit that oh-so-satisfying bullseye. You won't find a better way to let off some steam.

The Art Gallery of OntarioExternal Link Title

  • Where: Downtown

  • Hours: 10:30 am - 5 pm Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 am - 9pm Wednesday and Friday, 10:30 am - 5:30 pm weekends, closed on Monday

  • Cost: About ?15 ($25 CAD)


Bad Axe ThrowingExternal Link Title

  • Where: The Junction

  • Hours: 8 am - 11 pm

  • Cost: ?27 (or $44.25 CAD) for three hours or approximately ?12 ($20 CAD) for one hour


Suddenly have the urge to travel? Just feeling hungry?

Visit See Toronto Now for more stories and information.

Other Toronto musts

Sports: If you like sports, Toronto will keep you pleasantly occupied. The city has a professional hockey teamExternal Link Title (duh). It is also where Canada's only NBA basketball team, the Toronto RaptorsExternal Link Title, and MLB baseball team, the Toronto Blue JaysExternal Link Title, are located. They also have professional footballExternal Link Title, Canadian footballExternal Link Title, and lacrosseExternal Link Title teams.

Festivals: Toronto is a city of nearly endless festivals. For music fans there are dozens of choices, including NXNEExternal Link Title and the TD Toronto Jazz FestivalExternal Link Title. If you love to dance, you can join the party at Toronto PrideExternal Link Title or learn a new dance at the Toronto Caribbean CarnivalExternal Link Title. The biggest celebrities in the world can be seen during the Toronto International Film FestivalExternal Link Title, and lovers of the arts will also enjoy LuminatoExternal Link Title.


See this trip in action: