You either love it or you hate it. Toronto has that effect on people. But it will probably be a stop for you if you are visiting Canada – it does have the countries largest airport after all. Like all giant cities, Toronto is one of those places where it takes time and effort to discover all the gems. And let’s be honest – I don’t live in Toronto – so this is not the blog post for you if you are looking for cool hidden bars and interesting pop up cafes. No, this is the guide for you if you have a limited time in Toronto and you want to see the main highlights in the downtown area.
But it’s not all cookie cutter here at OurOyster. Sure, our downtown Toronto guide will take you to all the main sights, but we will also throw in a few quirky stops as well.
Morning – Breakfast at the markets and revel in Canadian hockey glory
Your first stop is the St. Lawrence Market where you can get some great fresh food for brekkie. Grab some snacks as well for the day. The St. Lawrence market has been voted the best food market in the world by National Geographic…. so I think it’s safe to assume you will find something to your taste there.
After eating your fill at the markets, head over to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Even if you are not a fan of the greatest game in the world, you should still probably learn a little bit about the game when you are visiting Canada. It’s home to the famous Stanley Cup – the ultimate prize which NHL teams battle it out for every year. General admission is $17.50 per adult.
Lunch at the Loose Moose
After the hockey hall of fame it isn’t far until a quirky little pub known as The Loose Moose. The interior is huge with long wooden bench tables, and a varied collection of antique phones, radios and sporting equipment on the walls. They have a huge selection of beers and you can order a taster collection and choose which beers you would like to sample. They also have an interesting and “Canadiana” inspired menu with items like Bacon and Bison Meatloaf. Make sure you check out the beer selection as well, apparently it’s the largest selection of beers in Downtown Toronto.
Afternoon – That famous monument and a pretty amazing aquarium
I guess you can’t visit Toronto without checking out the CN tower. The CN Tower used to be the world’s largest building and it is undoubtedly Toronto’s most famous landmark. There are a bunch of activities to be had at the CN tower. For thrill seekers, there is the edge walk. And for those who want to dine with the best view in the city, there is the 360 degree revolving restaurant. A view like this doesn’t come cheap though, with a standard 3 course meal setting you back about $70. However with your meal also comes access to the glass floor viewing platform. Maybe go there first in case heights make you queasy.
Right next door to the CN tower is Ripleys Aquarium of Canada. We love aquariums and this one really takes the cake. It is AMAZING! The entire centre is massive and show cases fish species from all over the world. Probably the most spectacular exhibit is the Dangerous Lagoon. Walk through tunnels underneath 2.5 million litres of water and watch as sawfish, sharks, rays and turtles swim around and above you.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada can be very busy, so we recommend buying your tickets in advance online. An adult ticket will set you back $29.98 and it’s worth every penny.
End the day with a cold drink – Steam Whistle Brewing
Your last stop on the OurOyster downtown Toronto tour wouldn’t be right if it didn’t include beer. Just across the road from Ripleys Aquarium is the Steam Whistle brewery. The brewery does one thing and one thing only – pilsner. Join up with the tour which runs every 3o minutes from 12 PM until 5 PM. The tour comes with free beer of course, and lots of funny stories and anecdotes. The best thing is – check in on Foursquare and get a free “souvenir” brewery tour. (only valid for the first time you check in).