1. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada's largest museum and has over 6,000,000 objects. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the ROM has a number of galleries exhibiting natural history, world culture, and art. While most of the galleries feature permanent exhibits, they also have special exhibitions, so every visit is different. The museum is for all ages and there are even two large galleries dedicated to hands-on learning that children would especially enjoy.
Fun Fact: The ROM hosts Friday Night Live (FNL), which is a 19+ after hours event where you can dance, drink, and eat the night away. Every FNL is themed. It sells out weeks in advance, so make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time.
Photo credit: The Royal Ontario Museum
2. Stroll through the Distillery District
The Distillery District is a commercial and residential area with over 40 heritage buildings and 10 streets. The area was home to Gooderham and Worts Distillery, which was founded in 1832. Today, it has the largest collection of Victorian-era buildings in North America and is designated a National Historic Site. Despite modernization, the district is well preserved. You can walk along the cobblestone streets and see some historic objects inside and outside buildings. The district is well known locally for it's Christmas Market but is also home to plenty of other events throughout the year.
Photo credit: BlogTO
3. Visit the Bata Shoe Museum
The Bata Shoe Museum is an underrated museum in Toronto. It is completely dedicated to the history and future of shoes! Even if shoes don't interest you enough to think "why would I want to go to a shoe museum?" think twice. It is the only museum in North America dedicated to the history footwear and currently contains over 13,000 artifacts!
Photo credit: Bata Shoe Museum
4. Go back in time by visiting the City of Toronto's Historic Museums
The City of Toronto owns and operates 10 historic museums in all 6 districts of the city. Some museums such as the Scarborough Museum are free, but others have a small entry fee. Each location tells a different story/history about Toronto and many of them have special exhibits and events happening. In the summer, Fort York (which is also a National Historic Site) often hosts food and music festivals and Spadina Museum has the Gatsby Garden Party. If you're the kind of person who likes to go to a city and learn about its history, then one (or all) of these museums is a must visit.
Photo credit: City of Toronto Historic Sites
5. Walk through the PATH
The PATH is a 30km long underground network of pedestrian tunnels, and according to the Guinness World Records, it is the world's largest underground shopping complex with 4,000,000 sq ft of retail space. The PATH is accessible from most places within the downtown core and links to major attractions such as Ripley's Aquarium, CN Tower, Air Canada Centre, Eaton Centre, and more.
6. Take a walk down Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley is located on a portion of Rush Lane near Spadina Ave. and Queen Street West in downtown. It features a km worth of graffiti, some incredible and others...well I'll let you decide. There used to be a random swing but after repeated vandalism, it was taken down.
A part of Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada. Photo credit: localwiki.org
7. Get a book from the "Biblio-Mat" at The Monkey's Paw
I have to admit, this is really cool for book lovers! The Monkey's Paw is an independently owned used bookstore in the Bloor Street West and Lansdowne area. In 2012, the bookstore commissioned a "Biblio-Mat", considered the world's first dispensing machine for a random old book for only $2. When I went, the machine only took 2 loonies ($1), and I got a book about WWI, which was printed in the early 1930s.
Photo credit: BlogTO
8. Do the EdgeWalk on the CN Tower
For almost four decades, the CN Tower was the tallest free standing structure in the world. While the tower no longer holds that distinction, it does boost the world's highest, full circle, hands-free walk at 356m/1168ft high. In other words, this is not meant for people faint of heart. This is a one of a kind activity to do in Toronto. The ticket for the EdgeWalk also includes entry to the SkyPod, lookout area, and glass floor.
Photo credit: CN Tower
9. Walk along the Scarborough Bluffs
Most who visit Toronto stick to the downtown area as that is where majority of the attractions are. Scarborough is home to the Toronto Zoo, Canada's first and only national urban park (Rouge National Urban Park), and a variety of ethnic restaurants and shops. The Bluffs are located on the southern part of Scarborough that borders Lake Ontario and features 11 parks along 15km. The biggest park is Bluffer's Park, but it also gets busy in the summer so time your visit carefully. Whatever park you end up going to, make sure to walk the trails so you get a beautiful view of the lake (like the one pictured below). Keep in mind, the Bluffs aren't only a summer destination. There are often art installations on the beaches in the winter time, so check that out too.
Is this Toronto or the Caribbean? Photo credit: BlogTO
10. Take the ferry to the Toronto Islands
The Toronto Islands consist of over 10 islands of varying sizes. On the islands you can find Centreville Amusement Park, Hanlans' Beach (nude beach), Billy Bishop airport, and tons of parkland. Going there is a like a mini getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto. Plus, you get a beautiful view of the city's skyline. Getting there is fairly easy as the City of Toronto has ferries running from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Alternatively, there are also water taxi boats.
Have you visited any of these places? If so, let me know below!
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