Hey guys! Today I have an exciting first post in a two part series. I’m going to be sharing with you my favourite things to do in my home city; Toronto. Today, on my blog I’ll be sharing fifteen of the top things to do in the 6ix and then I’ll be heading over to Wanderlustyle blog to share fifteen more things to do in this beautiful city! Before we get into the top sights of the city, let’s talk a bit about Toronto.
Being the largest Canadian city at a population of 2.6 million, and one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world, there really never is a dull moment in Toronto. This city is home to giant skyscrapers and luscious green parks, and musical superstars such as The Weeknd, Drake, and Justin Bieber. Toronto also breeds talented actors like Rachel McAdams, Jim Carey, and Mike Meyers, and elite athletes including PK Subban and Tyler Seguin. Also being home to hundreds of festivals and cultural events, there is something happening pretty much every day of the week in this city!
Being the incredible wild and beautiful city that it is, Toronto receives a lot of media attention, though we locals know to take most of this “gossip” with a grain of salt. Before we get started, I decided to tackle the big controversial questions head on.
Why do you call it the 6ix?
One of Toronto’s finest, Drake, coined the term “the 6ix” for Toronto’s new nickname, stemming from the city’s 416 area code.
Doesn’t your mayor smoke crack?
No. Well, I mean technically, yes. The previous mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was involved in a variety of substance abuse scandals and did eventual admit to smoking crack cocaine in one of his “drunken stupors”.
Why are Toronto Maple Leaf tickets so overpriced when your team sucks?
Yeah, I really can’t answer this one, I’ve been trying to figure it out for the past twenty years.
Now that I’ve got all the burning questions and erased any presumptions you may have had about this city, let’s get into fifteen things you must experience in Toronto!
One of the biggest displays of Toronto’s cultural diversity is the annual Caribana festival held at the end of August. The festival is a celebration of Caribbean culture and traditions which attracts millions of visitors every year. Events occur over the span of two weeks, but the highlight of the festival is the parade that occurs during the final weekend.
- Take a stroll through High Park
High Park is Toronto’s largest public park featuring hiking trails, stunning lakefront views, sports facilities, playgrounds, dog parks, and numerous picnic areas and eateries. Pick a nice day and take a walk through this luscious green space to take a break from the loud city.
- Eat your way through the CNE
The Canadian National Exhibition is a three week event that takes place at the Exhibition place in Toronto. It features an outdoor fair with a variety of rides and loud music, indoor competitions such as sand sculpting, shopping from local craftspeople, and most famously; outrageous food. Each year the CNE strives to come up with the most outrageous concoctions for its guests. Last year the stars of the show were deep fried red velvet Oreos and Tim Horton’s Timbit Poutine.
- Cheer on the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre
The Toronto Blue Jays, aka the boys of summer, are the only Canadian baseball team in the MLB, making them Canada’s sports team in the summer; regardless of if you’re a baseball fan. The Jay’s had an incredible playoff run last season, making them even more of an exciting team to watch. This is definitely a bucket list item for anyone visiting Toronto
- Visit the Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM is the largest museum in Canada and houses some of the most incredible pieces of work from a variety of disciplines including art, world culture, and natural history.
- March in the Pride Parade
Toronto’s Pride Parade is one of the largest events in the world supporting the LGBT community. 2016 will mark the city’s first ever Pride Month, featuring a month of events, and culminating with the 36th annual Pride Parade on July 3.
- Explore Kensington Market
In one of the city’s oldest and culturally diverse neighborhoods lies a legendary Natural Historic Site of Canada; Kensington Market. The outdoor markets are one of the most photographed spots of the entire city. The market is filled with a variety of food stores and local, environmentally friendly based shops.
- Get Cultured in Chinatown, Little Italy, or Little Portugal
Explore even more of Toronto’s cultural diversity in these ethnically based neighborhoods. Chinatown is by far the largest and most popular, while Little Italy and Little Portugal offer some of the most authentic cultural cuisines and home to the best bars to catch a soccer game in.
- Visit Toronto Island
Take the short ferry ride out to Toronto Island for a day trip filled with fun at the amusement park, some sunbathing at Hanlan’s Point nude beach, and the most stunning views of the Toronto skyline.
- Try some Vegan treats at Apiecalypse
Venture over to Christie Pitts and treat your taste buds to the most incredible vegan pizza and donuts you could ever dream of!
- Capture the view from Polson Pier
One of the best places to capture the Toronto skyline without going out to the island is on Polson Pier. Polson Pier was formerly known as “The Docks Waterfront Entertainment Complex” and still provides some of the best summer fun in the city from patio drinks to go-karting.
- Eat at a Food Truck
Anywhere you turn in this city there will be a street vendor selling some sort of deliciously greasy grab n go food. Maybe not the healthiest bucket list item, but nonetheless a must try in Toronto!
- Check out Graffiti Alley
Located in the city’s fashion district, Graffiti Alley is about a kilometer worth of stunning graffiti and street art. This iconic backdrop has been the filming grounds for Canadian comedian Rick Mercer’s weekly TV segments, as well as an insta-worthy photo spot for locals and tourists alike.
- Take a tour of Steam Whistle Brewery
Steam Whistle produces a classic premium pilsner, easily distinguished by their green bottles. It’s been voted best beer in Toronto several times over the years. Take the quick tour and you can have your own personal taste test!
- Visit St. Lawrence Market
Imerse yourself in the taste of Toronto in this foodie heaven. St. Lawrence Market is one of the most well-known markets in the world. Today the market has expanded into three halls; one for local produce vendors, on which is home to the traditional Sunday Farmer’s Market, and one which houses retail businesses.
That’s all for the first half of my top things to do in Toronto! Be sure to keep an eye out for the second half of this series over on Wanderlustyle!