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Geoff and Christine's Guidebook for Toronto

Geoff

Geoff and Christine's Guidebook for Toronto

Shopping
Yes, there is the Eaton Centre downtown and Yorkdale in the north of the city that are full of brand name stores. But Queen West, Parkdale and Roncesvalles have an amazing vibe full of independent shops and boutiques to explore. I hardly step inside malls since moving here.
Mrs. H's antique store makes for a fun trip of discovering how old things can be admired and arranged in a beautiful way. If antiques are your thing, I highly recommend checking out her large store. Lots of furniture, kitchen gadgets, paintings, quality bed linens, vintage clothing, glassware that can bring a unique beauty to everyday drinks and plenty of unique items for sale!
Mrs. Huizenga
28 Roncesvalles Ave
Mrs. H's antique store makes for a fun trip of discovering how old things can be admired and arranged in a beautiful way. If antiques are your thing, I highly recommend checking out her large store. Lots of furniture, kitchen gadgets, paintings, quality bed linens, vintage clothing, glassware that can bring a unique beauty to everyday drinks and plenty of unique items for sale!
With three kids, we've had a lot of birthday parties to hit, so I've tried out a lot of kid toy stores. Bar none, this is the best toy store I've come across. Not only are the staff incredibly knowledgeable (just ask for a gift for a girl/boy who is X years old and they will give you 3-4 recommendations without batting an eyelash), but the quality of the types of toys they curate is amazing. Small card games and toy cars (and a great selection of loot bag size gadgets) are coupled with great art gifts, quality brands of blocks, boardgames, dress-up, books, even scooters (the best brand by far - Micro). Overall just smartly-designed, creative and affordable toys great for gift giving.
Scooter Girl Toys
187 Roncesvalles Ave
With three kids, we've had a lot of birthday parties to hit, so I've tried out a lot of kid toy stores. Bar none, this is the best toy store I've come across. Not only are the staff incredibly knowledgeable (just ask for a gift for a girl/boy who is X years old and they will give you 3-4 recommendations without batting an eyelash), but the quality of the types of toys they curate is amazing. Small card games and toy cars (and a great selection of loot bag size gadgets) are coupled with great art gifts, quality brands of blocks, boardgames, dress-up, books, even scooters (the best brand by far - Micro). Overall just smartly-designed, creative and affordable toys great for gift giving.
This year-round market held every Monday from 3PM - 7PM is a great way to pick up your groceries for the week and grab a bite for dinner from the many purveyors there. Fresh local produce in season are the highlight, but there is also olive oil, cheese, eggs, honey, frozen meats, tofu, dried and fresh wild mushrooms and delicious baked breads and treats. There is also a selection of gluten free options, full meals, take home dinners, preserves and much more. For dinner, check out the Fish Shak for the best rotis and cod or veggie fritters. The Tibetan momos (steamed bread with filling) are amazing too! There's also live music to boot. A great place to hang in the afternoon.
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Sorauren Farmers’ Market
50 Wabash Ave
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This year-round market held every Monday from 3PM - 7PM is a great way to pick up your groceries for the week and grab a bite for dinner from the many purveyors there. Fresh local produce in season are the highlight, but there is also olive oil, cheese, eggs, honey, frozen meats, tofu, dried and fresh wild mushrooms and delicious baked breads and treats. There is also a selection of gluten free options, full meals, take home dinners, preserves and much more. For dinner, check out the Fish Shak for the best rotis and cod or veggie fritters. The Tibetan momos (steamed bread with filling) are amazing too! There's also live music to boot. A great place to hang in the afternoon.
Fun hats, gorgeous wallets, and hipster-style clothes. A little accessory from here definitely helps you to feel a little more with it.
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Frock
97 Roncesvalles Ave
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Fun hats, gorgeous wallets, and hipster-style clothes. A little accessory from here definitely helps you to feel a little more with it.
Similar to it's Queen West original location, this place has an eclectic mix of women's clothing with a hipster flair. They have good taste in mitts, scarves, jewellery and smaller quirky items.
Coal Miner's Daughter
87 Roncesvalles Ave
Similar to it's Queen West original location, this place has an eclectic mix of women's clothing with a hipster flair. They have good taste in mitts, scarves, jewellery and smaller quirky items.
Fun store with cards, gifts, stationary, and general drool-worthy items.
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Scout
405 Roncesvalles Ave
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Fun store with cards, gifts, stationary, and general drool-worthy items.
I couldn't figure out what this store was about when I saw the early morning lineup around the corner from this unassuming storefront. But if you're into sneaker culture, or Alexander Wang is ringing a bell, then you can guess the decent arrangement of clothes and shoes. https://www.deadstock.ca/
Livestock Roncesvalles
406 Roncesvalles Ave
I couldn't figure out what this store was about when I saw the early morning lineup around the corner from this unassuming storefront. But if you're into sneaker culture, or Alexander Wang is ringing a bell, then you can guess the decent arrangement of clothes and shoes. https://www.deadstock.ca/
I recently discovered this shop, even though it's been around for five years. They have fun women's clothing, jewellery, accessories (gorgeous scarves!), and shoes. The owner used to make all her own clothes, and the style she carries throughout this store is simply lovely.
Sylvie and Shimmy
1640 Queen St W
I recently discovered this shop, even though it's been around for five years. They have fun women's clothing, jewellery, accessories (gorgeous scarves!), and shoes. The owner used to make all her own clothes, and the style she carries throughout this store is simply lovely.
Awesome mens clothing shop. The owner draws inspiration from vintage militaria, workwear and sportswear of the early to mid-20th century. Their products are "produced by hand, locally and in small batches using construction techniques rarely seen in North American manufacturing. Most are woven on looms in Japan and cut and sewn with pride right here in Toronto." I just think the style is funky. Nice bags, ties, shirts, etc.
Klaxon Howl
1716 Queen St W
Awesome mens clothing shop. The owner draws inspiration from vintage militaria, workwear and sportswear of the early to mid-20th century. Their products are "produced by hand, locally and in small batches using construction techniques rarely seen in North American manufacturing. Most are woven on looms in Japan and cut and sewn with pride right here in Toronto." I just think the style is funky. Nice bags, ties, shirts, etc.
North Standard is a family and dog friendly shop that showcases their North Standard brand: a collection of cozy items such as toques, caps, t-shirts, and accessories. They also have items from Levi's, Hudson’s Bay Company, Herschel, Pendleton, Fjallraven, Carhartt, Neuw Denim, and Red Wing. They even have uber cute onesies and hoodies with their mascot bear.
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North Standard Trading Post
1662 Queen St W
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North Standard is a family and dog friendly shop that showcases their North Standard brand: a collection of cozy items such as toques, caps, t-shirts, and accessories. They also have items from Levi's, Hudson’s Bay Company, Herschel, Pendleton, Fjallraven, Carhartt, Neuw Denim, and Red Wing. They even have uber cute onesies and hoodies with their mascot bear.
This place has great style and interesting hipster-style-Canadiana items. Comfy t-shirts, wild collared shirts, made-in-Canada products and comfy socks.
Muttonhead
337 Roncesvalles Ave
This place has great style and interesting hipster-style-Canadiana items. Comfy t-shirts, wild collared shirts, made-in-Canada products and comfy socks.
Similar to their original store further north on Roncey, this store is Canadian-only products. Check out the drink mix concentrates from 34tonic from Montreal (yum!).
Muttonhead Base Camp
163 Roncesvalles Ave
Similar to their original store further north on Roncey, this store is Canadian-only products. Check out the drink mix concentrates from 34tonic from Montreal (yum!).
Essentials
Grocery stores, fruit shops, butchers, fish mongers and cheese shops. Laundromats, dry cleaners and pharmacies. Everything you need is a short walk up lively Roncesvalles.
Awesome fish market! This place has very knowledgeable staff selling high-quality seafood (incl ocean wise and organic). Ask them where a fish is from and they'll tell you. They also have a great selection of frozen items, seafood chowder, dips and spreads. But my favourite items here are their house-smoked and candied fish. The citrus candied salmon or salmon jerky absolutely make a charcuterie board amazing. I would certainly trust these folks with their oyster, scallop and shrimp selections. And they throw in a free lemon to boot! Grab a hot bowl of fresh soup for $5 too! p.s. - The water bubble display at the windows is great for entertaining kids while you're shopping.
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De La Mer
291 Roncesvalles Ave
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Awesome fish market! This place has very knowledgeable staff selling high-quality seafood (incl ocean wise and organic). Ask them where a fish is from and they'll tell you. They also have a great selection of frozen items, seafood chowder, dips and spreads. But my favourite items here are their house-smoked and candied fish. The citrus candied salmon or salmon jerky absolutely make a charcuterie board amazing. I would certainly trust these folks with their oyster, scallop and shrimp selections. And they throw in a free lemon to boot! Grab a hot bowl of fresh soup for $5 too! p.s. - The water bubble display at the windows is great for entertaining kids while you're shopping.
Inges Laundromat is where we went for doing our laundry while our family of five lived in the third floor apartment. I think we are fortunate that this business is so close to us. Literally a five minute walk, the older gentleman who owns this business puts a lot of pride into keeping the place clean and the machines in good working order. The two larger, faster washers are $5/use. There's another ~8 side load washers for $2.50/use, and ~8 top-load washers that are cheaper. The ~8 dryers are usually the bottleneck in the process, but it's rare that you're waiting. The dryers are $0.25 for about 10-15 minutes. ATM machine, change machine and laundry soap package dispenser is on site.
81 Roncesvalles Ave
81 Roncesvalles Ave
Inges Laundromat is where we went for doing our laundry while our family of five lived in the third floor apartment. I think we are fortunate that this business is so close to us. Literally a five minute walk, the older gentleman who owns this business puts a lot of pride into keeping the place clean and the machines in good working order. The two larger, faster washers are $5/use. There's another ~8 side load washers for $2.50/use, and ~8 top-load washers that are cheaper. The ~8 dryers are usually the bottleneck in the process, but it's rare that you're waiting. The dryers are $0.25 for about 10-15 minutes. ATM machine, change machine and laundry soap package dispenser is on site.
Great prices, large selection, and a large parking lot. They have decent produce, although I prefer to get my meat and seafood at the Roncesvalles and Queen St West butchers and fishmongers (better quality). Bring a quarter ($0.25 coin) to use as a deposit for the shopping carts.
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Peter's No Frills
222 Lansdowne Ave
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Great prices, large selection, and a large parking lot. They have decent produce, although I prefer to get my meat and seafood at the Roncesvalles and Queen St West butchers and fishmongers (better quality). Bring a quarter ($0.25 coin) to use as a deposit for the shopping carts.
In this small store, it is fairly convenient to walk up the 10 minutes to pick up the food stuffs that you need. Their prices can be certainly a bit higher than the No Frills over on Lansdowne. They pack a good variety of items in this store, and it is open late! (7AM - 11PM daily)
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Sobeys Urban Fresh High Park
199 Roncesvalles Ave
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In this small store, it is fairly convenient to walk up the 10 minutes to pick up the food stuffs that you need. Their prices can be certainly a bit higher than the No Frills over on Lansdowne. They pack a good variety of items in this store, and it is open late! (7AM - 11PM daily)
Best value and quality of meat in the area! We love the hard working owners who really show what pride they put into their family-owned business. They've taken local to a new level as well as they raise some of the meat on their own farm north of the city. House smoked sausages, great cuts of meat, deli meats and cheeses. And if they don't have what you want at the moment (like de-boned chicken thighs), chances are that they will cut/debone up for you, as a proper butcher should. Love these guys.
Cattlemen Meat Market
1538 Queen St W
Best value and quality of meat in the area! We love the hard working owners who really show what pride they put into their family-owned business. They've taken local to a new level as well as they raise some of the meat on their own farm north of the city. House smoked sausages, great cuts of meat, deli meats and cheeses. And if they don't have what you want at the moment (like de-boned chicken thighs), chances are that they will cut/debone up for you, as a proper butcher should. Love these guys.
Great dry cleaner with good prices. Very friendly owners with superb hours (open 7AM-7PM most mornings).
High Park Cleaners
Great dry cleaner with good prices. Very friendly owners with superb hours (open 7AM-7PM most mornings).
Adding to the mix of awesome stores on Roncesvalles that help to fulfill your meal plans, this wonderful quaint cheese shop. Count on getting there before closing time to ensure you can grab a baguette before they're sold out. The local (Woodbridge, ON) dried sausages, the awesome selection of cheeses, the mix-and-match olive bar and the cured meats and (if you're lucky, and the owner's father has been in town lately) homemade gravlax make an incredible chacuterie board! You can even buy some quality imported cookware (cutting boards, roasting dishes) and olive oils and vinegars. A delightful place to shop.
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Thin Blue Line Cheese
93 Roncesvalles Ave
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Adding to the mix of awesome stores on Roncesvalles that help to fulfill your meal plans, this wonderful quaint cheese shop. Count on getting there before closing time to ensure you can grab a baguette before they're sold out. The local (Woodbridge, ON) dried sausages, the awesome selection of cheeses, the mix-and-match olive bar and the cured meats and (if you're lucky, and the owner's father has been in town lately) homemade gravlax make an incredible chacuterie board! You can even buy some quality imported cookware (cutting boards, roasting dishes) and olive oils and vinegars. A delightful place to shop.
Certainly more pricey than No Frills but with unparalleled quality and the convenience of being just around the corner, this butcher and small grocery market is a gem. Great for grabbing a roasted whole chicken for dinner or housemade burgers ready to fry.
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Rowe Farms - Roncesvalles
105 Roncesvalles Avenue
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Certainly more pricey than No Frills but with unparalleled quality and the convenience of being just around the corner, this butcher and small grocery market is a gem. Great for grabbing a roasted whole chicken for dinner or housemade burgers ready to fry.
The ultimate in a Polish deli store, this place gives a peek into what Roncesvalles stores used to all be like 15 years ago. This place brings out the local Polish contingent with their delicious kolbassa and dill pickles from a bucket, frozen perogies and many other delightful treats. As authentic as it gets!
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Benna's Bakery & Deli
135 Roncesvalles Ave
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The ultimate in a Polish deli store, this place gives a peek into what Roncesvalles stores used to all be like 15 years ago. This place brings out the local Polish contingent with their delicious kolbassa and dill pickles from a bucket, frozen perogies and many other delightful treats. As authentic as it gets!
Drinks & Nightlife
Your have two very local options for nightlife - walk north on Roncesvalles to hit some of the decent pubs along the way. Or walk down to Queen St West and walk east along it for a number of Parkdale spots to check out. Other great nightlife neighbourhoods are further east along Queen St West (from Dufferin Street east to Ossington), Ossington Street itself, Dundas West itself is creating quite the nightlife itself. Of course downtown along Richmond or Adelaide is the more traditional and lively night's out.
Great pub with nightly live music, tasty home-cooked meals, a wide variety of local craft beers and a generous selection of whisky. Our new thing has been to head here on Fridays after work with the kids and listen to a new band while having a tasty pub meal. They have Sunday roasts, homemade soups, and use locally sourced ingredients in their meals. I just noticed they have a full Irish breakfast on the weekends, which means we have to check this out now! This place has been around 11 years and I can definitely see why.
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The Local
396 Roncesvalles Ave
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Great pub with nightly live music, tasty home-cooked meals, a wide variety of local craft beers and a generous selection of whisky. Our new thing has been to head here on Fridays after work with the kids and listen to a new band while having a tasty pub meal. They have Sunday roasts, homemade soups, and use locally sourced ingredients in their meals. I just noticed they have a full Irish breakfast on the weekends, which means we have to check this out now! This place has been around 11 years and I can definitely see why.
We checked out this place a few months ago and had a great afternoon. Staff are friendly, we even got to speak with the owner and she happily answered all our questions about the place. The pinball machine is a nice touch, as are the washrooms on the main floor. The patio looks amazing, and is a great spot to hang in the summer. The wide selection of local craft beers was a hit with us, and it sounds like we need to check out one of their hot dogs while watching a Jays game at the pub. Good spot all around.
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Round The Horn
331 Roncesvalles Ave
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We checked out this place a few months ago and had a great afternoon. Staff are friendly, we even got to speak with the owner and she happily answered all our questions about the place. The pinball machine is a nice touch, as are the washrooms on the main floor. The patio looks amazing, and is a great spot to hang in the summer. The wide selection of local craft beers was a hit with us, and it sounds like we need to check out one of their hot dogs while watching a Jays game at the pub. Good spot all around.
Great local craft brewery with a fun atmosphere inside and out. Good food. Bottle store as well.
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Bandit Brewery
2125 Dundas St W
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Great local craft brewery with a fun atmosphere inside and out. Good food. Bottle store as well.
This place has an incredible drink selection (both eastern European liquors and wines and local beers on tap) paired with their amazing food. Often it has live music (Amazing oompah band on New Year's!). Definitely worth checking out this popular spot.
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Tennessee Tavern
1554 Queen St W
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This place has an incredible drink selection (both eastern European liquors and wines and local beers on tap) paired with their amazing food. Often it has live music (Amazing oompah band on New Year's!). Definitely worth checking out this popular spot.
Decent pub and food in the heart of Parkdale.
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The Rhino Bar & Grill Inc
1249 Queen St W
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Decent pub and food in the heart of Parkdale.
It's flagship building where the Drake Hotel started it all (not to be confused with the hip hop artist of the same name), this hotel/restaurant/rooftop patio/brunch spot/live music venue has something on at all times. Very tasty food, incredible cocktails and drinks and a good time all round. Its definitely a good spot to check out. And they've replicated their success 3 times since, so they must have a good thing going. (Mind the renovations going on during 2019).
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The Drake Hotel
1150 Queen St W
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It's flagship building where the Drake Hotel started it all (not to be confused with the hip hop artist of the same name), this hotel/restaurant/rooftop patio/brunch spot/live music venue has something on at all times. Very tasty food, incredible cocktails and drinks and a good time all round. Its definitely a good spot to check out. And they've replicated their success 3 times since, so they must have a good thing going. (Mind the renovations going on during 2019).
Since you're staying with us, you won't need a place to stay at the Gladstone, but its a cultural hot spot on Queen West. More art-centric than the Drake Hotel a few blocks to the east, this gorgeous historic building is great to poke around in, see the art installations going on, grab some food or drinks in the bar or restaurant (they're big on local and sustainable food), or even have a go at their infamous karaoke. Check their calendar to see what's on while you're in town - they keep things busy. (Check out the amazing century old elevator that they uncovered during the renovations a decade ago).
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Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen St W
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Since you're staying with us, you won't need a place to stay at the Gladstone, but its a cultural hot spot on Queen West. More art-centric than the Drake Hotel a few blocks to the east, this gorgeous historic building is great to poke around in, see the art installations going on, grab some food or drinks in the bar or restaurant (they're big on local and sustainable food), or even have a go at their infamous karaoke. Check their calendar to see what's on while you're in town - they keep things busy. (Check out the amazing century old elevator that they uncovered during the renovations a decade ago).
Parks & Nature
Our favourite part of the city is that there is a lot of green (in the summer at least) and some incredible parks to spend a morning, afternoon or day in. Whether its High Park with a 15 minute walk away, or peaceful Toronto Island a ferry ride from downtown, you won't be sorry to explore some of these gems.
The Islands are our favourite place to go and chill. We highly recommend to take advantage of the 600 acres of gorgeous parkland right across the harbour from the city of Toronto. We like to take our bikes down Roncesvalles, across the pedestrian bridge to get to the bike path along Lake Ontario and follow it all the way downtown to the ferry docks (which you can also get to with TTC to Union station and walk south from there). From there, you can grab a ferry to three different locations on the islands. I'm running out of room so there's more info on the individual islands.
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Toronto Islands
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The Islands are our favourite place to go and chill. We highly recommend to take advantage of the 600 acres of gorgeous parkland right across the harbour from the city of Toronto. We like to take our bikes down Roncesvalles, across the pedestrian bridge to get to the bike path along Lake Ontario and follow it all the way downtown to the ferry docks (which you can also get to with TTC to Union station and walk south from there). From there, you can grab a ferry to three different locations on the islands. I'm running out of room so there's more info on the individual islands.
On the east side of Toronto Island, take the ferry to the Ward's Island dock to start off in the more residential, quieter and less touristy part of the island. Ward's Island beach is located at the start of the boardwalk, next to a small playground with washrooms behind the soccer field. It's the least busy of the three main beaches of the island. The Rectory Cafe is our favourite spot on the island to enjoy a meal, and their lovely tree-covered patio looking out over Lake Ontario is dreamy to say the least. Walk along the south boardwalk along the lake or try out the disc golf course. There's even Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) in the Ward's Island lagoon. Rent a bike, kayak or canoe!
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Ward's Island
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On the east side of Toronto Island, take the ferry to the Ward's Island dock to start off in the more residential, quieter and less touristy part of the island. Ward's Island beach is located at the start of the boardwalk, next to a small playground with washrooms behind the soccer field. It's the least busy of the three main beaches of the island. The Rectory Cafe is our favourite spot on the island to enjoy a meal, and their lovely tree-covered patio looking out over Lake Ontario is dreamy to say the least. Walk along the south boardwalk along the lake or try out the disc golf course. There's even Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) in the Ward's Island lagoon. Rent a bike, kayak or canoe!
We are so fortunate to be located a short 15-minute walk away from this amazing park. This 136-year-old greenspace is one of Toronto's largest park at 400 acres and includes extensive hiking trails, a museum, a zoo and playgrounds galore. There are 6 tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and ice rink, lots of cycling paths and mountain biking trails, the Jamie Bell playground (where you will lose a kid or two, but they will come back!) and the modest high park zoo with their llamas, bison, and the jailbreaking capybaras and peacocks. There's a trackless train ride, splash pad, Grenadier Cafe, and 18 picnic spots to pre-book. Bring your picnic to watch Shakespeare in High Park outdoors.
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High Park
1873 Bloor St W
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We are so fortunate to be located a short 15-minute walk away from this amazing park. This 136-year-old greenspace is one of Toronto's largest park at 400 acres and includes extensive hiking trails, a museum, a zoo and playgrounds galore. There are 6 tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and ice rink, lots of cycling paths and mountain biking trails, the Jamie Bell playground (where you will lose a kid or two, but they will come back!) and the modest high park zoo with their llamas, bison, and the jailbreaking capybaras and peacocks. There's a trackless train ride, splash pad, Grenadier Cafe, and 18 picnic spots to pre-book. Bring your picnic to watch Shakespeare in High Park outdoors.
We lived on a street bordering this park for a few years and fell in love with the parks' vibrancy and multi-purposes. The area is pretty darn cool too! Start by walking around the park, kick a ball around or have a picnic on the green grass, watch people balance on slack lines, hit a ball in the tennis courts or take a skate in the winter on the ice rink. The Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre has an indoor swimming pool (and toddler pool), ping pong tables, indoor walking track, and a gym that has pickup sports and kids play at times. The outdoor play structures are fun, as is the wading pool (although not much shade at high noon). Nearby Lucky Penny is great for a meal/snack after.
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Trinity Bellwoods Park
790 Queen St W
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We lived on a street bordering this park for a few years and fell in love with the parks' vibrancy and multi-purposes. The area is pretty darn cool too! Start by walking around the park, kick a ball around or have a picnic on the green grass, watch people balance on slack lines, hit a ball in the tennis courts or take a skate in the winter on the ice rink. The Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre has an indoor swimming pool (and toddler pool), ping pong tables, indoor walking track, and a gym that has pickup sports and kids play at times. The outdoor play structures are fun, as is the wading pool (although not much shade at high noon). Nearby Lucky Penny is great for a meal/snack after.
The Brick Works is a great place to visit and has so much to offer. Start at the Young Welcome Centre for the day's events, and see the historic brick press. Shopping can be addictive in the Evergreen Garden Market (think gardening stuff, cool kids toys, tasty preserves, gifts and plants). Cafe Belong has delicious take-away or sit down (this place is good). Rent a bike at Sweet Pete's to go for a group ride. On weekends, kids and adults join in the Nature Play in the Children's Gardens. Saturdays and Sundays have a year-round farmer's market. Go for a hike in the quarry park with it's ponds (spot the turtles!), paths and hills. The historic kilns are under redevelopment until 2018.
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Evergreen Brick Works
550 Bayview Ave
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The Brick Works is a great place to visit and has so much to offer. Start at the Young Welcome Centre for the day's events, and see the historic brick press. Shopping can be addictive in the Evergreen Garden Market (think gardening stuff, cool kids toys, tasty preserves, gifts and plants). Cafe Belong has delicious take-away or sit down (this place is good). Rent a bike at Sweet Pete's to go for a group ride. On weekends, kids and adults join in the Nature Play in the Children's Gardens. Saturdays and Sundays have a year-round farmer's market. Go for a hike in the quarry park with it's ponds (spot the turtles!), paths and hills. The historic kilns are under redevelopment until 2018.
Entertainment & Activities
There is a LOT to do in this city! Below are a few suggestions - but if you're looking for something specific (live music, local festivals, great shows), please let us know and we'll be happy to assist! ps - check out blogto.com and nowtoronto.com are great spots to check out what's going on in the city during your stay
Centre Island is where Centreville amusement park is located. It is ideal for younger kids 2-10 (there's a couple of gentler rides that you can bring the younger babe on as well). They have Twirling Tea Cups, a short Log Flume (our favourite), and the good ole Bumper Boats and Bumper Cars. I personally love the gorgeous Antique Carousel. And the rides where the kids 'drive' their own antique cars and firetrucks are big hits. We recommend buying a family pass or tickets online in advance. There's places to buy food, but packing a picnic can save you the wait. The Far Enough Farm is just east of the rides with animals and farmers for the family to meet (free).
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Centreville Amusement Park
9 Queens Quay W
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Centre Island is where Centreville amusement park is located. It is ideal for younger kids 2-10 (there's a couple of gentler rides that you can bring the younger babe on as well). They have Twirling Tea Cups, a short Log Flume (our favourite), and the good ole Bumper Boats and Bumper Cars. I personally love the gorgeous Antique Carousel. And the rides where the kids 'drive' their own antique cars and firetrucks are big hits. We recommend buying a family pass or tickets online in advance. There's places to buy food, but packing a picnic can save you the wait. The Far Enough Farm is just east of the rides with animals and farmers for the family to meet (free).
This place is awesome! They have found the perfect community-business mix to help make this small independent movie theatre not only viable, but a really awesome attraction. They bring back classics, play a lovely range of indie and documentaries, and mingle it all with the recently-released box office blockbusters. Even their snack bar is a refreshing change from the standard movie theatre. For parents with young babes, there is also a weekly parent and babe show. http://revuecinema.ca/
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Revue Cinema
400 Roncesvalles Ave
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This place is awesome! They have found the perfect community-business mix to help make this small independent movie theatre not only viable, but a really awesome attraction. They bring back classics, play a lovely range of indie and documentaries, and mingle it all with the recently-released box office blockbusters. Even their snack bar is a refreshing change from the standard movie theatre. For parents with young babes, there is also a weekly parent and babe show. http://revuecinema.ca/
We are big fans of the Ontario Science Centre! Yes we are geeks, but we still enjoy going here with our kids. It is super educational and has so much to learn and do and engage with, that you will wonder where the time went. Check out the IMAX theatre there for a film on the Canadian-designed IMAX film (usually nature inspired). Paid parking is available on site.
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Ontario Science Centre
770 Don Mills Rd
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We are big fans of the Ontario Science Centre! Yes we are geeks, but we still enjoy going here with our kids. It is super educational and has so much to learn and do and engage with, that you will wonder where the time went. Check out the IMAX theatre there for a film on the Canadian-designed IMAX film (usually nature inspired). Paid parking is available on site.
Very modest, this small, local zoo is open from 7am until dusk and is free to walk through. Llamas, bison and other animals are in 7 enclosed pens alongside a uphill road. Its about a 15 minute walk to get to the zoo, but there is free parking just outside the zoo. We recommend playing in the nearby Jamie Bell playground, visit the small Colbourne Lodge museum and going for a nice hike through the giant High Park.
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High Park Zoo
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Very modest, this small, local zoo is open from 7am until dusk and is free to walk through. Llamas, bison and other animals are in 7 enclosed pens alongside a uphill road. Its about a 15 minute walk to get to the zoo, but there is free parking just outside the zoo. We recommend playing in the nearby Jamie Bell playground, visit the small Colbourne Lodge museum and going for a nice hike through the giant High Park.
The Toronto Zoo is about a 35 minute drive (longer during rush hours) and is quite large (710 acres) with lots of walking between animal enclosures, pavillions and areas. They have 540+ animal species, 10km of walking trails, and a Discovery Zone for kids (featuring the Kids Zoo, Splash Island (two-acre water play area) and the Waterside Theatre). There are also four modest rides (Gorilla Climb Ropes Course, Zoomobile, Conservation Carousel, and the Tundra Air ride). And as its so big, there are wagons and stollers for rent there.
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Toronto Zoo
2000 Meadowvale Rd
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The Toronto Zoo is about a 35 minute drive (longer during rush hours) and is quite large (710 acres) with lots of walking between animal enclosures, pavillions and areas. They have 540+ animal species, 10km of walking trails, and a Discovery Zone for kids (featuring the Kids Zoo, Splash Island (two-acre water play area) and the Waterside Theatre). There are also four modest rides (Gorilla Climb Ropes Course, Zoomobile, Conservation Carousel, and the Tundra Air ride). And as its so big, there are wagons and stollers for rent there.
Arts & Culture
I think I seriously underestimated the AGO for a number of years. Only when I recently attended with kids to see a special event of Monet paintings, did I come to appreciate this place a bit more. The architecture of the building is interesting, since it's revamp by Gehry (check out the cool curved staircases). It's very manageable to check this place out in a day. Night events held first Thursday of the month. For kids, we checked out the hands-on centre (a little insane on a weekend, but worth it) and the interactive Kids Gallery. But to be honest, my art-centred 6 year-old was mesmerized with the large paintings in the gallery (and the phone audio guide for the exhibition of course).
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Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas St W
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I think I seriously underestimated the AGO for a number of years. Only when I recently attended with kids to see a special event of Monet paintings, did I come to appreciate this place a bit more. The architecture of the building is interesting, since it's revamp by Gehry (check out the cool curved staircases). It's very manageable to check this place out in a day. Night events held first Thursday of the month. For kids, we checked out the hands-on centre (a little insane on a weekend, but worth it) and the interactive Kids Gallery. But to be honest, my art-centred 6 year-old was mesmerized with the large paintings in the gallery (and the phone audio guide for the exhibition of course).
This new museum has been garnering quite the attention, with it's smart showcasing of new perspectives of Islamic civilizations. I personally have yet to go, but it is high on my list and friends give rave reviews. Interesting architecture.
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Aga Khan Museum
77 Wynford Dr
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This new museum has been garnering quite the attention, with it's smart showcasing of new perspectives of Islamic civilizations. I personally have yet to go, but it is high on my list and friends give rave reviews. Interesting architecture.
They've just renovated and reopended the entrance on University Ave with its beautiful mosaic ceiling. The 2nd floor has a modest but fun kids area which sucks our family in for hours. But the other floors hold plenty of treasures to admire, including some dinosaur exhibits and usually a travelling special exhibit to check out (extra cost usually). Their Friday night events for youth come with great reviews! Grab a coffee or drink across the road on the 18th floor of the Park Hyatt hotel for the best city skyline view from their balcony.
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Βασιλικό Μουσείο του Οντάριο
100 Queens Park
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They've just renovated and reopended the entrance on University Ave with its beautiful mosaic ceiling. The 2nd floor has a modest but fun kids area which sucks our family in for hours. But the other floors hold plenty of treasures to admire, including some dinosaur exhibits and usually a travelling special exhibit to check out (extra cost usually). Their Friday night events for youth come with great reviews! Grab a coffee or drink across the road on the 18th floor of the Park Hyatt hotel for the best city skyline view from their balcony.
Recently moved into this heritage industrial building (an old Bell building), MOCA spreads its contemporary art among the multiple floors. Grab a bite to eat at nearby Drake Commisary, a drink at Henderson's brewery, and a book from Anasi press to complete the afternoon.
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Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada
158 Sterling Rd
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Recently moved into this heritage industrial building (an old Bell building), MOCA spreads its contemporary art among the multiple floors. Grab a bite to eat at nearby Drake Commisary, a drink at Henderson's brewery, and a book from Anasi press to complete the afternoon.
Sightseeing
Assuming that you know about the CN Tower, we'll start with some of the other things to entertain you... we hope you have a long enough trip to get to them all!
The Distillery District is a great area to walk around the brick-paved streets and check out a little bit of history. A great mix of dining, shopping and culture, the old Gooderham Worts Distillery sets the backdrop. For eating, Cluny has a beautiful high end feel and tasty food. Archeo is also good with a nice patio. More casual is the Mill St Brewery with pub food and beer you can take home with you. Pop into Soma Chocolatier and Wildly Delicious for treats to take home. Peruse the many galleries or can catch a show by Soulpepper at the Young Place for Performing Arts. The Christmas Market in December is a great festival to check out.
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Distillery District
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The Distillery District is a great area to walk around the brick-paved streets and check out a little bit of history. A great mix of dining, shopping and culture, the old Gooderham Worts Distillery sets the backdrop. For eating, Cluny has a beautiful high end feel and tasty food. Archeo is also good with a nice patio. More casual is the Mill St Brewery with pub food and beer you can take home with you. Pop into Soma Chocolatier and Wildly Delicious for treats to take home. Peruse the many galleries or can catch a show by Soulpepper at the Young Place for Performing Arts. The Christmas Market in December is a great festival to check out.
Whoa! This is one serious adrenaline rush! It's not the cheapest thing to do ($200+ pp), but it is one of those things to tick off on your bucket list. The young folks who work there do a good job to make you have fun, you get an elevator ride up, get your harness triple-checked by five different people at least, (they even use a breathalizer test to make sure you didn't have a shot beforehand, so resist the need!), and take you for one of the most incredible and adventurous views in the city - walking around the bubble on the CN tower! They take you through a series of activities where you end up leaning back or forwards over nothing! Friends can watch it live, and you get a DVD video.
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EdgeWalk at the CN Tower
290 Bremner Blvd
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Whoa! This is one serious adrenaline rush! It's not the cheapest thing to do ($200+ pp), but it is one of those things to tick off on your bucket list. The young folks who work there do a good job to make you have fun, you get an elevator ride up, get your harness triple-checked by five different people at least, (they even use a breathalizer test to make sure you didn't have a shot beforehand, so resist the need!), and take you for one of the most incredible and adventurous views in the city - walking around the bubble on the CN tower! They take you through a series of activities where you end up leaning back or forwards over nothing! Friends can watch it live, and you get a DVD video.
Although this place is on the small side (this will not compare with the big aquariums in California or Vancouver), but they do a nice job of the space you have. Be sure to buy tickets online in advance so you can skip the lines.
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Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
288 Bremner Blvd
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Although this place is on the small side (this will not compare with the big aquariums in California or Vancouver), but they do a nice job of the space you have. Be sure to buy tickets online in advance so you can skip the lines.