I’m back! It’s been a while since my last travel blog post and I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to. Summer is finally here in Canada and what better time to start planning some vacations or staycations! For those of us in Ontario we have an added incentive of the Ontario Staycation tax credit. I although I’m based in Ottawa I always try to get at least one trip to Toronto in each Summer. It’s definitely Ontario’s largest and most popular city with so many sights to see and things to do, there’s something for everyone.
I visited Toronto a few weeks ago and had such a fabulous time thanks to Destination Toronto and their ideas on just about everything you could possibly need to know about planning a trip to Toronto.
Travel + Accommodation
As I live in Ottawa I could have chosen to fly, drive or take the train to Toronto but I really wanted to maximize my time in the city so Sashien and I chose to fly. We flew Porter Airlines directly to Billy Bishop Airport which is conveniently located in the heart of the city. Transportation out of the airport is quick and easy and you can either take the ferry, a taxi or Uber. We chose to Uber and used it to get around to most places during our weekend stay.
In terms of accommodation options Toronto has endless possibilities based on your needs and price point. On this occasion we were hosted by the Ritz-Carlton and we thoroughly enjoyed everything the hotel had to offer. This place is definitely worth the splurge! From the personalized guest key cards to the friendly and accommodating staff the Ritz-Carlton exudes five star service. We also had the chance to check out their onsite spa My Blend by Clarins. This spa was exquisite and offers so many high end services exclusive to Clarins, we both had the rebalancing massage and left feeling relaxed and ready to take on the weekend!
Sights + Attractions
Toronto has so much to see and do it’s impossible to see everything in one weekend but we did visit some really unique and interesting places on our trip. Of course there’s the traditional CN tower visit and the trip to Ripley’s Aquarium, which are great family friendly activities but as we had both seen them in the past we wanted to check out something different. One of our first stops was Little Canada which is an exhibit featuring animated miniatures of various cities and vistas around Canada. The exhibit is a work in progress as they build different parts of Canada. We enjoyed visit miniature versions of Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. This is a great family friendly exhibit!
If you know me in person then you’re quite aware of my shoe addiction, so this shoe-a-holic definitely couldn’t pass up a chance to visit the Bata Shoe Museum. This museum covers the history of shoes and features notable footwear from various centuries. At the moment there’s a brand new exhibit called Future Now which explores over fifty futuristic footwear designs from the auto-lacing Nike MAG to the virtual RTFKT x Staple Meta-Pigeon. My favourite item at the museum were the Christian Louboutin shoes for Barbie, how cute!!
If you’re looking for something more on the relaxing side then you must check out Hoame Meditation Studio. They offer a number of different meditation classes and experiences. We took a breath work meditation class at Hoame, I must admit I struggled with this one as I’m quite the chatterbox and we had to stay quiet. But if zen is your thing then you should definitely check it out.
Theatre + Shows
We arrived in Toronto on June 10th just in time for the National Ballet of Canada‘s opening night of Swan Lake. I’ve always enjoyed Tchaikovsky’s pieces so I was thrilled to get to see Swan Lake. The ballet runs until June 26th at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. If ballet is not your thing you can also check out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which is playing throughout the Summer and into the Fall. If you’re in to musical theatre there’s also many other shows scheduled for the Summer a full list can be found here. I would highly recommend Singin’ in the Rain which plays this Fall. In addition to these there’s also concerts and other shows to check out.
Restaurants + Nightlife
We checked out a lot of great restaurants during our trip and Toronto definitely has so many choices to offer. On day 1 we had lunch at Oretta located on King St. West. I loved the decor and ambiance in this traditional yet modern Italian restaurant. They also have another location in midtown. This is a lovely spot for a casual drink and some gelato.
As we were staying at the Ritz-Carlton we got to check out some of the restaurants at the hotel, my favourite was Epoch which features indoor and outdoor dining spaces. This newly renovated restaurant features signature drinks a brand new menu and a patio with a great view of the CN Tower. I really enjoyed grabbing a cocktail outside, I would recommend the Lychee Queen cocktail. We also had breakfast at Toca which is located inside the hotel, Toca stands for Toronto Canada and the main attraction in this restaurant is their Cheese cave. It’s definitely a unique feature and a must see if you’re at the hotel.
Yorkville is one of my favourite areas of Toronto featuring high-end shops and unique restaurants. We stopped in for lunch at Bar Reyna which was totally worth the hype! We loved the mediterranean spin on traditional brunch dishes. I also really liked the ambiance and the decor on their patio. For drinks I’d recommend 7 am in Ibiza it’s a great take on an espresso martini!
One of the highlights of our trip was our dinner and evening at Lula bar. This was such a fun experience. Lula Bar is a latin resto-bar that features live bands and salsa dancing on the weekends. We enjoyed a three course meal, there is a set menu to choose from; followed by a salsa class and live music. I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re spending a weekend in Toronto.
On our last morning in Toronto we had breakfeast at OEB Breakfast Co. This restaurant is a great family friendly place that offers gourmet style meals at an affordable price. If you do go be sure to check out the Canadian Lobster and Shrimp Crepe. It’s such a fancy first meal!
Of course there are so many dining and entertainment options in Toronto and you can learn more about them on the Destination Toronto website.
Other fun stuff
One thing I didn’t cover yet was shopping! Toronto has so many malls it can be overwhelming but my favourite is definitely Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Not only does it offer an assortment of stores and designer boutiques it also houses my favourite Macaron shoppe Ladurée. I’ve visited in the past and wrote about my high tea experience there, you can read all about it here.
If you’re looking for the city that has something for everyone then Toronto is definitely for you! We had such a wonderful time on our weekend stay, a huge thank you to Destination Toronto for helping us plan our trip. We’re already planning another trip back this Summer. Don’t forget to check out Destination Toronto to help you plan the ultimate Toronto vacation and see Toronto now!