everydaycities
TORONTO_1.jpg

toronto

This vibrant and multicultural city is not only diverse in it's neighbourhoods, landscapes, cuisine and culture, it's the city that will instantly make you feel like you've lived here for years. Being the most populous city in Canada, Toronto offers a diverse social and urban presence where you'll find yourself calling strangers friends before you know it. The metropolitan atmosphere is scaled down by plenty of neighbourhood enclaves made up in great part by Victorian architecture that feels small-town and intimate. Choose one and easily spend the day there, or migrate to different parts of the city via the unique streetcar system and you'll see how intrinsically related they all are; bound together by a magnetic energy and a fearless spirit.


population

2.8 mil

currency

CAD

distance from YYZ airport to city centre

25km

average summer temp

70F

ideal travel time

3 days


the broadview hotel

Hotel

 

Making a strong case for Toronto's east end, this hip and charming social gathering spot is housed in a 127-year old building with a storied past. A delicate revitalization saw the stunning corner structure retain its former glory, making its transformation into the city's most lively boutique hotel, seamless. Comprised of 58 guestrooms, 3 restaurants and vibrant and buzzy rooftop bar with a beaming view of the Toronto skyline, this home away from home is the perfect place to lounge and relax from the busy centre of the city.  

Area / Riverside

Vibe /  Quirky and elegant boutique hotel popular among locals in the heart of the East End.

 

forno cultura

Cafe & Bakery

 

There are those times when you debate on where to have breakfast or lunch, with the eventual decision to just go where you know it is always excellent. For Toronto, this is just that place. Established by a former architect with a long family history in baking, the lively crowd at breakfast and lunch fills the space to the brim with energy. Whether that be for morning coffee and a cornetto, an otherwordly eggplant sandwich made on house-made focaccia for lunch, or just picking up a fresh loaf of crusty sourdough, you'll make a point to come here more than once. Just don't sleep on the selection of illegally soft amaretti cookies. 

Area / Fashion District

Vibe / An authentic Italian bakery space that is unapologetically classic, not trendy.

 Photo: Michael Graydon+Nicole Herriot

Photo: Michael Graydon+Nicole Herriot

waterfront

Public Space / Market

 

Toronto's relationship with neighbouring Lake Ontario has fluctuated, with the waterfront edge being built out and infilled over the course of the city's history. What was previously an underused stretch of arterial road along the lakeside has been redesigned to engage the city's accessibility to the lake. With the work of landscape architecture firms West 8 and DTAH, the stretch of Queen's Quay has been thoughtfully revitalized to incorporate bike lanes, sidewalks, street-level transit, and generous public spaces and parkettes. Whether you're grabbing a kayak to sail out from the port, or catching a movie screening on the urban beach across the sugar factory, there are always a plethora of exciting events happening here.

Area / Waterfront

Vibe / Dutch urban cool meets Canadian lakeside.

queen west & ossington

Neighbourhood

 

Named the second hippest neighbourhood in the world by Vogue, Queen West has become a verifiable artery of urban attention where you will find Torontonians strolling, shopping, eating or sipping coffee at one of the many local shops. The Ossington Strip has similarly become the centre of the city's attention for its buzzy restaurant scene and art culture. At the crux of the two is Trinity Bellwoods, a large swath of lush park space where picnicking with friends has become city tradition. Winding down after touring the shops is best done at Sam James Coffee Bar for a quick pick-me-up, or at the always popular Bang Bang Ice Cream, where a justifiable long-winding line often stretches around the corner.

Area / Queen West

Vibe / Understated cool on traditional main streets where urban culture is booming.

aloette

Diner & Bar

 

There are those times where a classic diner can satisfy in ways other restaurants can't, and Aloette does just that while elevating the game by basking in all things French and Japanese-inspired. Sister to the upstairs Alo, the sun-filled bistro space is designed to mimic that of an old train car, while aromatic dishes find just the right balance between classic fare and something inventive yet familiar. Open for lunch and dinner, it's the spot that you linger in the late afternoon, or have a casual cocktail with dinner during the evening. Whether it's a classic burger and fries you're after, or an impressively reinvented iceberg wedge salad, the timeless feel of it all will make you feel glad you stopped in.

Area / Fashion District

Vibe /  Classic diner feels with the execution and service worthy of a Michelin star. 

toronto-dominion centre

Architecture

 

When TD Centre opened in 1967, both the future of Canadian business and Toronto architecture was immediately altered and elevated. A bold architectural vision brought forth by Mies van der Rohe, it was the introduction of the modernist workplace to the city's financial hub and at the time of it's completion, became the defining monument of the city's now ever-changing skyline. Now superseded by the many towers that followed suit, what remains unique to TD Centre is the sun-bathed public square placed between the towers, where one is hard-pressed to find a seat for lunch during the work week. It's the quintessential spot to people-watch the busy Torontonians in their natural habitat.  

Area / Financial District

Vibe / Classic modernist design and public openess in the financial realm.

art gallery of ontario

Museum

 

At the height of the city's dynamic collection of art and sculpture is the AGO. The striking building, which saw it's most recent additions designed by Frank Gehry, greets you with a spiral Baroque-esque staircase which sits in the original building's sun-filled interior courtyard. While this staircase leads you to the contemporary exhibits and a stellar view of the city, the remainder of the floors' galleries are an exercise in art wanderlusting, spanning the 1st century to present day. Eventually, your visit will lead you to Galleria Italia - a curved atrium comprised of wooden beams inspired by Canadian canoe building, with a pocket-cafe perfectly suited for a pause between exhibits. 

Area / Chinatown

Vibe / Swooping architectural curves housing local and international art and culture.

grey gardens

Restaurant

 

Kensington Market deserves a visit in its own right for its diverse and multicultural food establishments that are a living testament to the city's history. It seems fitting then, that Jen Agg's fourth Toronto restaurant stands out here for its eloquent summary of the city's current place in food. It's alluring in design and provisions alike, and although perfectly suited for an after-work cocktail, the always shifting food program is truly something unique in the city. If available, request a seat at the chef's counter to be fully immersed in the incredibly vivid kitchen. Though one of their otherworldly pastas and a glass of wine at the bar is equally satisfying. 

Area / Kensington Market

Vibe / The hidden gem wine bar with standout food, all bathed in delicate candlelight.

bar raval

Restaurant

 

This establishment is somewhat of a cult favourite amongst locals, and for good reason. Opened by highly regarded restauranteur Grant van Gameren, its many accolades include being coined the most beautiful bar in town. An ideal place to share some of the most incredibly exquisite pintxos and tapas using ingredients sourced directly from Spain, all accompanied by a superb cocktail program. Take for instance, the freshly opened tin of drenched mackerel served with locally baked baguette. The whole experience is nothing short of escapism - being encapsulated in the meticulously designed mahogany millwork that is strikingly Gaudi-esque, you'll find yourself ordering plate after plate.  

Area / Little Italy

Vibe / Spanish snack bar buzzing with locals from early morning until late night.

the drake hotel

Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Queen West, The Drake Hotel (no affiliation with Drake, the rapper) is hip, vintage, and eclectic in its design, and unequivocally Toronto in its symbolism. The Drake has become a local hospitality namesake for all things cool in the city, but it all began at this hotel which still sees a nightly energy. Each of the 19 rooms are designed and styled differently, making each visit a unique and personal experience. In addition to the daytime restaurant where brunchers thrive on weekends, the lounge and Underground host various shows and art forums connecting travelers and neighbours to the city's vibrant cultural landscape. If not spending the night, at the very least grab a drink at the lively rooftop Sky Yard. 

Area / West Queen West

Vibe / Hipster epicentre of Toronto cool self-proclaimed as the "hotbed for culture".

 

other recommendations

 

Templar Hotel -  Hotel

NEO Coffee Bar  -  Cafe

Leslieville  -  Neighbourhood

St. Lawrence MarketFood Market

Fat Pasha  -  Restaurant

Atlas  -  Restaurant

Maker Pizza -  Takeout

Bang Bang  -  Ice Creamery

Kensington Market  -  Neighbourhood

Evergreen Brickworks  -  Marketplace