What does a Torontonian who lives life on the edge do on his ideal day off in the city? Hint: it includes Brazilian pizza, uptown parks and a Toronto island visit.
Celso has done the walk so many times he’s lost count. “I love it. I don't get tired of it. The view always changes. This city keeps growing all the time.”
As the Torontonian with the best view of the city possible, we asked Celso Calori to describe his perfect day here and to share his insider tips with both visitors and locals keen to explore the ever-evolving city.
Hike the boardwalk in Sunnydene Park
As someone who works in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core, Celso has a huge appreciation for the time he gets to spend in the city’s incredible network of green spaces. His morning rambles in Toronto’s Lawrence Park neighbourhood have led him to discover some serious uptown gems.
Among his favourites is Sunnydene Park, a sort of green bridge between Sunnybrook and Sherwood Parks. “They have this boardwalk over the ravine, it's not that big of a ravine but it's really nice,” he says. “I found it by chance — I started walking from Lawrence Park and just kept going because the parks are all connected. It was the beginning of summer, flowers were coming up, there was all this green. It was really cool.”
Taste test Brazilian pizza at Uai
The diversity of Toronto’s population means that foodies stand a very good chance of being able to find their most-loved dishes from all over the world right here (plus some authentic T.O. culinary inventions).
Originally from Brazil, Celsoi has a soft spot for a take on pizza that originates in the southeast of the country and that can be found in Toronto at Uai Pizzaria. “Uai” roughly translates to “What’s up?” and what’s up at this St. Clair Ave West shop is thin crust pies loaded with hearty, distinctly South American toppings like Brazilian sausage, palm hearts, and catupiry cheese.
“They put a lot of stuff on the pizza,” says Celso, appreciatively. “Not just cheese and some pepperoni. It's very thick and it has so much flavour. It's my favourite. There’s one with chicken and a creamy cheese that is so good.”
Hungry? We are.
Ride the ferry to Centre Island
Toronto’s Centre Island is an insider secret hiding in plain sight. Accessible by ferry or water taxi, the Islands offer beaches, walking trails, eateries, and best of all: Centreville. This classic amusement park has held onto its charm for decades and offers rides, snacks, and a fantastic petting zoo. “It's really fun there,” says Celso, who would include a visit in his Perfect Day In Toronto Itinerary. “I've been only once and I really want to go back.”
He recommends checking out Centreville’s farm before walking to the far edge of the island to take in the view of the city’s skyline from the shore.
Take in the whole of Toronto at Edge Walk
Whether you’re conquering a fear or demonstrating your unflappable nerve, a walk around the outside of the city’s iconic tower will show you Toronto at its best. Even for those longtime locals who are born and raised here, there’s something new to discover about Toronto — especially from Edge Walk’s vantage point of 365 metres (1,168 ft) above the sidewalk.
“It doesn't stop evolving,” Celso says of the city. “I still remember the first time I went up the CN Tower, and when I go up there today, it’s just so different. There's so many new buildings coming up, you look around at the cranes and construction and all the neighbourhoods that keep changing and evolving. Especially now after the pandemic, a lot of new businesses are coming up. So you have to keep exploring.”
Crack open a cold one at Steamwhistle Brewery
You’ve earned it. And while you’re there, take the brewery tour! Steamwhistle is a pioneer in Canada’s independent brewery industry, recognizable for its bright green bottles and train-themed logo. There’s a tie-in here to the brand’s origins: the brewery is located in Toronto’s John Street Roundhouse which, in a previous life, was the Canadian Pacific Rail company’s steam locomotive repair facility.
Steamwhistle’s Biergärten is Celso’s after-work spot to spend quality time with friends, but if it’s your first visit, he recommends taking the tour. “The tour itself and the brewery is really fun. The tour guides there tailor the tours for their guests,” says Celso, who got to be welcomed as a regular before the pandemic and who can’t wait to return to his local watering hole for an ice-cold pilsner now that restrictions are easing.
A city worth exploring… again and again
Though he’s a devoted fan of Toronto restaurants, sites, and experiences, it’s Torontonians themselves who impress him the most. “They're so welcoming. Like myself, they came here to make this place their home and they really work hard for it,” he explains, adding that, in his experience, Torontonians truly count on one another.
The secret to what makes Toronto special, says Celso, is simple: “It's the people who live here.”