Toronto is open for business, baby! Here’s how to enjoy a blowout vacay (or staycay) in one of the city’s most dynamic neighbourhoods for food, cocktails, entertainment and shopping.
Ditch the commute and take a winter workcation in Toronto’s Financial District, where you can eat, work, play, sleep and repeat — or simply extend your workday into the wee hours. While it’s chockablock with architectural wonders, including the Toronto-Dominion Centre (designed by mid-century design hero Mies van der Rohe), there’s so much more to see and experience. Luxury hotels, Insta-worthy restos and must-see events will warm up your soul in the middle of winter’s chill.
Dig into a working lunch
Fuel up with bites that delight after a morning packed with meetings. When you’re hankering for a quick and nutritious eat, try Kupfert & Kim, tucked inside the neighbourhood’s underground PATH mall (read on for more on the PATH, below). Plant-based bowls and burgers will power you up for an afternoon of brainstorming.
For a lunch sesh that will spark fresh ideas, head over to Sud Forno with your colleagues. Owned and operated by the Terroni Group, Toronto’s fave southern Italian food purveyors, their pastas, pizza and salads will keep conversation, breakthroughs and good vibes flowing.
Or up your game with a power lunch
If you’re after high marks to close a deal or land a partnership, book a table with a rooftop view of the Financial District at The Chase. It comes with all the swish of an impressive wine list selected by a top sommelier, plus a menu that embraces haute seafood offerings like Fogo Island snow crab, Hokkaido scallops and bigeye tuna.
At Harriet’s, a top-floor resto and bar in the new 1 Hotel Toronto, you’ll score luxe surroundings with an equally impressive view. Plus, their menu is peppered with upmarket comfort food — think lobster tacos and chicken karaage sliders — with the option for sustainable caviar to start.
Unwind with after-work drinks
The Walrus Pub & Beer Hall is a chic social hub that pairs umami snacks with creative house cocktails in an inviting and airy space designed for making connections. Branded a “wild and whimsical” gastropub, The Rabbit Hole is a new player wooing the area’s suited and booted clientele. A British-inspired menu and laid-back vibe bring pub culture to life while spoiling discerning palates. Order a vesper martini and snack on devilled pickled eggs before your evening kicks into high gear.
Take a seat: live theatre, sports and music are back!
Ticket sales will be brisk again as event spaces start opening to full capacity under the guidance of Toronto’s COVID-19 health and safety regs, which require all attendees to be fully vaccinated.
TIP: Download your vaccination QR code so you can experience all the upcoming action.
The city’s sports leagues are buzzing again. The Raptors and the Maple Leafs are playing in Scotiabank Arena, which is also hosting headlining comedian Ricky Gervais in December and Billie Eilish in early 2022.
If you prefer to be swept away with soaring voices, must-see costumes and theatrical staging, the Canadian Opera Company is presenting Madama Butterfly in the new year. Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura stars, bringing a breadth of experience, including performances with the Tokyo and London philharmonic orchestras.
At Meridian Hall, ’80s music fans will delight in hearing the synth-pop beats of Erasure. If you prefer an unplugged vibe, Snow Patrol is performing their songbook live in an acoustic-only show. Planning your stay with a tween in your life? Book seats for new K-pop sensation Monsta X.
Make reservations for a late-night supper
There’s nothing like relaxing over a gorgeous meal after a full day of work and play. If you’re hungry for sparkling city views, lush decor and impeccable menus, make a reso at Canoe, where contemporary Canadian cuisine has been served in plush surroundings for over 25 years on the 54th floor of a TD skyscraper.
On the 36th floor of yet another TD building, you can leisurely dine at Stratus, where you’ll get a full view of the CN Tower lit up in the distance while indulging in seasonal delights and comforting flavours.
Although located right in the core, these two restaurants will whisk you away, far from the hustle and bustle, with their flawless service and exquisite fine dining.
Shop in the PATH
Think of the PATH as an indoor underground city that’s always warm and pedestrian friendly! Located beneath the Financial District’s towers, its shop- and restaurant-filled corridors stretch some 30 km (19 miles), all in climate-controlled, slush-free comfort. In theory, you could walk from Union station to the CF Toronto Eaton Centre without having to put on your coat.
The Running Room is a go-to for 5K aficionados and marathon runners alike. Stock up on clothes, gear and shoes from ASICS, New Balance or one of the newer brands to covet. The store also hosts a free running club twice a week, so you can stay in shape during your getaway. (Note: the running club is currently on pause, so check the store website for updates.)
Give a boost to your wardrobe at Judith & Charles. The Montreal-based company has a dedicated female following for its boardroom style inspired by bespoke menswear, executed in softer and easy-to-wear shapes. What’s really impressive is that the brand manufactures 80% of their collection locally — brava!
There are plenty of places to grab gourmet nibbles for your trip home, too. Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s brings an outpost of upmarket Toronto grocer Pusateri’s to the popular department store. Grab a jar of Toronto-made Bee Local Honey or Ontario-roasted beans from Balzac’s Coffee Roasters.
Don’t miss Milk Bar from pastry chef and Food Network star Christina Tosi.
Finally, take the PATH to Union station to score the city’s fave Japanese cheesecakes and cheese tarts from Uncle Tetsu Express.
Getting to the Financial District:
Take the Line 1 Yonge-University subway to King, Union or St. Andrew station.