Add a new level of cultural immersion to your Toronto getaway. Here are 12 quintessentially Canuck experiences to try while you’re here.
Canada’s a big country. And our reputation? Huge. You could travel the nation in search of authentic Canadian experiences to sample, savour and shop… or you could find them in the Greater Toronto Area. Because—surprise!—we’ve got it all, from eh to zed. Here are 12 experiences to boost your Canadian cred.
1. Learn about Indigenous art and culture
Discover the First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists and artisans at the Daphne Cockwell Gallery Dedicated to First People’s Art & Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. If you’re a collector, visit the Craft Ontario Shop for work by Indigenous artists and artisans, including prints, sculpture, textile art and jewellery.
2. Take a selfie with your fave star
Rub shoulders with Brendan Fraser, Ryan Reynolds and Shania Twain. OK, maybe not shoulders. But you can touch their stars on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
3. Score the ultimate hockey fan experience
Kiss the Stanley Cup, score a goal during a sim game or find your own way to celebrate Canada’s unofficial national sport at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
4. Visit a Polar Bear
Canada is home to 60 percent of the world’s population of more than 20,000 polar bears. But you needn’t travel to the Far North to spot one: just head to the Toronto Zoo.
5. Taste Liquid Gold
Canada produces 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup. Our tastiest global commodity can be purchased at any local supermarket and at souvenir shops around the city.
6. Discover iconic Canadian art
7. Dig into Canada’s #1 comfort food
Dig into the gooey, cheesy, gravyliciousness of poutine, our national junk food. Thanks to its millennial resurgence, poutineries can be found all over town.
8. Go for a Paddle
Explore the waterfront like a true voyageur with Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre. Rent a canoe or kayak, or sign on for a guided paddling tour.
9. Shop Canada’s original department store
The Hudson’s Bay department store chain predates Canadian Confederation and is woven into the country’s national fabric. It is the place for Canadian Olympic gear (such as the famous Team Canada red mittens) and the company’s legendary multi-stripe point blanket.
10. Explore Toronto’s military heritage
Tour the birthplace of modern Toronto at Fort York National Historic Site, a key outpost during the War of 1812. A new visitor’s centre was unveiled in 2014, providing context to the military significance of the garrison, an 1813 battleground.
11. Take in the fall leaves
Feast your eyes on our postcard-perfect fall foliage. Stroll, run or rent a bike to take in the explosive yellow, orange and red tree canopy along the Moore Park Ravine and the Don Valley ravine system, or in Cabbagetown’s quiet and pensive Toronto Necropolis cemetery.
12. Sip (or collect) Canada’s finest wine
Splurge on a bottle of decadent icewine. Buy it at provincial liquor stores or spend the day exploring the Niagara wine region and stock up there.