If your partner or family have come along for the trip and need ideas for a day (or two) of activities, we’ve got lots of suggestions that are right in the heart of the city and accessible on foot or public transit.
At 553.33 metres (1,815 feet, 5 inches) it’s hard to miss the CN Tower. And since it’s located right next door to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), make it the first stop on your itinerary. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day, allow a couple of hours for your visit so you have time to linger in front of the glass wall and really take in those spectacular views.
If a gallery of jellies, a glass tunnel full of sea turtles and petting a stingray are your thing, then Ripley’s Aquarium is your place. Right next door to the CN Tower (and with the same hours of operation) it’s a natural second stop on your itinerary. Buying tickets online prior to your visit is recommended. Allow an hour or more for your visit.
Just a stone’s throw from the MTCC is a fully restored and operational 120-foot long locomotive turntable and a collection of full-sized railway equipment. You can also explore the Toronto Railway Historical Association’s live steam miniature railway and other outdoor exhibits illustrating Toronto's railway heritage.
Thirsty adults will want to check out the Steamwhistle Brewery, housed inside the historic building onsite. Take a tour or just sample the delicious pilsner Steamwhistle is famous for.
About a 15-minute walk away, is the ode to Canada’s favourite sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a hockey lover’s dream with 65,000 square feet of artifacts from all levels of play around the world, interactive and themed exhibits dedicated to the game's greatest players, teams and achievements, a replica NHL dressing room, and best of all, the coveted Stanley Cup.
While you’re in the neighbourhood, stroll over to the market named by National Geographic as one of the top in the world. Peruse the fresh produce, baked goods and cheeses and be sure to indulge in Toronto’s signature sandwich, a peameal bacon on a bun. Open Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday & Monday.
One of the most surprising features of Toronto is that just a 10-minute ferry ride away is a park-like archipelago of islands just waiting for you to explore. Connected by a car-free, paved trail, each island has a slightly different flavour to it - the hippie vibe of Ward’s Island where people live year-round, the clothing-optional beach on Hanlan’s, or the kid-friendly amusement park on Centre Island. You can easily spend a whole day here or just a couple of hours, if you’re pressed for time.
For a lovely all-day lunch option, head to The Riviera on Ward’s Island where you can hear the waves lapping on the shore while you enjoy a glass of wine and a casual meal.
Catch the ferry at the foot of Bay Street. Ferries run from about 8:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. (depending on what island you go to) and tickets must be bought online for use that day.
A short subway or cab ride from the MTCC, is the kid-friendly ROM. Photo opps and fun abound, from its dramatic crystal jutting out over Bloor Street to Gordo, the 27-metre long Barosaurus skeleton that greets you as you enter. Real suits of armour, a bat cave and thousands of Indigenous works of art are just a few of the dozens of collections that will keep you entertained for hours.
If you intend to take in more than a couple of the major attractions, consider purchasing a CityPass, which gets you entrance to the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum and either the Toronto Zoo OR the Ontario Science Centre.
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