With the waterfront being an easy 7-minute walk from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), it should be high up on your “to see” list.
Toronto’s position on Lake Ontario is one of the great attributes of the city. The area you’ll be visiting looks out on the inner harbour, formed by the Toronto Islands.
Walk south on Lower Simcoe street until you get to Queens Quay (pronounced “key”). When you reach the waterfront you’ll have two options: a) head west toward Spadina, or b) east toward Sugar Beach.
*indicates a photo opp
Total time: depending on how long you linger at the stops, about an hour, round-trip.
At the foot of Lower Simcoe, turn right and the first thing you’ll notice is the *Simcoe Wavedeck. The undulating wooden structure is one of 4 similar public spaces dotted along the waterfront that are part art, part walkway.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat, the Amsterdam Brewhouse is a large pub with stunning views of the lake, if you can snag a table on the outdoor patio.
Continue walking along Queens Quay, in a few minutes look to your left toward the lake and you’ll see yellow umbrellas peeping over the hill. This is HtO Beach. You can walk along the boardwalk or plop down in one of the Muskoka chairs and put your toes in the sand.
The next stop on your journey westward just past the *Spadina Wavedeck is the Toronto Music Garden. Designed in collaboration with famed cellist, Yo Yo Ma, and described as “magical,” the park is inspired by Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, with each dance movement corresponding to a different section of the garden. Wander through the gardens or pause on the tiered seating on the hill to gaze out on the lake.
Next, backtrack a little bit along Queens Quay to Spadina and turn left. As you pass over the railway tracks, look left to see the stunning *Puente de Luz (Bridge of Light) aka the yellow bridge, designed by Chilean artist Francisco Gazitua.
Continue up Spadina to Bremner Boulevard and turn right to get back to the MTCC. Along the way you’ll find several casual restaurants for grabbing a quick bite.
Total time: depending on how long you linger at the stops, about an hour, round trip.
At the foot of Lower Simcoe you will be at Harbourfront Centre. You could spend an hour exploring this area - walking the boardwalk, stopping on a bench to enjoy the view, admiring the tall ship *Kajama, touring the Power Plant modern art museum or picking up an artisanal souvenir at The SHOP. There are several options for casual food and drink, too.
If a longer walk is in your time budget, continue east along Queens Quay. You’ll pass by the island ferry docks and Yonge Street which used to claim longest street in the world status, (look for the *plaque in the sidewalk with its length). A few more blocks and you’ll reach the Redpath Sugar Refinery which is a still-active testament to Toronto’s history as an industrial port. Just across the slip you’ll find the adorable, and decidedly urban, Sugar Beach. Pink umbrellas and Muskoka chairs dot the man-made beach where you can sit and enjoy the view. Retrace your steps to get back to the MTCC.