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The Best Local Toronto Experiences for Groups
Create the perfect itinerary from this list of ideas and insider intel to give your group an authentic Toronto adventure.
Smart travellers these days have the bar raised high when it comes to enjoying authentic, local adventures in a new town. Luckily, Toronto has many avenues for building a group itinerary that supports local businesses, revealing unique, home-grown things to do. As always, the Destination Toronto team is ready to help you map it out, step by step, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
Eat your way around town
Sustenance is key! Besides booking any number of adventurous and multicultural restaurants in town, plan a food itinerary, so your group can savour Toronto flavour.
Walking tours downtown all stop at the venerable St. Lawrence Market – hitting Carousel Bakery for their famous peameal bacon sandwiches.
Saturdays in the summer see the local food trucks congregating at the water’s edge for Smorgasburg, an international open-air food market.
Score a vintage find
Kensington Market is a small neighbourhood near Chinatown famous for its variety of trendy cafés, street food and art spaces – but also fun for the cluster of vintage shops along Kensington and Augusta avenues. Most carry a little bit of everything – jeans, boots, outerwear, jewellery and vintage accessories, costumes and military wear – bringing bohemian flair into keen focus.
Discover a local artisan
Local artworks and unique gifts await at the Distillery District, a Victorian-era distillery complex, now a heritage site filled with small boutiques, galleries, chocolate and coffee – not to mention a ton of cool eateries. If you’re checking the Distillery out later in the day, leave time to schedule a performance at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, a top live theatre that prides itself on Canadian works and home-grown talent.
Head out on a long walk
You’ll be surprised what you can find when you take your time, poking through Toronto’s past and present. Walking tours in Toronto are both plentiful and entertaining, with guides leading you through the architecture, the historic downtown streets, on a haunted walk or a street-art crawl – even detective-led crime tours in different parts of town. Toronto has such unique stories to tell, its place in history an eye-opening experience.
Go for a boat ride
Exploring Toronto's Harbour is a pleasant time well spent, and there are boat tours to suit all sizes of groups and budgets, from brunch cruises to tall-ship adventures. Choose your way to the Toronto Islands, whether that's sitting down to a four-course meal or simply taking the ferry and then off to cycle around the islands. More active groups can head to Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak and rent watercraft that puts you right at lake level. And out in the east end at Woodbine Beach, kayaks and paddleboards are for rent during the summer.
Being out on the water of Lake Ontario literally gives you a whole new perspective of the city.
See why Toronto is world-famous
Some of the biggest and most popular attractions in Toronto are also its most unique. Where else in Canada can you take a tethered walk around a tower platform at 356 metres above the street? The CN Tower EdgeWalk is one such unique experience. Right at the base of the Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has a Canadian waters exhibit, along with those showcasing international species, from delicate jellyfish to powerful sharks. Nearby, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a local yet national experience, as visitors do a deep dive into their favourite sport.
Anchor your visit to a special event
Depending on the time of year your group is visiting, there are a number of unique events to hook your visit to:
- The Interior Design Show highlights the latest in interior design and décor in January
- The Canadian International Auto Show draws 300,000 visitors in February
- Hot Docs is a documentary film festival taking place in April
- Fashion Week Toronto showcases local fashion design talent
- Doors Open Toronto in May gets you inside buildings that are otherwise not open to the public
- Luminato Festival is an international festival of arts and ideas presented in June
- LGBTQ Pride festivities at the end of June draw an enormous crowd to the Village
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is a theatre spectacle mounted on dozens of stages in July
- The iconic Caribbean Carnival spans over two weeks in July-August
- The Canadian National Exhibition(CNE) at the end of August is an end-of-summer rite of passage
- The Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF) brings Hollywood stars to town in September
- Nuit Blanche in October is an outdoor nighttime art crawl
- The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November is the world's oldest agricultural fair and brings together animal lovers from across the country
- One of a Kind Show in November sets you up for holiday gift-giving
- The Winter Village at the Distillery District is a festive extravaganza between mid-November to the end of December
Elevate the city night with boutique hotels that are unique to Toronto, offering up art-filled accommodations in cool pockets of town. Frontrunners in this category include the newly expanded Drake Hotel, a stalwart of hip hospitality; Gladstone House, its rooms designed by local artists; and The Anndore House, a contemporary gathering spot with a destination restaurant. For more group-friendly stays, a few from the selection are Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and Holiday Inn Express.
Let us know how we can help
This list can easily get you started, but there are so many other great things to include on your authentically Toronto itinerary! Reach out to one of our Travel Trade Team for even more information on how to tailor-make the perfect plan.
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