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9 Ways to Create a Sustainable Toronto Itinerary
Give your clients an engaging visit to Toronto that promotes sustainability—perfectly planned in advance, of course.
Many hands make light work, so the saying goes—an adage that can easily be adapted to sustain the environment. If we all do one or two things every day to lower our carbon footprint, the world would be just a little better off. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
There are many ways for your travellers to get acquainted with the multifaceted, multicultural city of Toronto and still embrace sustainability in some way.
1. Leave a small footprint
Walking tours might seem like an obvious first step (pun intended!), but they remain the best way to enjoy the outdoors, learn about Toronto history, discover new architecture or eat your way around town. This low-impact pursuit is also a great activity for larger groups. And many tour companies will tailor-make an agenda to suit the interests, mobility or group size.
2. Hop on a bike
Bike Share Toronto has 630 stations across 200 square kilometers of Toronto that give you access to more than 7,000 bicycles. That’s a lot of wheels! Exploring the city with a group bicycle tour is super-low impact, the bike paths are efficient and safe, you cover more ground than you would on foot and you get some exercise.
3. Eat local
Home-grown culinary enterprises—from food trucks to cookie kiosks to samosa shops to upscale restaurants—are abundant in every Toronto neighbourhood. Find yourself choosing eateries across locally-owned entrepreneurs and farm-to-table goodness. There are plenty of good food tours to sign up for, depending on your tastes and your schedule, hitting St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market, even the hip Junction neighbourhood.
Toronto is blessed with more than 1,500 parks covering almost 8,000 hectares of land—so chances are better than good that you can find a slice of it to enjoy.
4. Literally, go green
The Evergreen Brickworks complex, along the Don Valley River, promotes urban sustainability and green design—and it’s one of the top 10 geo-tourism destinations in the world according to National Geographic. It was Canada’s first large-scale community environmental centre when it opened in 2010. Edwards Gardens to the north of the Brickworks is a botanical oasis.
On the other side of town, High Park offers more than 150 hectares of green space to wander through, with sporting and educational facilities, gardens and playgrounds. The Toronto Music Garden on Queens Quay West is a hidden gem, hosting several outdoor concerts throughout the year. Trinity Bellwoods Park in the cool Queen Street West area is the largest downtown park at 15 hectares. And sunny Sugar Beach Park, a fun little stretch of sand on the Eastern Bayfront, is perfect for boat-watching.
5. Pick up a paddle
By kayak, paddleboard or canoe, you can find dozens of spots to launch a personal watercraft in Toronto’s waterfront, including Woodbine Beach Park, Cherry Beach and the Humber River. The Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre has been sending people out to paddle the Toronto Harbour for more than 35 years, with the 13 beautiful Toronto islands within easy reach.
6. Learn about conservation
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is eager to help students learn more about the environment with educational programs designed to inspire and engage with kids via single-day field trips that touch on a variety of curriculum topics. The conservation education centre at Tommy Thompson Park is a unique urban wilderness on a man-made peninsula in Toronto’s east end, the largest natural habitat on the Toronto waterfront. It is a favourite with local birders and cyclists alike.
The Toronto Zoo’s Conservation Breeding & Reintroduction Program involves increasing the numbers of rare species of critters that need help staving off extinction, including turtles, ferrets and shrikes. The zoo’s Adopt-a-Pond program educates visitors on wetland conservation.
7. Take the transit
Getting around is easy with Toronto's network of transportations. Ride the rails right into Union Station with a VIA Rail journey from your town or grab a GO Transit bus or train for the Greater Toronto Area travels. The UP Express train from Pearson Airport is by far the best way to get Downtown, and very affordable and accessible. And the Toronto Transit Commission trains and streetcars make transiting convenient and affordable.
8. Sleep sustainably!
Most hotels these days are stepping up their sustainability, with new programs that champion best practices when it comes to maintenance, services and supplies, promoting energy efficiency, water conservation, electric-car charging and good habits like using less plastic. The newly renovated Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel gets high marks on the Green Key Audit from the Canadian Hotel Association. It also partners with Clean the World, a non-profit organization that recycles discarded soap and plastic.
1 Hotel Toronto—its interiors kitted out with environmentally friendly materials—is proof-positive that you can still offer a luxury experience and achieve sustainability at the same time. Other planet-friendly pit stops in Toronto include The Drake Hotel, the Gladstone House and the Fairmont Royal York, which still maintains an apiary on the roof.
Simply think a little greener and “do local” wherever the opportunity arises.
9. Contact our experts to get started
Take advantage of the Travel Trade team to find more information on sustainable Toronto travel. We can help you plan an itinerary with stops within easy access of one another, so you can maximize your entertainment and minimize your footprint.
Get in touch with the Destination Toronto team today to start planning today.