Running Through the 6ix

… with my woes.

I have a feeling that this post is definitely going to be my longest out of all the ones I’ll be posting. When I was going through the things we did when we were in Toronto, I actually had no idea how much we did. Admittedly, there are a lot of things that I still want to see in Toronto so a trip back is definitely needed.

Canada is actually on my list of places to work abroad and this trip was partly to give me an insight into what Toronto is like. I love Toronto. Being a city girl, Toronto is definitely the sort of place I could see myself living and working in. I’m still to make my decision and I don’t to rush my choice, but Toronto is edging towards the first place on my list.

Everything in Toronto was so smooth, chill and I loved all of the vibes. Everything about Toronto just felt right, you know? I could see myself visiting again and again and again. Enough of me rambling, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Stay

We stayed in an Airbnb situated in the neighbourhood of Riverside (which for the longest time I thought was actually called Riverdale, and I think my television addled brain got over excited, but anyway).

The Airbnb was amazing – a modern loft with a cool layout with nice decor and plants. We had the whole apartment to ourselves and our host was amazing in communicating and extremely accommodating when I let her know that we had to check out late due to our coach being at midnight.

Everything was so comfortable and the apartment had all the amenities we needed and was the best space for a photoshoot, haha. Would definitely recommend a stay at this Airbnb as it is not that far from some cool bars and the major sights like the CN tower.

Must See

🌆 Yonge-Dundas Square

The Times Square of Toronto, Yonge-Dundas Square is a public square in Downtown Toronto. There wasn’t much going on when we passed through, except a couple of protests and your generic preacher, but we did pop into the mall nearby where we went to Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill (but more on that below 😉).

🌺 Allan Gardens Conservatory

Free

There are 5 garden-filled greenhouses covering 16,000 sq ft with the most beautiful plants. If you’re a huge fan of succulents (like I am) then definitely visit the Cactus House. Perhaps pop an antihistamine before you visit, as well, if you have hayfever. I really enjoyed exploring this conservatory and everywhere just popped with colour which made for some amazing photos.

 

🍁 Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan Phillips Square is a plaza and home of the 3D Toronto sign. We spent a while here just to get photos in front of the sign and I managed to get one jumping in front of it, thanks to Mutay.

🏛️ Old City Hall

We passed the Old City Hall on the way to Nathan Phillips Square. The architecture stands out amongst the rest of the buildings in Toronto in that it is quite old and unique, but extremely beautiful. We were meant to stop by it on a free walking tour that I had booked for us, but ahem… I got too drunk and couldn’t get up on the morning of the tour. Nevertheless, I’m glad we managed to see it!

🗼 The CN Tower

General Admission: Adult (13 – 64): $38.0

This was one of the main touristy things I wanted to do when I went to Toronto and I’m glad I got to cross it off the list. I was slightly disappointed in the glass floor because I thought it would be bigger and it was also overcrowded with other tourists, so it was hard to get a good photo, but it was still kind of cool. The views from the tower were amazing and again we spent about a trillion hours rolling around on the floor outside trying to get a photo with ourselves and the tower in it. We kind of underestimated how tall the tower was!

🖼️ Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto

Adult: $10
Student with ID (18+): $5

We only got to explore this museum for the last half hour it was open but man, oh, man! If you ever visit Toronto, I would highly suggest you visit this museum. All of the collections on display were so good and I loved the interactive element of some of them. One of the exhibitions was called Belief – it considered beliefs and systems that are the foundation from which our civilization has been built: personal and collective beliefs that form the conditions, values and identities that define existence in the globalised world of the 21st century. It was extremely interesting!

Must Do

🌊 Niagara Falls Tour

Our coach wasn’t until midnight, so we spent our last full day in Canada doing a Niagara Falls tour. that we found on Airbnb. It was one of the best days ever! We met with our tour guide, Lenka, at 9AM after we stopped by McDonald’s for breakfast. There were only 5 of us all together including our tour guide so it was a nice, private tour that we got.

Our first stop was Upper Canada Cheese Company where we got to see cheese being made and also sample some cheese. If it wasn’t so difficult to bring cheese back home, I would have bought all of the freaking cheese because cheese is life, cheese is love. Especially this one smoked cheese… oh my gosh. 😍

After eating some tasty cheese we drove over to Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery for some wine tasting. We also got to try ice wine for the first time. I had never even heard of icewine before then and now I am basically in love with it. Icewine is where the grapes are frozen whilst still on the vines and only a small amount of juice can be squeezed from the grape. It also requires someone to harvest them in the early hours of the morning and because of the difficulty in the producing icewine, it is generally very expensive. I managed to nab a bottle at $24 and that stuff is only being drunk on special occasions. It is so sweet and almost syrupy and not like any wine I’ve ever had before!

After wine tasting, we made our way to Niagara Falls! We didn’t go on the boat but it was amazing just to walk along and witness the falls. Niagara Falls has been on my bucket list for the longest time and ahhhh! Can’t believe I’ve finally managed to witness it. We even got to see a rainbow whilst we were there. We were also lucky because it was slated to rain but it didn’t rain until later on in the day. We were going to ziplining but then we saw how much it was and thought against it, haha. We also explored Clifton Hill which is basically a funfair on steroids.

Following Niagara Falls, we passed by the Cham Shan Buddhist Temple. It’s only open in the summer, unfortunately, but managed to visit the main hall. There are photos or videos inside the main hall, but there is an amazing Buddha statue inside. The actual temple itself is beautiful, as well.

We also stopped by the smallest chapel in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Living Water Wayside Chapel. It was so tiny and cute and so totally built for me, am I right? According to Lenka, someone actually had a wedding the previous week when she visited and there were like 5 guests.

We then headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake which is the cutest little button of a town if I’ve ever been to one. We stopped by a small gallery featuring Jason Leo Bantle’s nature photography and all of his photography is amazing – the way he captures the animals in action is truly something behold. We stopped by Cows for some ice cream – their scoops are generous! We also popped by the Prince of Wales hotel just to look at the interior, which was really pretty.

Before heading home we stopped by Caroline Cellars Family Estate Winery for some more wine tasting. Yummy!

I would definitely recommend doing a tour like this because not only did we get to see Niagara Falls, we also got to so many fun things along the way and Lenka, our tour guide, was amazing in giving us the lowdown on everything that we visited!

Dine

🍎 School

We had to wait nearly 45 minutes for a table but boy was the wait worth it. Order the Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast and prepare to be blown away! Service is great, interior lives up to its name and the food is superb! They even had episodes of Saved by the Bell playing on the TV! I also ordered a vanilla latte, which was so lovely.

✨ The Lockhart

HARRY POTTER THEMED BAR. WHAT?! Order the Better Beer – Advocaat, Cinnamon Infused Toasted Butter Washed Sauza, House Ginger Beer, Ginger Ale, Whipped Cream, Toasted Marshmallow and take in all of the Harry Potter-esque things in the bar because there is A LOT. I ordered the Eggs Benny because you can’t really go wrong with that. Pop to the toilet even if you don’t need to, as well.

🍗 Hot-Star Fried Chicken

A friend suggested we visit this joint and I’m so glad we did. They specialise in Taiwanese fried chicken and the chicken is so crispy and delicious, I’m crying just thinking about it. We ordered the cheese-stuffed fried chicken and I regret nothing! 😭 I also recommend the strawberry soda!

 

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☕ Tim Hortons

Oi, Tim Hortons don’t play games when it comes to their coffee. I’m a huge coffee fan and hmmm, yes – I could drink Tim Horton’s coffee all day, every day! I also got the Bagel B.E.L.T. which was yum, yum, yum.

🧀 Burger Shoppe

Did you even go to Canada if you didn’t have poutine? You can order the classic poutine from Burger Shoppe, which was only down the road from where we were staying, as well as with caramelized onions and bacon. Absolutely lovely, gravy, cheesy goodness.

 IHOP

Pancakes with almost every dish? Yes, sir, thank you, please. I ordered the Breakfast Sampler –  two eggs, two hickory-smoked bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two pieces of ham, two fluffy buttermilk pancakes and our golden hash browns. GORGEOUS. Smother your pancakes in syrup and you’re good to go.

Drink

Hi-Lo

This was the first bar we went into on our first night in Toronto and wow, I don’t even really know what was going on. It’s like I was thrown back into the early 2000s. A worker also came out to sell meatballs, as well, which was completely random. Still a cool little bar!

Eastbound Brewing Company

The second bar we happened upon after Hi-Lo. We witnessed an arm wrestling match and also found the majority of their drinks, including cocktails, have beer. The clue’s in the name, I guess. Music was good and it was a lot more mellow than Hi-Lo where we didn’t even recognise any of the music, lol.

Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill

Drinks the size of my fucking head. The waitress asked if I wanted to jack up my drinkand I got 1/4 of the way through and thought, woah… this is alcohol. I didn’t order any food but man, the drink I ordered was enough for me, mate. Our waitress was really cute, too.

Bar 244

$10 entry. $3 drinks all night. I kid you not. The sort of typical bar I’d go to in London, but waaaaaay cheaper than what I’m used to. Good music, good vibes – I’m just sad that it closed at 2AM. Felt like my night had just started!

Tips

✨ Make sure you’ve got your visa in place, otherwise they won’t let you in the country. Check here if you need one.

✨ Public transport in Toronto is pretty straightforward. A single fare is $3.25, cheaper if you use a Presto card at $3.00.

✨ Allow a full day if you plan to visit Niagara Falls. It’s a fair bit away from Toronto and there are so many things to do, you’d need a whole day.

✨ Visit Koreatown for good eats and cute little shops!

✨ Choose a place to stay that isn’t too far from the city centre. From there you can whizz around everywhere!

✨ There are free walking tours available – we didn’t go on any due to the fact that I’m a drunkard, but reviews have rated Tour Guys highly!

✨ Never get a coach from Toronto to New York. Seriously. Don’t.

Overall

I fucking love Toronto and I really need to visit again. It’s a massive city but I felt very much at home whilst I was there. Everything was s easy navigate, the people were really friendly (I mean that’s a stereotype about Canadians, right?) and it was just so much fun to explore!

4 Comments

  1. 8th November 2018 / 8:53 am

    Wow sounds like you had a great time! I also have never heard of icewine.. interesting..
    Also.. um thank you SO MUCH for bringing the Harry Potter themed bar to my attention. Really, super greatful.

    • Chynna
      Author
      11th November 2018 / 5:13 pm

      Yaaass, if you ever go to Toronto you definitely need to visit the Lockhart 😀

  2. 11th November 2018 / 10:15 pm

    I haven’t gone much myself, and never really explored like you did, but looks like a lot of fun! Hope you had loads of fun!

    • Chynna
      Author
      14th November 2018 / 1:01 pm

      It was a lot of fun, thank you so much! 😀

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