Expedia.ca asked me to share my highlights of living in Toronto. These are all of my personal selections.
Again and again, Toronto has been named one of the world’s most liveable cities. It sort of gets you thinking… what makes it so special? Is the hype all to be believed? Despite this pretty big claim, we don’t see Toronto in the media quite like New York, so could it even be a little underrated?
Well, it’s been about 2 months (nearing on 3) since I’ve moved to Toronto, and although I’ve definitely not been here long enough to know whether the city deserves its status, I’ve found some great parts of the city that prove to me that it should be on everyone’s destination list.
If there’s one thing I’ve done while living in Toronto, it’s eat. I’ve had so much food I’ve lost my fortunate metabolism and am actually having to step up my exercise game to work it off.
Restaurants are continuously opening in this city, so that, along with Toronto’s cultural diversity, there is so much choice popping up all the time.
The best meal I’ve had so far is Carbon Bar, an absolute feast for meat and BBQ-lovers in a dimly lit but sophisticated room. The strangest/most challenging place I’ve been is Signs, a restaurant where food is served and ordered with sign language and the waiters/waitresses are deaf. The place I keep going back to is Amsterdam Brewhouse for its pretzel. And All You Can Eat Sushi, aka one of the most genius ideas ever, is a big thing here.
An absolute plethora of restaurants of all varieties exists in Toronto and I really don’t think my stomach is going to get too bored too quickly in this city.
The Toronto Islands, just a short 10-minute ferry ride away from Toronto are the perfect way to escape the city. You’re transported somewhere completely different: vast amounts of green areas, where people play football (or soccer…) and frisbee, and sit on cute blankets with a group of friends and a picnic. The ferry is full of people bringing bikes across (or you can rent them there) to ride on the (almost) car-less roads and catch awesome skyline views of the city.
The people who live here seem to have such a peaceful life. The “streets” are so sweet to walk down, with cats greeting you everywhere and the houses covered in greenery and quirky little decorations and alfresco furniture. You can bet that when next summer rolls around, this is where I’ll be.
Out on the Lake
One of my prerequisites for living somewhere is that it has to be near water. In London I loved being in a city with a river flowing through it – despite it not exactly being the cleanest of places – and whenever I visited Boston (while my boyfriend and I did long distance) I loved the influence the sea had over the city.
Toronto is no different, and being by a lake has its own quirks. I’ve already been on two ships on the lake: once a tall ship which I helped lift the sails (it’s hard work!) and drank beer during the sunset and the second time for a dinner cruise, which was questionable in itself but I couldn’t fault the views over the city or the feeling on the water.
Anywhere that reminds me of Melbourne has an automatic place in my heart. The street art in Toronto has a strong connection with the city’s character and I found so many pieces I loved. There’s even a Graffiti Alley where artists have free reign to cover the walls.
Once you start spotting street art in Toronto, you always keep your eyes peeled for more – looking up, down, around corners. There’s always something new popping up.
I don’t know why I like it here so much. It’s a man-made beach, only on a small corner of the waterfront and won’t be winning any awards for Canada’s best beaches.
But there’s something about this little nook with its pastel pink umbrellas and white deck chairs that has me typing this into my highlights list. Maybe it’s because of my morning runs along the lakefront, watching the sunrise against Sugar Beach that makes it so peaceful and so overwhelmingly pastel coloured that it all seems a little fairy-like.
My feet get itchy pretty quickly and searching for trips is one of my favourite pastimes. I initially worried that there wasn’t enough to do around Toronto – I had personally always been drawn to the scenery of the Canadian Rockies and the ease of travel on the West Coast, whether in Canada or the US.
But a couple of weekends ago, we did our first weekend trip within Ontario to Bruce Peninsula National Park, camping near Tobermory. It was more beautiful than I shamefully ever imagined Ontario could be: clear water, overhanging dramatic cliffs, a variety of trails and a cute town. Now we’ve done that, I’m excited for lakeside cabin stays in Muskoka or Algonquin, and I’m only 4 hours away from the Caribbean, Central America, and some places in the US I’m keen to see (New Orleans, for one).
Coming from England, it’s a bit strange getting used to such a large country, but considering how the last 2-3 months have gone, I think I’m going to like it here.