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Toronto Travel Guide

Updated on May 16, 2012

A visit to Toronto.

Currently ranked in the top five of most livable cities in the world, and with a reputation of being both safe and diverse you may have given some thought to a visit to Canada's largest city, economic centre, and Capital of the Province of Ontario. Perhaps you already have a trip planned? Perhaps your trip starts right now with reading this guide?

This is not an all encompassing guide, and will not be suitable for everyone, but Toronto has been my home for most of my life and hope I can offer an insiders view on some of the best Toronto has to offer.

Grenadier Pond in Toronto's High Park
Grenadier Pond in Toronto's High Park | Source

When to visit Toronto

There is truly always something to do all year round in Toronto, but yes it is in Canada and while many winter nights can be brisk and refreshing, it can also become bitingly cold. This is usually remedied by simply dressing appropriately, but all that aside, let's look at some more hospitable months.

Late Spring and Summer are the warmest in Toronto, but can be surprisingly hot and humid. If you are looking for more moderate warmth and a lot less humidity then late Summer going into early fall is the best and often the most beautiful time to visit Toronto.

Now let's look at some of Toronto's best and most famous attractions!

Where To Stay In Toronto

Cozy Suites is a charming and enjoyable place to stay
Cozy Suites is a charming and enjoyable place to stay | Source
The Cozy Suites 'Beach Suite'  Highly recommended.
The Cozy Suites 'Beach Suite' Highly recommended. | Source
A gorgeous view of the lake just a ten minute walk from Cozy Suites.
A gorgeous view of the lake just a ten minute walk from Cozy Suites. | Source

As you might expect as both Canada's largest city and it's business centre Toronto has a wide range of hotels and lodgings. Just keep in mind that Toronto can be a busy city for conventions and events and hotels can book up quickly.

You are not, however limited to hotels as there are 'bed and breakfast' and 'short term stay' options as well.

Now unless you absolutely have to step out of your door to be right in the middle of the downtown core there is one place I would recommend in Toronto's Upper Beaches area called 'Cozy Suites'.

No it isn't right smack in the middle of downtown, but it's charm and coziness is well worth the five minute drive or quick and easy trip on public transit to get to downtown.

I personally stayed in the 'Beach Suite' with my fiancee and we would both recommend it as a great spot for couples.

Charming decor, a fire place and a fully functional kitchen with a beautiful gas range and only a ten minute walk to the beach make this a perfect home away from home.

You can visit the Cozy Suites Inn website for more details.

Some Great Places to Eat in Toronto

The Tulip Steak House in Toronto
The Tulip Steak House in Toronto | Source
Dutch Dreams ice cream in Toronto is just a short walk from Casa Loma
Dutch Dreams ice cream in Toronto is just a short walk from Casa Loma | Source

A person could write books about the many great places in Toronto to get food. It is impossible to cover all of them in one short article.

That being said I will suggest two that are both iconic fixtures in Toronto and personal favourites of mine.

For a great steak at a decent price you can go just off the Toronto beaches boardwalk at Queen and Coxwell streets to 'The Tulip'.

If you are looking for some ice cream and a little eccentric fun, then 'Dutch Dreams' at Vaghn and St. Clair is just a quick walk from Casa Loma. Don't be surprised if there is a little bit of a line up, but too much fun to pass up.

Toronto Attractions (with ratings)

Now let's have a look at some of Toronto's most famous and popular attractions and see how they match up.

The CN Tower
The CN Tower | Source

CN Tower

While it has slipped off the podium it stood atop for some thirty years, this iconic feature of the Toronto skyline is still impressive as the world's tallest tower. On a clear day the view can be spectacular and stunning.

At the end of the day though, it really is just a rather pricey elevator ride. Long and frustrating lines not only going up but also trying to get back down and not much to do once your up their than admire the view.

Nice view, but frustrating line ups and completely devoid of soul or heart. Unless you have a lot of time and cash to spare I'd skip the CN Tower.

Rating: D+

The CN Tower does provide a nice view, but also some frustrations.
The CN Tower does provide a nice view, but also some frustrations. | Source

Toronto Zoo

Sitting just on the eastern edge of Toronto and nestled in the Rouge valley, the Toronto Zoo is something you will want to get an early start on and commit a day to.

If you and your family are animal lovers you will have a fantastic time.

Just be prepared for a fair bit of walking. You might also want to bring a hat if you go in the middle of summer as you can get a lot of sun wandering from animal to animal.

The collection of animals at the zoo is also quite good, with a few like the orangutans and the polar bears being reliable crowd pleasers.

There is also currently a 'Stingray Bay' exhibit where for a small additional fee of a few dollars you can feed as well as pet not only stingrays but also a couple of species of shark! It is a fantastic experience and highly recommended.

If Stingray bay is still happening during your visit put this down as a must do!

Rating: A

Overall one of the better values in Toronto!

The polar bears at the Toronto Zoo know how to relax.
The polar bears at the Toronto Zoo know how to relax. | Source

Toronto Island

A short and very enjoyable ferry ride across Toronto harbour takes you to the Toronto Islands, a place that was a wonderland for me as a young child, and still is as a grown adult.

Centre island has a wonderful amusement park made to resemble an old fashioned town called 'Centerville'. Centerville relies on fun and charm with a lot of rides that younger kids can enjoy, and also has enough to keep the adults happy as well.

There are a lot of fun rides on the island, but the 'Scrambler' is a must as is the gorgeous carousel which was built in 1907.

If rides aren't your thing, the Island still has plenty to offer, whether it is the 'Far Enough Farm' petting zoo, the boardwalk along the north edge of the islands, or simply enjoying the gorgeous parkland or one of the Island's beaches. For those who are interested there is also a nude beach, which is out of view of anyone who does not want to see it.

The only draw back to the Island is that food choices can be a little limited and slightly pricey, although it is an amazing place for a picnic. An all day pass for the rides makes this a great value.

I am and always have been a big fan of the Island. There are no biggest baddest and fastest rides, but there is a lot of charm.

Rating: A+

Toronto Island is the place where I proposed to my Fiancee. If you go maybe you will see why.

Casa Loma
Casa Loma | Source

Casa Loma

This Toronto landmark has been in more than a couple of movies so don't be surprised if you recognize it already.

Built around the turn of the century by industrialist and financier Sir Henry Pellat Casa Loma is gorgeous, but at the end of the day more 'really nice house' than castle, although it does have the towers.

The garden is also gorgeous.

Rating: B-

A nice visit if you can include it with some sort of offer such as a CityPass. Otherwise not the end of the world or your Toronto visit if you miss it.

Tyrannosaurus Rex at the  Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto
Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto | Source
Prehistoric mammals at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto
Prehistoric mammals at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto | Source

Toronto Museum

Toronto actually has a few meuseums as well as a major art gallery. The main museum however is the 'Royal Ontario Museum' also known locally as 'The ROM'.

The ROM, situated downtown a stone's throw from some of Toronto's more upscale shopping has some great exhibits and is a very pleasent experience.

Some exhibits may prove to be a little tedious for some kids, but rest assured there are indeed dinosaurs to satisfy young and old alike.

Rating A-

Butterfly at R. Lord Ross reservoir, Toronto
Butterfly at R. Lord Ross reservoir, Toronto | Source
The Don River looking South towards E.T. Seton Park at Wilcket Creek Park
The Don River looking South towards E.T. Seton Park at Wilcket Creek Park | Source

Toronto Parks

The best feature of all that Toronto has to offer, that gives the maximum enjoyment for the best value is it's parks. High Park in Toronto's west end has some great bird watching and even fishing at Grenadier Pond, as well as a small Zoo, and there is a subway stop called 'High Park' that takes you right there.

Also Highly recommended is following the Don River Valley from E.T. Seton park Just a little South of Eglinton ave. near Leslie st. and walking through some gorgeous parkland and nature trails until you reach Edward's Gardens at Lawrence ave. and Leslie St.

Other spots to check out include the G. Lord Ross dam and reservoir, the aforementioned Toronto Islands, as well as many others, Toronto really is full of valley's and parks. The major ones tend to have paved and lit paths.

These parks, more than anything else set Toronto apart as a major city.

Rating: A++

Grenadier Pond in High Park, Toronto
Grenadier Pond in High Park, Toronto | Source

Thank You!

Thank you for taking the time to read my Toronto Travel Guide.

It is impossible to cover everything for a destination like Toronto, but I hope it helps and perhaps provides a little insight that helps you with your holiday planning.

Below you will see links to other articles I have written on a variety of topics that you might also enjoy or find useful.

Please vote me up, leave comments and share this or any of my articles that you enjoy on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you all again!



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    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you much for this very informative hub on Toronto. We've been there only once back in the mid-1980's. I remember well going to the Hudson Bay Store to purchase an Inuit soapstone carving. Are there any ferry boats from Rochester, NY? I would think, border customs aside, that would be a popular boat ride across Lake Ontario.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 

      7 years ago from Winnipeg

      Great Hub, Toronto is such a great city to live in or visit! I have been there a few times and will certainly be back again. Great info here, voted Up and Awesome!

    • andreaweeb profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Toronto has really great tourist spots. Great hub!

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      There is so much more you could have written, certainly, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hey there,

      What a wonderful review. I have been to Toronto ten times already and although I am Dutch, I have never been to Dutch Dreams. Next year I will definitely gonna check it out.

      And I agree about the Cozy Suites Inn. Been there five times already. And I never want to go anywhere else. It is the best place ever. I always stay in the Beach Suite as well. I can absolutely recommend it to everyone. You would be foolish not to stay there. Both the place and the inn keeper are the best.

      Thanks again for your Travel Guide of wonderful Toronto and the lovely Cozy Suites Inn!

    • felicitylovespari profile image


      7 years ago

      Toronto has always been on the list of places I want to visit. Voted up and awesome.

    • Credence2 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Had a lot of fun in Toronto when I visited many years back. I was more fond of Montreal with its quirky bilingual and cultural diversity. I also favored Vacouver because of its geographic location was so stark in its beauty. Great Hub, thanks Cred2

    • profile image

      Deborah Johnson 

      7 years ago

      Awesome article, I will check out the Dutch Ice cream place for sure, Thanks for all the great info!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Like this hub, Toronto is a great city.

      Love the pictures.

      Voted up, up and away.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, that was fun. I've been only once to a concert years ago. It is a beautiful city; I watch Virgin Home Buyers and know the homes can be expensive, but of course they aren't going to put the lower scale housing on a television show. Thanks for the virtual tour.

    • DDS profile imageAUTHOR

      David Sproull 

      7 years ago from Toronto

      @YLM: Thanks! Glad you liked my Toronto Travel Guide!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You sure make Toronto seem like a great place to visit.

    • DDS profile imageAUTHOR

      David Sproull 

      7 years ago from Toronto

      @Y.C.S.: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I live in Toronto and there is lots to see. The parks are beautiful but the worst part of it is that there are too many high rise buildings which to me are real eyesores. Anyway thanks for this excellent article and a big congratulations to you and your fiancee. :-)

    • DDS profile imageAUTHOR

      David Sproull 

      7 years ago from Toronto

      @Bee Erikson: When it comes to food in Toronto I suspect I have made more than a couple of omissions, but yes Rodney's would be a good choice!

    • Bee Erikson profile image

      Beryl Dingemans 

      7 years ago from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

      Great guide - I used to live there! Awesome city. You forgot to mention Rodney's Oyster Bar - voted the best seafood restaurant in North America - and it most certainly is!! I still dream about the Dungeness and Alaskan King crab served there and the 65 odd species of oysters... Heaven if you are into shellfish!


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