So close to NYC yet so very Canadian with a unique and distinct personality all its own. While you might think you know Toronto from having read or seen Scott Pilgrim, Toronto is a lot more than that; although we did find ourselves pointing out places that were referenced in that aforementioned comic. Speaking of comics, Toronto is a great place for comedy and should not be forgotten when one thinks of the great comedy cities of North America.
Where to Stay
Hotel Le Germain: Our first encounter with this luxury boutique hotel chain was here and we have to say what an encounter it was. We were welcomed with open arms and had a great stay. While one might think that perhaps the level of kindness and attention that were paid to us was because they knew we were travel bloggers, this was not at all what we experienced while watching hotel staff interact with other guests. Whether those guests were 5 years old or looked like busy socialites, time was given to all and everyone's concerns were looked after. We think it speaks highly of a hotel when attention is not just paid to the high rollers or VIPs and we honestly felt like every guest was treated like a VIP. Although we did not find the Maple Square location to be as ideal for our adventures in the city it is very convenient if you're attending a hockey game as it is right next door. The suite was beautiful and we loved the Le Germain brand of understated luxury. The colours were muted and the art was nice for those who appreciate well toned male abs. Unlike some other hotels we have stayed at, there was nothing about the room that said, "we cater to straight men," and we really appreciate that. As heterosexual female business travellers, we dislike rooms that are filled with art that's created for the male gaze. We don't want to return to the room after a long day in meetings and look at naked women, it's just not our thing. Thankfully, unlike the rooms in this chain in Montreal, there are no naked female sex organs on display. Hooray! Our suite had both an exquisite tub and shower and the bed was one of the most comfortable that we have ever slept in our lives. This hotel is one not be missed and we would return to it or its other location in Toronto gladly.
How to Get Around
Buses, subways, streetcars, and cabs will suit you well while visiting Toronto. While you can rent a car, street parking can be difficult to come by depending on what part of the city you're in so, unless you plan on leaving the city proper, a cab is probably not your best bet.
What to Eat
Hands down our favourite coffee place in the city is Jimmy's Coffee. In King West, a neighbourhood we love, you can find excellent baristas who brew a mean cup of joe. Those who want to check their email and avoid roaming charges will be happy to note that they also have free wifi. We think that no visit to Toronto should happen without visit to King West and Jimmy's Coffee. If you're a vegan, Hot Beans is also a must. Both the omnivores and vegetarians on the team enjoyed Czehoski although we found the art on the walls to be vulgar and kept our eyes on our companions and meal. Toronto has a vibrant food community and we loved seeing the packed farm to table restaurants celebrating fine local cuisine. Many of these aforementioned places were so packed that we were unable to acquire a table… a situation we hope to rectify the next time that we are in town.
What to Do
Toronto has a great number of boutiques were you can find everything, from elusive vinyl to fine yarn, and we strongly recommend getting away from the central business district and into the neighbourhoods like King West. Our favourite places to visit are Lettuce Knit, Good Egg, and The Workroom. In addition to shopping, Toronto has many fine museums, sporting events, and of course comedy shows and we regret not being able to spend more time absorbing the culture due to our short stay although, fortunately, we were able to visit the historic Casa Loma. Gist of it is anyone who tells you Toronto is boring clearly has never left the CBD; it's a vibrant city with a lot to offer so don't be afraid to dive in.
What's are your Toronto musts?