Canada 🇨🇦 has now a special place in my heart ❤! Why? Because it is the 50th country I’ve visited or at least traveled to! 🙃😲 But can you really say you’ve visited a country if you’ve been to only one city? 🤔 Anyway, here I am! I flew direct from Paris to Toronto where I spent a few days to discover the place. Here is what I have seen and done! Hopefully, this will help if you ever plan to come here! 🤗 Toronto nice to meet you! 👋🏻 😃
Good to know: Toronto used to be called York but always had the nickname of ‘Muddy York’. Toronto is an Indigenous name which means ‘tree standing in the water’ 🤓
Connectivity, you know the local SIM card
This is the first thing I searched for at the airport… I noticed Chatr offering free SIM cards at the arrival gates and I thought that this was not the best option. But when I went in town, all the mobile operators were more expensive than Chatr! So I got a sim with 2GB (I know, ridiculous 🤭!) for CAD 67 (€44/£38/$53)! Super expensive but they were the cheapest, I swear! 🙃
From the airport to the city
I could not find any Uber around Toronto Pearson airport when I arrived that early afternoon. They were probably all busy! I booked an Airbnb in town and the best way to reach it without using a taxi 🚕 was to catch the UP Express and then get on a local bus. Super easy! 🤷🏻♀️
If you are also aiming to get downtown too, use the UP Express, this is much cheaper than a taxi or Uber even. Get your ticket from the ticket machine in the terminal at the arrivals and not from the ones next to the platform… you’ll be queuing a lot there!! 😉
One way ticket cost CAD5.65 (€3.6/£3.15/$4.4) up to Boor station. Get to Union Station (downtown) from the airport in 25 min for CAD12! 😁
Getting around the city
If you are interested in purchasing the weekly pass for CAD43 (€18/£24/$33), make sure you do that on a Monday as it starts only from that day! You can also buy tokens at the official counter and if you want to use your credit card, you’ll need to purchase a minimum of 3 tokens for CAD 9 (€6/£5/$7). If you do the maths 🙄, a TTC token cost CAD3 each and that’s what you need to ask at the counter. TTC means Toronto Transit Commission… it will work on buses, subway and street cars 🚋 (or tramways in other languages 😂). You can also buy day pass for CAD12 (€8/£7/$9). Oh and don’t forget your proof of payment when onboard! 😉
Do you want to know the city in a fun way? Sign up for a free walking tour! I chose Tours Guys Toronto for that. They have tours daily from April and you just need to book online and get to the Union Station for 10.30am for the Financial/banking tour. Walk 2km in total and finish at 12pm by the New Town Hall. There is also the ‘Old Toronto tour’ starting at 1pm from the same place if you want to know more about the city. I highly recommend it, it was so insightful and I was able to find my way around a little bit more! 😉 You are free to tip your guide as much as you want and the average tip is CAD10 (€6/£5.5/$8).
Where to go?
CN Tower. I paid CAD43 (€28/£24/$33) with taxes otherwise it is advertised CAD38 to get to the top of the tower. They are doing some construction work at the moment which means that you can have access to the highest point of the tower for free! All should be back to normal (and chargeable) in summer 2018. 😁
The tower was built in 1975 to show the world that Canadians 🇨🇦 can built the highest tower in the world and 1,537 workers were needed and worked to deliver this crazy project during 40 months!! 🤓
And they did it! 💪🏻 The record was broken of the highest tower in the world when it opened in June 1976. I think Burj Khalifa in Dubai is smiling at this right now 😂 Well, the CN Tower is still the 3rd tallest tower in the world 🌎 after Dubai 🇦🇪 and Shanghai 🇨🇳! Don’t think that this is just a piece of concrete. It is also used for radio television services! There must be a good signal from up there! 😂😂
Fun fact: the tower is struck by lightning ⚡ around 75 times a year! 😳
Go to St Lawrence Market. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish like any other markets but this is not only it! Walk around to eat cheese, olives and other delicacies from all around the world! Eat Chinese, South American, Italian, Greek and so much more 😋. I think that you’ll be going around a few times before you decide what you want to eat (like I did! 😉). Oh and don’t forget to check out downstairs too! 😁
Walk to the Old City Hall, which is now the courthouse of Toronto and see the Toronto sign! Such an iconic place of the city! 🇨🇦
The Toronto sign was only suppose to stay during the Pan American Games of 2015 but people found it cool that they kept it! 😉 The Nathan Phillips Square (where the Town Hall is) is always welcoming events. During the summer the pond in front of the sign is… well, it is a pond! But in winter times, it becomes an ice ring! ⛸
The New Town Hall looks like a sort of UFO but it is suppose to be an eye when looking from above. Like each side are the eye lids and inside is the eye 👁. No windows on the outside so that the justice looks at itself… if that works. Pretty cool right? 😁
Walk and visit to Art Gallery of Ontario to admire some art – honestly, I haven’t been myself. The time I wanted to go, the queue was so long that I gave up ☹️. Instead, I continued my walk up to Chinatown!
Continue to Kensington Market which is a hippie district! You’ll find loads of ethnic shops, cafes, places to eat and even vintage clothing stores. It is such a great place to hang out and shop for cheap but with taste of course! 😉
Queen Street West is at the center of Toronto and where you’ll be able to shop as much as you can afford! 🤑 If you are into shopping, head over to CF Eaton Centre, there is more than 250 shops there!!! 😱
A break from the city
Want a break from the city life? 😅 How about taking a ferry to visit the Centre Island? Head to the harbour front via the financial district and get your ticket at the Toronto Island Ferry Service. I paid CAD7.87 for a return trip (€5/£4.45/$6). Sailing time is around 10minutes… short but very pleasant!! ⛴
There are 3 islands on the Ontario Lake, Ward’s Island, Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point. Centre Island might be the most famous spot because you can get a great view on Toronto’s skyscrapers!
Allen Gardens Conservatory. A nice surprise in the city. You are free to enter this lovely glass house with so many different types of plants and flowers! 💐 Really well maintained and a pleasant walk through desert plants or exotic flowers. Perfect to chill or seek shelter from the bad weather (my case as it was raining! ☔)
Financial district is maybe not that exciting but still deserves to be visited and you could be surprised. Thanks to the free walking tour I found out a lot about this area. Obviously, that’s where all banks are, stock exchange… but also that’s where the serie Suits was shot!! 🎬
Distillery district. From harbour front, you can walk to Distillery district. Great spot at night with bars and so on. It is also open during the day with many cute shops, bars and cafes! Great spot to have lunch too!! 😁
Toronto or the melting-pot city! Little Tokyo, Little Italy, Greektown, Chinatown, etc. Toronto is a multi-cultural city! Only 30% of people here are real Torontonians! 😲
Unusual things to do or see
So I came across a few things that I really loved in the great city of Toronto. The first thing that really surprised me was this half house on St Patrick’s street. Its number is actually 54 1/2 St Patrick’s Street but that’s not because it is just a half a house. There is a great story behind it! Watch it all here, such a cool thing! 🏡 😁
Another great spot in Toronto is Graffiti Alley. The place for street art in the whole city (even though, you’ll see street art a bit everywhere in the city). Make sure you stop by if you like this kind of art! I sure do! 😍😍
Something else in Toronto surprised me a lot! I heard about it but never thought it actually existed!! There is a city in the city! 😲 It is called ‘The Path’ which is 30km of surface right under the city! You’ll find restaurants, shops, cafés, etc. Very useful during the winter months where temperatures can go really low. This city under the city is busy with loads of people in colder months but when I was there, it was like a dead shopping mall kind of thing. 😲
There is a dog fountain near the Flat Iron building (not the one from NYC!!). This is so cool! It was not functioning but still, loved it! 🐶 🐕 🐩
I also discovered that for each building in the financial district built, the council asked to have 5% of the area dedicated to art. This is why there are some pretty cool sculptures in the middle of this skyscrapers! 😉
Finally, last stop but not least! I had a nice coffee at the ‘Snap Coffee‘ on Gerrard Street. Their extra feature is so cool! Order your coffee and select or download the picture you want your coffee to have on top of it! It is free to do and so fun as well! ☕ 😁
So what did you think of Toronto 🇨🇦?
Let me know in the comments section below!
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