Toronto: Top Notch Dining, Arts, Sports and More

This bi-monthly travel tips column is brought to you by TownePlace Suites, an all suites hotel with full kitchens. Check back twice a month for more special columns like this one.

By Ruta Fox

Credit: www.torontowide.com Photographer: Doug Brown

Credit: www.torontowide.com
Photographer: Doug Brown

Our neighbor to the north, Canada is a superb travel destination. Toronto, in particular, is culturally one of the most diverse cities, with over 70 nationalities represented — you may even hear one of 100 languages on your visit.

Toronto is home to top notch dining, arts, architecture, museums, attractions, theater and of course sports, including the one Canada is most famous for, hockey. Nicknamed “Hollywood North,” the U.S. film industry shoots many movies here, utilizing locations that often stand in for New York City with an ultra-urban look.

Get started at the CN Tower. The Look Out level at 1,136 feet up will take your breath away, but to really get your heart beating, walk on the Glass Floor or outdoor Sky Terrace, or go all the up to the SkyPod level. If there’s an ultimate daredevil in your travel party, try a “hands free” Edge Walk and circle the tower with a harness on a 5-feet wide ledge.  www.cntower.ca

The revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower is an award-winner, and includes the world’s highest wine cellar, on record in the Guinness World Record book. The 360 Restaurant offers patrons regional ingredients and culinary masterpieces for lunch or dinner including seafood and vegetarian options. Indulge in Maple Glazed Cornish Game Hen with Wild Rice and Sour Apples or delicious Roasted Ontario Lamb Marrakesh with Preserved Lemon. Finish off the meal with English Sticky Toffee Pudding or a Dark Chocolate Tower with Dried Fruit. http://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/360-restaurant/overview.html

Toronto has a dazzling variety of gourmet options. From Jan 31st to Feb 13th their famous “Winterlicious” event is a dining extravaganza that features prix-fixe meals from top restaurants. The annual foodie fest has over 190 different menus that show off a variety of restaurant specialties, appetizers and desserts. http://www.seetorontonow.com/annual-events/winterlicious/

If your trip includes a group of gal pals, how about a visit to the BATA Shoe Museum? There are over 10,000 shoes on exhibit. You’ll walk through history with Chinese silk shoes, high-button masterpieces, Native American beaded numbers and even modern day sneakers. http://www.batashoemuseum.ca

Close by BATA is the Royal Ontario Museum with a glass and aluminum addition by famed architect Daniel Liebeskind, impressive shows such as Wildlife Photographers from National Geographic and the largest collection of Chinese artifacts outside China. http://www.rom.on.ca

Toronto is home to a huge Chinese population, and there are actually four Chinatowns. Stop in the one downtown for some authentic exotic dishes, teas and herbal remedies.

If history is of interest, the Distillery District, a converted warehouse neighborhood full of cobblestones and historic buildings is an option. Walk through the charming streets for boutiques, galleries and pubs with a Victorian feel. Plenty of good food, plus music and eastern North America’s first sake brewery, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, which has a tasting bar full of samples of fresh, unpasteurized, locally-brewed sake. http://ontariosake.com

You can’t experience Canada without hockey. See why Canadians are manic about it by watching an NHL game featuring their hometown team the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. http://www.theaircanadacentre.com/

Another great walkable neighborhood is the unique Queen Street West district with great shopping, including vintage and fashion stores, one-of-a-kind shops and casual cafes. For more upscale shopping the sophisticated Yorkville neighborhood often called the “Mink Mile” is akin to LA’s Rodeo Drive — full of posh, high end stores and upscale restaurants.

In Toronto, even if the weather is chilly, you’ll find warmth in the people and fantastic activities that will entice you to return.

 

Check out this TownePlace Suites (www.TownePlaceSuites.com) hotel when you visit Toronto: TownePlace Suites Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre

 

 

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