Make your life as exciting as your travel plans.
About a week ago I came back from Toronto where I spent my mid-year holidays visiting family and friends and exploring the city. I was told winter in Toronto is harsh and not a lot of people coming from a tropical climate will be able to stomach it. Living in Dar es Salaam, where the weather is warm all year round, I was not planning to visit the city in any other season but summer. So, I finalised my plans and set off to explore Toronto from the end of August till the second week of September.
Where To Stay
When I am not recommending hotels in a particular city, I normally focus on ideal locations to stay in. Therefore, for Toronto I want to focus on locations that offer the best living experience that will allow you to commute easily to the many attractions that the city has to offer.
Downtown Toronto is by far the best place to stay to be in walking distance to most tourist attractions. Toronto Entertainment District is an area in Downtown Toronto centered on King Street West. Booking an apartment through Airbnb or hotel in this area will give you easy access to the night clubs, restaurants, CF Toronto Eaton Center, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, or watch a baseball match at Rogers Center and many more.
Another option I would recommend is staying in an area that is close to Downtown Toronto. My family and I stayed in Dufferin. When we wanted to go to Downtown, it took us a total of 30 mins using the transfer bus that would drop us at the Dufferin subway station, then we would take the train to drop off at Dundas subway station in Downtown.
Depending on where your desired sites are situated, you can choose to drop off at any station in Downtown and make your way around on foot, subway or use the street car (a vehicle on rail).
See below map of the subway;
Note: The southern part of the yellow line is Downtown.
Things To Do
Niagara Falls: When I was researching on places to see and things to do in Toronto, I knew Niagara Falls had to be on the top of the list. Niagara Falls sits right at the boarder between the American state of New York and Canadian province of Ontario. It is definitely an attraction worth visiting!
There are different ways to experience the water falls. When we were there, we saw many people standing up top by the guard rails watching the waterfalls and taking pictures. There were people who paid to watch the waterfalls by zip-lining and there were also people who took the ferry boat to have a more up close view of the waterfalls. We were among the ones who wanted a more exhilarating experience of the waterfalls splashing on us, so we took the Hornblower ferry boat.
Tours: Click the link to check the Hornblower Niagara Cruises prices.
Great Canadian Midway: This is a great place to end your Niagara Falls experience with some arcade games. I suggest going with a group of people. It is always fun to compete with each other, it brings out the competitiveness that normally doesn’t come out on a daily basis.
CN Tower: One of the landmarks of Toronto, that is a must see. There are a couple of things to do apart from watching the city from the tower; you can book a session to Edge Walk, or have lunch or dinner at the 360 Restaurant. Whatever you choose, it will surely make you want to take out your camera and capture the moments.
The Canada and Toronto 3D sign: The Toronto 3D sign is an illuminated sign in the Nathan Phillip Square and the Canada sign is right outside the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and Rogers Center.
These signs should be in your to do list, a lot of tourists gather there to take pictures as evidence of their trip to Canada.
Ripley’s Aquarium: It is a trip for the family, and if you are a lover of marine life, then the Ripley’s Aquarium is for you. I would recommend to add this to your list of things to do in Toronto because it is truly an educative session to learn about the different species that you never thought existed.
Scarborough Bluff: The Bluff stretches about 15 km along the Lake Ontario shore and there are 11 parks that offer picturesque views of the bluff, beaches and of Lake Ontario. It is an ideal summer activity to spend the day at the beach or have a barbecue at the park with a view of the bluff. If you are looking for more of an aerial view, then Scarborough Crescent Park is what you need to remember to get you those Instagram worthy pictures.
Warning: As much as we all love eye-catching pictures and we ignore the warning sign placed at the park to not jump the fence, I feel that it is my duty to inform you that the bluffs’ edge is unstable. Do stay behind the fence, but if you must then take precaution to not stand too close to the cliff while taking pictures.
Harbourfront Center: There are different activities that the Harbourfront Center provides on a monthly basis, they are categorised in groups such as visual arts, film, music, dance, food, boating, and shopping, so be sure to check their calendar to attend the activities that interest you.
Click here to check out what I did when I visited Harbourfront Center.
Blue Jays game at Rogers Center: It is not truly a complete Canadian experience until you have attended a baseball match. I watched my first Blue Jays match on the 5th of September 2018 when they played against Tampa Bay and won. If you have never watched a baseball match at a stadium or even on TV, I suggest you get yourself a ticket and enjoy a memorable experience.
I did not think my baseball experience could not get any better, till I received a card written “Happy Birthday Pam” from the Toronto Blue Jays and my friends singing to me. My actual birthday was on the 29th of August, but because one of my friend was absent, they decided to surprise me with that gesture.
CF Toronto Eaton Center: This is one of the biggest malls in Toronto located in Downtown Toronto. For those who love shopping, and it is a must in the activity list, then this mall is your one stop shop.
Toronto Center Island: Hanlan’s Point, Wards Island and Center Island are the three main Toronto Islands. Center Island is the famous one. It is a relaxing place to get away from the busy life of the city, so many people go with food to barbecue and enjoy an afternoon, have picnics, bike riding or chill by the beach. There are also other activities like petting zoo and food outlets.
Good To Know
- Currency: Canadian Dollars (CAD), you can convert your money at any bank.
- Best time to visit: In my opinion I think summer is the best time to visit to be able to do a lot of outdoor activities. If you are looking for some winter sports/activities, then by all means go for it.
- Public transport: I think Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), also known as the subway is the most convenient, fast and affordable way of moving around.
- WiFi: Accessible in cafés, restaurants, fast food outlets, malls and even several subway stations.
- Telecommunication: There are several mobile networks to choose from such as Bell and Telus, to name a few. Otherwise, you can use WiFi that is easily accessible almost everywhere.
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