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Whether you’re a local or you’re visiting, there are a lot of good reasons to grab your car and take a spin around Toronto. Toronto is a city made up of distinct neighbourhoods and sprawling communities that have their own personalities and calling cards. After going to the Towards Tomorrow Event, I thought about what would be the ideal day driving around the city and this is the itinerary that I came up with.
Start off your day the right way with a hearty breakfast in one of the city’s friendliest neighbourhoods – The Annex. With more restaurants packed in a square meter than anywhere else in the city, you really can’t go wrong. I’d recommend checking out Insomnia Restaurant & Lounge which has one of the city’s best eggs benedict. It gets packed here so make sure you make reservation.
The diversity really shines through in this neighbourhood. To the West of Bathurst you have Korean-town and to the East you’ll see remnants of the large influx of Hungarian immigrants back in the 50s and 60s. Everywhere else is a cross between hipster and grungy college establishments.
If shopping is your thing, head East along Bloor towards Yonge Street. High end fashion and boutique shops line the streets. The best walk is along Yorkville Avenue where there’s often a high chance of spotting celebrities or Lamborghinis. If shopping isn’t your thing, you’re going to want to make sure you stop by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM for short) to look at awe at the jagged crystalline structure that stretches out onto the streets or go inside to explore Canada’s largest museum filled with cultural and natural history.
If there’s one place in the city that punctuates the diversity of culture and richness in eclectic personality, it’s Kensington Market. Expect a little sensory overload here as you’ll encounter streets lined with graffiti, a treasure trove of second-hand shops, aromas of spices and fresh produce, and wild mix of food from all corners of the globe.
You’ll be no doubt hungry at this point so I highly suggest heading over to Rol San (323 Spadina Avenue) for authentic Chinese dim sum.
A visit to Toronto wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t go to North America’s tallest free standing structure, CN Tower. The views from the top are spectacular as you’d expect and well worth the admission. In addition, those feeling daring can also plan on doing the new Edge Walk experience which has you harnessed at the edge of the tower’s roof.
Across from CN Tower is the new Ripley’s Aquarium and so if that is of interest, you’re only a short walk away.
Centre of Action
Right along King Street West and John Street is where you’ll find Torontonians out and about whether for work or for pleasure. Here you’ll find many world-class theatres including Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre and TIFF Lightbox. The unique Roy Thompson Hall is right around the corner as well and home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Besides that you’ll find the buzz and beats to the numerous restaurants, clubs, and bars.
An Unforgettable Sunset
While not exactly the most glamorous area, a local secret for the best skyline views of the city is at Polson Pier. There’s not a ton here except for Cabana Pool Bar and the industrial remains of the Port Lands but drive to the end of Polson Street, sit on one of the few park benches there and watch the sun rays dance behind the coming to life of the skyline lights.
To round out your road trip, make your way to the former Gooderham & Worts distillery land that has been recently gentrified into its own village. This is a great place to explore local art galleries, modern boutique shops and try delightful chocolate at Soma Chocolatemaker.
There are plenty of food options here including El Catrin if you fancy Mexican, Mill Street Brew Pub for some good ale, or Archeo for Italian.
This one day road trip of Toronto is really just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that I’d want any visitor of Toronto to see but the idea of this itinerary is that it’ll give you a good flavour of what our great city is about and give you more reasons to either stay longer or come back soon.
Learn more about Toyota’s lineup of vehicles including the RAV4 Hybrid. From now until May 31, 2016, you have the chance to see this car and others as part of the Towards Tomorrow gallery. Come out and you’ll even have a chance to win 100,000 Aeroplan points. When you’re done, start planning your very own road trip around Toronto!