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Must sees and good accommodation in Toronto and Niagara Falls

Must sees and good accommodation in Toronto and Niagara Falls

Old Dec 28th, 2004, 11:40 PM
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Must sees and good accommodation in Toronto and Niagara Falls

Hi there,
will be visiting Toronto and Niagara Falls in early July.
Where do you recommend to stay. We would like to be in a good location but will have a hire car. What are the must sees?
Thanks Donna
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 09:26 AM
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We were there just 2 nights. Must see Niagra falls & Niagra town.
Must go to top of CN Tower, we had meal in their restaurant just as the sunset. Wonderful!
Eaton centre in Toronto for shopping. No time left.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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We'll be able to give you more tailored advice if you provide us with a few more details about your plans, interests, etc. For example, are you a family with young kids, family with teenagers, younger couple, older couple, group of friends, etc. What's your budget for accommodation? How long are you planning to stay in each place (approximately)? Do you like museums, shopping, sports, theatre (Broadway-type or classics?)? And where are you coming from? Where else are you going on this trip (e.g. your only stop in North America, part of a cross-country tour, etc). My advice would be quite different for you depending on the factors listed above.

I've previously posted some suggestions for Toronto, especially with respect to hotels and shopping. You can search under my name. Also search for postings by BAK - another Toronto-based poster.

By the way, you probably don't need a car in Toronto to see the sights. A lot of them are downtown, and there is good public transportation (and very high parking costs). You might just rent one for the trip to Niagara Falls.

Once you've provided a few more details, I'd be happy to provide some more specific advice.
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 03:56 PM
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Hi again,
we are a married couple in our 30's.We have been to the West coast of Canada before and have visited Niagara Falls previously. We like to see the sights, eat out, do a bit of shopping and learn about new places. We will be coming from Australia:
Here is our itinerary
Australia to San Fransisco, San Fransisco to Anchorage, Anchorage to Toronto and then Toronto to Europe. We will be taking a cruise from Europe.
We have travelled to the US and Canada before and enjoy travelling. ( except for the first long flight!)
We will be in Toronto on the 5 th of July and have to leave for London on the 11th.
Thanks in advance
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 04:30 AM
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Hi Donna:

Here are some hotel suggestions to start with. I don't know your budget, so I've included a range:

Budget hotel recommendation - Quality Hotel Midtown (280 Bloor St West). This is in a neighbourhood called the Annex, near the University of Toronto. Very close to the upscale Yorkville shopping neighbourhood, museums and the affordable cafes and restaurants near the university. Also very close to a subway stop - makes it easy to get around. This would be a nice area to stay in the summer.

The upscale hotels in Yorkvillle are the Four Seasons, Hyatt in Yorkville and the Hotel Inter-Continental on Bloor St W. There is also a Marriott at Bloor St East. These are all just fine, but perhaps lacking a little character.

Trendy hotel recommendation - the Le Germain on Mercer St. This hotel is close to the business district, theatre district, nightlife and restaurants on King/Queen St West, good shopping etc. If I were visiting hotel and had a little room in my budget, this would be my choice. It's probably less expensive than the Four Seasons or Hyatt, but perhaps more than a Sheraton or Marriott. Go to www.legermain.com

Convenient 4* hotels: the Sheraton Toronto Centre is connected to the subway and "Path" system of interconnected tunnels and underground shopping malls - allowing you to walk for miles without going outside. It's a little N and E of Le Germain, a little more conveniently located. It has a great indoor/outdoor pool, a good gym, etc.

The Marriott Toronto Eaton Centre and the Cambridge Suites are good value hotels nearby. They are very close to the Eaton Centre (very large shopping mall), and close to many sights, and on the subway line. The Cambridge Suites will give you a little more room (e.g. a living room and bedroom), which might be nice if you're staying for more than a few days.

The Holiday Inn on King St W is a little closer to the nightlife and theatre district, but a bit further away (perhaps a 5-8 minute walk) from the subway system.

In terms of neighbourhoods, there are no really dangerous neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto, but there are some neighbourhoods that are a little seedy and rundown. I would recommend against the area East of Yonge, North of Queen and South of Bloor. (The hotels on Yonge St, and Bloor St East are fine, but get a bit dingy East of Yonge.) There is, for example, some drug-dealing and prostitution in the area bounded by Queen (S), Jarvis (to the East), Yonge (to the West) and Wellesley (to the North), and there are also some budget hotels in this neighbourhood. On other other hand, there is also a very lively and liveable neighbourhood around Church & Wellesley (great restaurants etc) - ie the northern end of the district I just described. So it depends on your tastes and budget.

As I mentioned in my earlier email, I don't think you'll need a car in Toronto, and it might be expensive. Instead, consider renting a car for a day or two for your Niagara Falls sidetrip.

I'm not sure why you're going to Niagara Falls again (once was enough for me), but if you decide to make this trip, I'd recommend that you include a sidetrip to the Niagara Wine Region. Canada does produce some very nice wine and although some of the wineries are less than pretty, there are a number of attractive wineries, some with great restaurants. There are also B&Bs in the area. They get booked up fast, though, because there is a very popular (George Bernard) Shaw theatre festival (at Niagara-on-the-Lake) in the summer. You could also include a play in your Niagara trip - the festival focuses on Shaw and his contemporaries.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 06:53 AM
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Toronto has great theater. Do a search to check out what's playing while you're there. Also, I love the St. Lawrence market and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

In Niagara Falls, (besides the usual tourist attractions), I would recommend the Great Gorge Adventure. This allows a view of the Whirlpool rapids in the lower Niagara gorge. The rapids are the strongest in the world. It is incredible to be down in the gorge and so close to the rapids and looking up at the gorge walls. This is a tourist attraction with an entrance fee - Canadian side.

You can also hike into the gorge on the American side.

Another way to experience it is on the jet boat ride (do a search for more information).

Here is a site for more info. on the gorge: http://www.iaw.on.ca/~falls/whirlpoolrapids.html

If American history inteests you, I would also suggest Old Fort Niagara (American side. The fort has been standing since the times of the French & Indian war. It is a spectacular piece of American history with the buildings all intact and there is a great museum as well. The main building is the oldest structure on the Great Lakes. The fort sits at the mouth of the lower Niagara river where it enters Lake Ontario. It is a beautiful and wonderful place to spend an afternoon.

Also, the fort sits within a state park that has a beautiful sloping grass beach. You can bring a picnic lunch. There are also swimming pools.

Here's the website for Old Fort Niagara:


Have a great trip!
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 12:47 PM
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In Niagara FAlls, I would highly recommend Michael's Inn - they have a website.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 09:00 PM
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There are many To Do lists in Toronto.
Here are a few a Sydneysider might be
interested in:

1. Take the ferry to Toronto Islands
One of the ferries is exactly like
one that sails from Circular Quay
in Sydney.

2. Checkout the world's cuisines at
the thousands of restaurant choices.
There are at lease
five chinese areas, three
Italian areas, a huge Greek town
a Portugeese/Brazilian
East Asian, Korean, Vietnameese not to
mention French bistros to haute
cuisine to Asian fusion. The
International Beer market is a place to try
out the world's beers - no
Victoria Bitter however. There is
a Belgian restaurant in North Sydney
which is somewhat similar.
See www.toronto.com, www.nowtoronto.com and www.thestar.com
for starters.

Unlike Australia, it is customary
to tip in restaurants. 15% for good

3. Wonder around suburban areas like
the Annex, Rosedale and Forest
Hills to see how the other 1% live.

4. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario for
the collection of Henry Moore sculptures and Group of Seven paintings. Walk up McCall to the University of
Toronto to stroll around the commons. Walk down College Street legislative buildings at
Queen's and the new U of T building
by Norman Foster.
Walk up University to the Royal Ontario Museum which Daniel Liebuskind's addition is
under construction.
(Unlike Sydney, there are no Lorenzo Piano buildings here)
Next, take a stroll
along Bloor West for a couple of Cartier bobbles and walk up to
Laterri for a cappucino for rest,
people oggling and car watching
Check out the Ferrari and Rolls
store front windows on Avenue Road.
There is a Whole Foods organic
grocery store in this area
where you can pick up a light lunch.

5. Subway Hopping
Get on the subway and get off at a
random location. Try to hit
a) Broadview station and walk east.
b) Eglington and Yonge
c) Runneymede
d) Yorkdale
e) Dundas
f) St. George
HogtownJim is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2004, 09:14 PM
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I don't mean to be nosey but sounds like your taking a FABULOUS trip!!! Can you tell me more about it? Why did you pick the places you did? What is the entire length of your trip? What is the best place you have ever visited? Your trip sounds so interesting I'd love to hear more details!

RJR is offline  
Old Dec 31st, 2004, 07:10 AM
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I was in Toronto with a day in Niagara in June; I really enjoyed it! I stayed at Pantages and was really happy with its accommodations and location. It's more of a "boutique" hotel, although that word does stretch to cover quite a lot .

If you'd like to see a few pictures of my trip, go to http://community.webshots.com/user/missalg A few hints: lunch at the CN Tower 360 restaurant includes the ticket admission price, so if you eat lunch (or dinner) there--and the food is quite good!--you get the same access to the tower as with a regular admission. I enjoyed walking around Toronto; the Music Garden and Wetlands along the Quay were lovely. Fort York and Black Creek Pioneer Village were a great taste of history.

Have a wonderful trip! I only had five days, but it was easy to do a lot.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 01:25 PM
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I just got back from an "early New Year's Eve party" (actually a friend's birthday) at Niagara-on-the-Lake. I must say, it is not a pretty drive along the Queen Elizabeth Expressway (QEW) to NotL, but we had a great time once we got there. Our group booked into the Charles Inn (lovely, well-appointed room with fireplace, verandah, etc). Then we drove to Lailey Vineyard (less than 10 minutes away) for a wonderful tasting with one of the winemakers. Our very knowledgeable friends picked this winery for our tour, advising us that it was the best young winery in the region. We had an enjoyable dinner at the Charles Inn's restaurant and headed home this morning, after stopping at the cheese shop where our winemaker had purchased some fabulous cheeses for our tasting. If you really want to see Niagara Falls again, definitely include an overnight stop in NotL and some winetasting.

Now for some Toronto sightseeing:

1) My favourite is the Bata Shoe Museum. It's a wonderful, well-curated museum with a fascinating display of shoes - showing the relationship to the craft of shoemaking and various cultures (e.g. footbinding, footwear of native peoples etc). They carry out serious scholarship here, but present it in a very accessible way.

2) Hockey Hall of Fame - because it's distinctively Canadian.

3) Rent a bike or rollerblades and take a turn on the boardwalk in the Beaches neighbourhood, a 25 minute streecar ride from downtown Toronto.

4) Shopping recommendations. Toronto has all the leading European and American designers. If this is what you want, check out Holt Renfrew (an upscale department store). But your time and $ would be better spent on local specialties. Holt Renfrew has an excellent and reasonably affordable private label, which provides the trends at good prices. Marlowe (on Avenue Road) and Price Roman (on Queen Street West) have wonderful womens' clothes. Marlowe is more work-oriented (cashmere sweaters and Italian-made suits). Price Roman has dressy day clothes and beautiful evening clothes - extremely affordable factory-direct prices with beautiful workmanship. Comrags (further west on Queen Street) is another Canadian label that is more bohemian in style - great linen pieces for summer. You could bring some Roots-labelled gear home for a laugh (I know that Root is a rude word for Australians) - but they have some top-quality leather products. Two chain stores worth a visit (both in the Eaton Centre) are Femme Carriere (work clothes for women) and Mendocino (funky clothes for women). Harry Rosen is worth a trip for him (high-end clothing).

5. Restaurants - I'd recommend Canoe (on a clear day) over the CN Tower. Canoe is on the 55th floor of the TD Tower at King and Bay. Wonderful Canadian food, excellent low-key service. Clientele is mostly businesspeople, rather than tourists, but also people out for a special dinner out. Open only on weekdays (and weekday evenings). Susur and Lee are the high-end and moderate tapas-style restaurants of Susur Lee, considered by some to be Canada's best and most innovative chef. Like Tetsuya's in Sydney (although rather less French-influenced and less snobby). I also love Mata Hari (Malaysian) and Bodega (Mediterranean) on Baldwin Street. I often take visitors to one of these restaurants, because Baldwin Street itself is such a wonderful cross-cultural mix of restaurants. It's near the Art Gallery of Ontario.

6. Theatre. There is a lot of Broadway-style theatre in Toronto, but you also might want to look into the Soulpepper Theatre Company (which does some very challenging classics, including Shakespeare, Pinter, Beckett (and everything in-between). Also, there are a number of summer festivals in Toronto, although I can't remember which weekends they run for - there will be fringe theatre, busking festivals, music festivals, you name it. One is likely to be happening while you're there. Check out Now Magazine or Eye magazine online, when you get closer to your departure date, and pick up copies once you get here.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 11:03 PM
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Hi again,
thanks to everyone with their great ideas and suggestions.It is much appreciated!The last time we were in Niagara Falls, we were only there for a short time and wanted to look around and see more of the surrounding area.
For RJR, we have been to the US before and the first time, did the West coast, second time did the East coast, Memphis, Florida etc. When we went to Canada,,we did Vancouver, BC, Victoria and Alberta. We loved Canada and also did a cruise to Alaska on the inside passage.
So we decided we would like to go and see more of Alaska and also wanted to go to Toronto and Ottawa. We have never been to Europe before and since the flying time is quite short, thought we would go from Canada.
We then didn't know whether we would do a bus tour ( I don't think my husband would have liked this, or a cruise )
The cruise goes to a lot of places we wanted to see and at least you only have to unpack once.
I have also been to many places in Asia, many are now caught up in the tragedy. It is very sad to think that a lot of the people we met mah have perished.
We are going away for a week to Central Australia ( Ayers Rock and Alice Springs ) It is our summer holiday time here. ( I am a teacher and my husband is a crane driver )
Thanks agian for all the help
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 10:59 AM
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If you're a rollercoaster addict or have any children-and also have a spare day free-then a trip to Paramount Canada Wonderland Theme Park (just outside Toronto) is definitely advisable.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 07:21 PM
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topping for Martha50
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