T-minus 12 days until Toronto!

Old Aug 8th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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T-minus 12 days until Toronto!

Ok, so in justunder 2 weeks I will be in Toronto! And for some reason, the nerves or giddyness hasn't hit me yet...why, I have no idea.

I am coming from San Francisco. Is there any essential Toronto items I should be on the look out to bring back?

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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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You'll be in Toronto during the Canadian Natinal Exhibition. If you've been to it as many times as I its a bit ho-hum, but first time areund, I think you'd find it of interest. It has midway rides, band music, floral and agriculatural displays, etc. Plus what amounts to a large flea market. You can take a Dufferin bus or a Bathurst street car to the entrance.

On a clear day, take the ferry from teh bottom of Bay Street to Toronto Island for a unique view of the Toronto skyline across the water, but since you're from San Fran you may be underwhelmed.

The only things I can think about about that would say Toronto as a memory would be the kitschy stuff for the CN Tower.
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 12:30 PM
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I created this for my friends who were going to visit Toronto.

I should be a travel agent – here’s the itinerary that I created for you! Have fun.





Saturday Afternoon



Get yourself checked in then walk over to Yorkville, it is Toronto's Rodeo Drive/Oak Street and is packed with restaurants, galleries, shops, and high-price boutiques. It’s very cute and has great people watching. If it’s a nice day there are lot of people just hanging out. Have lunch at CAFÉ NERVOSA - This two-storey stalwart is a popular spot for reasonably priced pizzas and pastas in the heart of ritzy Yorkville. 75 Yorkville Ave. (at Bellair St.) 416-961-4642



After lunch take a cab to Queen Street West. (If you tell the can driver 500 Queen Street West – that’s right in the middle of everything.) Queen Street is Toronto’s version of Soho. Cool…hip…funky…..a little on the trendy side fun to stroll. It’s a fun walk, cute shops.



If you want to do something “cultural” check out the Bata Shoe Museum – 327 Bloor Street West. It’s pretty cool and not too far from Queen Street.



Or – go visit Casa Loma. (It’s not really downtown, but you can take the subway there or a cab) A European-style castle it has 98 rooms, 2 towers, creepy passageways, and lots of secret panels. Some impressive details are the giant pipe organ; the reproduction of Windsor Castle's Peacock Alley; the majestic, 60-foot-high ceiling of the Great Hall; and the mahogany-and-marble stable, reached by a long, underground passage. The rooms are copies of those in English, Spanish, Scottish, and Austrian castles. Self-guided audio tours are available in eight languages. A tour is a good 1½-km (1-mi) walk, so wear sensible shoes. www.casaloma.org. COST: C$12. OPEN: Daily 9:30-4.



If you must….go to the CN Tower – it’s the place for tourists. But frankly it’s a bore. And other then a really nice view, there isn’t much else.





Saturday Night – Here are some ideas, but Shai might suggest others. He’s in the know so you should be ok with him for after dinner entertainment.



Back to Yorkville. Have dinner at Sassafraz (100 Cumberland St., Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. PHONE: 416/964-2222) is encircled by a patio that's filled from noon until 2 AM. You might need a reservation. But try and get a table on the patio out front.



After dinner – stay in Yorkville and hit the patios. Try Hemingway's (142 Cumberland St., Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. PHONE: 416/968-2828), Flow (133 Yorkville Ave., Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. PHONE: 416/925-2143). Or Amber (119 Yorkville Ave., Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. PHONE: 416/926-9037).



If you’re up for a little “late night” club hopping – there is an area that is just clubs and bars near by. 'The District' is the downtown stretch between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue that has night clubs along Richmond Street and Adelaide Street. There are seriously like 100 clubs/bars all right there – I am not sure what the “good” places are anymore…so check out the people in line and decide!



Sunday Morning/Afternoon



Go see the big “mall” - Eaton Centre - The 3-million-square-foot Eaton Centre shopping mall has been both praised and vilified since it was built in the 1970s, but it remains incredibly popular. From the graceful glass roof, arching 127 feet above the lowest of the mall levels, to Michael Snow's exquisite flock of fiberglass Canada geese floating poetically in open space, to the glass-enclosed elevators, porthole windows, and nearly two dozen long and graceful escalators, there is plenty to appreciate. It’s a vertical center so you might find it interesting to see. It’s pretty main stream though. Anchored by Sears, H&M and The Bay. www.torontoeatoncentre.com. OPEN: Weekdays 10-9, Sat. 9:30-7, Sun. noon-6. Dundas. Address: 220 Yonge St., Toronto, Ontario, Phone: 416/598-8560



Walk to Bloor Street. Known to some as ‘the mink mile', Bloor Street West from Yonge Street to Avenue Road is comprised of some of the city's most posh shops. Gucci, Prada and Channel are represented, as well as a smattering of unique and homegrown designing talent. Address: Bloor Street West from Yonge Street to Avenue Road. Make sure to stop by Holt Renfrew it’s the mega and really only good department store in Canada.



Across the Street from Holt Renfrew is the Manulife Center – 55 Bloor Street West. It’s retail and commercial space – but you should have brunch at the Bloor Street Diner (it’s inside the Manulife Center.) Best Sunday brunch in Toronto for $20.



If you have a chance – go up to Panorama. It’s on the 51st Floor of the Manulife building and have a drink – fantastic view of the city. They are only open from 5 PM – 2 AM – so you might want to do that later in the day.



Check out the Design Exchange for a little culture – It’s a nonprofit center devoted to promoting Canadian design. The permanent collection contains examples of contemporary and older decorative arts, furniture, graphic design, housewares, lighting, and tableware. The old trading floor is now used for rotating exhibits -- check their Web site or the local papers for information. On the ground floor a café, Kubo, is good for dim sum and drinks. www.dx.org. COST: C$8. OPEN: Weekdays 10-6, weekends noon-5.



If you have time and/or energy go check out the “The Beaches Neighborhood” is a village just 15 minutes from downtown Toronto. The beach - which borders Lake Ontario - is lined with over 3 km. of wooden boardwalk, ideal for strolling and people watching. Adjacent is a biking and roller-blading trail. The beach itself is wide, with dozens of volleyball courts, an Olympic swimming and diving pool and rental kiosks for sailboards and small boats. Queen St. East, between Coxwell and Victoria Park Ave. TTC: Queen Station, then streetcar eastbound.

Sunday Night

Go hang out in Little Italy - (College Street, west of Bathurst Street between Euclid Avenue and Shaw Street) has become the hippest place in Toronto. New ethnic restaurants open weekly, bars and coffeehouses are packed into the night, and every corner holds fashionable cafés and diners to match. The people-watching along Little Italy's College Street on a summer night competes with the busy scene indoors at restaurants, bars and clubs. Have dinner at Bar Italia (582 College Street, +14165353621, www.bar-italia.ca).



After dinner check out - El Convento Rico (750 College Street) is hot on weekend nights. It used to be a gay/transvestite bar, but now is about 50/50. A lot of straight people go here because it's such a fun place. It's cheap to get in and the music is a mix of Latin and modern dance. Each Saturday at midnight, the bar puts on a transvestite show. Check to make sure they’re open on Sundays.

Monday Morning/Early Afternoon

Since you probably didn’t fit all of the above in – you can plan accordingly. If you have a chance to try some Sushi…order the “Sushi Pizza.” It’s an appetizer on every menu that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s totally yummy.







If it’s raining at any point and you want to get inside – check out PATH - It’s a Pedestrian Mall in the Financial District

This subterranean universe, which, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the biggest underground shopping complex in the world, emerged in the mid-1960s partly to replace the retail services in small buildings that were demolished to make way for the latest round of skyscrapers, and partly to protect office workers from the harsh winter weather. As each major building went up, its developers agreed to build and connect their underground shopping areas with others and with the subway system. You can walk from beneath Union Station to the Fairmont Royal York hotel, the Toronto-Dominion Centre, First Canadian Place, the Sheraton Centre, The Bay, Eaton Centre, and City Hall without ever seeing the light of day, encountering everything from art exhibitions to buskers (the best are the winners of citywide auditions, who are licensed to perform throughout the subway system) and walkways, fountains, and trees. There are underground passageways in other parts of the city -- one beneath Bloor Street and another under College Street (both run from Yonge to Bay Street) -- but this is the city's most extended subterranean network. Maps to guide you through this labyrinth are available in many downtown news and convenience stores.









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Old Aug 12th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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9 days until I go, and now I am trying to get together a game plan of things to do, places to eat, and what should I bring back??

Does Toronto have any famous museums?

Any unique bookstores?
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Old Aug 12th, 2006, 10:27 PM
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"Does Toronto have any famous museums?"

are you kidding me? i'll be in toronto (for the 1st time) in 12 days too , but its museums are so famous, they even go by acronyms

ROM - royal ontario museum
AGO - art gallery of ontario

frank gehry, whose birthplace was toronto, is designing a new building for AGO

strangely enough, there's the bata shoe museum that seems to be fairly popular

eallen gave you some terrific ideas; you might also consider searching some prior posts by bak and sallycanuck for additional useful tips and answers
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Old Aug 13th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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thanks for the wonderful suggestions, everybody!
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 03:43 AM
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The Bata Shoe Museum is great - entertaining (Marilyn Monroe's shoes, Elton John's boots) as well as providing insight into culture/society through shoes (e.g. foot-binding in Asia, footwear of aboriginal peoples, etc.) The building itself is interesting (resembles a slightly deconstructed shoe box) and it has a fun gift shop.

Of course, there's also the Hockey Hall of Fame.

For souvenirs, there are a couple of shops in the Eaton Centre that offer some good quality Canadiana. There is a shop whose name I've forgotten (it might be I Love Toronto) on the 3rd floor at the south end (near the McDonalds). It has stylish tshirts, mugs, stuffed animals etc with Canadian and Toronto themes. My husband bought be a lovely carved wooden bear for Valentine's Day one year. Close beside this shop is a more upscale souvenir shop. Inukshuks make interesting gifts, provided that you get the tiny ones. (Inukshuks are piles of stones assembled to resemble a human figure. They were created by people in the Arctic to communicate information about paths, and so they've come to represent "communication" and "sharing".) Last time I looked, one or two shops in the Eaton Centre had nifty, tiny inukshuks made out of a material that looks like molten metal. Expensive at about $30 Cdn, but a cool gift for a special person. There are much less expensive ones available, too. Bowring of Canada (main floof of Eaton Centre on south side) also has some souvenirs.
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Old Aug 19th, 2006, 07:59 AM
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Was in Toronto in May.

1) CN tower is great. Don't miss it. If you eat at the revolving restaurant they'll refund you the $20 it takes to get to the observation deck. (Just don't forget to ask for it when you come down). It was surprisingly uncrowded as well.

2)If they're in town, try to see a Toronto Blue Jays game. Again, not crowded, so easy to get seats. It's a beautiful stadium.

3) We went to the Art museum, but because of the renovations it was mostly closed off. Check before you go.

4) The weekend we were there , there was a lot of activity on Kensington Street, street musicians, vendors etc. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

5) The old english architecture around the ROM, the university, and parliament buildings is a don't miss.

6)We enjoyed Front street behind the King Edward hotel. It had a very charming feel to it and there's a great big indoor market , St Lawrence market.
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Old Aug 19th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Almost forgot, if you're a sports fan, you'll love the Hockey museum.
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Old Aug 19th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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Thanks everybody! I am going to print out your suggestions to take with me on my trip!!

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