Traveling Alone Next Weekend - Toronto

Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:50 AM
  #1  
Janine
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Traveling Alone Next Weekend - Toronto

Hi All, You have such good comments. I am going to Toronto by myself for some down time in 2 weeks. I'm glad to hear that it is so safe there. I plan to go to Park Hyatts spa as well as check out art some museums. Can anyone recommend some things for a single female. Not looking to party party, but if I could find a nice laid back lounge with nice beats to have a drink one evening that would be nice. I'm from NYC and used to running around and city life. Oh and shopping??? Any advice is appreciated.
Also, what are the other boards people repsond qucikly to? Thx!
 
Oct 23rd, 2002, 01:26 PM
  #2  
lil
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There's good shopping on Bloor Street from about Yonge Street westward. There is a big Hudson Bay store at Yonge and Bloor and another at the south end of the Eaton Centre. I mention this because I like the Bay and it's probably not a store you're used to shooping in. A friend and I had our makeup done at MAC cosmetics on Queen Street west - that was fun. Yorkdale Mall is easily accessible by subway - it has a subway stop right there. Yorkville has high end boutique type stores. The Ontario Art Gallery and the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)are both places I have always wanted to visit without my kids, so I could actually spend some time looking at the great stuff they have. The ROM has a website. You could check out Mama Mia or Lion King if you haven't seen them. The chowhound.com Canada message board lists lots of great TO restaurants. Have fun!
 
Oct 23rd, 2002, 07:25 PM
  #3  
kate
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Shopping: You can find many of the same labels that you would find in large US cities, so you can explore those options in the large malls (Eaton Centre) or on Bloor St near the Park Hyatt. But it would be more interesting to look for the unique shops and labels. Holt Renfrew on Bloor is wonderful, high-end (and it has a surprisingly affordable private label) - even though it mostly carries what you'd find at a high-end department store in the US. My favourite Canadian shops are Price Roman on Queen St West (just West of University, a few minutes walk from the Osgoode subway stop) - beautifully made, relatively inexpensive dressy clothes (for a black tie event or a wedding) and Wenches & Rogues (one on College St West near Clinton) and one in Yorkville. Over the Rainbow in Yorkville is great for jeans. Marlowe in Yorkville has beautiful suits and cashmere sweaters. There is also a store called, I think, TNT (the next trend) in shopping centre in Yorkville called Hazelton Lanes. The shopping centre is pretentious, but it has a few good shops. You might also want to check out Comrags (Queen St West of Bathurst), which has very interesting, unique clothes.

So - shopping expeditions would include Bloor/Yorkville (expensive, high end), Queen St West (Osgoode subway stop, and then walk West at least as far as Spadina, and then maybe hop on the streetcar and ride further west to Bathurst (and then continue until you run out of shop, and College St West (College subway stop and then College Streetcar to about Bathurst. There are also some funky shops in the Annex on Bloor west of Spadina (near the University), such as Risque. These three neighbourhoods (other than Yorkville) are also very good for cafes and bars. Yorkville has its share of cafes and bars, but it's expensive and sometimes pretentious.

Museums - check out the Bata Shoe Museum at Bloor and St George.

What hotels are you considering?
 
Oct 24th, 2002, 08:31 AM
  #4  
Janine
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Oh bless both of you. My credit card is itching already. I was looking for more trnedy shops and good deals. We have the gamut here so I'm always looking for something that may not be run of the mill. Great ideas above.

I am staying at the Fairmont. Chelsea was cheaper, but I kept hearing bad things. Quite the opposite of Fairmont. The Park Hyatt was a little more than I wanted to spend although I'd love to stay there and will be going to their spa (or the Sheraton). I doubt I'll catch a show - already seen Lion King and Mamma Mia and those seem to be the staples right now. I'll look online because I'd love to see a Canadian dance troupe or something like that.

Quick ? - I was thinking about doing the tour and dinner at the CN Tower. Do you think I'll be uncomfortable by myself there. I understand it's something I shouldn't miss. Also, do you know of any nice coffee houses I can sit with a paper (in a warm place lol) and people watch. That's it for now. These boards have a lot of information so I'm just pouring thru them. Thx again!
 
Oct 24th, 2002, 09:56 AM
  #5  
elizabeth
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A few more thoughts - there's a discount designer store called Tom's Place located at 190 Baldwin Street in the Kensington Market area (west of Spadina, north of Dundas). I haven't been, but friends swear by it - designer business clothes at great prices - apparently you should negotiate hard.

Kensington is a fun area to walk around - multi-ethnic shopping area - great for people watching. Also, another market near your hotel is St. Lawrence (Front Street and Jarvis - a 3 block walk) - there are plenty of coffee shops in that area. Farmers market is Saturday - morning is best. Movenpick Restaurant at BCE Place is good for sitting and reading in inclement weather - there is a large seating area in a beautiful atrium - very near your hotel.

Have a great trip!
 
Oct 24th, 2002, 10:27 AM
  #6  
Flynn
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Janine, check out this cool magazine:
http://www.torontolife.com
It's very trendy and lists hip restaurants, events and places to go. It reminds me a bit of Time Out New York.

One area I really like is The Beaches. It has some nice shops and feels very laidback and more relaxed than some of the other busier areas.
 
Oct 24th, 2002, 12:21 PM
  #7  
Gayle
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Janine, you'll have a great time. Bring warm clothes. It's been unseasonably cold. Layers!

I agree with Kate's suggestions. Holt Renfrew is the best! Don't miss Marlowe!!! Skip the malls, you've got those at home. Skip The Bay, it's a big step down from even Macy's.

If you want neighbourhood walking and small shops you could take the Yonge subway to Eglinton and walk north. There are lots of nice stores and restaurants a few blocks up, say from Erskine to Glengrove. It's a great walk with lots of good shopping. Visit Tzatz for clothing, Muskat and Brown for clothing if you're 5'4 or under, The Casual Way for great clothing and huge selection, Sporting Life for high end clothing as well as sports stuff, L'essence du Papier for beautiful stationery and cards, Delineation (which is sort of like a Boyd's but smaller and without the pushy staff), Mendocino for funkier clothes, Roots for great sweats and casual clothes, good leather bags.

As for the spa...DON'T MISS STILLWATER SPA in the Park Hyatt. It is a beautiful day spa. You MUST make reservations ahead as they book up fast. Their number is 416-926-2389. Their Deluxe Spa Pedicure is wonderful. The spa also has a steam room and sauna, as well as whirlpool. Sometimes I go for three or four services and lunch and it's a lovely get away.

The Fairmont is a large lovely old, but refurbished hotel (like The Waldorf). It's a bit far south but nothing's that far away.

As for the CN Tower tour, you'll be fine. Only go if it's a clear day or it's a waste. Pass on dinner there. Blech.

Theatre in Toronto if you love in NY is a waste! But, you might want to check out the Premier Dance Theatre at Harbourfront or the DuMaurier Dance Theatre right across from it to see what's on.

Coffee houses? A bit harder. Of course there are a zillion Starbucks here, few with a great view, but some have a street view. There is a Starbucks on Yorkville next to the Four Seasons which is OK for people watching. Hmmm, instead try Le Select on Queen Street for Saturday or Sunday brunch and ask for a window table. Take the Times, order a big au lait and breakfast. If I think of any other good coffee venue I'll post.

Have a wonderful time in our city!
 
Oct 24th, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #8  
Gil
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I may not now much on shopping (I am a guy) but there are some things you should know while in Toronto. The Fairmont Royal York sits on part of the PATH system. Unlike NY, the PATH is an underground network of shops, offices, and restaurants. Great for avoiding the nasty weather above gorund. The nice thing about it is that it connects a good chunk of downtown from the Air Canada Centre and CN Tower/Skydome all the way up to the Eaton Centre and bus terminal. As you mentioned weekend a good deal of the outlets will be closed as they cater to the office towers above. Five subway stations are also included in the system. Smaller stretches exist at College station and in Yorkville between Bay and Yong/Bloor station.

The PATH is open 24/7 except for the section which runs through the Bay on Queen St. It's well-lit, has got plenty of security cameras and security guards which patrol each of the buildings so it's safe anytime.

If you'd like to go explore the City, I find the best way to do that is to get a day pas ($7.50) and just ride the streetcars. Hop on and off wherever you please. The pass also works on the buses ans subway. The streetcars pass through a lot of the neighbourhoods mentioned - Kensington, Harbourfront, College St., and check out Corso Italia on St. Clair. The northern of the two "Little Italies", therefore, think norhtern Italy = Milan, Florence, Venice. While Little Italy on College is more southern Italy - Rome, Naples, Sicily.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip!
 
Oct 27th, 2002, 12:17 PM
  #9  
Janine
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Okay. Wow. I did check the weather and I'm seeing 32-42 degrees. How do y'all do it. So I'll definitely be in the PATH! And yes, I had the same feelings on Eaton Centre - I'll pass. I booked 2 treatments at the Stillwater.

Also, quickly tell me what you think of this schedule with the suggestions you have. Keep in mind my goal is really to get a feel of the city in the places you mentioned(I'm not very touristy), rejuvenate and relax - i.e. I don't want to do too much running and rushing from one place to another. I do that enough here. smile.

Sat - CN and shop eat shop shop, ride the tram (a self guided tour of the city for $7.50 - can't beat that)
Sun - Spa & ROM & neigh. walking (preferably with a down blanket)
Mon - Chinatown/Spadina, Casa Loma (doubt it), chill, flght back to NY in the PM

I'll fit some nice rest./cafes into that as well. I have to remember that places don't stay open as late - just as well, it will stop me from spending money and allow for an early start. Thanks - you've all made me very excited (outside of the cold).
 
Oct 28th, 2002, 06:05 AM
  #10  
Gayle
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Hey Janine,
Well, I would NEVER, EVER take The Path on the weekends. It's a sterile, boring underground labrynth of food courts, terrible stores, most of which are closed on the weekends and it's simply a way to move between office buildings during the workday. As a tourist looking to feel the life of the city, this is NO place to be!

On Sunday the stores along Bloor Street are open 12-5.

On Monday, Chinatown and Spadina will take a couple of hours max. Then head east or west along Queen Street off of Spadina for some good shopping. West of Spadina on Queen is more established, east is funkier. Lots of good restaurants, coffee places and shops in this area. The Art Gallery of Ontario is further east along Queen Street and I believe has a very good impressionist exhibit on right now.

Casa Loma??? Pass-ola! An old, run down place filled with giant tour buses. Most of the rooms inside are closed due to lack of funding and because they're falling apart. Besides, likely you'll be driven past it on your tour and the exterior view is about all you'd want/need to see there.

Also, if going to the ROM, you may wish to visit the Gardiner Ceramic Museum right across the street and also the Bata Shoe Museum just west along Bloor Street a few blocks.

Have fun.
 
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