Ready to explore for an afternoon? Want to experience some of the city while visiting or plan a day trip? Let us help guide you to the most popular destinations…
Park, Play & Ice-cream Date (With the Kids)
Healey Willan Park: This fantastic park just up the street from Annex Garden, is securely fenced for small children. There’s a wading pool to help them cool off during the hot and humid Toronto summer days, a sandbox, slide, swings and several Ride’m toys. Ideal for toddlers and preschoolers, but some older kids may enjoy it too.
For a special treat for you and the kids, walk west to the end of Ulster, head down Manning Ave toward College Street and you can’t miss the pink stucco with the colourful mural. Stop and enjoy the retro décor and outdoor patio of The Big Chill Ice-cream Parlour. The menu includes milk shakes, banana splits, cones, sundaes, Belgian waffles or French crepes! (there are loads of choices) Kids worked up an appetite? Right next door is The Little Dog, serving original Montreal steamies and the Canadian classic Poutine (fries with gravy and melted cheese curds).
The College Street Walkabout
This little tour will give you the opportunity to experience the heart of Little Italy. It all happens right on College Street. Head south on Euclid to College Street and turn right. You can stop at either Starbuck’s or Aroma Espresso Café for a caffeine fix. Just two doors west of Starbuck’s is Magnolia Fine Foods, with a range of healthy foods including gluten free. Drool over the lineup of colourful scooters in front of Motoretta or a colourful bag from Red Pegasus. Music fan? Check out music geek record shop Soundscapes and peruse their comprehensive list of tickets for sale for every good rock show in the city. Or She Said Boom!; a fabulous new and used music and book store. Sellers & Newel is another great place to look for second-hand books.
A plaza at Grace and College features a statue of Johnny Lombardi, who established the country’s first Italian radio station there in 1966. As well, you’ll find the “Italian Walk of Fame” on the sidewalk along College in front of the Royal Cinema, with inductees like Dean Martin, Connie Francis and Joe Pantoliano.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on visiting Dolce for some mango or tiramisu flavoured gelato. Or sample a Portuguese delicacy at the traditional Riviera bakery (the custard tarts are yummy!).
You may want to keep an afternoon free to really experience Kensington Market and its maze of alleys and side streets lined with shops and stalls.
On your way down Augusta Street, be sure to stop at The Good Egg, a food related book, cookware and neat stuff shop. Great for gift buying. Kids love the Blue Banana, an indoor market with dozens of kiosks selling clothing jewelry, crafts etc, with something for every pocketbook. Lunch at Hibiscus is always a treat, even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian. Wanda’s Pie in the Sky has lunch items and yummy desserts. Turn left at Baldwin and tour the next two blocks, returning one block to Kensington Ave for vintage clothes and more places to eat.
Partially Walkable or Grab a Streetcar
If you’re making a day out of it, after you’ve visited Kensington, head east on Dundas to Chinatown. There are plenty of shops to check out and if you’re appetite allows, sample dumplings at Mother’s Dumplings (421 Spadina Ave), creamy egg tarts at Furama Cake and Desserts Garden (248 Spadina Ave) or have Dim Sum offered at a number of local restaurants.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
The AGO houses an impressive collection of more than 40,000 works, making it the 10th largest art museum in North America. The AGO has a superb collection of Canadian art heritage but also features masterworks from around the world, spanning 100 AD to the present and housed in a stunning Frank Gehry designed building.
Address: 317 Dundas Street West
Toronto City Hall – Nathan Phillips Square – Eaton Centre (Queen Street)
Head to 100 Queen Street if you would like to visit the Toronto City Hall / Nathan Phillips Square. From there, you’re just a short walk to Yonge/Queen and one of the city’s original shopping mega malls, Eaton Center.
Rainy Day? Take the underground PATH; a network of paths underneath the city and boasted as the largest underground shopping complex in the world.
Enjoy meandering on the boardwalks and Waterfront trail. Some popular destinations are Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W.), The Music Gardens (479 Queens Quay W), and the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the bottom of Bay Street where you can catch a Ferry to the Toronto Islands (but you will need another extra free day as The Islands are really a Day Trip!).