Top 6 experiences in Toronto

As the capital of Ontario and Canada’s largest city, Toronto is an ethnically diverse metropolis and cultural hub that offers an incredible food scene and year-round festivals. To help you get the most out of this buzzing city, check out our selection of the top experiences in Toronto.
Toronto skyline at dusk. Photo: Shutterstock
Toronto skyline at dusk. Photo: Shutterstock

Toronto is the epicentre of Canada’s vibrant arts and thriving finance sectors. No wonder tech giants such as Google and Microsoft have chosen the city as the location of their new Canadian headquarters. Here are 6 typical Torontonian experiences to give you a flavour of a city very much looking to the future.

1. Marvel at the view from the CN Tower

Wherever you may find yourself in the city you can always see the slender form of the CN Tower reaching skywards. Toronto’s landmark building offers a truly unforgettable vantage point from its 447-metre (1,465ft) -high SkyPod observation deck. Try it at night for an alternative perspective or, for an even bigger thrill, make a booking for EdgeWalk, to experience the world’s highest full circle, hands-free walk on a 1.5m (5ft) -wide ledge encircling the top of the tower’s main pod, at a height of 356m (1,168ft). Attached to a harness linked to an overhead safety rail you can literally let yourself hang over the city. With views on a clear day reaching as far away as Niagara Falls and New York State, standing at any of the tower's elevated levels is a spectacular experience.

To avoid crowds at the tower, arrive before 11am or after 6pm, or consider dining at 360 The Restaurant, so you can skip the queue, with admission included in the price of your meal.

2. Drink a beer in the Distillery District

Local craft breweries abound in Toronto, but a refreshing brew is especially enjoyable in this regenerated, cobblestoned neighbourhood where Victorian architecture is complemented by cutting edge contemporary industrial design.

A National Historic Site, the Distillery District is a fully restored 5-hectare (13-acre) pedestrianised area of 19th-century, brick-built heritage buildings, all of which originally belonged to the Gooderham & Worts Distillery complex – once the world’s largest distillery, which started out with just a simple sill in 1837.

Being car-free, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the cobbled streets here and peak into the art galleries, design studios, and chic clothing boutiques. Whimsical sculptures sprinkled throughout the streets make for great photo opportunities.

The district's seasonal Christmas Market is also memorable. 

The Distillery District in Toronto. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Soak up some Canadian art at the Art Gallery of Ontario 

The AGO is one of the largest galleries in North America, housing an impressive collection of Canadian art as well as works from the Renaissance, African art, and multiple pieces by Henry Moore.

Moore donated a large collection of his work to the AGO between 1971 and 1974. Today it is the largest public collection of his work in the world, comprising more than 900 bronze and plaster sculptures, as well as works on paper, all of which is housed in the dedicated Henry Moore Sculpture Centre.

Other highlights include the collections of the Canadian Group of Seven paintings, works by the Dutch Masters, sketches by Michelangelo, large paintings by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, as well as iconic works by Cézanne, Degas, Rothko, Matisse, Modigliani, Miró and Salvador Dalí.

The gallery's Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art presents works by Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

4. Stroll through bohemian Kensington Market 

This counterculture World Heritage Site is full of independent boutiques, inviting sidewalk cafés and cutting-edge art galleries, as well as a wealth of delicious and affordable lunch options.

Eclectic to say the least, the neighbourhood is an edgy melting pot of cultures, dotted with colourful street art, and scented with the aromas of spices, barbecue, and sweet pastries. Vintage stores spill their wares out onto the sidewalks where easy-going locals and wide-eyed visitors peruse the unusual goods on offer.

Kensington Market has always been home to a varied group of Torontonians, first as a Jewish community in the 1930s, waves of Caribbean immigrants then arrived in the 1950s to call the area their new home, followed by American political refugees in the 1970s during the Vietnam War. Today it’s a mix of European, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Asian cultures, all blending in a truly cosmopolitan fashion. Where else could you go for both Hungarian and Thai food under one roof? Yes, you can have that pork schnitzel with your stir-fried noodles.

During the summer months, the whole area goes car-free on the last Sunday of the month (Pedestrian Sundays: from May until October), and visitors are treated to live performances and a farmers’ markets packed with food trucks.

Kensington Market in Toronto. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Go hockey-mad 

Like all Canadians, Torontonians are mad about hockey. In winter, cheer on the Toronto Maple Leafs along with the locals at the Scotiabank Arena. The atmosphere is electric and even if you are unsure of the rules, it’s exhilarating – certainly one of the top experiences in Toronto. At the very least, check out the Hockey Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to the history of ice hockey, where you can view the famous Stanley Cup, and shoot real pucks, amongst other interactive activities. Unsurprisingly, the NHL team with the most player inductees honoured at the Hockey Hall of Fame is the Toronto Maple Leafs, with 64 out of a total of 276 players.

6. Discover the mighty Niagara Falls

Just a 90-minute drive away from Toronto, this world-famous natural wonder is well worth the trip.

The views of the falls are, thankfully, best appreciated from the Canadian side, and are at their wildest in the late spring and early summer. At are 57 meters (188ft) high, and 790 metres (2,600ft) wide, the Horseshoe Falls are the mightiest. During the winter, ice formations on the falls are quite spectacular, and major crowds have mostly disappeared.

There are many ways to experience the falls. Board one of the Hornblower Cruises to get up close to the falls, feel the mist, and hear the thundering roar, as this boat trip takes you on a 700-passenger vessel right into the heart of the falls. Prices include a mist poncho, as you will definitely get wet.

The falls are illuminated in a rainbow of colours every evening, from dusk until late, certainly one reason to stick around for a night. Fireworks displays over the falls are held nightly at 10pm during the summer, then just on weekends and special holidays throughout the rest of the year.

Niagara Falls, Canada. Photo: Shutterstock

Ready to book a trip to Toronto?

Our local experts can help you organise and book wonderful tailor-made trips to Toronto. Simply get in touch letting us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. We will then prepare an itinerary especially for you, which can be amended until you’re completely happy with every detail before booking.