TORONTO CITY GUIDE: Must do in Toronto
Though not one of the most conventionally beautiful cities in Canada, Toronto makes up for it in diversity and attractions. If you’re planning a trip to Toronto, this Toronto city guide and tips will come in handy: find out how to get around Toronto, the best time to visit Toronto, the best museums in Toronto, the best Toronto markets, and all the essential travel tips.
Why visit Toronto
You’ll instantly love Toronto’s buzzing atmosphere. There’s always something happening around every corner – a festival, event, concert or otherwise. There are many different options for day trips, such as the Ontario Science Centre and the Toronto Zoo. Alternatively, you can take a picnic and enjoy some of the green outdoor spaces. Whether you’re traveling with a family, friends, or solo, there’s bound to be something to keep you entertained.
Use this Toronto city guide to organize your trip like a pro!
Essential Toronto travel tips
LANGUAGE: most residents speak English, while the other official language is French.
MONEY/ATM: the currency is the Canadian Dollar. There are plenty of ATMs around if you need to withdraw cash but it’s normally easier to use the card for purchases.
ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES: like the US, the plug type is B with a standard voltage of 110-120V and 60Hz frequency. As usual, take your universal travel adapter with you.
VISA: most travelers will need a Visa to enter Canada. This will either be a ‘visitor visa’ or a ‘temporary resident visa,’ an official document stuck in your passport more information
Best time to visit Toronto
Toronto has four distinctive seasons throughout the year. The low season is between November and February when temperatures drop really low. However, this time is ideal if you want to visit Toronto on a budget.
Peak tourist season is between June and August, with sunny days and higher temperatures. Keep in mind prices will be higher.
Therefore, the best time to visit Toronto is between April/ May and September/ October. Avoid tourist crowds and enjoy pleasant temperatures for inside and outside activities.
How much is a trip to Toronto?
Like most places in Canada, Toronto is on the expensive side. Luckily, this Toronto travel guide and tips will help you plan your trip on a budget.
You need to be aware of sales tax; this is a tax added to your final bill. These travel costs are general and can change.
A shared room in a hostel starts from 25CAD, while a private room from 55CAD. Sometimes they have free breakfast and usually free Wi-Fi.
Airbnb is also popular, with shared rooms from 30CAD or 75CAD for an entire apartment.
Mid-range hotels start from 80CAD up to 150CAD.
Food is surprisingly expensive in Toronto. Your cheapest option is an on-the-go meal for around 10CAD. A budget, low-end restaurant might be around 25-30CAD for a meal and drink. Mid-range restaurants start from 40CAD upwards.
Tickets for the aquarium, haunted house, or museum of illusion are around 30CAD. I recommend looking into the city pass; for 100CAD you can access museums, zoos, the CN Tower, and more.
How to get around Toronto
Toronto is huge and great for exploration on foot. Cabs are everywhere but naturally quite expensive.
The public transport is excellent, and the best way to get around Toronto is by the subway. There are also streetcars and buses available. With a day or week pass, you can access all three options for an unlimited amount of times. The Presto Card is also convenient – it’s an electronic payment system so you don’t need to carry tickets or cash. Find out more information
Best historical things to do and see in Toronto
Toronto is a modern city characterized by its immense shiny glass buildings. While its historical sites might not be considered very old, there is still a handful of interesting sites to see. Though Toronto is not the city to pick if you’re looking to explore old castles, there are some gems such as the Casa Loma you must visit.
This was built in the early 1900s when Henry Pellatt, a former soldier, wanted a castle overlooking the city. It spreads across 5 acres in downtown Toronto with a stunning garden, statues, and fountains.
Kids will love the 800-foot long underground tunnel which connects the house to the stables. There’s even a wine cellar that can hold up to 1800 bottles.
It was a secret facility for research during the second world war and has also served as a luxury hotel. It’s so beautiful it’s been used as a set for Hollywood movies, such as X-Men and Chicago. Now it’s open to visitors with audio sets in several languages.
Best museums in Toronto
There is something here for everyone. From ceramics to oriental artifacts and science experiments. These museums are all housed in some truly stunning architecture, which is a spectacle in itself.
Use this Toronto city guide to find out the best museums Toronto has to offer.
Royal Ontario Museums
This is the largest museum in Canada and showcases culture, art, and nature from all over the world. Over 13 million objects of interest are here, spread across 40 galleries and exhibition spaces. These consist of dinosaurs, ancient Egyptian treasures, South Asian art and culture, gems, and more.
All summer they host an epic event, Friday Night Live, transforming galleries into parties with live music, food, and drink.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Over 100,000 pieces of art are homed here. Some originate from contemporary artists, some from European masters, and some from indigenous Canadians. The museum was redesigned by Frank Gehry in 2008 and it’s one of the most photographed buildings in Canada.
Bata Shoe Museum
Founded in 1995, this is one of the most unusual museums in the country. Over five floors it showcases a permanent collection of 13,000 pairs of shoes. Some belonged to celebrities such as Justin Bieber, John Lennon, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Terry Fox, and many more.
In addition to this, there are regular research projects exploring the culture of international footwear traditions, and how gender and religion influence them. You can easily spot this building – it’s shaped like a shoebox!
Museum of Illusion
This museum began as a unique project but now has locations in 15 cities around the world. This collection of eye tricks and 3D walls spread across 4,700 square feet.
Enter the fascinating park of illusion and be prepared to be amazed. It’s an unforgettable experience for every type of visitor. You will learn about perception, vision, the human brain, and science.
Best Markets in Toronto
Toronto really does have a market for everything you could need. There’s a huge variety of excellent products. This Toronto city guide lists only some of the best markets.
This eclectic market has been running since the early 1900s, selling fresh ingredients, household goods, antiques, jewelry, and more. Surrounding the stalls are trendy restaurants, modern cafes, and traditional shops. You can also find a huge selection of vintage stores and bars. The stalls are always changing so you’ll feel like it’s the first time you’re visiting, no matter how many times you actually have.
St. Lawrence Market
Showcasing the best and most diverse foods in Toronto, this market is located in the downtown area. There are over 100 vendors with fresh fish, artisan cheeses, pastries, meats, freshly baked bread, and more. Themed food festivals are regularly held here. National Geographic named it the best food market in the world in 2012, a well-earned title from over 200 years of existence and excellence. There’s no way you’d leave hungry or unsatisfied.
Dr. Flea’s Market
You can find over 400 vendors in the largest outdoor and indoor market in Toronto. It’s worth the drive to west-end Toronto. You can spend a whole day perusing the market and browsing around the stalls for clothes, homeware goods, jewelry, and more. Outdoors you can find second-hand collectibles and antiques too.
Evergreen Brick Works Market
This is a weekly farmer’s market celebrating excellent local food. It promotes sustainable living through educational facilities and workspaces and provides access to fresh, healthy food for its locals and visitors. After your wander, take a stroll up to the top of Lookout Path if you’d like to see a spectacular view of Toronto’s skyline.
The Distillery District
Make sure you schedule a visit to this district, which was made a pedestrian-only village in 2003. Cobblestone pathways lead you around the area, across Victorian buildings which gorgeous restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques. Check out their social media account and website to find exciting events, like the famous Christmas market. For more information visit here
Has this Toronto city guide made you keen to visit this huge and diverse city? Plan your trip now – Toronto is bound to impress you.