A postcard from: Toronto
Oh Canada! This gorgeous city sits on the shores of one of the Great Lakes. Home to world class museums and world famous food markets, history buffs can wander the cobblestones of the Brewery District and get inside the walls of Fort York.
Top 10 things to do in Toronto:
Royal Ontario Museum - You can easily spend a whole day here, one of the best natural history museums in the world. The ROM has a spectacular dinosaur exhibition, including many specimens found in Canada, and a very informative First Nations gallery, a beautiful collection of cultural heritage from the diverse Indigenous communities of North America.
CN Tower - Pre book your tickets and whizz up 346m for amazing views over the city. From up here you really get a sense of the epic scale of Lake Ontario - It literally looks like the sea. You can watch the planes taking off and landing from Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island, and don't forget to test your bravery on the section of glass floor, a dizzying view straight down to the aquarium below.
St Lawrence Market - a beloved Toronto landmark. Set within a 19th century building that was once the city hall and jailhouse, stalls sell cheese, coffee, fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, bread, meze, even souvenirs. Do a circuit of the stalls and decide what you want for lunch (see our where to eat section below).
Distillery District - follow the pedestrianised cobblestone streets amongst historic Victorian buildings that once made up the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, once one of the largest in the world. The buildings have since been converted into little independent boutiques and art galleries, selling jewellery, shoes and at SOMA, stunning artisanal chocolate. If you're visiting over the Festive Season, this is where Toronto has its Christmas Market. If you'd like to try some excellent craft beers, we'd recommend a flight at Mill Street brew pub.
Visit Niagara Falls - only 1 hour 40 minutes from Toronto is the magnificent Niagara Falls. There are several different day passes that you can buy, depending on which attractions you'd like to do. You can see the waterfall for free, but at least take the awe inspiring boat trip to the bottom of the Falls. With the thundering wall of water on 3 sides of you, and gallons of mist being thrown in your face, the boat suddenly seems very small!
Axe Throwing - Catch an Uber to BATL axe throwing and feel like a real Canadian lumberjack as you hurl axes at targets - walk ins are Friday 7pm – 9pm (Also Saturday 12pm – 2pm and Sunday 2pm – 4pm) and you'll have an onsite instructor to help you get the most out of your visit.
Graffiti Alley - Rush Lane, better known as Graffiti Alley, is 3 blocks of magnificent murals. Photography heaven! Some of these works of art are literally the size of the building they're painted onto, and the creativity is astonishing.
Toronto zoo - with 10km of paths and over 450 species, the zoo is arranged into seven geographical regions, including African Savannah, Indo Malaya, a Canadian domain and a Kangaroo walkthrough. Our favourites were the gorillas, the orangutans and the polar bears, who have an underwater viewing window to watch them swim. Make sure you also visit the Wildlife Health Centre, a behind the scenes view of Toronto Zoo's state of the art animal hospital, complete with laboratories, x-ray, treatment rooms and surgery.
Fort York - a National Historic Site of Canada and the largest collection of 1812 buildings in the country. Famous for being the site of the battle of York, between the US and the English, you can see officers' quarters, soldiers' barracks, the officers' mess and kitchens, furnished and reconstructed to help you feel what life would have been like in the 19th century fort.
Catch the ferry to Centre Island - You might have seen photos of the beautiful views of Toronto's skyline from across Lake Ontario. They were taken from Centre Island! You can spend a leisurely afternoon strolling the parks, hire a bike or quadricycle, walk to the Gibraltar Lighthouse, and there are also sandy beaches to relax on (Hanlan's Point is clothing optional), and a seasonal amusement park.
Where to eat in Toronto:
Amsterdam Brewhouse, a lively brew pub on the waterfront with a tasty menu and huge range of beers.
Beavertails - A Canadian classic: a sweet flat pasty in the shape of beavertail, kind of like a fried donut base, with lots of topping to choose from like ice cream, chocolate spread, banana, Reece's pieces, or apple pie. It's messy, sticky and such a treat.
St Lawrence Market - a great place to grab some lunch. Named the best food market in the world by National Geographic in 2012, with over 120 vendors. We'd recommend the iconic thick cut peameal bacon sandwich: a speciality of the Carousel Bakery, who have been residents of the market for 30 years. Expect queues at weekends! NB a lot of these stalls are cash only.
How to get there to Toronto: Flights land at Pearson Airport, which is an easy 25 minute train journey from Union Station in the city.