As most of you know, my parents love taking my brother and I on spontaneous, last minute trips. This past Fourth of July was no different. We started driving from Chicago to Niagara Falls (the Canadian side) on Friday morning, and spent Saturday in Toronto before heading back home on Sunday. I absolutely LOVED this city and can honestly see myself living here in the future. I wanted to share some of my favorite memories from this trip along with some quick tips for your future first visit to Toronto!
We visited the following places:
· Nathan Phillips Square/City Hall & Toronto sign
· Financial District
· Eaton Square
· June Callwood Park
· Vog Vault
· Kensington Market/Chinatown
· Sweet Jesus Ice Cream Shop
· CN Tower/Edgewalk Experience
· Canada Sign
· Toronto Railway Heritage Center
· Harborfront Centre
· Toronto Raptors Stadium
Below I’ve added a photo from each place along with a quick tip or story about the experience!
Nathan Phillips Square/City Hall & Toronto sign: One of the most famous spots, with the Toronto sign. We went in the evening before the sun had set to take photos, but when we walked past it towards the end of the night, the letters were even more bright and impactful! Depends on what kind of photo you want to talk, but I suggest waiting until night time for the lights to be incredible.
Financial District: This area reminded me so much of downtown Chicago! From passing by Union Station to all the buildings of huge corporations like EY/KPMG and more, I felt right at home in this area. Restaurants, as expected, close very early here so you’ll have to venture out for food or maybe you’ll run into a hot dog food truck like we did.
Eaton Square: We asked some locals where we should head next, and they described Eaton Square as “Toronto’s Madison Square”. It was amazing! First we walked through the mall, which is said to be the busiest mall in North America, and then we hung out for a while outside, where there was live music, a million screens/advertisements around us, all under the cotton candy sky.
June Callwood Park: This is a good spot for Instagram influencers who are great with editing photos…for normal families/tourists? Not so much. Just a small pink setup of a mini-maze. Here’s my best attempt at editing a picture at it.
Vog Vault: This place is actually a shoe store! The employees are so nice and helpful. The room for this photo is small and straight ahead when you walk in. Pro tip: Ask an employee to borrow an actual book to hold on to while taking the picture. Makes it even more eccentric!
Lavelle: This is a rooftop bar, reminded me of several in Chicago. Loved the view, the furniture’s aesthetic, and the photo opportunities. Try to find a less crowded time so you can snag a fun photo on their little pool side beds or the glass wall corners.
Kensington Market/Chinatown: My family stopped here for lunch. It’s a great place to get souvenirs and marketplace food.
Sweet Jesus Ice Cream Shop: I saw this place when I was looking up Toronto photos on Instagram and the ice-cream looked delicious! They have a unique soft cake crumb coating on their delicious flavors. I got the one with raspberry and red velvet. Protip: My family of 4 could barely finish sharing one regular size bowl of ice-cream. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and order the small!
CN Tower/Edgewalk Experience: My brother always finds a way to do something scary or adrenaline-filled in a new city, and here in Toronto it was to do the Edgewalk: the world’s highest full-circle hands-free walk. We donned our harnesses, went up 116 stories high, and the instructors guided us to LEAN OUT OVER THE CN TOWER. Message me if you’d like more information on this experience! I wore sunglasses in the photo to mask the fear in my eyes.
Canada Sign: Iconic Canada sign right by the CN Tower. As expected, there is a line to take your photo here.
Toronto Railway Heritage Center: My father loves trains & railroads, and somehow as if by magic, we always end up finding something railroad related on our trips. Here’s a picture of him, in complete excitement and happiness, talking to my brother about trains.
Harborfront Centre: One of the last things we did was visit the Harborfront Centre and take in the lovely view by the water.
Toronto Raptors Stadium: The Toronto Rapters are the 2019 NBA Champions, it was so fun walking by their signs all over the city.
If we had more time, I would have also liked to visit:
· Polson Pier Skyline View
· Distillery District
· Casa Loma
· Bata Shoe Museum
· Graffiti Alley
So much to see and experience! I guess this just means I have to go back soon – who wants to join?!