Eventually the time has passed and I have never prepared a real article about Toronto. The first months after my return I had written an article for the site Hey Les Copines, I intended to publish it here .. Then I let time flow. Today it’s time to put on comfortable sneakers and share the city!
Toronto, Canada ‘s economic capital, the birthplace of the MAC brand, a city that saw Drake and Shay Mitchell (Emilie for the fans of Pretty Little Liars) emerge as a city that proudly claims to have more than 50% Outside Canadian borders. Toronto is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world: 150 different cultures have learned to adapt to temperatures that can reach -40 (not this is not an expression I lived in real and I will always remember Of the sensation that it makes on the skin …) and 35 degrees in summer (yes it is possible and after the winter it is almost if we could withstand the heat).
1- To familiarize yourself with the city …
Whether you are visiting or living there 2 spots are essential to enjoy the city from the top, even if you want to be a tourist. We start with the CN Tower: the most touristic place in Toronto: a 360 ° view, enjoy a meal in the 360 restaurant while turning, a little more for non-bilingual menus are available in French! You can also walk on a glass floor with the city that runs under your feet: guaranteed sensations! The second one: the One Eighty on the 51st floor, you can choose to dine in front of the CN Tower or opposite the rest of the city, at night you can easily see the extent of the city, it’s amazing. After that you will have an overview of the city that will help you to spot!
2- A large city divided into small neighborhoods.
Toronto is a big city with lots of little neighborhoods that each have a crazy charm. One of my favorites is Queen Street West: get out of the subway at Osgoode Station, stroll down to Spadina Avenue (west), enjoy a vintage bargain at Black Market (all $ 10 in one (It’s a vintage shop that can be worth it) and take a snack at Little Nicky’s Coffee (their mini donuts are to die for and the ambiance of the place is great). Not far from there by crossing China Town you arrive at Kensington Market it is another of my favorite districts: vintage fan, tattoo, street art: you are in the right place! From the costume store to the hat shop to the shop with a thousand and one sports shirts you will find everything! I love the atmosphere of freedom that comes from it. If you are visiting in the summer, serve pineapple juice in pineapple on Kensington and St Andrew and then walk up Augusta and Oxford to meet star “The Garden Car“, a car full of grass And plants that show each summer. If it’s rather cold take a hot chocolate at Jimmy’s Coffee (with a bit of luck you’ll see a raccoon trash in the back yard) and the atmosphere on site is perfect for a quiet moment. It is also my favorite place to market, especially the Sanagan’s Meat Locker butcher who offers super quality products! If you wanted a tattoo I recommend Pearl Harbor, great pro and no appointment (my tattoo inside the ankle is them;))
You will also be able to visit Little Italy, Distillery District, Church, the Beaches, the neighborhoods are not lacking!
3- If you want to be Canadian you will celebrate.
Canadians love to celebrate and every opportunity is good to take. The end of the summer is celebrated at the end of August at Exhibition Place, which hosts the biggest carnival I’ve ever seen: Canadian National Exhibition! I loved feeling like in a movie, winning stuffed donuts and eating onions rings with fingers! The end of the fair carnival also announces the decline in temperatures, everything goes very quickly and a few months later when the snow has resumed its quarters it is the Christmas holidays that settle down. On Nathan Phillips Square, the pool in front of the City Hall is transformed into an outdoor skating rink (skates can be rented on the spot), even if you do not master the skate perfectly (which is probably your case if you are not Canadian (Ne)) it is a must, especially in the late afternoon when the night arrives and the lights of the building appear around you: even single we find it super romantic! After having served as a human obstacle for young skating prodigies, head off towards Yonge Street, on your right you can admire the Christmas windows at Hudson’s Bay Shopping Center, the oldest in Toronto: I could stay for hours .
4- What if we ate?
Toronto is not known for a particular culinary specialty (but they love our food, if you know how to make pancakes and croque-monsieur you will almost pass as Anne-Sophie Pic (Star Chef from Valence for those who would need A reminder) but there are plenty of good places to eat, especially if you are lucky enough to be there in February or July you have to participate in the Winterlicious / Summerlicious The concept? But not accessible for a brunch, a sacred moment in Canadian life even if it is necessary to wait 1 hour (by -10) A place is free in the new restaurant to test, we find in my top 3: Le Petit Dejeuner, choose one of the three pancakes with eyes closed is a killing, Starving Artist: B.Benny but everything is delicious: the place and staff! Aunties and Uncles, their banana pancakes will leave you speechless, especially if you can enjoy the outdoor terrace.
5- Toronto Islands.
After admiring the city from above you may want to see the famous skyline that can be seen on all postcards. To know that they are never up to date since the buildings are built at an incredible speed! Take the ferry to QueenWay and Bay for a 10-minute crossing and $ 7.5. Welcome to the islands of Toronto! You will be able to look at Toronto from a different point of view: calmer and more relaxing, enjoy the many frisbee fields (yes some people really know how to play there apparently), a stroll along the lake, beaches Nudist), you will even see planes in full landing since the islands are home to the small airport Billy Bishop. My advice: plan a picnic (there are barbecues on site) and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the city: between friends, family or loved ones guaranteed.
6- To be a true Canadian you will have to support your teams.
For sports enthusiasts whether to do (or to watch) you will be served. Sport is an integral part of Toronto life! It’s like a great tradition: every morning in the subway they are by dozens of bump GoodLife Fitness bag on the shoulder or yoga mat in the back in anticipation of the evening session. On matchdays you can meet a group of friends or a family all dressed up in the colors of their team! Basketball with the Raptors and hockey with the Maple Leafs in the winter, baseball with the Blue Jays in the summer. You do not have the soul of a sportsman? Think back to the episode of Sex and the City: go for the atmosphere, have a drink, eat a hot dog, live North America thoroughly, have chills when everyone sings and knows the lyrics Of the national anthem! Little more for the fans of Drake, it often attends the matches of the Raptors.
Then Toronto is the place that saw me become sporty so I have some favorite corners to run. My best spot for Sunday morning? Harbourfront! From the Toronto Music Garden to the ferry you will find a pleasant lakefront course, and watch as you walk past the marina, people doing their yoga in the parks, the boarding lodge at the small Billy Bishop airport. If it is winter you will even have the chance to see the frozen lake. You can also join the Nike group that runs every week for sale, rain, snow, I have a huge respect for these people !!!
7- Let’s party.
The night life in Toronto is completely different from the French where you have the right (and duty) to be ready only at midnight. Here midnight is almost late evening, as you say that at the beginning we had some misunderstandings with the Canadian girlfriends! Bars and clubs close at 2am! Everything happens on King Street West, the street is very lively, it hosts the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival, our festival of Cannes without the Croisette) in September! I tested the Cube which has a great decoration, Muzik which hosts big names of music or the EFS which offers a beautiful rooftop. Another place that I particularly like to bask in the sun with a good DJ, a pool, a deckchair, and a view of the skyline of Toronto: the Cabana Pool Bar! Free admission, $ 15 for the pool during the week, $ 15 more for the weekend.
8- And to sleep?
The AirBnb site offers a lot of nice apartments but the most important is to stay near a metro stop because believe me you do not want to walk 10 minutes by -20 (this is what will happen if you come In winter, and as said above -20 is not the worst), the ideal being in the subway loop between Bloor / Yonge and St George station. If you live there collocation is the best choice to start, namely that the apartments are 95% of the time already furnished by household appliances (out the removals where you invite all buddies to carry the fridge and washing machine) . Approximately € 70 for a night at the hotel and about half with AirBnB.
The TTC pass gives you access to the subway, bus and street car for about $ 40CA per week or $ 141CA for the month. It is very expensive for the service offered but it is still the simplest option. Namely that a day pass of $ 12 is valid for several people. For someone who comes out of his Ardèche (like me for example) having only 2 main lines makes the adaptation rather super easy! Otherwise you should definitely take a street car to get the impression of a good time, they are all old vintage (small tip on the way if you go out the back if you do not go down the stairs do the doors ‘Will not open, after seeing dozens of people do it I must pass the word!). The metro is open from 6am to 1:30 am the week but from 9am on Sunday morning. The Rocket Man application will be your best friend!
10- You do not speak English?
Do not panic, know that Canada is officially a bilingual country, no one in Toronto almost speaks French but they have old memories of the college and most of the panels are translated. Otherwise the Canadians are the kindest and most helpful people I have met, they will spontaneously come to you if they see you on a map or your iPhone. With 150 different cultures living here they master the international language of the hands to show you your direction!
11- Did you know?
Toronto has served a lot of film sets like the incredible Hulk, The Lost World: Jurrasic Park, Saw 2 and 3 and many others. I witnessed the shooting of Suicid Squad (I told you about it here) a movie with Will Smith coming out in a month! For the fans of series like me you must surely know Suits, and well it is also shot in Toronto and not in New York! This is explained by costs much less on the Canadian than the American side! So open the eye you could watch a shoot;)
12- You want to see what’s going on around Toronto?
New York is only 1h30 flight, Montreal 1h, MegaBus also offers buses at super competitive prices for these 2 destinations. Need a bit of nature? Algonquin Park is less than 3h by car: change of scenery assured. And of course the very famous Niagara Falls just one hour’s drive away – a must when you come to Toronto.
13- Highlights of Toronto’s Life:
New Year Eve: New Year’s Day is on the City Hall square with a huge fireworks display!
Winterdelicious: at the end of January at the beginning of February, you can enjoy yourself by spending less: a restaurant usually “expensive” offers a more accessible menu for 10 days.
TOMFW: Toronto Men Fashion Week: I was lucky enough to attend their second edition in 2015 for the fashion fans to see a parade it is worth, at the end of February.
FAT: Fashion Art Toronto, a huge surprise for me, I had the pass without knowing much about what to expect and really I had enjoyed, parades of quality, a top organization, I recommend! Mix of art and fashion is said yes in March!
Pedestrian days at Kensington Market: on sunny days (you will have to check the dates online) on Sundays are reserved for pedestrians, you can do your market freely and end up with a brunch in all serenity.
Gay Pride: Toronto is fully involved in this event at the end of June, even in the most unexpected places: banks decorated with rainbow flags!
Summerlicious: Same principle as the Winterdelicious but in July!
Canadian National Exhibition: THE big funfair, the place where everyone falls back into childhood! Between the stuffed to win, the haunted house and cotton candy everything should go well to close the end of summer!
Toronto Fashion Week: Another fashion sphere event, once in the spring, once in the fall come and discover the world of fashion in Toronto.
TIFF: Toronto International Film Festival, our Cannes Film Festival, 10-day events, preview films, a big Toronto re-entry event.
Toronto Christmas market: it is located in the Distillery District, a charming old quarter that transports us somewhere else in a few minutes from street car (the metro does not go there).
If you have any questions do not hesitate to go through the contact form at the top or in the comments!
My advice is based on my year in Toronto and the list is not exhaustive.
Belle soirée <3