My Dad recently took me on a trip to Toronto to celebrate me graduating uni and moving to Cyprus. I was given a few choices of where we could go, but as neither of us had visited Niagara Falls before – somewhere that has always been on the top of my bucket list – it was an easy decision to choose Canada!
I did a lot of research and planning before the trip as neither of us knew much about Toronto, and I made an itinerary for the five days that we were there. Granted we did not have enough time to do EVERYTHING that the city had to offer, but I think we managed to pack in quite a lot, (despite the unpredictable weather and wonderful thing called jet lag).
I have made a note of 10 things that we did throughout the five days, and would totally recommend to anyone planning to visit Toronto.
1. TABLE ROCK, NIAGARA FALLS – this gives you the BEST views of the Falls. If this was not recommended to us we would not have walked all the way, so thank you Fiona for the brilliant tip!
2. BOAT TRIP, NIAGARA FALLS – What an incredible experience! The boat takes you into the falls and you get completely soaked, it is such an awesome thing to do. Tip: take a Go Pro/waterproof camera with you!! Because if not, your phone/camera is guaranteed to be sitting in a bowl of rice for about a week after this boat trip!
3. CN TOWER – The famous CN Tower – the second tallest building in the world – gives incredible views of Toronto. We almost did not get to go up to the top because of the bad weather, but luckily a few hours before our flight the clouds disappeared and we had the most amazing views. We paid extra to go even higher up the tower, this allowed us to see the crazy people absailing down the side of the building! It looked terrifying, but apparently it is very common for people to get married whilst hanging off a building 1,122 ft above the ground… There is also a glass floor which allows you to see all the way down to the ground, so cool!
4. SIGHT SEEING BUS – Of course we had to go on the sight seeing bus! This is mine and my Dad’s favourite way to see a new place; not only does it give you super cheap and reliable transport, but you get to listen to the tour guide telling you about the interesting city and history behind the buildings and street names. The bus stops at all of the main places like Casa Lomo, the CN Tower, the famous Toronto sign, ST Lawrence Market (the number 1 food market in the world..) and loads more.
5. BOAT TRIP – After walking along the harbour front, I strongly suggest you hop on a boat. We had a free boat trip with our sight seeing bus tickets which took us all around the Toronto Islands, and gave us an incredible view of the famous Toronto Skyline.
6. SCARBOROUGH BLUFFS – Beautiful beach. We first visited from the top of the cliff where there are numerous signs and fences warning you to not go to the cliff edge. But I read online before we went that everybody risks it and that it is the only way to get a good view… So obviously we had to check it out!! And it did not disappoint. We then drove down to the harbour to watch people surfing and to look at all the boats and cars in the parking lot.
7. TORONTO ZOO – Home to the first giant panda cubs born in Canada, and 495 different species. We got to see Samson, the largest animal in the zoo, a male hippopotamus weighing 2.25 tonnes, having his lunch. The majority of the animals are looked after extremely well and given plenty of room to move around in. However, I do find it hard to see the Lions, Cheetah’s and the Rhino’s in small living conditions. Having visited the Pilanesberg Game Reserves in South Africa and seeing how these animals are supposed to live and the amount of land they need, it is not easy seeing them in a zoo.
8. LBS. RESTAURANT – Situated on the famous, vibrant Yonge Street. The menu includes delicious burgers and mouth watering lobster mac n cheese. I have never been a fan of lobster so my Dad enjoyed mine, but the mac n cheese and the burger were amazing!! It is a shame that I do not like Lobster because the other lobster dishes that everyone else were ordering looked incredible.
9. BUILDINGS – One of the best ways to experience a city is to just walk around the streets, chat to locals, visit the local shops and markets, and take in the fantastically unique views. I had so much fun walking up and down the streets, taking pictures of all the different buildings, admiring their architecture and unique designs. Our favourite was the Ontario College of Art & Design building which is shaped like a pencil case.. So cool!
10. NIAGARA FALLS OUTLET MALL – There are many malls in and around Toronto, but we especially loved this one. It is an outside mall with loads of restaurants and well known stores. TIP: always visit the quest services before you shop, they will provide you with a map of the mall, as well as vouchers and discounts for the shops!
Thanks for reading! It would be interesting to hear what other things people would recommend doing in and around Toronto, as I definitely plan on going back!