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"Like a graveyard...
... people dig me"
22nd-Jun-2009 01:39 pm
erin_trying and I are going to Toronto, Canada from July 7 to July 12. You guys have any touristy suggestions? We like architecture, museums, tasty food, and pretty things. Obviously free/low-cost is better than not, but suggestions are suggestions. I'll be picking up the DK guidebook (my favorite brand, thanks Eyewitness Books from my childhood corrupting me to this very day) today or tomorrow for more ideas, but personal ones are best, of course. We'll be staying in Harbourfront, but the subways and Zipcars can take us anywhere, so long as it's not too far afield.
(Deleted comment)
22nd-Jun-2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
Everyone knows the moon is fake. The government planted false evidence of its existence prior to the moon landing in order for them to fake the moon landing.
23rd-Jun-2009 12:52 am (UTC)
The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) and the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) are the two big mainstream museums in the city, but you're in luck if you like architecture, because both have just recently undergone MASSIVE redesigns to make them really unique and impressive buildings, so even if they're mainstream tourguide-fodder, they are obviously fun and are also fascinating architecturally. Both cost admission, but if you have memberships to your local museums, check their reciprocal arrangements, because both are pretty good with reciprocal arrangements with other museums and galleries, so you may be able to get in free.

The CN Tower is another major tourist item that's fun. The view is lovely. It's basically "tall tower with viewing deck," so if that's not your thing, then you can give it a pass, but ... it's really tall. And there's a glass floor that you can stand on. The restaurant in it is VERY expensive, but it's a revolving restaurant and your bill from the restaurant includes admission to the tower itself, so if you were going to go to the tower anyway, the restaurant becomes a reasonable deal. It's a revolving restaurant, and is good casual-fine fare. It makes a nice romantic dinner.

On the other hand, Toronto's big, big thing is ethnic food. We are one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and this shows in the ethnic food available, so if you like any foods of exotic ethnicity, then it's worth asking more specifically to see if people can make recommendations.

O'Noir Toronto, will be open by then. It will have JUST opened (June 24th), so I recommend reservations. If you have not done dining in the dark (I mean, pitch can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark.) it is a must-do. I have not been to the Toronto location, obviously (since it's not open yet), but I have been to the Montreal location and loved every minute of it.

If you've never done market-style dining, there's a fun restaurant called Richtree Marche right at Yonge and Front in what used to be called BCE Place but is now called something else -- the building with the Hockey Hall of Fame in it. You get a swipe card and go around various stalls to pick and choose your meal out. You can eat cheaply if you watch it or you can really add it up. BCE Place is also a nice architectural thing. It used to be an outdoor street that they enclosed, so there are some remaining facades inside, and it has a really futuristic look -- many science fiction TV shows and movies are filmed in there. It often stands in for City Hall of the future and things like that.

Speaking of which, that and most of downtown is on PATH, which is an underground tunnel system / shopping mall that can get you around a lot of downtown underground. Pretty typical for cities with such things but neat-ish if you're new to that experience.

Queen St. W. is the place to go if you want to wander and window shop. You can start at University and walk westbound as far as your legs will go. Lots of great shopping. It's trendier east of Spadina and artier west of Spadina, but both segments are worth going to. Pages Bookstore, which is on Queen St. W., has a very nice section of Canadian work if you want to pick up something Canadian. (Also, they have a fantastic architecture section.) They're my second-favourite bookstore in the city. If you start at Yonge instead of University, you'll have some dead space to walk past (where there are just offices or things), but you'll see some great old buildings as well as old city hall and new city hall.

Umm. I mean, I live here, so like all residents I'm not that expert in being a tourist here, but seriously, if you can prompt me or have any questions, I'm very happy to answer. I totally love Toronto.

Edited at 2009-06-23 12:53 am (UTC)
23rd-Jun-2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Oh, you may want to know that the city workers union and the city just failed to reach an agreement, so the garbage collectors are on strike. PLEASE DEAR POWERS ABOVE it will hopefully be done by the 7th, but if it's not... um. Yeah. It may be bad.
23rd-Jun-2009 02:55 am (UTC)
(here courtesy mactavish)

Casa Loma.

Explore the hidden ravines that lace the city.

Spend on a day on Toronto Island (if the strike is over and ferries are running.)

Drive to Niagara Falls (only 90 minutes away, an easy day trip)

Architecture and museums: the ROM, the AGO, the University of Toronto, and the exceedingly whimsical Ontario College of Art and Design.

Also, you'll be just in time for the Fringe Festival.
23rd-Jun-2009 03:13 am (UTC)
Toronto Fringe Festival is taking place at that time, and I suggest My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding by David Hein.

Casa Loma and Ontario Science Centre are also great places to go see.
23rd-Jun-2009 03:13 am (UTC)
Here via mactavish.

The ROM and Kensington Market are both lots of fun.

My wife's a Torontonian, but she's out of town at the moment. I'll try and pick her brain the next time we speak...
23rd-Jun-2009 04:23 am (UTC)
Well, the CN Tower is a must, if you are not afraid of heights. There are lots of Museums in TO if that's your thing...ranging from the Bata Shoe Museum to the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum (general old stuff). The Ontario Science Center is lots of fun, but it's north of the downtown core.

But downtown, "The Worlds Biggest Book Store" (it has held the Guinness World Record in the past, and may again) off Younge St is a must if you love books. Also further up Younge is Bakka-Phoenix Books, Toronto's long-lived SF&F Book store. Frankly, if you like a good walk, start on Front St, and walk up Younge St to "Center of the Unvierse", aka the corner of Bloor and Younge. Along the way you will find all sorts of shopping, food and weird stores to visit, and lots of strange people to people-watch.

Queen St West is another great area to walk. Start at University Ave and walk to Spadina, then head North on Spadina if you like things Oriental. Along Queen West, you will see lots of weird shopping places...I think Active Surplus is still there, which has surplus electronics and almost everything else under the sun. You will also pass the CityTV building, where Much Music, Canada's Music Video Station is broadcast from. They have tours. There is also Steve's Music Store, if you are into musical instruments and the like.

Most of these places have entries in the Wikipedia...

Now, I admit, this is my sort of tour of TO, having lived there in the past...and some of the stores may not be there anymore...moved or shut down, but I am pretty sure the were there as of a couple of years ago, when I last cruised around downtown TO.

Good Luck, and have fun!

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