Oh, Canada. You are quickly becoming one of my favorite countries! This was my second trip up north this year (you can check out my posts on Alberta here), and this time I got to experience beautiful Ontario! The first half of my trip was spent up north just beyond the lakes region known as Muskoka, but I was lucky enough to spend one sunny day in the city of Toronto exploring all that this place has to offer. 24 hours isn’t long, but here is how I made the most of my visit!
St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market houses over 100 local vendors, bakers, butchers and artisans and is just a hop, skip and a jump from Union Station. Located in the former industrial area known as York, the first farmers market began in 1803 in Toronto’s original City Hall. Inside you can find every kind of food you could ever want! I picked up a raisin butter tart from one of the bakeries inside to leave room for lunch later on.
The area is also home to Toronto’s very own flatiron building known as the Gooderham building. While it resembles the Flatiron of New York City, the Gooderham was one of the first triangular shaped buildings to be built in North America. From this vantage point you can see the sky scrapers of Toronto stretching across the skyline, as well as the CN Tower. This little pocket of the city was full of charm and is definitely a must see, especially around lunch time!
The Distillery District
From St. Lawrence Market we made our way towards the Distillery District. Located east of downtown, this commercial and residential area of the city contains numerous cafes, restaurants, shopping and night life. Everywhere you look this place is filled with charm and character! I am a sucker for brick and these streets and old brick facade buildings were so much fun to wander through. Once home to the largest distillery in the world, evidence of its Victorian era architecture can certainly be found at every turn.
The District is home to many events and markets, so be sure to check out the schedule before stopping by. I was there during the day when the crowds were a bit slower, but there is plenty going on at night too! I tried my very first butter tart here (yes, I waited to eat it), and let me tell you it did not disappoint! I can cross off another Canadian delicacy from my list, and this one might even beat out poutine in my book. One of my favorite finds were these “Love” locks, where tourists and locals can write their initials on a lock and clip it to this cool piece of interactive art. It took me a little while but I finally managed to get a photo without anyone standing in front of it!
Queens Quay & Toronto Islands
A quick walk along the harbor front brought us to Queens Quay, a popular road that runs along Lake Ontario and overlooks the Toronto Islands. While much of this area is built up with Condominiums, there is a boardwalk you can walk along and lots of little parks and green spaces where most of the people working in the city were enjoying their lunch along the water. While I wanted to visit the islands they were unfortunately closed due to the water being so high, but that will be on my list for my next visit! If you get the chance to get out there, it is supposed to be a great place to rent a bike for the day.
We stopped and grabbed a bite to eat at the Amsterdam Brewhouse for lunch on the water and watched the boats and planes go by. I never limit myself on vacation but I was craving something fresh and healthy so we ordered the most delicious watermelon and feta plate with fresh grape tomatoes, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Ir was the perfect summer dish and I will definitely be making in the near future! We topped it off with a side of sweet potato fries with garlic aioli sauce and a yummy glass of berry and peach sangria.
On our walk back to Union Station we stopped at the Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre, and the CN Tower where we could see a very brave group of people doing the EdgeWalk at the very top. This loop was the perfect way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time, especially if you are training in! Toronto is such a cool, young city that I am looking forward to visiting again soon.
Have you been to Toronto? What are some of your favorite places?