A complete guide to visit Toronto, Canada

Toronto has a special place in my heart. The city is where I moved when I left Germany, it’s where my boyfriend Peter went for a job, and it’s where we met and fell in love.
If Toronto is not on your bucket list, put it on there, and put it at the top!
Toronto has an incredibly positive vibe; despite the hustle and bustle of 2.7 million people it has peaceful and laid back areas.
For those of you who don’t have much time I’ve created the perfect 3 day itinerary for Toronto. And if you want to explore the city like a local we created this guide for the best things to see, do and eat off the beaten path.

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A complete travel guide to visiting Toronto
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Toronto for starters

Located in the south-east of Canada, on the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is Canada’s largest city. Its motto is Diversity Our Strength and it is home to people of over 160 different nationalities.
I like to joke that if you find a Canadian in Toronto, you’re lucky.

Everyone in Toronto speaks English, one of the two official languages in Canada. The other one is French (actually, it’s called Quebecois) which is only spoken in Quebec and quite different from the French in France.

The currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar (CAD) and credit cards are pretty much accepted anywhere.

How to get around Toronto

Getting around is easy: Yonge Street divides the city into east and west, and there’s three subway lines today. They are expanded to reach farther north and east by 2023.
Today Toronto’s subway system is not the best but it’s faster than taking the streetcar or bus. However these two are the best way to get around Toronto because there is a stop almost anywhere. You get to see the city and, if you’re traveling alone at night, the drivers will drop you off outside of their regular stops if you ask them to.
For more freedom you can also take a taxi or an Uber if you download the app.
Toronto has many sightseeing buses and you can book them online or at Yonge-Dundas Square right beside Hard Rock Café.

Toronto's neighbourhoods

Toronto has different neighbourhoods and exploring them is like traveling the world in a day. There are multiple Chinatowns, Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, Cabbage Town, The Beaches, Parkdale, Yorkville and so many more. All of them have their own distinct identity and food culture. And some of them like Chinatown, Little Italy or Little Portugal even have signs and advertisements in those languages.
You’ll find the most amazing (and authentic) food from all over the world and can spend entire days eating your way through Toronto.

A Canadian institution – Tim Horton’s

One thing you’ll find on every corner is Tim Horton’s (and by the end of your stay you’ll be glad about it and as in love with “Timmie’s” as Canadians are). It’s the Canadian version of Starbucks but better (yes, I dare say so) and cheaper. There’s lots of stereotypes and jokes out there about it but once you try those Timbits, double-doubles, French vanillas and bagels with cream cheese, you’ll never look back. You can read more about my love for Timmie’s (as Canadians lovingly call it) and other, more hidden, gems about Toronto in my Toronto like a local guide.

Things to do in Toronto

If you’re planning on visiting Toronto you probably already know about the most popular things to do and see, like the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum (or ROM) or Casa Loma. I have created the perfect 3 day itinerary for Toronto for you if you need more inspiration.

Visiting Toronto in the fall or winter

Many people want to visit Canada in the fall to see the Indian Summer, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. During this time the colors of the trees contrast with the bright blue sky and the air is super clean and crisp. But there’s other great times to visit Canada, and especially Toronto, during the year.

You might be afraid that visiting in the winter is too cold but if you’re prepared it’s not that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it can be freezing cold and snowy, but the city looks magical, especially the parks or the Distillery District during Christmas time. They have a German Christmas market with mulled wine, Bratwurst and beautiful Christmas decorations.

Also, it being Canada, you can of course rent a pair of skates and take a spin around the frozen fountain right outside of city hall. It’s a great way to have a very Canadian experience while seeing some great architecture too.

If you’re visiting around October make sure to look up Nuit Blanche. It’s an art festival that covers the whole city with exhibitions of all kinds, from light installations over statues to theater productions or street interactions.

Visiting Toronto in the summer

If you visit in the summer it can get really hot but then you can hang out by the beach. Yes, Toronto has sandy beaches being on the shore of Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes in Canada.
Sunnyside Beach in the west end is a more quiet and relaxing area than The Beaches neighbourhood in the east end.
From there you’ll have an amazing view over the Toronto skyline, especially during sunset. The Beaches neighbourhood is hip and trendy, with beach bars and volleyball fields. It’s usually really crowded but if you want that beach party feeling this is where you have to go.

If you’re intrigued by the Toronto skyline view here’s the only tip I’ll give you outside of my Toronto like a local guide. And that’s because it’s one of my favourite things to do in the summer.
Go downtown to St Lawrence market, fill a picnic basket with delicious antipasti, cheese, wine or beer and freshly baked baguette, head down to the ferry terminal and take any ferry boat to the Toronto Islands.
It’s gorgeous, it’s quiet and you can tan by the beach or go swimming. And you will get hands down the most beautiful view of the Toronto skyline!

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Hi, I’m Nadine

Part-time traveler with full-time wanderlust.
I explore the world one weekend and one vacation at a time and share my experiences, travel and photography tips, and food recs on this blog.

I believe the answer to (almost) any question is traveling.
Have you tried it?

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