Toronto is one of my favourite cities in the world. I’ve lived here for over three years now and I’m still yet to get sick of it, and for someone who has wanderlust running through my veins, that’s saying something.
But there’s one thing that always seems to come up when I meet travelers abroad who have visited Toronto, and it’s usually that it’s an extremely underrated city. People think of traveling to New York, Chicago, London, Vancouver, but why don’t they think about traveling to Toronto?
Expedia.ca recently asked me what my main reasons were for people to visit my city, so I hope by the time you’re done reading this post you’ll be booking your plane ticket to come visit me!
It’s a multicultural hub
Toronto is home to almost all of the world’s culture groups, with half of Toronto’s population being born outside of Canada and over 180 languages and dialects spoken. So there should be no surprise that Toronto has been said to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
Due to the cultural diversity in the city, neighbourhoods and communities have developed around these cultures. From Little Italy to Chinatown, as you walk through the streets of Toronto, you should expect to walk in and out of pockets of what feels like a different country. This is one of my favourite parts about the city, because as someone who loves to travel, I can go explore a new culture without even leaving!
On top of the neighbourhoods that you can visit at any time of the year, cultural events and festivals are of plenty. In the summer especially, you can find at least one festival happening in the city every weekend, but when it comes to cultural events, some of the festivals the city hosts are:
There’s a diverse (and yummy) food scene
I don’t know about you, but one of the most important things to me when traveling is the food that I can try. When I travel, I’m constantly asked what “Canada food” is like, and my answer is always that it’s very heavily influenced by other cultures. A city like Toronto is a great example of that as each neighbourhood and street is lined with restaurants big and small. If you’re looking to fulfill a specific craving, there’s no doubt that you will find a place in this city that does it amazingly.
From amazing Thai food at Pai or Khao San Road, to the local market vendors at one of the World’s Best Food Markets (as ranked by National Geographic), St. Lawrence Market, there is seriously something for every type of eater.
The arts and culture
Toronto is also filled with museums for just about every interest, and you can catch some amazing performances too!
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) boasts permanent collections and rotating exhibitions for all of you art lovers out there.
For those looking for more unique museums, The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in the heart of downtown and is home to the Stanley Cup, The Bata Shoe Museum has over 1,000 shoes on display from different eras, and The Textile Museum of Canada brings you back 2,000 years through various garments, cloths and fabrics.
Three years ago, Ripley’s also opened an impressive aquarium in the heart of the city (right near Steam Whistle Brewery) which can be great for kids and us big kids too! In some sections there are moving floors that bring you through a tunnel of fish, sharks and other sea urchins.
Lastly, if you’re looking to be entertained, Toronto has some of the best performances you’ll find in Canada. You can catch a ballet at the National Ballet of Canada, listen to the musical wonders of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, or the check out one of the Broadway shows that regularly hit the Toronto theatres and put on some amazing performances. I’ve personally seen everything from The Nutcracker, to the Lion King and Mama Mia!
The great local breweries and beer
The one thing I do know about Torontonians is that they love beer, and they love craft beer and supporting local breweries. Toronto has a great beer scene and there are so many pubs and bars across the city that offer a wide selection of brews from Toronto and the surrounding areas. The Toronto Star compiled this great list and guide for beer lovers in Toronto, but some local favourites, and tourist must-dos are:
Steam Whistle Brewery:
Located in a 17 acre park in the downtown core on the grounds of the former railway, this is one of the best spots in the city. Steam Whistle sits right under the CN Tower, and right next to the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. They serve one type of beer, and you can take a tour of their really cool facility.
Located right on the water, the Amsterdam Brewhouse is home to some great beer, and no matter what sort of beer you’re into, they probably have something for you to try. Order a flight to try their different brews, or try one of their seasonal favourites. On top of that, this brewery has one of the best patios in the city that is located right on the water.
Mill Street Brew Pub:
Located in the heart of the Distillery District, a historical and beautiful neighbourhood, Mill Street beer has become a Toronto staple and can be found at most bars, pubs and restaurants in the city.
Bonus Tip: I also recently discovered Trinity Commons in Kensington Market (a quirky neighbourhood in the city) which has a really cool rustic/modern space and a mean beer list!
On top of the great breweries, Toronto also hosts a series of beer events. My favourite, and the largest is the Toronto Festival of Beer that happens each July, but other popular ones the Winter Craft Beer Festival every January, and the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival every August, both hosted by Steam Whistle Brewing. Plus, those are just three of the many other smaller events that happen for beer lovers around the city.
There’s something for everyone
Last but not least, my fifth and most important reason to visit Toronto is that there is legitimately something for everyone. This post only touches on some of the amazing things the city has to offer, but there really is so much more. Whether you’re an adventurer who wants outdoor sports and activities, or a foodie who is looking to eat their way through the best food scenes, Toronto can be a great spot to add to your must-travel lists!