Toronto Part Two: New Adventures In The 6ix
For my second visit to Toronto, there was plenty I forget in the space of the year! There’s a few little quirks about Toronto and Canada that make it a different experience from my adventures in Europe. Here’s a little wrap up!
I’ve never had such a strange encounter to being asked what kind of coffee I wanted. At chain places like Tim Hortons the most common order is for a “double-double”. Which means double sugar and double cream. Leave your latte and espresso macchiato orders for the boutique coffee stores! Don’t worry though, they’ll eventually get what you mean.
We didn’t book any of our restaurants and there was plenty of choice for whatever craving we had. I felt like we had a lot of Thai this time? It’s prolific, especially compared to the likes of London. The desserts and treats in Toronto are all so good, but the more hipster ones will set you back an arm and a leg.
It’s a normal thing in North America but get used to getting charged seemingly random amounts. The prices listed in stores and on menus generally exclude tax. And with in sit down restaurants there’s a service charge of about 15% that’s expected on top. Paying by card helps avoid getting weighed down by loose change.
Toronto is such a big city. From where I was staying it’s about 30 minutes into downtown by transit and over an hour on foot. So it pays to have some ideas on things to do within the same vicinity or get used to getting around. I do find things to be rather spread out in the city (e.g. Aga Khan, the Zoo) so you can eat a bit of your day just getting around. You need a fair bit of time to see all the usual tourist sights so planned is encouraged. Which brings me to…
I found the streetcars to be a rather painful experience in time in Toronto. Most stops don’t have signs to let you know when the next one is, and even then, its sometimes inaccurate. Next streetcar in 1 minute suddenly turns into 11 minutes. I usually paid by tokens that I had pre-purchased in a station, since the machines don’t issue change. Presto doesn’t save any money compared to the tokens. Traffic in Toronto was quite serious at peak hours (some dodgy driving and cyclists too) so it all makes for a slow affair.
Subway, all good! I don’t have any qualms here. And with only two lines, it hard to mess up. I would also highlight that Uber and Lyft can sometimes be super cheap. Especially if there’s more than one of you.
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There’s always plenty on in Toronto and even in my short time there was the Fringe Festival, Pride, outdoor cinemas, food festivals, Shakespeare in the park and more. Not to mention the regular events such as free tours from the ROM, brewery visits, galleries and the beaches. I found a great resource in Reddit subreddit r/toronto where one of the users does a daily update on things happening in the city. So handy.
Some highlights so far:
With a bit more time in Toronto this year, I checked out a few more things from my list:
- Playing with our borrowed dog in High Park
- Come From Away with standing seats (not as bad as it might sound)
- Free tour of Henderson Brewery with tastings (yum!)
- Graffiti Alley (as above)
- Distillery District (cool area, if not a bit touristy)
- All the food (still full)