I was really curious to visit Toronto. I know it’s one of America’s favorite travel destinations in Canada, the biggest city, the New York of Canada. My Canadian friends were less than enthusiastic, calling the city “boring and expensive,” but I really wanted to see for myself. What does Toronto have to offer twenty-something travelers?
A lot by the looks of it. In truth it was actually, well, actually a lot like New York. Big, international, historical and diverse. I was there for a full week but I really only saw a fraction of the city. I did however get a good taste, and I liked what I saw.
Here are some of the things I really liked about Toronto:
Really Awesome Food Culture
More than 50% of the people living in Toronto were born outside of Canada. That is an extremely high immigrant population, which means tons of interesting culture and international food. Toronto is one of North America’s top food cities.
This means literally entire sections of the city dedicated to various cultures. Not just your typical Chinatown, but also Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal and Little India. Vietnamese and Thai are also popular (one local chain restaurant is called the “Banh Mi Boys”).
There is also an emphasis on local Canadian food, as well as organic and farm to fork restaurants. The Lawrence Market is the headquarter of fresh vegetables, cheeses and maple syrup.
Toronto in it’s current state has only existed since 1998, when Toronto, and about five other local cities melded together to form the current large city. Even so, the areas history stretches back to the War of 1812 when Toronto was originally a British military installation.
A lot of Toronto’s history is well preserved and alive in Chinatown, Cabbagetown and other areas. The distillery district is an interesting restored neighborhood full of lovely shops and restaurants.There is even a legitimate historical castle downtown!
Toronto is not cheap as far as cities go, but if you want to live it up and experience the better half of the city, there are tons of luxury hotels. While in the city I got to observe a few, from the incredibly opulent Trump Hotel to the sparse designer Templar hotel. Not to mention the Ritz, the Four Seasons (conveniently located next to the convention center), the Hotel Le Germain and more.
I also got to eat in the swanky and delicious restaurant at the Delta Chelsea hotel, where I was served tender local lamb and spring asparagus. The bill was nearly $60 but it’s well worth it when you tired of eating local pho and curry.
There is a lot of Toronto I didn’t get to experience, from the CN Tower Walk to the Hockey Hall of Fame to many wonderful looking beaches. I think I’ll be back in town sometime soon if only to eat some more!