Our guide for day 2 in Toronto. Day 1 is here.
Toronto is Canada’s main city
After a chilling first day in Toronto, we woke up to a beautiful sunny and considerably warmer weather. We headed directly to the Entertainment District with one goal in mind: take advantage of the gorgeous blue sky to go up the CN Tower and get some great pictures.
Here’s what we did on this second day:
Pretty easy arriving there by subway and walking to the park where you can find several other attractions. As the CN Tower was at the top of our list, that’s where we started. We arrived at around 9:30 and there was almost no one in line. I had read about a new experience they offer, the Edge Walk (exactly what the name says, you walk outside the tower) and was pretty excited about it, but quickly learned this is something one must plan in advance. The option is not even presented when you’re at the counter to buy the ticket. The reason? It must be booked in advance and it costs more than CAD 200. The salesperson even offered to check the exact time the next group would start and see if there were extra spaces, but as we had not originally added the cost to our budget we decided to save the money for other treats. So we ended up doing like everybody else and going to the main observation level – at 346m (1,136 feet) -, where you have the LookOut and the glass floor. For some extras, you can also go 100m (330 feet) higher until the SkyPod, but we were pretty happy with the experience we already had with the general admission ticket offered by Tourism Toronto as explained in the previous text.
The view is truly amazing. To see the complete 360 degrees of Toronto you must go inside the restaurant, but as it was still breakfast time for most tourists, the place was partly closed and empty, so we simply walked through. I imagine you can’t do that during lunch or dinner hours though. After you’re done admiring the view and taking pictures, you can go down one level, where you can walk on the glass floor. Today it seems pretty common to find glass floors in several towers, but this is where the idea was born several years ago. And it remains pretty scary. The floor is five times stronger than the required weight bearing standard for commercial floors and the scuff plates are replaced annually. The info should make you feel a little bit more comfortable, but, well, it doesn’t… It’s crazy to look down and see the ground way below your feet. On the same level, there’s also an outdoor terrace, where you can get a breeze to recover from the experience! 😉
When you step outside the CN Tower building you are at a square where there are plenty of other options to explore. The Rogers Arena is located right in front. They offer guided tours, but I’d rather go to the stadium for a match (I love sports) or maybe for a concert. We decided to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada instead. I know, when you think of an aquarium you think of children, and we had no kids with us… But I had seen some amazing photos online and was quite excited to check out this place. It paid off. The time you spend inside is enough to transport you to a different reality, where marine life is in control. It’s really amazing to see so many different species – from sharks to stingrays and colorful fish – totally in harmony. Kids, of course, go crazy. But I found it a pretty fun experience for adults too. And if you are lucky you can even match your visit with some live music, as the Friday Night Jazz happens on the second Friday of every month.
A few steps away you can find the Steam Whistle Brewing. I’m not a big fan of beer, but my husband for sure is. None of us knew exactly what to expect, as Steam Whistle was a new brand for us. We not only learned about the company and the owners but also realized that this would be a great beer to be sold at the Whole Foods Market! They only use 4 ingredients in the formula – all natural: water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. I’ve been to other breweries where they also do a great job explaining the production process and the company’s history, but I never felt so compelled (in the good sense) to drink. Normally the establishments offer the trial in the end or close to the end, while here you start tasting the beer for free even while you wait for the tour. My husband had a blast!
Next to Steam Whistle you also find the Toronto Railway Museum, but before you make plans pay attention to the open days & hours. Outside the building, you can already see for free some railroad cars and engines. Admission to the museum itself is CAD 5. The museum is run by volunteers who also restore the antiques. We didn’t have the time to check it out (so, unfortunately, can’t say much more), as after so much beer we needed a quick break for lunch. We simply crossed the street and ate at the good old Boston Pizza.
Heading North towards Midtown Toronto
We started the afternoon going North with the intention of exploring different neighborhoods. Chinatown (the main one), Little Italy and Little Portugal are relatively close, but there was nothing really catching my attention. We then went straight to the Bloor-Yorkville area, a region which was home to the elite in the 1800s and to the hippies in the 60s. Today it is considered one of the trendiest areas in town, with designer boutiques, fashionable restaurants and a lot to see. However, there was a major renovation during our visit and we missed some of this experience…
Back to the subway and a couple of stops away we arrived at Casa Loma, Toronto’s castle! This was originally a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellatt and today is a museum. The house has a gorgeous backyard and I made the mistake of spending a lot of time outside taking pictures without paying attention to the open hours. Actually, it never occurred to me they could close at 5 pm. When I knocked at the door at 4:45 pm, the staff was so courteous that they even let me go in, but although I walked through the entire house there was not enough time to fully experience the free guided tour they offer. Certainly something I’ll fix next time! The front yard also offers an amazing view of the buildings downtown, and I’d certainly have enjoyed having a snack on the patio.
The next morning we already left Toronto. Unfortunately, as we were so tired, that night we just went for dinner at a chain restaurant nearby in North York, without experiencing the famous and lively Toronto nightlife. If you ask me if 2 days are enough to spend in the city I’d say definitely not, but we tried to make the most out of the time we had. At least for next trip, we know exactly where to restart.
Want to see more pictures?
Check out my Instagram collection and my Facebook album. Comments are very welcome!!!