With towering skyscrapers comparable to New York and a network of islands on its doorstep, Toronto offers something for both city slickers and nature lovers, says Jessica Pook
Day one: City highlights
Morning: Hard to miss at 553 metres tall, the CN Tower stretches high over the city and is Toronto’s most iconic landmark. It held the title of tallest building in the world until 2007.
A trip up to the observation tower reveals unobstructed views across the city and Lake Ontario, allowing visitors to get their bearings from dizzying heights. Daredevils can get a rush by scaling the outside of the tower as part of the EdgeWalk.
Afternoon: Feet firmly back on the ground, take a 20-minute stroll along the waterfront to the St. Lawrence Market, previously named the best food market in the world. Located in historic Old Town Toronto, this building has served as a farmers’ market for 200 years, selling cheese, mustards, oilve oils and a wide range of other local produce. It’s famous as being home to the Peameal bacon sandwhich – a Toronto staple.
Evening: From the market take a 10-minute walk to the pedestrian-only Distillery District, which once housed the Gooderham & Worts Whiskey Distillery. Today its cobblestone streets and red-brick warehouses are lined with boutique shops, galleries and restaurants and bars, making it a vibrant arts and culture hub. El Catrin Distileria is always buzzing with friends sipping exotic-flavoured margaritas.
Day two: Boats and breweries
Morning: Take a 15-minute boat ride to the Toronto Islands – a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario, right off of the mainland. These car-free islands are connected by boardwalks ideal for walkers and cyclists. Grab a coffee and head to Upper Deck to enjoy the view of the city skyline or head over to the historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, just a few minutes walk from Gibraltar beach.
Afternoon: Join a 90-minute graffiti tour with the Tour Guys and explore trendy Queen West, historically the city’s garment district and now a major shopping destination. You’ll encounter Graffiti Alley, where walls tell a colourful and meaningful story of past and present. Learn different perspectives on the graffiti issue from the property owners, the police and even the graffiti artists themselves and make your own decision on whether this is ‘art’ or ‘vandalism’. At the end of the tour, you ‘pay what you feel’.
Evening: Pay a visit to the Steam and Whistle brewery, near the base of the CN Tower. The Roundhouse, where the beer is brewed, once served as the Canadian Pacific Rail company’s steam locomotive repair facility. The remaining tracks and trains make for an interesting talking point. Enjoy a tour with a tasting and hear about the brewing process.
Book it with… Premier Holidays
British Airways offers a three-night stay in the centrally-located Delta Hotel from £1,082pp including return flights from London-Heathrow. Departures in September 2022.