Nothing better than a weekend in Toronto to celebrate and (finally) welcome the long awaited summer weather! Whether you’re looking for the perfect occasion to indulge in a little bit of R&R or… some major fun with a sprinkle of debauchery, Toronto has festivities going on all around town to keep the good times rolling.
Fishbar (17 Ossington Ave)
Look no further than Fishbar if you’re searching for seafood that packs a punch. The tapas-style food is a bit on the pricier side, but it’s well worth every single penny. The restaurant tries to include as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible. Need suggestions? The rich lobster mac’n’cheese, shrimp and lobster rolls, crab cakes, and oyster rockefellers top our list when it comes to must-order dishes.
Fresh (3721 Notre Dame St West)
For something a bit on the lighter and healthier side, Fresh is your must-visit vegan place. Be sure to try their Buddha Fresh bowl with a side of quinoa onion rings with its hot sauce. Top it off with one of their excellent cold pressed juices. Or, if you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, order the gojiccino – a simili-cappuccino beverage made from pure goji berries. With surprisingly no fruity aftertaste, it instead has the sweet flavor of mocha with a herbal finish.
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Trinity Bellwoods Park is Toronto’s largest and most vibrant public green space within the downtown area. Welcoming an eclectic crowd of park goers, it often plays host to various art shows and cultural events throughout the warmer months. Perfect for a lazy hazy afternoon, this is a neat spot for those who simply want some relaxing downtime to chill and people watch. Or squirrel watch. One of the park’s main attraction is the unusual presence of white squirrels, which quickly became the neighborhood’s symbol. There’s even a coffee going by White Squirrel Coffee nearby. Then, finish off your day by grabbing a pint (or two!) at Bellwoods Brewery also right around the corner!
During May, take a stroll through High Park to catch the peak of the cherry blossom season, an event for which many gather every year, before it all ends! Interesting tidbit: “Peak bloom” occurs when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. From that moment on, flowers last from four to 10 days depending on the weather.
Fancy a little game of paintball, dodgeball and archery all thrown into one? Reminiscent of The Hunger Games, the idea is to battle it out on the astroturf field over food supplies and resources in a post-apocalyptic world. With all the squatting and lunging, this stands to be quite the calorie-burning workout. If we’re going to be honest though, it’s not as if you needed a valid reason to go around shooting people with a bow and foam-tipped arrow anyway. #teambuilding
The Old Faithful Shop (886 Queen St West)
The Old Faithful Shop is a modern day general store with a Kinfolk touch. Valuing craftsmanship and quality homeware above all, it is meant to be a one-stop shop for everyone. You can expect built-to-last products with basic yet timeless design that is not only beautiful, but fully functional as well. You’ll be able to peruse a wide selection of household items like grooming accessories, home decoration and kitchen supplies.
Good Neighbour (935 Queen St East)
A stylish convenience store and casual luxe clothing boutique, this Leslieville store sells everything from cool clothing and footwear, accessories, home goods, apothecary products to art prints. Family-friendly, it even has its own dedicated segment for children to cater to young families in the area.
Lesser known neighborhoods worth exploring
For those who appreciate architecture, why not go for a stroll around the pedestrian-only Distillery District? The Old Town has been recognized as a national historic site for its restored Victorian industrial buildings. It is also home to wonderful artisan shops, award-winning restaurants, art galleries, and performance venues.
West Queen West
Named by Vogue in 2014 as the second hippest district in the world, Queen West is Toronto’s creative hub and one of the city’s most effervescent neighborhoods. With more than 300 businesses, it is far from being lesser known, but definitely worth the exploration. The area brims with nightlife and cultural hotbeds with notable mentions to two boutique art hotels: the Gladstone and the Drake Hotel. Good food, art exhibitions, and a couple of drinks? Sounds like the cornerstones of a good time.
Odin Cafe + Bar (514 King St East)
We gotta hand it to the folks at Odin, Thor Espresso Bar’s newest little sibling, for the impeccable Instagram-worthy interior design. In addition to coffee, this modern Nordic-Canadian cafe also serves cold-pressed juices and alcoholic beverages for you to enjoy over relaxing acoustic vibes on the patio.
Jimmy’s Coffee (191 Baldwin St, 107 Portland St, 82 Gerrad St West)
What sets this cozy and unpretentious coffeehouse apart from all the others is its much acclaimed and legendary americanos. Throw friendly staff, nutella croissants and toblerone shortbread cookies into the mix, and voilà, you’ve got a killer combination.
Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake (598 Bay St)
Recently opened during last March, Uncle Tetsu owes its cult following to its light and fluffy Japanese cheesecakes and madeleines (the latter’s mini counterparts). A lot less dense and less decadent than New York style cheesecakes, Uncle Tetsu’s pastries are simple and stripped from any intricacies, but just as delicious. Foodie tip: When fresh out of the oven, the cake is spongy and excellent with a side of milk or coffee. If you want a firmer texture and more pronounced cheese taste, just stick it in the fridge for a few hours.
The Tempered Room (1374 Queen St W)
At The Tempered Room, freshly baked French goodies lay behind their glass-doored fortress. Their purpose? Tempting curious pastry lovers with a whiff of their sweet aromas. Entirely made in-house, they’re the perfect mid-afternoon indulgence for those who crave a mouthwatering treat.
Momofuku Milk Bar (190 University Ave)
Two words: Crack Pie. Enough said.
Be sure to check out what’s happening Montreal as well!
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