Rocky & Sarah's Travel Diary
Hollywood North, Hogtown, the Big Smoke, T.O., all names for the Capital of the province of Ontario, in southeastern Canada. It has the most populous metropolitan area in Canada and, as the most important city in Canada's most prosperous province, is the country's financial and commercial centre. Its location on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, which forms part of the border between Canada and the United States, and its access to Atlantic shipping via the St. Lawrence Seaway and to major U.S. industrial centres via the Great Lakes have enabled Toronto to become an important international trading centre. In the second half of the 20th century the city grew phenomenally, from a rather sedate provincial town--"Toronto the Good"--to a lively, thriving, cosmopolitan metropolitan area.
We grew up in Toronto, although we moved to Ottawa in 2002, we still think that Toronto is highly underrated. There isn't too much info that we will add since there are a number of very good quality web sites that can give you all the information that you desire, and then some. If you will be visiting, please note that in the winter it can get cold, and in the summer it can get very hot. The climate gives you both extremes. Enjoy
Toronto Information Links
The Toronto Star Online - The leading newspaper that gives you local and national news, as well as movie listing, etc. etc.
Public transit in Toronto is called the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) . The core of the system is the two subway lines. One line is U-shaped, in effect providing two north-south routes: it runs south along Yonge Street from Finch to King, then turns sharply past Union Station and continues north along University Avenue, Spadina Road, and William R. Allen Road (with diagonal bits in between) to terminate at Downsview station on Sheppard Avenue.
GO Transit operates intercity commuter trains and buses in an area extending well beyond Toronto.
These are some pictures from the Annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) held in T.O. at
the end of August. It is the traditional "end of summer" event and is always a nice way to spend some
time. During the final 3 days of the CNE there is an excellent Air Show along Lake Ontario. Unfortunately,
we were not around for it.
There is at least one hostel downtown, at the corner of Queen St. and Bathurst (I think). It's in an excellent location, but I don't know the exact address or anything. I don't assume downtown accomodation is very cheap, although when you compare the CDN$ with the US$ and the British pound, you get excellent value for your money. Toronto.com will have a great selection and location maps for you to peruse.
For things to do I would suggest heading to the Toronto Islands, Bloor West Village, Yonge Street (longest street in the world), Queen West, Kensington Market, and the Danforth to name a few. Hang out, have fun, people are quite willing to help you out whenever you need it. No matter what you look like, you'll blend in T.O. As an amusing side note, we have considered buying a guide book for Toronto, just to see what we have been missing. It's a big city (not the biggest by any means), but there is a lot that you can do.
If you have the money, then by all means go see a Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey game at the Air Canada Centre. These games are sold out. Period. The only way to get tickets is to pay enormous amounts from ticket scalpers outside the arena. Expect to pay at least $100-200 CDN for a seat. An interesting thing is that during the hockey playoffs, held in the Spring, if the Leafs are in it, every bar will be packed during the games. As they get further into the eliminations, the streets get emptier and emptier (while the game is on). It is an eerie thing to experience. But they haven't won the Championship in 34 years and everytime they get close, they blow it.
There are many more options for sports fans. The Toronto Rock lacrosse team showcases Canada's national game (and you thought it was hockey). They also play in the Air Canada Centre. Tickets are much less expensive and the atmosphere is very enthusiastic. The Toronto Blue Jays play baseball and the Argonauts play football at the SkyDome. Tickets for these teams are readily available at ticketmaster or the box office.
THere are of course a number of other sporting events going on such as horse racing, minor league baseball, hockey, and soccer. Toronto.com will give you a much more exhaustive list. The ones mentioned are ones that WE would attend.
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Ontario Science Center and Metro Toronto Zoo are all other enjoyable options for excursions.
Don't forget the World Famous Toronto International Film Festival, the Downtown Jazz Festival, The International Beaches Jazz Festival, North x Northeast Music Festival.
If you like to eat, then T.O. has everything that you've ever asked for. From fantastic street corner sausage to equisite dining, from Middle Eastern to African to Italian to Chinese, you name it, you can find it. Easily.
For nightlife, way back when I USED to go out a lot, we would head to Sneaky Dees, the Phoenix, Whiskey Saigon or the Brunswick house and are as follows bar, club, club, drinking hole. Now as my tastes have refined one of the bars I like to attend is the Horseshoe on Queen St. - one of the oldest in the city. Also, Devil's Martini is a nice mid-20's, early 30's bar as well as the Left Bank.