There are an endless number of activities to do in the sprawling Toronto metropolis, from visiting chic art galleries to knocking back delectable craft beers brewed by large men with even larger beards. Nature lovers will also be pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of different activities you can access via a short car or bus ride, the city being replete with hiking trails and just on the edge of the gargantuan Lake Ontario. If you want to make sure you’re not missing out on any of the best things to do in Toronto, then you don’t have to worry – here’s Orbzii’s checklist for the must-see attractions in Canada’s capital.
Kensington Market is one of the most interesting and cool spots in Toronto. Located right in the heart of the city, there’s everything from cute coffee shops, to burlesque schools, to markets stocking fresh fruit and veg. While it has the energy of a stall market, everything is run by residents and renters, so it’s a little more settled.
The market is open daily, bar Christmas and New Year’s Day, and the timing of the stores varies, but 11.00 – 19.00 is generally a good time to go, although for the fresher items you might want to head earlier. Driving isn’t really recommended as parking is sparse, but because of the downtown location it’s an easy spot to get to, with plenty of streetcar lines heading into the area.
Walk Through a Ravine
Toronto is famous for its green spaces, and while the parks and gardens are astounding, the little ravines that vein through the city are more unique to the Canadian capital, and a great way to spend a few hours if you’re wondering what to do in Toronto but also want to get back to nature.
The system connects the city and forms urban forests that sometimes feel so deep it can seem unbelievable you’re only a few miles from skyscrapers and Starbucks’s. While not all ravines are walkable, as many are used for flood management and other important ecological tasks, there’s still hours of distance to be covered in these serene paths that give the city its colour and life.
Although there are over 150 walkable ravines, we at Orbzii have some favourites: Cedarvale Ravine, Glen Stewart Ravine, and Moore Park Ravine are all astoundingly beautiful. Just remember to dress appropriately and charge your phone – sometimes there are no signs, so you don’t want to get lost.
Art Gallery of Toronto
The premier spot for art in all of Canada, not just Toronto, AGO is home to some brilliant permanent pieces and often hosts installations from world-famous artists. Situated in the heart of the city, it’s incredibly easy to get to, and has a combination of more traditional and contemporary exhibitions, showcasing works from artists as diverse as Picasso and Ben Woolfitt.
People aged 25 and under can visit for free, but adult admission is a very reasonable CAD 10 (GBP 7), so it’s a cheap day out regardless.
Although it looks older, this castle was built in 1914 by Si Henry Pellatt as a ‘dream home’, which had to be abandoned as a place of residence in under a decade thanks to taxes and the Great War. Now open to the public, the structure is one of the most interesting things to do in Toronto, with guided tours of the massive building available.
Over 350,000 tourists pass through Casa Loma per year now to view the stunning gothic architecture and beautiful, expansive grounds. While visiting is fun, they also put on plenty of events, so if you can time your stop off at Casa Loma with a concert or festival, it will make it an even more unforgettable memory.
Allan Gardens Conservatory
This conservatory and open park is home to a whole host of different activities and amenities, and has long links to the Toronto Horticultural Society. The domed Conservatory is full of exotic plants to walk through, with six greenhouses inside the massive glass structure, each with their own different plant life.
Outside, the grounds are expansive and well-manicured, making them the perfect spot for a picnic or just to laze around with a book. If you love getting into nature but want to see something a little more tropical, it’s one of the best things to do in Toronto.
Get Tickets to a Show at CBC
Toronto is famously the heart of Canada’s thriving film industry, and as a city is often used to portray New York on the big screen, so there’s plenty of reasons to be excited about being in the front row for primetime entertainment in the Great White North. If you’re wondering what to do in Toronto and you have an evening spare, you can request tickets to any number of CBC shows, from The Hour, where you might a chance to see some famous international faces, to the hilarious 22 Minutes.
Toronto Island Park
Just a short ferry ride away from the mainland proper, this collection of smaller islands in Lake Ontario has plenty of attractions, as well as stunning views of the Toronto skyline. With amusement parks, a children’s garden, a farm, and a wide range of great food and drink. Toronto Island Park is an excellent and family-friendly place to spend a day of your Toronto trip. While the islands are accessible over Winter, nothing much is open, so this is very much a warm-weather excursion.
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto is a thriving, metropolitan city with one of the best cultural scenes in the world, and the beating heart of all this creativity and learning is the Royal Ontario Museum. Containing exhibitions on art, world culture, and natural history, it has something for everyone, whether you want to learn about Canada’s prehistoric past or see some of its most futuristic artwork.
Situated just north of Queen’s Park, there’s over six million items in the museum’s extensive collection. The building itself is worth staring at: the West Wing is built in a neo-Romanesque style, while the East Wing is neo-Byzantine, with a stunningly ornate rotunda ceiling that has mosaic tiles and various gothic carvings.
Ticket costs vary from CAD 14 – 23 (GBP 11 – 19), but there are various concessions available.
The Distillery District
This hipster area of Toronto began with a vision: melding together the old and the new, the traditional and the creative, to create a district with incredible stores, bars, galleries, and everything in between. The Distillery District opened nearly twenty years ago and since then has been a creative hub for the city. When you add in how aesthetically pleasing it all is, then there’s no excuse not to visit.
Another one for the history buffs, but also a beautiful place to visit even if you’re not too interested in war stories, Fort York is Canada’s largest collection of War of 1812 buildings and the site of a famous 1813 battle. There are tours and exhibits all year round, but in Summer a series of programmes run showing the pageantry of the Fort in all its glory.
The first building was constructed in the late 18th century, so the walls in this Toronto attraction are full of stories – but the exhibits will tell you all you need to know about this structure. The Fort has slightly reduced hours in the winter months, but the cost remains the same all year round: CAD 14 (GBP 11) for adults, and concessions for seniors, youth, and large groups.