“Also known as The Six”
Before meeting my boyfriend I was arrogant and had a weird attitude about Canada. “Pft what happens there, they all just want to be Americans”.
I had been to Toronto once before to see a concert at The Hoxton, which has housed artist such as Zed’s Dead, Disclosure and Bonobo, but I didn’t see much of the city. My first impression during my return was how the street cars reminded me of eastern Europe which I loved. Now after close to two years of being a frequent visitor I love the city. As the fourth largest city in North America and having one of it’s neighborhoods, Queen West, voted one of the coolest neighborhoods to live in by Vogue it has certainly charmed my socks off and has shown me its unique traits.
From New York City:
1. Car – 8 hour 45 minute drive
However, being a millennial in Brooklyn, I don’t have a car. So, I’ve found other ways.
2. Plane – The fastest and best way to get there. Porter airlines has become my most recent obsession. They fly out of Newark airport landing on the Toronto Island at Billy Bishop Airport. Upon landing you walk ten minutes through a tunnel and will be in Downtown Toronto with easy access to public transportation, cabs, hotels and activity. Porter also offers free wine and beer on the 1.5 hour flight along with soft beverages. Before departing the Toronto airport they have a lounge where they have a self-serve café with lattes, snacks, soft drinks etc. I MEAN. That is perfect for me. Another thing I loved about their airline was their on-flight zine which is curated almost like a mini Monocle including hot-spots for each destination that they fly to. I couldn’t rave about this airline more.
If you don’t have the chance to fly porter there is also Air Canada, West Jet and other major airlines. If you book in advanced you can get a round trip for $170 (this applies to all airlines).
3. Bus – If you’re on an even tighter budget you can also take the bus. However, this will run you a 12 hour travel time and a sore back. I’ve taken the bus. I wasn’t happy about it, but it cost me $80 round trip. Megabus and Greyhound both travel to Toronto. If you book in advanced on Megabus you can get a round trip for $28. Insanely cheap. I really only recommend the bus if you’ll be there for five or more days or else you’ll be spending most of your time in transit rather than seeing the city!
Onto the next phase of your trip! Seeing Toronto.
Thing to do and places to be:
Graffiti Ally: Between Queen Street West and Richmond Street West at Spadina it is exactly what it is called, Graffiti Ally. It is A casual stroll to see art work from Toronto’s street artist.
Eat: After a walk through graffiti ally you can stop at P & L Burger To Go (off shoot of Parts & Labour) and pick up one of Toronto’s best burgers. The burger are huge, but mouth water and run you about $10. Owned by chef Matty Matheson, you can see how he makes his infamous burger below.
Public Parks: A great way to spend a day is in one of Toronto’s parks, Trinity Bellwoods. Similar to McCarren Park in Brooklyn, it is typically filled with locals throwing around a football or Frisbee, the day drinkers sipping on wine in discreet cups, sun bathers, picnickers and exercisers. Located on Queen Street it is a gathering of the community.
Lake Front: I’ve been lucky enough to have a friend who owns a boat at Ontario Place sitting in none other than, Lake Ontario. We’ve used the boat for many occasions. Typically we don’t even take the boat out. It’s just a place to hang out. I have a great memory of when the we actually did take the boat out and my friend, Richard who was driving the boat for his first time was cruising at a 90 degree angle. Everything that had been standing upright was now at the back of the boat. All for the memories though! There is a cabin underneath which we’ve used so we used it to sleep on during a three day festival, Bestival. We’ve grilled, we’ve sun bathed we’ve pre-drank for concerts and most importantly shared memories. If you have the chance to get access to a boat I’d highly recommend it.
City Views: I mentioned Bestival located on Hanlan’s Point which is an island off of Toronto. There are beaches there which are popualr during the warmer months (You should be warned that one of the beaches allows nudity). Besides having beaches, Hanlan’s point houses the best view of Toronto’s city skyline. The best I’ve ever seen. If you are up for it there are water taxis that will take you over for $10 a person or less.
Nightlife: A lot of my favorite memories about going to Toronto are the concerts I’ve been to. I’ve been to The Hoxton many a times and the crowd is always great. The venue is small and typically it houses artist that have broke into the scene recently and the party-goers are true fans relating to the music and always genuinely happy to be there. Tickets to concerts are usually around $40 and drinks can be pricey. A water is $5. However, its all about the energy of the crowd that keeps you going back. Below is Kaytranada mix mastering with his brother Louie P.
A few things about visiting Toronto:
- Yes, their 100 bills smell like maple syrup
- You won’t see Drake running with his woes
- Try a Caesar – it is a Bloody Mary but made with clamato juice
- Canadians say “eh” a lot
- The city is very clean
- The people are nice
- The CN Tower is really pretty at night at ground level
Until my next journey ~