Boy, I feel like I should have broken up my New York post into three parts or something. Phew.
So, I’m living in Toronto now, it’s the biggest city in Canada, and all around a pretty swell location. First of all, Toronto has a well connected transit system (aka the TTC) (and as of a few weeks ago you can use google maps to plan trips in and around the city, welcome to the future!) but if you are using the TTC to travel around the city costs can add up quickly (each trip is $3 dollars, no stopovers allowed.) There is a 10 dollar day pass that’s worth every penny.
If I only had ONE DAY to explore and eat in the city first stop would be brunch at Sadie’s Diner and Juice Bar (504 Adelaide St. W Toronto,ON). I’ve had an on-again off-again relationship with Sadie’s, and the food can be hit or miss depending on who’s cooking. When it’s good, it’s great, and when it’s not good, it’s still okay but nothing special. The Breakfast Burrito is a yumfest (on a good day) or the french toast. They also have really great vegan cupcakes (most of the time). My friend is very into the Tofu Club and always orders a smoothie (and I agree that the smoothie is a good call.)
After filling up on good breakfast food, I would head over to the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON) (aka ROM), it’s an amazing facility, full of history, beautiful art, and more. Go on a Friday night, it’s half price, if you’re a post secondary student with valid ID you can get in for free on Wednesdays. Getting there is easy, you can either get off the Subway at Museum station on the Young-University-Spadina line, or get out at St. George on the Blood-Danforth line and walk a little.
On the same street you can find the Bata Shoe Museum (327 Bloor Street West, Toronto) and the Royal Conservatory of Music. The Royal Conservatory of Music (273 Bloor Street W, Toronto) has midday shows that are worth checking out.
There is a restaurant that people always recommend near the ROM, called Fresh (326 Bloor Street West), so I guess I feel like it deserves a mention. Just because I haven’t ever liked a meal from there doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just very… uh…healthy. If you do end up there though, make sure to order the Quinoa Onion Rings because they are delicious.
If you don’t go to Fresh, you should make a point to go to Kensginton Market. It’s a great place to visit (and has many many cool little shops, cafes and bars) and an unfortunately high proportion of specialty cheese shops in a single geographic area. Throughout the Summer, Sundays in the Kensington Area become Car Free with Pedestrian Sunday (which some people just call PSK).
The Urban Herbivore (64 Oxford St. Toronto) is in “The Market” is run by the same people doing the vegan fine dining thing in Toronto (Fressen) and have fabulous sandwiches and bowls. The Sandwiches have been recommended multiple times by people whose opinions I trust on good food, so even though I still haven’t had one, I would recommend it too. The Quinoa bowls are also really tasty (but I’m always partial to things involving quinoa.)
Jump on the 505 eastbound towards Broadview Streetcar and head over to the Ontario Art Gallery( 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto)(aka the AGO), be sure to take a peek at the fabulously bizzare building down the street, it looks like a box on sticks… yeah, that’s the Ontario College of Art and Design (no surprise there(?)).
Dinner time is a good time to head over to Vegetarian Haven. (which by the way is conviniently located near the Ontario Art Gallery.) I’ve never had anything from Vegetarian Haven that I didn’t enjoy. The food is fabulous, the service has always been friendly, though if I was you, I’d order whatever The Special of the day is. Based on experience, it’s amazing and there is always an example dish plated to perfection when you walk through the door. Another recommendation is the fried mushroom dish. It’s very flavourful, and really, can you beat deep fried breaded mushrooms? The Singapore Seitan was quite tasty too.
So is your day over? Only if you’re tired. If it was me though, I wouldn’t be throwing in the towel so quickly.
More food? Plan to have Vegan Poutine sometime before 3am from Poutini’s on Queen Street, they are super busy on saturdays and fridays but also great.
Toronto is full of lounges, but my favourite is the one at the top of the Thompson Inn (550 Wellington Street W, Toronto, ON). It’s kinda pricy, but one drink and getting an amazing view of the city at night is totally worthwhile.
Or if you’re looking for more of a sports bar music venue dive with good food and a drink selection you should check out Sneaky Dee’s (431 College St., Toronto, ON). They have vegan nacho’s (which do not include any daiya/cheese)
The standard visit to the CN tower could be fun (especially if you don’t mind waiting in line for a while). Make sure to experience all of it, stand on the glass and look down (or better yet, lay face down on the floor, and look down. It’s a weird feeling. Take your time. I paid extra to go up in the Skypod, and I don’t regret it, but it wasn’t entirely necessary, the main floor is enough to see a great view of the city. What it was great for was to have a little bit of quiet time while enjoying the sights (it’s considerably less packed up there.)
The Ontario Science Center (770 Don Mills Road, North York). Great place to go with kids. It’s a huge facility, with great exhibits, and fun activities. I went with another adult, and we still had a lot of fun… but I’m a kid at heart. Definitely try the Van De Graff static electricity generator if you get the chance. It’s silly fun where you can stand on stage and have your hair stand on end in front of a crowd of strangers. You can catch the 25 bus from Pape station on the Bloor-Danforth Line.
You can buy a CityPass for Toronto, and save a lot of money (assuming you want to go to some of these places…) Some of the stuff included might not interest you (like the Zoo…) but even without doing that, it was worth it to me. (Oddly enough it doesn’t include the AGO.)
I’ve developed a bit of a thing for coffee. If you want to try a unique coffee experience get the siphon coffee from Sam James Coffee, or the best latte, from the same spot. Not much sitting room, so don’t come with the intention of hanging out, but the opportunity may be there.
If you’re going to be in Toronto for a while, or know you’ll be back again, you should consider picking up an Indie Coffee Passport (which let’s you get 24 cups of coffee worth up to $5 for 25$.)
Awesome Stuff that (I know about) Around Toronto (aka, stuff you do when you have access to a vehicle for a little while):
Go to Mississauga and visit Raw Aura (94 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga). I’ve wanted to go to Raw Aura ever since I heard about it at the Vegetarian Food Fair, so if you go I want to live vicariously through you. Plus the
owner/chef is cute, and has wicked vegan and vegetable related tattoos (if you’re into that sort of thing.) And you could also go because of things that are relevant to eating. Raw Aura was named one of the top ten restaurants to open in 2009.
It is possible to get from Toronto to Mississauga without a car, and it is bikeable from Toronto, but you can also catch the Go Train (around 10$ round trip) to the Port Credit Go Station and take a 5 minute walk over to the restaurant.
Go to Thornhill and visit the Vegan Danish Bakery (7718 Yonge Street, Thornhill). She has a variety of products and is great to chat with! Brownies, Soft Serve Ice Cream, so many other great things (buchaneer bars! mahalos!)
Visit Canada’s Wonderland. Because… why not? It’s an amusement park.
Now… where am I going tomorrow!? 🙂