How to Travel Toronto like a Local This Summer
Affectionately known as the “City of Neighbourhoods”, Toronto is the largest city in Canada - which means that there are endless opportunities for good food, live music, and adventure. As someone born and raised here in the city, I’m always happy to share my favourite spots with travellers. If you find yourself in my hometown of Toronto this summer, here are all the top hidden gems to check out. (If you’re spending a full weekend, check out our guide on how to spend 48 hours in Toronto).
Favourite Coffee Shop - Merchants of Green Coffee
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love my coffee. Starting a weekend out at a coffee shop always sets me up for success, and I have a few personal favourites around the city. One of these has to be Merchants of Green Coffee in Riverdale, which is tucked away in a residential area, and sells organically farmed, sustainably-sourced coffee. They even have a “Coffee School” where they teach beginners how to roast their own beans and brew premium coffee.
Top Picnic Spot - Trinity Bellwoods Park
If the weather is nice, a picnic in Trinity Bellwoods Park is always a must for a Saturday afternoon. Grab some sandwiches, beers, and a frisbee and enjoy the sunshine while people watching. Trinity Bellwoods is a very popular park on weekends, so make sure to get there early and stake your claim on a good spot!
Deep Fried Goodness
In the evening, head over to the Canadian National Exhibition, affectionately known as “the Ex”, for some carnival games and a wide variety of food options. Be careful though - the Ex is known for deep frying all sorts of strange things, and while it might be irresistable in the moment, your stomach might not thank you for it later (I’m looking at you, cronut burger).
One for the Instagrammers - Kensington Market
On Sunday, take a stroll through Kensington Market, located just southwest of College and Spadina. This neighbourhood is a pedestrian’s paradise that closes its roads to cars on Sundays, and is filled with indie shops, cafes, and lots of quirky characters. Take some time to get lost popping in and out of the shops, and then walk over to Graffiti Alley just off Queen Street for a killer instagram spot with world class street art.
The Best Dumplings
Once you’ve worked up an appetite from your photoshoot, walk over to Spadina for some authentic dumplings in Chinatown! I’d recommend Dumpling House - their dumplings are both budget and belly friendly. When you’ve finished filling yourself with dumplings, take the ferry from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal out to the Toronto Islands to relax. The ferry ride will give you one of the best views of the Toronto skyline in the city, and the islands themselves are full of interesting things to do, including beaches, an amusement park, and a petting zoo!