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Toronto in June: Recs?

We're headed to Toronto + Niagara Falls + Rochester, NY in June with two teenagers (16 and 19) and would love any recommendations for Toronto lodging + activities. We won't have a car in Toronto so would like to stay in an area where we can walk to most sights.

We're renting a car to go to Niagara and then on to Rochester (my husband spent time there as a graduate student many years ago so that's more of a nostalgia trip). But if you have Rochester-area recs, too, I'd welcome them!

Thank you in advance,

Wendy

Posted by
8641 posts

A lot of sights in Toronto are downtown and walkable. Are you baseball fans? The Blue Jays stadium has a Marriott hotel built into it from which you can walk a block to the CNR Tower, one of the tallest buildings in North America. The waterfront is nearby with cruises available, and the Broadway Market worth a look. Lots of other stuff to see there. We even took the Hop On Hop Off bus to get around, one of the few places we thought it was worthwhile.

Posted by
52 posts

Thank you, Stan. I appreciate the recommendations. While not huge sports fans, we do like baseball so will explore a Blue Jays game if they're in town during our stay.

Posted by
1695 posts

Boo. I just tried to get the link to my favourite B&B in Toronto and learned that it has moved to Guelph.

I lived in Toronto for a while in my younger years, and my daughter lives there now, so I visit fairly often.

We have also stayed here: https://www.avalontoronto.com The location was absolutely perfect. The suite we had was a bit run down, though.

For hotels, we've stayed at the Novotel on the Esplanade a couple of times and liked it, but apparently it is closed and being used as a shelter since Covid started. That is a good area, too, and very close to Union Station.

Basically, anywhere in Metro that is close to the subway will be easy to manage without a car. However, if you want to walk to most sights, then you want to be in Yorkville, the Annex, the Esplanade, or close to Yonge Street or Spadina Avenue and south of Bloor St. (or not more than a few blocks north of it).

For activities, a few I'd suggest are Casa Loma https://casaloma.ca , a visit to the top of the CN Tower, the Distillery District, and Snakes and Lattes (board game cafe). If you want to try Indigenous cuisine, my favourite is Tea n' Bannock. There's also Nish Dish and the Powwow Cafe.

Edited to add: go to the Old Spaghetti Factory on the Esplanade--not so much for the food, although it's okay and very reasonably priced--but for the fun ambience.

Posted by
40 posts

I grew up in Toronto. The Royal Ontario Museum is worth a visit, as is the Ontario Gallery of Art. Just outside of town, the Group of Seven McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg is excellent (if you're into that sort of thing, although your teens may not).

Who knows, with any luck this June the Leafs may still be playing! That would be a pricey ticket but Justin Bieber would definitely be there! (I'm thinking of the teens).

The Jays have a very exciting team this year

Kensington Market is fun and downscale, the immigrant side of Toronto is on full display; the St Lawrence Market is more upscale. Try a peameal bacon sandwich at the latter.

The toronto Islands are relaxing. Rent a bike, a rowboat. If you venture to Hanlan's point, know that there's a nude beach. Centre Island has the carnival rides etc... its kitschy but fun. The ferry ride alone is worth it on a sunny day.

The zoo is vast, I havent been in a while, so i can't comment.

Great walks in the ravines of the Don River.

Lots of plays and musicals in the theatre section (King and Bathurst area) should be on now that covid protocols are eased. Not sure if Stratford Shakespeare festival will be going at that time of year... There's a Shaw festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake that may be running.

Go look at mansions on the Bridlepath (Drake,,, your teens will know who he is). Or more to my taste, the houses in Rosedale.

Posted by
273 posts

The last time I was in Toronto, my friends and I stayed at the Pantages Hotel. It is right smack in the middle of things, and, while it wasn't overly plush, it was clean and met all our needs. Of course, you probably know about Torontos theater district, and I agree with the other poster that the markets are worth the trip. The kids would probably be more interested in Eaton Place if they are into shopping. The distillery district is a neat place to explore.

For Rochester, you'll have a car so Letchworth Park might be something you're interested in seeing. I think it's within an hour, but the gorges are really great. Kodak started in Rochester, so the George Eastman House is a nice museum, and the Public Market on the weekends is my favorite place to be! The Dinosaur Barbecue is a local landmark restaurant, right at the falls and worth a visit. I live about an hour and a half from Rochester, and have spent ALOT of time there, so please PM me if I can give you more recommendations for it.

Posted by
52 posts

Thank you to all of you for the recommendations -- so helpful!

Wendy

Posted by
631 posts

Yo WJT,
We live in T.O. and have a few extra suggestions and clarifications. No-one has yet mentioned our Beach neighbourhood, with its chilled-out vibe wooden boardwalk. It is a very relaxing place to take a family stroll. One section features the continent's largest volleyball area, something that might appeal to teens. There are public washrooms plus an Olympic-sized pool. For a proper meal, one would want to walk up onto the main drag Queen Street or leave the area to dine elsewhere.

Another attraction with a specific focus is nearby, the man-made peninsular park called 'Leslie Spit' aka Tommy Thompson park. Its one of the country's most successful land reclamation projects and a great free place to walk or bike amid nature. Birders love it.
If you visit Kensington market, be aware that the larger of our city's two Chinatowns is adjoined, allowing for an easy 2-fer.

If visiting St. Lawrence market, be aware that Saturdays are the only day when both the indoors covered market and the tented southerly market are featured at the same time. Frankly, that southerly one is not worth a detour---its best vendors have left and that day is crowded. But the main everyday market can be worth one's while. There, je propose:
-French cheeses such as Comte or Cantal at either of the upper cheeses shops
-New Zealand 'Tawari' honey (outstanding butterscotch flavor) from Oleg's tiny honey stand in the basement
-nearby Oleg is the East European deli, one of our city's finest: VG range of Ukrainian-style foods
-next-door is the freshly-squeezed juice bar: awesome lime and also clementine
-also downstairs at the pie/cake booth try the finest pumpkin pie on the planet: Chudleighs!
Bon Chance!
I am done. The end.
-upstairs at the Canuck wine outlet, try Trius red, arguably Canada's best

Posted by
52 posts

Thank you so much, Gregglamarsh! Really appreciate those detailed suggestions.

Posted by
4066 posts

What's Toronto without the Hockey Hall of Fame? It's as central as you can get, Yonge and Front, and interesting history even if you don't follow athletes on frozen water. From there, it's an easy walk east on Front to the St. Lawrence market. Along the way, watch for Berczy Park Dog Fountain, a whimsical collection of sculpted pooches. Two blocks further east, just past the unmistakable Flat Iron Building, on the south side of the street you can wet your whistle at the large basement pub C'est What?, best place for the booming craft beer movement (no Bud, lots of local brews).