Nadia El Ferdaoussi eats and drinks her way around the Canadian city.
With new flight routes opening up direct from Ireland to Canada, it was time I finally made it over the border and test the waters with a trip to Toronto. After a relatively pain-free eight hours from Dublin with Air Canada, I touched down ready to explore
Ontario’s capital. I checked into my 16th floor room at the centrally located Ritz-Carlton and proceeded to drool at the city view from the floor-to-ceiling windows. If you travel in winter, the PATH (the world’s largest underground shopping complex) will be your best friend, however Toronto’s streets are ultra clean and feel super safe, perfect for strolling around staring up at the city’s skyscrapers or some of the more historic buildings.
Learn loads about both on a walking tour with Toronto historian Bruce Bell, who’s quite the character. He knows the city inside out and will give you all the insider info and treat you to peameal at the famous St Lawrence Market. The bacon sandwich with mustard is an absolute must-eat for meat eaters and makes for the perfect salty hangover snack.
For the ultimate in Toronto tourist attractions, you have to visit the top of the CN Tower. Book a table for lunch at the 360 restaurant with views stretching as far as Niagara Falls on a clear day. The menu at the rotating restaurant, 351 metres above the ground, is worth visiting for itself, but the entire experience is a must-do when in town. If you’re scared of heights, maybe skip the plexiglass viewing platform.
While in Canada it’d be rude not to try some of the local wine – yes, world-class wines are produced right on Toronto’s doorstep. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Canadian ice wine will pair perfectly with dessert. Toca Italian restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton serves excellent tastings with their in-house sommelier and get this, they also have Canada’s only cheese cave. You heard right, situated in a glass room in the centre of the restaurant, it is heaven for cheese lovers. You won’t be disappointed.
The city is a haven for good food and drink. Try a tour of the Leslieville and Riverside neighbourhoods with Culinary Adventure Co who showed us some of the absolute highlights of the trip; Merchants of Green Coffee (where my coffee knowledge went from absolutely nothing to mind blown and enjoying black coffee for the first time, in about 20 minutes) and Tabule, some of the best Middle Eastern food I’ve ever had.
At less than €60 for the three hour tour, including cider tasting, it’s a tough one to beat. For a more casual drop-in affair, Canada’s first chef-driven food hall, Assembly Chef ’s Hall, opened last year and serves up a smorgasbord of flavours from some of the city’s top names in the restaurant business. Fancy a unicorn latte? You’ll get one here, as well as pitchers of margaritas, superfood snacks and Canadian comfort food.
Getting there: Air Canada fares start from €664.80 per person, based on non-stop flights from Dublin inclusive of taxes and a checked bag (subject to change).
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. Rates vary starting from around €335 for a deluxe room.
What to do: A Toronto City Pass provides access to key attractions across the city for €64 (plus taxes). Getting around Toronto costs just €8 per day with a TTC day pass. For more, visit Tourism Toronto here.