Mum and I are so excited to explore Toronto, AKA Canada’s Downtown. I’m keen to head to the city’s Old Town to explore the indie shops and cafes in Corktown, and I know that mum could spend hours admiring local artwork in the Distillery Historic District. This area is also home to the St Lawrence food market, which I’ve heard is one of the best in the world – we’ll have to pop by to see if it lives up to the hype.
The CN Tower is also on my Toronto bucket list. Mum’s a little nervous about heights, but I’ve convinced her that a meal at 360 Restaurant is a must for the market-fresh dishes and wines from the “cellar in the sky”. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be going solo for the infamously nerve-wracking glass floor and Edge Walk though!
Mum’s keen to plan in some spa time to “blow away the cobwebs”, as she’d say, so I’m going to book us in for a treatment at Four Seasons. I also thought we could head out to Eastside’s Blue Flag beaches to escape the hubbub of the city for a day or two. The district’s draw is also its laidback boutiques, casual restaurants, pubs, patios and spaces primed for culinary adventures such as Little India and Greektown. Koreatown, a little further west, is the place to go for BBQ restaurants.
There’s no way I’ll be returning from Toronto without some souvenirs, so we’ll be dropping by the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood to give our credit cards a bashing. With designer boutiques on “Mink Mile” for me and antique shops for mum it’s the ideal shopping district, especially with small courtyards and a contemporary park for people watching and recharging our batteries.
If we can squeeze some more activities in around the retail therapy we’ll definitely stroll the Bloor Street Culture Corridor to check out its cultural landmarks or visit Casa Loma, an authentic castle complete with turrets, secret passages and an escape room game (already one of my favourite things to do in London!).
Mum has always been a fan of theatre and musical performances, so we’ll try and catch an opera at Roy Thomson Hall or a classical orchestra at Koerner Hall. If we’re lucky, there’ll be tickets for the National Ballet of Canada – hopefully either for Cinderella or A Streetcar Named Desire.
Festivals are also a big deal in Toronto and we’re still trying to decide whether to centre our trip around one of the annual events. There’s the gigantic photography festival Scotiabank Contact, Luminato Festival for arts, Fringe for theatre, Toronto International Buskerfest for live music, Nuit Blanche for art or even the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, which is supposed to be an absolute feast for the eyes and the appetite. There are just so many to choose from.
I might struggle to entice mum with one of the many buzzing nightclubs in Westside, but this late-night entertainment district is also host to craft cocktail bars and hipster hangouts, which she’ll definitely enjoy – especially once I’ve treated her to a mojito or two!
Frontier Canada offers seven nights in a Chelsea room at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, plus a full-day Niagara Falls tour and a two-hour city tour, for £1,595pp, including flights with Air Canada and breakfast each morning. Price is based on June 2019 departures.