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Rediscovering Toronto: Things to Do in the City

October 1, 2014 | Loretta | Comments (2)

This past week I've been racking my brain for things to do with my relatives visiting from overseas. Mind you, they aren't rookies when it comes to being a tourist in Toronto. Heck, they've been coming annually to our beloved city for the past 20 years - they're practically Torontonians. Plus, they've been to all the hot spots: Niagara Falls, CN Tower, every inch of Downtown Toronto & most of the GTA/Markham. You can see why it's been a tough gig playing tour guide!

For me, what defines Toronto is the hustle and bustle of Downtown Toronto. And dining. (We Torontonians love to eat!) Forgetting that my relatives are from a high-tech, overpopulated city where hustle-and-bustle is the norm, my suggestion for spending the day downtown was met with moans & groans. Back to the drawing board. 

Here's a list of things that I came up with, for you to share with your friends & family who want a relaxing time in Toronto:

Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG)- A favourite among families with small children, wedding photographers, and joggers & cyclists, TBG is perfect for a lazy mid-day stroll. I'd suggest going on a weekday to avoid a packed parking lot. Check out their Teaching Garden and my all-time favourite, the Organic Farmers' Market (year-round, Thursdays 2-7 p.m.). My relatives loved the fresh air and the mini nature walk. Pack some sandwiches and you're ready to go! See more info on walking trails in the city by visiting Kate’s post. 

 

Toronto Botanical Garden

Museums & Art Galleries - Did you know that you can borrow a Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) from the library with your library card? A MAP pass lets you and your family (2 adults & up to 5 children) explore venues such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo, Art Gallery of Ontario, and more, for free. At the Barbara Frum Branch, MAP passes are given out on a first come, first served basis on Thursdays at 9 a.m. 

Toronto's Neighbourhoods - There are a ton of hidden gems in Toronto: locally-owned cafes, pubs, restaurants, and markets. Here's a guide from BlogTO that takes you through the 55 pockets in the GTA - what to do, where to eat, and it includes a map of where these neighbourhoods are. My (touristy) go-tos for an afternoon on the patio for food & drinks are the Distillery District, St. Lawrence Market, Annex, Financial District, and the Beaches. 

For more info on tourist attractions for your relatives who've never been to Toronto, here are some books to help you plan their visit & for you to brush up on your knowledge of Toronto's history:

Toronto     Fodor's Toronto       Streeteats

 

Also, see the City of Toronto website for Festivals & Events happening in the city.

See? Being a tour guide does have its perks. Not only do you view the city through the eyes of a tourist but you rediscover all that our wonderful city has to offer. Not to mention, the favour is reciprocated when you visit your relatives overseas. Happy Touring!

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