So I figured that because I’ve been here three times now, I could compile a little post on my experience in Toronto. Firstly I have went in both Summer and Winter so I have experienced VERY hot and most recently VERY cold in the gorgeous city. I was thinking about which I preferred on my flight home and I have to say I really could not pick. Both seasons are beautiful in their own right. Last summer I was lucky enough to have two trips there and then I went two weeks back.
When I’m working we have transport to and from the airport however as I wasn’t working on my last trip, so we took the UP Express train right into the city. It’s super handy and literally leaves you smack bang in the middle of Toronto. We then grabbed a taxi right to the hotel as the city was covered in snow. Taxi’s are very cheap in Toronto and completely safe too. It’s a question I always get asked when I go to new cities ‘Are the taxi’s safe?’ and I assure you they are. We stayed in the Chelsea Toronto which is so central to everything and within walking distance. In the Summer when it’s warm you can roam outside and find yourself within 15 minutes of everything. If you request a higher room in the Chelsea Hotel, you can get a lovely view of the Toronto skyline. Next time we go, I would really love to stay in the Thompson Hotel, it looks WOW!!
Two of the things I highly recommend doing when in Toronto is see the CN tower and the Toronto sign. The Toronto sign is stunning in summer as it has a gorgeous small lake in front of it and the old city hall right beside in. The old city hall building is just stunning and worth seeing. In Winter, the small lake is made into an ice rink so you can skate all day and night if you wish. The Toronto sign is situated in Nathan Phillips Square and is lit up in the night.
The CN tower is really one of the must see in Toronto. On my first trip, I went to see it, but never actually went up it. Then on my second trip, I went one step further and decided to do the Edgewalk. The Edgewalk is open from April to November as it’s too cold to do it in the winter. The CN tower is Toronto’s tallest attraction and for the Edgewalk you basically walk outside around the circumference of the roof. It’s definitely not for someone who is scared of heights. Myself and another crew member Emma took the plunge and done it. It costs $225 so it’s not cheap. Due to time restrictions we had to do it in the morning but personally I think sunset would be the best time. I definitely want to go back and do it with Sean at some stage. If doing something like this is your thing, then I cannot recommend it enough. It’s so thrilling and the views were breathtaking. As we done this in Summer, the weather was just perfect. If this isn’t your thing then you can still go up the CN tower and get gorgeous views of Toronto. I personally wouldn’t recommend just paying for a standard ticket to go up, book in for lunch or dinner in the revolving restaurant instead. For an extra $22 you can dine with a table beside the window overlooking the whole of the city. Plus after your meal you have access to the LookOut and Glass Floor levels of the CN Tower anyway so it’s a much better deal. These are included in your meal price but it’s always best to book a few days in advance. You can check it out HERE.
If you are after a spot of shopping on your trip, you have the Toronto Eaton Centre is five minutes walk away from the hotel and has so many shops to choose from.
If you fancy renting a car, you can at Thrifty Car Rental which is situated here too. It’s super handy to pick up the car early morning and drop off later that evening.
As you can imagine there are so many places to eat in Toronto. I got so many recommendations from people to go to but never got a chance. The one place we did go was Scaddabush which is one of the nicest Italians EVER! This is actually across from the hotel so super handy.
Other recommendations I got were:
- El Catrin
- Colette (in the Thompson Hotel)
- Aunties and Uncles
- Mildred’s Kitchen
- Lisa Marie
Some of these weren’t open for brunch on weekdays so we couldn’t go. I’ll definitely be trying out Lavelle when I am there next. They have a really cool view of the CN tower. Another bar recommendation which we never go to, was the Rooftop Lounge at the Thompson Hotel. A great place for breakfast and pancakes is Eggspectation.
The main purpose of our last trip was to go see Niagara Falls. So on the morning we rented a car and drove straight to Niagara. It takes approximately an hour to drive there fom Toronto city and it’s a very easy drive too. In Winter, Niagara is actually quite quiet and there isn’t half as much going on as there is in Summer. You also cannot do the boat tour into the Falls as it’s closed due to weather. When we went half of the Falls was completely frozen over and there was snow everywhere. I’m snow obsessed so obviously I was delighted. A friend told me that in Summer it’s much busier so if you preferred it quiet, GO IN WINTER. We strolled along the Falls and it was so beautiful. It was VERY cold so warm clothes are essential. I’ll talk more about clothes at the end of the post. Seeing the Falls was absolutely BREATHTAKING. I genuinely had no words and just stood starring at them for ten mins. I couldn’t believe I was actually there seeing this with my own eyes. The photos of them don’t even do them justice and they are something everyone needs to see once in their life. You can go really close to them hearing the sound of the rushing water. I would like to come back in Summer to do the boat tour. The boat tour takes you right into the Falls were you feel the mist come from the water.
As we couldn’t do the boat tour, I knew exactly what I wanted to do instead. At Niagara there is a tower called the Skylon Tower and it’s another revolving restaurant that overlooks the Falls itself giving you a view from the top. There are two areas you can get food, in the Revolving Dining Room which we went to eat or the Summit Suite Buffet. I made the booking a few weeks in advance to make sure we would get a window seat and it was worth the wait. The food, the views, everything was just amazing. Snow covered as far as we could see and made the views even more stunning. The meal itself was pricey enough but an experience we will never forget. The revolving dining room wasn’t packed so we could take as many photos as we wanted and we weren’t rushed at any stage. Apparently this is very hard to book in Summer too so note that if you are going in Summer.
After seeing Niagara and lunch, we headed for Niagara on the Lake which was another recommendation I got. There are lots of wineries here on the drive down but lots were closed in the Winter months. In Summer I would love to go back and do a wine tour. They have wine tours were they bring you to 6-7 different wineries to taste wine from each vineyard. In Australia, I done a good few of these tours and they were so much fun. Niagara on the Lake is like stepping back in time and the houses are just stunning. Next time we go we said we would maybe do one night in Toronto itself and then a night in Niagara, that way it’s easier if we do the wine tour during the day.
As you can see there are benefits to doing Toronto/Niagara in both Summer and Winter. In Winter, the city is covered in snow and the temperature is freezing but with the right clothing you would be absolutely fine. You can ice skate at the Toronto sign and Niagara is quiet with breathtaking views. In Summer, the weather is sunny, the Edgewalk of the CN Tower is open, clothing is just regular holiday clothes but Niagara is jam packed. So there are benefits to each season. In winter, temperatures can get to -30 in Toronto depending on the year. It is essential to have layers for this cold. I wore thermal tights under my jeans in Toronto along with my snow moon boots for my feet. Wearing the right clothes can really make or break your trip in the winter so pack wisely.
Another tick on the bucket list and a trip I will always remember.
Next stop…..Orlando 🙂 Make sure you are following my on Instagram to see our trip.
Love Aoibhe xxx
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