Toronto for #CANADA150: Why You Should Visit TO During Summer
Toronto, or the big apple of Canada, as I like to call it, imminently reminded me of a younger sibling of New York City, with that resemblance of hustle and bustle and huge skyscrapers, just on a slightly smaller, Canadian scale. I'd been to Toronto several times in the past, once during a snowstorm in March which left me realizing that I could never, and I mean NEVER, relocate to this cold, seemingly uninhabitable land. But I'd never been out east during the summer, and so I packed my things – very lightly – expecting to be undertaken by the intense humidity and heat.
Humidity at bay from what appears to be a "late summer" as the locals are saying, we threw on what we could manage to keep relatively warm, checked in, and went out for to celebrate Canada Day – or as you might know it on social media by now, #Canada150. Happy 150th Canada!
Here's why you should visit Toronto during the summer
Whether humid or not, I much prefer the hot to the uninhabitable cold, as I'm sure you would too if you'd experienced that March in Toronto, the snow nipping at your exposed cheeks and nose. I had a blast in Toronto for the few days we had, and here are just a handful of reasons I implore you to make a trip out east sometime during the summer, which I'm sure is bound to get much warmer soon:
- The nightlife. As a Vancouver-local, I was all but blown away by the diversity of the nightlife in Toronto. The land of R&B and hip hop, you will have a blast perusing the T-dot town upon its evening, late night, and early morning hours.
- The outdoor music, and possibly Drake. Surely not a year-long thing, a trip to Toronto in the summer is worth it even just for the opportunity of some outdoor concerts. We lucked out, big time, when Drake surprised us at City Hall the day after Canada Day, singing a few songs, and then pointing to the sky as fireworks emerged, all of us fans going insane in the crowds. What a great surprise it was.
- The food. Toronto has some incredible food as well, which you might discover on a tour through Kensington Market like we did with Tasty Tours. I'd highly recommend this tour on your visit to Toronto – it's so great to be able to learn about the history of a place, its food, and its culture, all while nibbling and tasting the flavours along the way. I particularly enjoyed Moo Frites, a poutine joint inspired by the frites with mayonnaise in Amsterdam. Brought me back!
- Toronto Island, maybe. We weren't able to visit Toronto Island during our visit as it happened to be basically underwater from all the flooding, but I do look forward to visiting what I hear to be a gem of a spot on our next visit.
- The CAD dollar. I cannot stress to you how enjoyable it was to drink a $11 dollar glass of wine and have it be just that. The CAD dollar makes US and Europe travel pretty crippling, hindering each and every one of your purchases with an imminent sense of overspending anxiety, and it was so refreshing to not have to worry about this on our trip to Toronto.
- The diversity and friendliness. The people in Toronto come from all walks of life, and unlike the snobbier Vancouver, are incredibly friendly. It's pretty eye opening what a simple conversation with a couple of strangers sitting next to you at a bar can do for your sense of wonder, curiosity, and intrigue to that general thing we call life, and I found the people in Toronto to truly bring out this side of me as well.
Where to Stay in Toronto
We stayed at the Fairmont Royal York, and had zero regrets. This fancy hotel is located in the most perfect locale, right across from the UP Express Train that will take you to and from Toronto Pearson International Airport in less than 30 minutes (the cost is $12 one way). Once arrived, you can be sure that the metro trains or a quick Uber ride – yes, Toronto has Uber! – will get you everywhere you need to go. Plus the property itself is quite gorgeous, with an awesome indoor pool, several restaurants, and a great bar.
How to Get the Cheapest Flight
I'd recommend booking with Skyscanner to ensure you get the cheapest flight to Toronto, for the best days possible. It can be hard to justify spending an arm and a leg on a domestic flight to Toronto, when a flight abroad to Europe would cost about the same if you aren't careful, so be sure to do your homework! PS. AirTransat has an awesome direct flight to Toronto from Vancouver.
For all attractions as well as opportunities for live music and more during your trip to Toronto, check out the official site of Toronto Tourism.