Canada is a country that people often overlook because of being neighbours with the United States. Though, it actually has a lot more to offer than most people think. Canada is rich with culture of English and French ancestry. If you want to go abroad without breaking the bank, it’s a no brainier. Depending on how much time you have, many guides would recommend a week long trip to visit all the tourist spots like Quebec, Montreal, and Toronto. If you only have 48 hours, Toronto is a must, and I’ll show you how to get the most out of your trip.
48 Hours in Toronto: Day 1
Early Morning: CN Tower
You don’t have a lot of time, and neither did I when I went to Toronto. For the early start, be sure to grab a coffee and a maple doughnut at Tim Horton’s simply for the experience. Then you can head out into downtown Toronto for the day. The first stop should be the CN Tower which is located next to Roger’s centre. The Ripley’s Believe it or Not aquarium is also in the same area. You can hit two birds with one stone in this case. The CN Tower is the 3rd largest tower in the world behind the Canton Tower. You can go up to the observation deck for $30 CA (£20). There’s also a restaurant at the top where you can dine with a panoramic view.
Afternoon: The Distillery District
After you’ve spent some part of the day at the CN Tower or simply wandering around the city. Your next stop should be The Distillery District. This area was a former warehouse built in the 1800’s. Now, it is home to a plethora of shops and restaurants with every cuisine from wine bars, Spanish, French, and a distillery. You can have this as an option for lunch or dinner. My personal recommendation is a Parisian-style coffee shop called Balzac’s. They have a variety of coffee, tea, and pastry options. If you do visit their shop for a morning coffee or after dinner dessert, I suggest a drink called the “Parisian Mist”. It consists of French breakfast tea, vanilla syrup, and topped with foamy milk, you won’t regret it.
Evening: Art Gallery of Toronto
This will very likely be the last stop of the day after all the walking and sightseeing. The Art Gallery of Toronto is a modern building featuring pieces from every era and art style. I’m personally not into art, but there was one exhibit here in particular that caught my eye. I happened to be there on opening night. A renowned Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama created something called the “Mirror Room”, which was a room filled with floating silver balls. It was a trick on the eyes and the museum staff only gives you 30 seconds to take it all in. After that exhibit you can certainly go on a tour of the rest of the gallery, as there is quite a bit to see.
48 Hours in Toronto: Day 2
Early Morning: Scarborough Bluffs Trail
I always feel like an outdoorsy activity should be on the itinerary of any trip. This is actually a park located on the outskirts of Toronto, but very accessible via TTC Scarborough station. When you arrive there, please call an Uber, as it is a 40 minute walk from the station. The park is divided into sections including the trails, marina, and beach. The hike really wasn’t strenuous at all, covered with wildflowers and a pretty panoramic beach view. After you’re done hiking, take a minute to relax on the beach, perhaps enjoy a picnic.
Afternoon : St. Lawrence Market
When you get back to the city, get cleaned up and ready to spend the rest of your trip downtown. The next stop today is the St. Lawrence Market, Canada’s most famous market besides Kensington. This place is a huge warehouse and a food lovers paradise. It offers everything under the sun from Russian, Italian, Spanish, American, I could go on. This is quite possibly one of the best ways to experience the Toronto food scene.
Before it gets dark, you need to make a quick stop at Graffiti Alley. This part of the city dedicated 3 or 4 streets to the most eccentric and vibrant street art that I’ve ever seen. It’s also not too crowded, so you can definitely get an Insta-worthy photo here.
Sadly, our trip ends here, but we might as well celebrate by enjoying Toronto’s multicultural food scene. There are Chinatown’s everywhere around the world. Some are really extravagant, and others more lowkey and authentic. Toronto’s Chinatown was smaller than I anticipated, but the restaurants made up for the size. For the last feast in Canada, stop by The Happy Lamb. This is a hotpot (soup restaurant), where each person orders their own personal bowl of broth. Then you can choose from a wide variety of toppings and sauces. It’s absolutely delicious and the flavors are out of this world. For dessert, there are many street food options of delectable Chinese sweets.
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Michaela is an English teacher and travel blogger based in South Korea. She will give you the perfect guide to travelling around Asia, and getting TEFL certified!