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A local's guide to toronto

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Toronto, eh? Old Hog Town is an always-changing dreamscape of travel delights. Best Asian food this side of... er... Asia? Toronto. Keen on a show at one of the world's greatest music venues? Toronto (bonus points if Neil Young is in town). Want to get your libation on? You get the point. There's something for everyone in this town, whether you're keen on whetting your whistle in the Distillery District or getting your mustache and plaid on in Ossington.
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249 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 3A1, Canada
The Dakota Tavern is Ossington Avenue's infamous subterranean saloon, an open concept rock bar with glowing skulls mounted on the wall, barn doors leading nowhere, and high-backed whiskey barrel stools surrounding the old oak bar. The Dakota has...
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64 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y7, Canada
I don't know of many places where you can grab a coffee, read a magazine, pull a pint, flip a tractor tire, swing a sledgehammer, and finish off with an organic wheatgrass and kale smoothie, but then I don't know many other places like the...
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301 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2T6, Canada
Since it was built back in 1976, the CN Tower has topped the must-visit list of most Toronto tourists. Until recently, a visit was pretty standard; hop in elevator, shoot up to the observation deck, and ogle the city from a hawk’s...
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550 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2V4, Canada
The Thompson Toronto’s rooftop lounge and pool both offer a broad view of the skyline and Lake Ontario. The lobby welcomes with modern furnishings. The Counter, a 24-hour diner, serves poutine, the Canadian greasy-spoon favorite made of French...
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472 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2B2, Canada
At Bar Chef, owner Frankie Solarik’s mad-scientist bartenders wear porkpie hats that recall a classic speakeasy. But they mix modern potions. They inject their martinis with green olive–flavored foam and serve punch bowls such as the Jimmy Cliff,...
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317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada
Frank Gehry was born inToronto, but his dramatic 2008renovation and expansion ofthis Beaux-Arts museum washis first Canadian commission.He first discovered art on childhood visits to its vast collection,which spans the world. Now themuseum...
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Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2K2, Canada
A trip to Toronto without a visit to Kensington Market doesn’t make any sense. Despite its diminutive size, this neighborhood packs plenty of activity within its boundaries. Arrive hungry: Restaurants and cafés dish out bites...
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774 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2B6, Canada
If anyone comes to Toronto looking for some good, healthy Southeast-Asian food, go no further then Hue's Kitchen (http://www.yelp.ca/biz/hues-kitchen-toronto). Ok - the decor is cheesy, and the menus are a bit tattered, but the curry tasted...
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Toronto, ON, Canada
Toronto’s international film festival, held every September, drew half a million attendees last year. Dozens of movies have been shot here. But the cinema isn’t the only reason to visit “Hollywood North” this fall. Modern buildings by architects...
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37 Milford Ave, North York, ON M6M 2V8, Canada
The Junction has its fair share of furniture shops but one of my favourites is Metropolis Living. Owned by siblings and veteran vintage collectors Phil Freire and Maggie Gattesco, the store feels like a museum of cool props. I'm a big fan of the...
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479 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 2N4, Canada
It's one of the most beautifully decorated places in the city. It's away from the tourist fray in the East End, but if you're lucky to have your cuppa here, you'll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the skyline from Riverdale Park. This is a...
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1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J6, Canada
Stay in one of the 37 artist-designed rooms at the Gladstone, Toronto's longest-running hotel, and you'll be feeling the design vibe by morning. The Snapshot room incorporates vibrant images of Toronto's High Park and gives a treehouse feeling to...
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1151 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
The famed Drake Hotel's motto is that they are a "hotbed of culture." This extends to their General Store but the items in here are anything but general. There's lots of curiosities here like those fun scratch maps, New York vs. Paris postcard...
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1132 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1X2, Canada
If you ask someone in Toronto where to get great poutine in Toronto, there's going to be a debate. It doesn't matter if it originated in Quebec, Torontonians love their cheese curd, gravy and fries mash-up. So where to go? Some will say Smoke's...
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63 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z2, Canada
Arranged by era, I Miss You Vintage is a well organized, easy-to-shop treasure trove of great pieces. If you want high-end vintage, this is the place to get it. They recently added an extension for bags and accessories. There are some true finds...
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60 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M4W 0A4, Canada
This location is now the new flagship hotel for the brand. Local design firm Yabu Pushelberg aimed for surprises around every corner with the design of the hotel. From the 50 foot fenced ceilings (the fence pattern is also replicated in its...
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390 Keele St, Toronto, ON M6P 2K8, Canada
In the Junction, an emerging design neighborhood, Russet & Empire specializes in cheeky riffs on old-school Canadian icons. Porcelain cups from Toronto designer Rob Southcott (shown) stack to form a totem pole, while National Design Collective...
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Tempt fate at the Monkey Paw’s Book-O-Matic machine, where for the price of a toonie you’ll be delivered an archaic tome in the vein of Elementary Arabic, Vol. 3. I’ll let you know how my studying gets on. The Monkey’s Paw...
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790 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, Canada
The moment the snow melts, young Torontonians begin their annual spring migration to Trinity Bellwoods Park. The hippest park in town, Bellwoods stretches from the shopper’s paradise of Queen West up to central Dundas Street. On a...
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From the outside, the Royal Ontario Museum appears to have been struck by a mineral formation from outer space. When the original building was overhauled by starchitect Daniel Libeskind, many locals were dismayed by the new...
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229 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1R4, Canada
The Tour Guys take you on a guided tour of Toronto's Graffiti Alley. As you wind through the alley as well as other points of graffiti in back areas of downtown, you'll get an overview of the history and language of graffiti. It's a great insight...
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357 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1S5, Canada
Known as the greenest hostel in North America, it's also one of the most unique hostel stays I've had. Planet Traveler is a smorgasboard of everything a traveler would want in an accommodation: -comfortable and roomy beds -clean rooms with plenty...
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11 Dockside Dr, Toronto, ON M5A 1B6, Canada
Squint your eyes and Sugar Beach looks like a David Hockney painting come to life: a cobalt-blue sky above and pale yellow sands below, lined by even rows of pastel-pink umbrellas. It's an Instagrammer's dream. But look around and you'll...
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538 Manning Ave, Toronto, ON M6G 2V9, Canada
Ici is a tiny and charming 24-seat neighborhood bistro. Reservations are an absolute must, but try to get the later seating. We got the early seating and were a bit rushed when the time came for the next reservation to be seated. The dishes were...
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14 Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2J7, Canada
If you ask any fashion editor or blogger what the best vintage shop is in Toronto, chances are they're going to tell you that it's Courage My Love in Kensington Market. It's hard not to miss this shop, which has been in business since 1975. If you...
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The Distillery District, Toronto, ON M5A, Canada
The Distillery District, with its cobblestoned streets and Victorian-era commercial buildings, brings a little old-time romance to Toronto. After industry moved out, the area became run-down; but the extraordinary heritage architecture...
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928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1W3, Canada
The Black Hoof gets a lot of press and for good reason. Their food and concept is different and simply one of the best. From the tongue on brioche, the bone marrow with chimichurri and foie gras with nutella on banana bread (yup...you heard that...
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245 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2K9, Canada
Toronto has some great dog parks, dog friendly stores and dog events. I love just taking my dog there for a walk along the harbour front and some shopping at European Bound and a drink at Starbucks!
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243 X Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, Canada
List this under "very cool installations." The best part about the "wavedeck" is that you can slide on it (because you know you want to). It's a great, interactive gathering place at water's edge, and it plays on that theme in a whimsical way.
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392 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A9, Canada
Former Toronto food truck superstar, Banh Mi Boys, opened up a shop at the buzzy intersection of Queen and Spadina (ironically, it's beside a McDonald's). In addition to their popular banh mi sandwiches and steam bao is one unusual dish: Kimchi...
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32 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada
On one of those (far too many for my taste) freezing days, nothing warms me up more than a cup of hot and spicy Mayan chocolate. Delicious! I also would suggest the Bicerin (pictured above) when they happen to have it on their menu. Heaven!
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93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
Stationed inside the St. Lawrence Market, a veritable treasure trove of edible goodness, Carousel Bakery is where you'll find Hogtown's original peameal bacon sandwich which manages to be both lunch and a history lesson all in one. Curing pork...
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93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
Toronto's St. Lawrence Market is crammed with 120 vendors, butcher counters, bakeries, ethnic eateries, and seafood shops. But there's one reason why most people come here: the peameal bacon sandwich, which is dished up at the Carousel Bakery....
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178 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5B 1T7, Canada
Massey Hall is one of Canada’s most important concert halls. A veritable encyclopedia of musical talent has played here, including Enrico Caruso, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Igor Stravinsky, Patti Smith, Lou Reed,...
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Old Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Downtown Toronto isn't usually associated with footracing, and it may seem strange that anyone would want to run in one of the busiest cities in the world, but a few times a year the downtown core is shut off from vehicular traffic and opened up...
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Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada
It takes a Herculean effort to get out of bed at 4AM, work through the ferret warrens that claim to be Toronto's roads, and arrive in a place worth waiting for the sun. When the sun finally showed up and lifted the frigid blanket of a chilly May...
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18 King St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, Canada
Toronto's beer scene is burgeoning, with new breweries, brewpubs, and watering holes popping up around town all the time. And while the Beer Bistro doesn't brew on the premises, they do go out of their way to bring in some of the world's greatest...
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124 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z5, Canada
Bellwoods hasn't been open long, but it has already made an impression on the Toronto craft beer and food scene. Bellwoods and the Group of Seven Chefs put on a brilliant seafood feast that I was lucky enough to be in attendance for; it was the...
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143 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1N2, Canada
Allen's is an institution down on the Danforth. Nestled in the heart of Greektown, Allen's is as much a destination as the famed neighborhood itself; the place is busy every night of the week, and a few movies have even been filmed inside. The...
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245 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto, ON M4P 3B7, Canada
It seems as though only diehard brew misers know about Granite, which is a shame, considering it's one of the very best brew pubs in the country. It could have something to do with the fact that the pub is located at Eglington and Mt Pleasant,...
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1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, ON L6A 1S6, Canada
What you see here is the most terrifying rollercoaster in the world. This thing is so big that one of Wonderland's original coasters runs beneath it—and is not even visible in this frame. The Leviathan, as it is called, is so large that it...
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1271 Dundas St W #200, Toronto, ON M6J 1X8, Canada
I popped into Imperial Tattoo in Toronto's Land of Oz to meet with Ronan Gibney, one of the country's most famed tattoo artists. Ronan's chair is often booked two months out, which makes it tough to drop by and get a dragon, naked lady, or laser...
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5 Lesmill Rd, North York, ON M3B 2T3, Canada
In a hurry? Pop into Red Mango for the quick lunch special for around $5. Red Mango is probably the only Thai-Chinese joint I've ever visited in the GTA, but I'm not about to complain about a green curry and sweet and sour pork combo—delicious.
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45 Esandar Dr, Toronto, ON M4G 4C5, Canada
Toronto's craft beer scene is exploding. Amsterdam Brewing has been at the forefront of the craft scene for many years, but with a brand new brewing facility in an up and coming part of town, and a line of great new suds—some experimental, some...
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Chain or not, Freshii has a great boutique lunch vibe that makes each outlet feel like a unique one-off. Fresh ingredients, friendly service, and a quick, healthy lunch. I'm a fan. It has to be the only outlet of this type offering salad and...
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861 York Mills Rd, North York, ON M3B 1Y2, Canada
I've visited Thailand 6,530 times (citation needed), and plan on visiting over and again until I kick the bucket. Yeah, the beaches and Bangkok and the hustle and bustle are all great, but few cuisines compare to Thai. North York will never be...
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865 York Mills Rd, North York, ON M3B 1Y6, Canada
I may have overdone it at this pizza parlor, but only by a half a dozen slices. I settled in at the counter surrounded by school kids on lunch break. The second I pulled out my camera, they were on me with a thousand questions. It turned into...
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865 York Mills Rd, North York, ON M3B 1Y6, Canada
WonderPho Tonight is my favorite Bob Seger song. WonderPho North York is my favorite pseudo-street food sit down joint. Coincidence? I think not. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, and that menu is as concise and well curated as any...
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879 York Mills Rd, North York, ON M3B 1Y5, Canada
I know that the photo looks desolate, but the joint had only just opened, and I was in a rush. You'll have to trust me when I tell you that this one of the most popular restaurants on the block, and a little slice of Filipino heaven. The menu...
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4687 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 5M3, Canada
Stop into Way Cool Tattoos Uptown to checkout local tattoo artist's work. If you're coming to town for a souvenir, why not go all out and get one you'll never forget? The folks at Way Cool Tattoos should have no problem helping you out. I suggest...
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4695 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 5M3, Canada
A great option for a quick breakfast, Eggsmart has a few locations scattered throughout Toronto and the GTA. We Canadians love breakfast, because we're about the only people in the world able to figure out peameal bacon. You might know it as...
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12 Bushbury Dr, North York, ON M3A 2Z7, Canada
Donalda is an exclusive member club in the heart of North York, but isn't completely out of reach for the non-member. Guests of members have always been welcome at Donalda, and playing the 6,500 yard course tucked deep in Toronto is an experience...
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Betty Sutherland Trail, Toronto, ON, Canada
Have you been here? Tell us about it below!
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1240 Sheppard Ave E, North York, ON M2K 2W1, Canada
If you're anything like me, you like to get lost. Unfortunately, I can't always find my way back home. That has never happened in Toronto—not when the city is never more than a kilometer or two away—but it's sometimes fun to pretend. The East Don...
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7509 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2B4, Canada
This indoor market couldn't be more out of place if it tried, and that's just fine by me. This is a throwback to the Ontario of old, and should be experienced when you've got a bit of time on your hands, and find yourself a little north of...
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879 York Mills Rd, North York, ON M3B 1Y5, Canada
I love Persian cuisine, but I love art I don't understand even more. Tough to decide which to show you here, but I went with the art. This gentleman does not look nearly as happy as I did after lunch, and I don't know why. This shouldn't keep you...
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600 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1K4, Canada
The little geek in your heart is a hopeless romantic, and his perfect date would begin at Snakes and Latte’s, where Cards Against Humanity and a cappuccino go hand in hand. We got so wrapped up in our games that we forgot to snap a picture of the...
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1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
When the Drake Hotel opened in 2004, it not only enhanced the Toronto hotel scene, it helped revitalize the West Queen West neighborhood. This was long before the rapper Drake (no relation) became known as a Toronto ambassador. The design-oriented...
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770 Don Mills Rd, North York, ON M3C 1T3, Canada
Young, old, even the eternally curmudgeon can’t help but crack a smile at the immersive and immense Toronto Zoo, where pandas, polar bears, and pythons—not minotaur—wait for you at the center of the massive labyrinth. An afternoon at the Ontario...
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1006 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1W6, Canada
Toronto’s DIY cooking classes will help transform your kitchen into the gastro dreamscape you’ve always pined for. Le Dolci on Dundas West is a sweet station that will have you whipping up great cakes and bakes in no time, while the Healthy...
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The Distillery District, Toronto, ON M5A, Canada
Nobel Tonic No.1 barrel-matured maple syrup may be brewed in the USA, but it has deep roots in the Canadian woods. You can find Nobel Tonic products, as well as great teas, coffees, and candies, at the Tea Shoppe in the Distillery District.
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17 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada
A Distillery District favorite, Pure Spirits Oyster House dishes some of the best seafood in the city, with tremendous daily specials on a variety of oysters from both Canadian coasts.
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5445 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 6K7, Canada
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is as close to an authentic Korean experience as you’ll ever find in Toronto. Both the kimchi stew and the stone pot bibimbap are tremendous, and the finishing touches – from the metal chopsticks to the multitude of side...
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1585 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1T9, Canada
Lula is a unique dance club/theatre/stage in Toronto’s west end. The ever popular Saturday night Café Cubano is a great night on the town, while the vibe here is always festival, and always fun.
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44 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y7, Canada
Lost & Found is a neat little café and menswear shop on Dundas West that features a well curated collection of Canadian-designed threads. Wallets, belts, jackets, sweaters, and bespoke boots line the shelves, while a cup of fresh coffee is the...
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1112 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, Canada
Poutini’s House of Poutine is arguably the city’s most popular poutinerie. The Classic variety features thick-cut French fries, savory cheese curds, and thick gravy lovingly served piping hot. Poutini’s is so revered that it has recently become a...
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593 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 2L8, Canada
Karaoke can be a nightmare for some, but under the right circumstances, it can be a great excuse to cut loose. Both of Toronto’s Koreatown neighborhoods are peppered with sing song boutiques and serve as great places for you to belt out all your...
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145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada
The Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts is home to the venerated Canadian Opera Company, so you can rest easy knowing that a Saturday night inside is spent in good company. But the building does not lack for architectural delights from the...
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210 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3, Canada
Canada’s National Exhibition, or CNE, is a multi-purpose facility with live music venues, fairgrounds, waterfront parks, historic and cultural exhibits, and more. Canadians of just about any age can’t help but smile when they’re asked to visit The...
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1167 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1X3, Canada
Grasshopper Records is a vinyl outpost on Dundas West well worth a look if you’re a sonic purist, or in the market for the best in Toronto indie music. The owner is a Toronto rocksmyth of some renown, but I won’t spoil the surprises for you here –...
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Toronto, ON, Canada
Spinning your sweetheart around Nathan Philip’s Square on skates is a distinctly Canadian experience, one that visitors shouldn’t miss just because they forgot to pack their Bauer blades. Skates are rented on site for a small fee, meaning that...
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Toronto, ON, Canada
Cheap eats can sometimes be tough to find in Toronto, but if you’re keen on quality street treats, you could do worse than sampling from the armada of food trucks parked opposite Nathan Phillips Square. Some of these trucks have been on premise...
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1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada
High Park, 399 acres of peace and recreation and playing fields and picnic areas, has a way of making you forget the city beyond. Grenadier Pond, a tranquil body of water that runs along the park's western border, is favored by runners....
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65 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 1E6, Canada
Union Station is a landmark in architectural design, and remains Canada’s most frequently used passenger rail terminal. Even if you’re not disembarking on a journey to another part of the country, I highly recommend visiting the station in order...
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5040 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 6R8, Canada
You don't have to go downtown to get your cultural groove on; the Toronto Centre for the Arts, on a lively stretch of Yong Street in North York, has a number of thrilling programs in store for visitors. The Winter Program includes a number of...
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895 Lawrence Ave E #8, North York, ON M3C 3L2, Canada
You'll find it difficult to believe that congee hasn't caught on as a breakfast or dinner staple in Canada—especially once you've seen what Congee Queen can do with this Asian delight. The dining room is cozy, the service is excellent, and the...
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38 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y7, Canada
Williams Craig Design is one of the most impressive and inspiring design spaces in the city, and it looks and feels completely different with every visit. The studio offers design services for retail, corporate, and, most importantly, residential...
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92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z4, Canada
Delux has been on the leading edge of the Ossington scene since before the neighborhood knew it was Oz. Delux's understated menu is driven by a rustic French approach, and chef Corinna Mozo has garnered international acclaim for her masterful...
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300 Lesmill Rd, North York, ON M3B 3P4, Canada
Moatfield Farm Park is one of the quieter, prettier green spaces in North York/Toronto, especially come winter. If you're adventurous enough for a morning run through the crisp, cool air, there's a good chance you'll have the entire park to...
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711 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M5V 3T7, Canada
Toronto's parks system connections are tremendous; it's nearly possible to get from one corner of the city to the other while stepping foot on nothing but green space (almost). Coronation and the Battery Park Trail are great lakeshore spots to...
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27 Trinity St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada
Brick Street Bakery has a few outlets scattered about town, but for a truly exceptional artisan experience, grab a freshly baked loaf of bred, a double chocolate nut brownie, a lemon tart, or a piping hot apple pie from the Distillery location and...
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28 Distillery Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada
The Fermenting Cellar, located in Toronto's Distillery District, is known for hosting some of the city's most beautiful weddings (named the best wedding venue in Canada by BIZbash), gala events, and more. The venue prides itself on hosting...
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Glow is a hip grill & wine bar a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown, which makes getting in and out during peak hours a breeze. And then the fun begins. The menu is marked by healthy, light, hand-crafted, farm-fresh choices, while...