A 90-minute drive from Toronto takes you to one of the most impressive natural sights on the planet. To really feel how much energy is in the falls, you can take a tourist boat which stops in the spray… where you will be pummelled with fresh water. Around 3,000,000 litres of water pour over Niagara Falls every second!
If you want to get the best view of Toronto’s iconic skyline while enjoying lovely fresh air, an afternoon on the Toronto Islands is in order. Ferries run every 15-20 minutes from the heart of the city’s downtown and transport you to a paradise for cycling, strolling or simply relaxing in the sunshine. Kayaking is a popular option too, and the water is ideal – the Islands protect Toronto Harbour from big waves.
Bring your binoculars and view the glorious array of avian life in the seabird sanctuary… or the local nudist beach if that’s your kind of thing.
Ice skating and other winter sports
Canadians aren’t exactly born with ice-skates on (luckily for Canadian mums) but they do love winter sports. Toronto has around 50 or so outdoor rinks during the winter months; the two most popular are at the Harbourfront Centre and Nathan Phillips Square. If you are new to skating, you can take lessons at the municipal rinks.
Alternatively, you can strap on your skis or snowboard at Earl Bales Park and Centennial Park, both of which are easily accessed from downtown. If you are willing to travel further out of the city, the Dagmar and Lakeridge resorts are within reach and offer much more varied terrain than the urban slopes. For tobogganing, Trinity Bellwoods, Christie Pitts and Riverdale parks are popular spots.
Cycling is a great way to get around Toronto in the summertime and if you are a keen cyclist and willing to explore, some excellent routes await you. Get out of the city and discover the Don Valley, Leslie Spit and Crothers Woods, where trails are available for all levels. The Humber Valley and Martin Goodman trail along the lakeshore are also popular. It’s easy to hire a bike too.
But you don’t need a bike to enjoy Toronto’s trails and most are ideal for walking. For an urban walk, you can stroll along Yonge Street from Finch to Lakeshore, taking in the diversity of Toronto’s neighbourhoods, perhaps stopping for something to eat (see our Toronto Tips
for more about the local food) before arriving at the lake in the evening. Yonge Street is one of the longest streets in the world, stretching for 1896km!
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is home to a collection of more than 80,000 works dating from the 1st century to the present day. The AGO was extensively renovated in 2009 with design by Frank Gehry – the Toronto born and world renowned architect. Entry is free on Wednesday evenings.
317 Dundas St W, Toronto ago.net
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the largest museums in North America, attracting over one million visitors every year. It has impressive collections of dinosaurs, Near Eastern and African art, minerals and meteorites, Art of East Asia, European history and Canadian history. Entry is half price on Fridays after 16:30, or free on Wednesday evenings.
100 Queens Park, Toronto rom.on.ca
If your definition of art involves pucks, beards and blood on the ice, the Hockey Hall of Fame is an essential trip. You can see the original, gigantic, Stanley Cup and loads of exhibits.
30 Yonge St, Toronto hhof.com
Casa Loma is a shrine to early twentieth-century decadence that Jay Gatsby would be proud of. Originally the home of a wealthy Torontonian, it is now a museum.
1 Austin Terrace, Toronto casaloma.org
The Ontario Science Centre has loads of interactive exhibits including a musical fountain known as a hydraulophone.
770 Don Mills Rd, Toronto ontariosciencecentre.ca