ESL's Toronto tips - Don't miss out on what the city has to offer!
Get up to date with The Grid and Now Toronto
If you want to find out what’s happening right now in Toronto, the Grid (thegridto.com) and Now Magazine (nowtoronto.com) will get you started. Now Magazine provides the best coverage of music, art, theatre, restaurant and food events.
Practice your English at Kickball (or axe-throwing)
Every Sunday in the spring and summer, you can join a game of kickball in Alexandra Park. Starting at 17:30, simply turn up and play a sport that is inherently social and impossible to take too seriously.
Alternatively, Toronto’s Backyard Axe Throwing League has events from Sunday to Wednesday each week. Failure to take axe-throwing seriously can lead to loss of limbs.
Toronto is a city that is passionate about patios. Restaurants and bars often keep their outdoor spaces open all winter thanks to patio heaters (environment be damned) and rugs, whereas the summer months are naturally suited for a beer and a bite in the open air. There are patios for all tastes, from the grand (Park Hyatt Roof Lounge or Panorama Lounge) to the jolly (Pour House Pub or The Foggy Dew).
Some politicians may not like to admit it, but immigration has plenty of tasty benefits. 49% of Toronto's population was born outside Canada and one major upshot is the availability of international food. Whether you are craving Korean, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian, Greek, Caribbean, Ethiopian or any other variety of flavours, they await you in Toronto. Many of the restaurants are really inexpensive too.
Get cheap tickets for the local sports teams
Toronto Blue Jay ticket prices start as low as $10 for that major leagues baseball experience. While the Toronto Maple Leafs (ice hockey) ticket prices are very expensive, ticket prices for their “farm team” the Toronto Marlies start as low $10.
To watch, read, listen
Watch Videodrome (1983) Director: David Cronenberg Take this Waltz (2011) Director: Sarah Polley Last Night (1998) Director: Don McKellar
The Scotiabank Theater in the Entertainment District and the AMC at Yonge and Dundas are great if you want to catch the latest and greatest Hollywood productions with tooth-shaking sound systems. There are loads of art house movie theatres in Toronto, with The Bloor, Toronto Underground, TIFF Bell Lightbox and The Royal Cinema in Little Italy among the most endearing and enduring. For something a little different, the driving range at the Polson Pier entertainment complex hosts North America's largest drive-in movie screen after dark.
Read Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Listen Exit… Stage left by Rush Troubadour by K’naan Synthetica by Metric You're a Woman, I'm a Machine by Death from Above 1979 The Reminder by Feist Nothing Was the Same by Drake Five Days in July by Blue Rodeo
Toronto’s music scene is legendary, and there is something to enjoy every night of the week. Many live music clubs have very low or even no cover charge. Among the most popular venues for rock music are the Mod Club in Little Italy, the Dakota Tavern, just north of Ossington and Dundas, and The Horseshoe (370 Queen St W), which has hosted everyone from Willie Nelson to the Rolling Stones. Hip Hop is big news in Toronto and some of the best sets can be heard at Wrongbar (1279 Queen St W) and 3030 Dundas West. For electronic music, the end of the weekend Promise parties at Cherry Beach go on throughout the summer months and have a unique energy, while the bars and clubs of the Entertainment District attract more than 30,000 clubbers on any given Saturday night.