Day 8: A layover in Toronto, Canada

Our return journey featured a layover in Toronto and a pretty well-timed one too. We arrived at 8am and was due to fly out at 8am the next morning, leaving us a with a full day to explore this new city.

Trying to figure out what to do with one day in Toronto was a lot harder than it first seemed. There were a few factors to consider.

  1. The temperature. When we landed it was -6 degrees with a bitter wind. That is not the kind of weather I enjoy walking around too much in so I didn’t really fancy booking a walking tour and visiting a park was right off the agenda.
  2. The expense. Visiting the CN tower costs $38 per person, visiting Ripley’s aquarium was $35 each, to visit the Royal Ontario Museum cost $20 per person. These costs can really add up! One of the great things about Cuba was we didn’t need to bring a huge amount of spending money with us and we didn’t want to suddenly have a big blow out on the last day.
  3. Our energy levels. This was at the end of our holiday, we were going to be back at work the next day, I didn’t want to exhaust us by hauling us all over the city just so we could see everything, having an enjoyable day was much more important to me.

So with that in mind this is how we spent our day!

From the airport we were able to catch the express train to Union Station, with the return ticket costing us just under $25 and taking around 25 minutes.

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When we got out the station the first sight we were treated with was the wonderful CN tower, which spent 32 years being the world’s tallest free-standing structure. It is such a symbol of the Toronto skyline and it was wonderful to see it close up.

We stayed in the Super 8 Downtown hotel which had a central location in Chinatown and was attached to the Dragon City Mall, an Asian themed shopping centre. For the night the room cost us $116/ £65 and I think it was good value for the night as our room was huge and a high standard.

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After dropping our bags I had to complete the one item I had on my Canadian bucket list, to eat poutine. There seemed no better place to do this than at Poutini’s house of Poutine!

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We both chose a bacon poutine which was absolutely loaded and absolutely delicious. We got the larger portions and along with 2 drinks this came to $31. It makes my mouth water just to think back to how yummy it was!

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We braved the cold in order to explore the colourful Graffiti Alley, an impressive homage to Toronto’s street art. In every nook and cranny was more graffiti to be discovered, with a huge range of colours and styles.

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Could I be any more Urban?!

I can imagine that when the sun shines the street could get quite busy but in the chill we basically had the whole street to ourselves.

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My understanding is the displays change quite frequently so make sure to visit when in Toronto because what you see might not be there next time!

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We happened to be in Toronto at the same time as the Chinese New Year celebrations. The celebrations focused around the Dragon City Mall, which our hotel happened to be attached to. As a consequence we got to witness a variety of dance and song performances as the Chinese welcomed in the year of the dog.

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On our way to our next destination we walked through the distinctive Kensington Market, a bohemian neighbourhood known for its indie shops and vintage boutiques. The area is another haven for street art and is a very interesting visit, even if just for a walk through.

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We finally reached the Snakes & Lattes cafe, where we spent the next 4 hours. It was a board game cafe, something I had never visited before, and it was absolutely amazing.

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We spent the afternoon sipping on locally brewed beverages whilst having access to over 1000 board games. It’s a great way to sample certain board games before considering buying them yourself too. We got quite into a Ghostbusters game (that took quite a considerable time to set up!) and took a lot of pleasure playing a relatively simple Sherlock Holmes game.

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Finally our tiredness and hungry bellies drove us back out into the cold air and onto Junked Food Co where we ordered pizza, mac and cheese, drinks and cookie dough to takeaway which we gorged back in our hotel bed. Everything was absolutely delicious and oh so naughty.

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The next morning we were up early to catch the Express back to the airport ready for our flight home, although not before catching one last glance of the CN tower by night.

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Steps walked: 22,898

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