As an American visiting Toronto for the first time, I discovered so many new things to see, eat, and buy! I visited there in February for just three days, so I didn’t get to do everything, but here are some recommendations for your first time in Toronto!
Things to See and Do
- Nathan Phillips Square: When you want to take a selfie to prove that you were in Toronto, this is the place to go. If you’re driving a car, there is also an underground parking lot that is cheaper on the weekends.
- Ripley’s Aquarium: Although Okinawa’s Churami Aquarium is still my favorite aquarium, this aquarium is still worth a visit when you want to avoid the hot or cold weather. Don’t forget to take a selfie with Nemo and Dory 😉
- Casa Loma: I visited the castle for an escape room and it was one of my best experiences. There is also a restaurant and museum there, but I’ve been told that the restaurant is very expensive.
- Niagara Falls: I knew that the Niagara Falls look better from the Canadian side, but I never knew it was right next to a town full of food and entertainment. For some reason, I thought it would be part of a huge national park.
- Strange Love Coffee: This is the place to go if you want to be a little different when you take a picture with the “Toronto” sign.
- Graffiti Alley: Get ready to be a photographer and model with your friends in the graffiti alley!
Things to Eat
- Poutines: What is a poutine? It’s french fries covered in gravy and topped with cheese curds. I never knew until I met a Canadian friend who loves eating them. Smoke’s Poutinerie is a chain poutine restaurant that can be easily found throughout Toronto.
- Assembly Chef’s Hall: This location recently opened and it’s like a cafeteria full of different restaurants. Make sure to bring your card because the only place that takes cash is the bar.
- Bull Dog Coffee: One of the stalls in the Assembly Chef’s Hall is the Bull Dog Coffee and they serve a rainbow latte (original or nutella). The colors of the rainbow heart will be different with every cup!
- BeaverTails Pastry: I didn’t have enough time to try this, but it sounded very good when my Toronto friends described it. Until next time! There aren’t as many locations, so you actually have to go out of your way to eat it.
- St. Lawrence Market: This market seemed great for grocery shopping. I bought some souvenirs there, but I recommend comparing the prices between the souvenir shops.
- A&W: The root beer brand is also a fast food chain? And they have burgers named after family members?! Haha It’s not really a solely Canadian thing, but it was a big surprise for me because this was my first time seeing one. I didn’t even know that some locations are in California as well. Their burgers were pretty standard but delicious.
- Tim Hortons: They were EVERYWHERE. I learned that when Canadians say Timbits, they mean doughnut holes.
Things to Buy for Souvenirs
- Blue Banana Market: If you want to find unique souvenirs, this is the place to go. Not all the things are “Made in Canada,” but it’s still fun to browse.
- Maple Sugar Candy: I knew maple syrup and maple cookies were a thing, but I didn’t know maple sugar was a thing until I went on this trip. Some brands are too hard and others are soft and chewy.
- Canadian Potato Chip Flavors: Did you know that ketchup, all dressing, and dill pickle were common potato chip flavors in Canada? They’re all great flavors, so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t sell it in the US.
Were any of these Toronto things a surprise for you as well? Let me know if you have anything that you would recommend on my second visit to Toronto! 🙂