Toronto Journals

Sleepless in Toronto

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A September 2005 trip to Toronto by shaunandtrish

The Architecture Photo, Toronto, Ontario More Photos
Quote: Two days and three nights to fit everything in? Not really, but we dashed about and saw as much as we could.

Sleepless in Toronto

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Overview

The Architecture Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
With only two full days, we were limited to some fairly obvious things, so this list may sound a bit predictable. Anyway, first is the CN Tower. It's fairly expensive, at about for the ascent to the observation deck, but you can't and shouldn't not do it. The panoramas and the startlingly rapid elevator ride are two things that literally take your breath away. Second, the city itself and the interesting and varied neighbourhoods that are best walked to be appreciated. I've given some details about the neighbourhoods we were able to get round in its own journal. Third, the harbourfront is very nice for the views of the lake and island and some good eating and drinking. Nice and relaxing a...Read More

The Westin Harbour Castle

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Hotel | "Westin Harbour Castle"

The Westin Harbour Castle Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
We like central city locations. Though the rates can be a bit more expensive, we believe there's an economy in that strategy through the money and time saved travelling in and out. We also have a fondness for waterfront locations. These preferences meant that we were playing Internet Ping-Pong for a few weeks, monitoring the rates at the Harbour Castle and the Radisson Harbourview. Harbour Castle rates dipped 2 weeks before our trip, and we took a rate of C$149 per night (excluding fees and taxes, which add about $15 per night). The best rate was to be found online from hotel group's own website on a nonrefundable basis. Initially we were a bit nervous....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 10, 2005

The Westin Harbour Castle
1 Harbour Square
Toronto, Ontario M5J 1A6
416/869-1600

Boathouse Bar & Grill

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Restaurant | "Boathouse Bar & Grill"

Boathouse Bar & Grill Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
We ate here on our first night, tired, jetlagged, hungry, and not wanting to venture too far in a new city in our bewildered state. So, after checking into the Westin, taking a shower, working out what was free in the hotel and what would be charged, bouncing on the bed, etc., we went out looking for some nourishment. A nice gentle walk along the harbourfront took us to a small, smartish mall called the Harbour Centre. With a few tourist-orientated clothing shops, souvenir outlets, a coffee shop, and a couple of restaurants, it looked like we needed to go no farther that night. We perused the menus of the three or four restaurants on the ground floor and elected for the Boathouse Bar & Grill, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 11, 2005

Boathouse Bar & Grill
207 Queens Quay West at York Street
Toronto, Ontario M5J 1A7
(416) 203-6300

Spice Thai Cafe

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Restaurant

Spice Thai Cafe Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
One thing that you do get in Toronto, in common with a lot of North American cities, that you don't get in Europe anywhere are super-size hot dogs. These come in Italian, German, and Polish varieties, and invariably come with the offer of a fairly impressive array of optional pickled adornments. All this for about $2.75, which, frankly, between the hours of noon and 2pm, I find irresistible, despite the fact that I am aware I will almost certainly need to lie down after it's all gone. The relevance of all this nonsense to this particular dining entry is that polishing off one of these at lunchtime may well leave you feeling like you should eat something a bit lighter for your evening meal. Unless of c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2005

Spice Thai Cafe
245 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2N2
(416) 598-0600

CN Tower

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Attraction

CN Tower Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
At $20, plus tax, this ascent needed to be worth it. In the morning it was overcast and I noticed that the top of the tower was disappearing periodically behind low clouds, so we waited for the weather to break, fearing we'd see nothing if we didn't. In the afternoon, the sun came out and we toddled along to the tower for a trip to the top of the world. The first thing you're confronted with is your choice of options, starting at $20 for your basic trip to the observation deck, a bit more if you want to go up a few more stories to Sky Pod, and options to buy 5-day tickets, which are a good value if you're staying a few days and plan to take in more of these attractions. After checking on the lengt...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 10, 2005

CN Tower
301 Front St West
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2T6
(416) 868-6937

Centre Island (Toronto Islands)

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Attraction | "Centre Island Ferry"

Centre Island (Toronto Islands) Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
This is the best value in Toronto at $6 return per adult. There are crossings from 8am till 10:30pm if my memory serves me correctly, in summer at least, and you're allowed to come back on any crossing you choose. Tickets for the crossings are bought from the departure point just behind the Westin Hotel on Queens Quay. Crossings are every 30 minutes and takes about 10 minutes. Once on the island, you're faced with a small number of fast-food and drink kiosks and some useful orientation information about the pretty small island. I'd estimate a circumnavigation of the entire island on foot could be done inside 2 hours, so it's not like you can get yourself into any serious outback-type trouble, even...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 11, 2005

Centre Island (Toronto Islands)
Ferrydocks At 9 Queen's Quay West
Toronto, Ontario

Eaton Centre

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Attraction

Eaton Centre Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
Whenever we arrive in a town of any size, irrespective of location, cultural attractions, history or whatever, the first thing we have to do (not a majority decision)is charge towards the district with the highest density of retail outlets to see how quickly we (term "we" used in it's broadest context) can knock as big a hole as possible in the holiday budget. Consulting the "Rough Guide" quickly identified the "Eaton Centre" as Toronto's most likely. So before breakfast (we'd sort that out when we get there - no time to waste) on our first morning in Toronto we hurtled out in the general direction of this marvellous mecca. It was a 20-minute walk from the Westin as it turned out. Easily located - pha...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 1, 2005

Eaton Centre
220 Yonge Street Suite 110
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2H1
(416) 598-8560

Toronto Neighbourhoods

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Story/Tip

Baldwin Village Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
Toronto is a lot like New York and San Francisco in that it contains a number of very interesting, accessible, and distinct neighbourhoods. I was aware of them before the trip, but I have to say that the single best guide to neighbourhoods (at least where they are and the main points of distinction of each) was a free, simple little map thrust into my hand outside Union Station by the "ShopDine Tour" Double Decker Bus sightseeing company. It did not persuade me to part with $31 and see the city from atop a yellow double-decker bus, but it did impress me enough to link the company website to this journal. Thanks for the map chaps and good luck with the b...Read More
The Hotel Lobby Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
On our first foray out into Toronto, we were buying something from a shop in the Eaton Centre, and the assistant happened to ask us where we were staying. When we told her it was at the Westin she replied, "Oh, it's nice there, and they have a wonderful concierge". This put me a little on the back foot. I wasn't sure we'd ever stayed in a hotel with a concierge before, and I wasn't even 100% sure what one was. I'd certainly not used one before, so on our return, I was determined to try this new thing out - provided it was free. When we did return, I noticed that the concierge was actually a young-ish man who looked a bit like Steve Buscemi standing behind a desk to the right hand side of th...Read More