Toronto Journals

Continously Exploring Toronto

A February 2004 trip to Toronto by Tim G

TTC Fare Card Photo, Toronto, Ontario More Photos
Quote: I moved to Toronto from western Canada 5 1/2 years ago. So as I've studied, worked, and lived in this city I've also tried to enjoy it. I'm hoping some of my adventures can help those visiting this wonderful city enjoy it more.

Continously Exploring Toronto

Overview

Quote:
So much to do, and I'll try to hit on as much of it as possible. Maybe a little less of the touristy stuff, and uncover some lesser known attractions. Quick Tips: Don't be afraid to take the plunge. Toronto is the most multi-cultural city in the world and if you let yourself be initimidated and shy away from ethnic restaurants, festivals, amd neighbourhoods you will miss out out on the best thing about Toronto. Be assured that Toronto's ethnic populations are generally not self contained ethno-centrics and will be happy if not eager to let you taste their food, experience their culture, etc.Best Way To Get Around: Toronto is quite spread out. Public transit works well getting you to...Read More

Black Bull Hotel And Tavern

Restaurant | "The Black Bull"

Quote:
Conveniently located on Queen St. west near attractions like "The Paramount" (big movie theatre), the "MuchMusic" building, etc. This place is a good place to relax and people watch. Your experience will vary a lot based on the time of year you visit. In winter you have to sit inside. The interior feels kind of bare and ordinary. The atmosphere really isn't much during the winter, unless you know people. But in the summer the outdoor patio is almost always teeming with people and has a great atmosphere. Just as much for the people walking by on Queen St. as the people on the patio itself. The food here is not spectacular. Go for the nachos or the chicken club if you do try something. Bu...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 15, 2002

Black Bull Hotel And Tavern
298 Queen St W
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A1
+1 416 593 2766

Tortilla Flats

Restaurant

Quote:
Excellent Mexican food! I highly recomend the chimichanga and enchilada dishes, but they're all good. Great lunch menu too, with good wraps and other tortilla dishes. I really dig the black bean soup. Also serves good maragaritas (extra cheap on Thursdays) and has a fun atmosphere. The place does kind of have a cantina feel to it, especially in the front room. There's an heir of trendiness to it, which probably stems from the location. It is northernized Mexican food (more Tex-Mex), probably not authentic. But it is extremely good. Quite easy to find. Less than a block east of Spadina on the south side of Queen. A 5 minute walk west on Queen from Osgoode subway station. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 20, 2002

Tortilla Flats
Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 593-9870

Apache Burger

Restaurant

Quote:
Out in Etobicoke near Kipling subway station, this place is a gem if you dig burger joints. Not the best burgers I've had, but pretty darn close. I recommend the Banquet burger, or the Apache if you're really hungry. But you can't really go wrong. The onion rings here have got to be the best in the city, and you get a lot of them. The place has a nice old school feel to it with good, to the point service. Just don't try to rock the boat and you're fine. The place feels a bit like a 50's diner. Check out the signed pictures from Brett Hull and Brendon Shanahan on the wall. The napkin dispenser up by the til is a nice touch, too. Well worth going to if you're in the area and you like a good burger.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 4, 2002

Apache Burger
5236 Dundas West
Toronto, Ontario M9B 1A7
(416) 233-3046

Johnny's Burgers

Restaurant

Quote:
This place does not look like they've changed a thing since the 60's. Definitely a cherished member of the neighborhood. Everyone in the area seems to stop in at Jonny's. The staff are talkative and fun to hassle. They're also quick and opinionated, often providing for good entertainment. The place is small with only a few benches inside. Most people take their food to go. Which makes the place good for people watching. There're picnic tables outback too for warm summer afternoons. The food is good, too. Good burgers, very good fries and onion rings, and incredible milkshakes. Well worth making the effort to stop in at if you're in this part of Scarborough.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 4, 2002

Johnny's Burgers
2595 Victoria Park Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M1T 1A4
(416) 491-7222

New Ho King

Restaurant

Quote:
If you're downtown this is a great place to call for delivery. They are open quite late. Maybe the only drawback is you sometimes get someone on the phone who has trouble understanding you, but it usually works out. I've never eaten there but have stopped by to pick food up. It was 1:30 am and the place was packed! It's one of the cleaner looking establishments along Spadina too. Good and quite authentic Chinese food. I recomend the General Tso's chicken, or the Kung Pow. Also the "hot 'n sour" soup is quite good. The tofu is also very good if you dig tofu. All the staples too: rice, spring rolls, egg rolls, chicken balls. However pass on the Chow Mein, it's not quite what it should be. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

New Ho King
416 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2G7
(416) 595-1881

Bright Pearl Seafood

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Bright Pearl"

Bright Pearl Seafood Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
In the heart of Chinatown this is one of the nicest looking establishments. Housed in large, clean building with anice entry. This place specializes in fresh seafood. Check out the bass and lobster tanks when you come in! The dining area is large and spacious. The food is quite tasty. In general quite excellent with very good service. A 6-8 course meal will run you between $20-30. And it's worth it. But I might have expected larger portions for that cost. Or maybe not, but I wouldn't say it's the best value for the dollar in the city. But that said it's very good food and the price is reasonable. Try Dim Sum for $1.88 a dish. Quite enjoyable, and less expensive than the full out dinn...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Bright Pearl Seafood
346-348 Spadina Ave
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2G2
+1 416 979 3988

Golden Star

Restaurant

Quote:
To date the best burgers I've had in Toronto. You can tell that they use high quality meat, and no prepackaged stuff. I'd recommend the Homeburger combo. Comes with a mountain of fries.

The service here is incredibly good. Very friendly, and they go out of their way for their customers. If you go often they'll make the effort to know you.

The place is licensed too if you want a beer with your burger.

Feels and probably is a family owned operation that's withstood the onslaught of fast food chains and the like. It's easy to see why. If you're in the area it's well worth stopping in.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2002

Golden Star
2889 St Clair Avenue East
Toronto, Ontario M4B 1N5
(416) 755-8335

Pho 88

Restaurant

Quote:
Not quite as trendy and a little more grubby than "Pho Hung". But that gives it a different feel that I found refreshing. Seems more popular with the Vietnamese population. Anyhow the food here is incredibly good. If you're not scared off by having stuff like tripe and tendon in your soup, then the beef soups are the thing to get. They also do excellent spring rolls and good vermicelli dishes. The choice of soups here is more extensive than I've found at any other similar restaurant. Made with high quality and very tasted stock. I could enjoy a bowl of broth on its own. The noodles are very good and fill the overly large bowls of soup nicely. And whether you get beef, vegetarian, or an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 6, 2002

Pho 88
610 Gerrard Street East
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 778-7888

Young Thailand

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Young Thailand Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
This place had a nice casual atmosphere. It’s not that they don't try to be immaculate, with flowers, statues, plants, fine tablecloths, and all that. But this place has a comfortable laid-back feel. The food is absolutely delicious. You really can't go wrong. I'm a big fan of the pork dishes such as the curry pork with watercress. But my best advice would be to go with a group of people and try a little of everything. Or better yet visit the lunch buffet, which is served Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm. Another favorite of mine at Young Thailand is the Thai ginger tea. And I suppose I could go on with what I like. But if you enjoy Thai food or want to give it a try, you couldn't do muc...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 19, 2004

Young Thailand
81 Church St
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2G2
+1 416 368 1368

The Gem Bar and Grill

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
This is just a small hole-in-the-wall place, but it’s not really your typical neighbourhood bar. There's an eclectic vibe to it that's kind of cool. It's a young crowd and the food is real good. When you walk in, you'll see this tiny bar, tables crowded into asymmetrical spaces, and a sort of cozy but makeshift use of limited space. You may have not thought places like this even existed. But if you’re like me, all that stuff adds character. They have a small on-tap collection of good beer. They often feature Toronto's own Amsterdam Brewing Co. They also have bottled beer. And they don't have fountain pop. So it's kind of funny to see piles of two-litre bottle and cans of pop behind the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 19, 2004

The Gem Bar and Grill
1159 Davenport Road
Toronto, Ontario M6H 2G4
(416) 654-1182

Salad King

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
This place used to have a dingy dive kind of feel that included cramped quarters and a dark dining area. However, the food was excellent and the service fast. Even though it was always packed you left feeling that you'd discovered a hidden gem. Well, they've remodeled. It doesn't seem hidden anymore with its bright entrance on Gould Street. It's well lit inside now, too. And I think they have more space. They certainly make better use of their space now. While they probably needed to make these improvements---and most people probably appreciate the new layout more---now the restaurant feels like what it is. An extremely popular place with good, affordable food that is almost always ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 27, 2004

Salad King
335 Yonge St. (actually on Gould)
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1R7
(416) 971-7041

C'est What

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Beer aficionados will love this place. Well over thirty beers on tap, all craft brewed, or at least from a microbrewery. Some of them cask conditioned, and some nitro dispensed. People come just for the beer. Plus it's the perfect setting to down a few pints. Soft lighting, couches, weird art on the wall. Very laid back atmosphere. Comfortable, too. The food is also great, also worth visiting for on its own. I'm partial to the lamburger. Incredibly good. But they make a wicked shepherd's pie. And the lemongrass noodles are quite good. The menu is eclectic. Good use of fresh ingredients. Nothing boring. Their antojitos make for excellent finger food. You could become addict...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 27, 2004

C'est What
67 Front Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1B5
416 867 9499

Pho Hung Vietnamese Restaurant

Restaurant | "Pho Hung"

Quote:
This is a fine Vietnamese restaurant and a popular one. They in fact have two locations: one in Chinatown (Spadina) and another near by on Bloor across from the ROM. The smiling bull of their logo is both welcoming and funny. I wish they sold t-shirts. The name translates as "Hung's Soup". And the soups here are top-notch. Not only are they good-tasting, but they come with a platter of crunchy bean sprouts, basil sprigs, and lime wedges. And you know when I say soup that's really an understatement. What you get is a cauldron of tasty broth, noodles, vegetables and/or meats (depending on what you ordered). I'd also recommend the vermicelli dishes; they are light yet filling, and incredi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 6, 2002

Pho Hung Vietnamese Restaurant
262 Spadina Ave
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2G4
+1 416 593 4274

El Trompo Taco Bar & Catus Grill

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "El Trompo Taco Bar & Catus Grill"

El Trompo Taco Bar & Catus Grill Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
Tucked away in Kensington Market, you will miss it if you’re not looking for it, and if you are you still might. But then, it's also the type of place you might stumble onto. Tiny little storefront on Augusta. Inside it's a pleasant little place. Cheery, but no air conditioning means it's quite hot in the summer. But who cares? The food is terrific! You won't go wrong here, it's the real deal when it comes to Mexican food. I'm told that the tacos Al Pastor are just like what you'd get in Mexico City. Tender marinated pork and pineapple chunks topped with minced coriander and onion and a squirt of lime, they are undoubtedly the best "tacos" I've ever had. On the table will ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2004

El Trompo Taco Bar & Catus Grill
277 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 260-0097

Nathan Phillips Square Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
This is Toronto's front room. The curved glass and concrete towers of City Hall fronted by a nice square with elevated walkways and fountains. In the winter the fountains are frozen to form a skating rink. It was built in the 60's and still looks impressive if not a little tacky. I still dig the old City Hall across the street. Nathan Phillips Square can be a nice place to spend a couple of hours. There's a nice little cafe in City Hall whose patio extends right onto the square. Look out to for the Winston Churchill statue and "speaker's corner" on the southwest corner of the square. It's rarely used. In the winter the place becomes quite a popular place for public skating. Skate ren...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 20, 2002

Nathan Phillips Square
100 Queen St West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N1

St. Lawrence Market

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

St. Lawrence Market Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
Full of life and energy this little nighbourhood just west of the financial district is as enjoyable a place as any to enjoy the city's history and a piece of it's soul. Everything radiates from the market itself, located in two buildings. The newer north building is located on the northwest corner of Jarvis & Front, while the older more impressive south building occupies the southwest corner. The market has been here since 1803 and during its 200 year history what is now the old south market building has been Toronto's seat of government, a police station, and a jail. If you visit the market gallery in the south building you'll see a nice collection of historical photos, well wort...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 20, 2002

St. Lawrence Market
92 Front St East at Jarvis
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1C4
(416) 392-7219

Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Maple Leafs Game"

Quote:
If you are able to get tickets to a Leafs game you've done well. This has got to be the hardest ticket to get in the NHL. This city follows the Leafs religiously win or lose. That, and a large wealthy corporate base, has allowed the Leafs to continually raise their prices and still sell out the entire season before it begins. Anyhow once you've got a ticket you're in for an experience you won't forget. This place was built for hockey. Everything in the building says so. The ACC is immaculate. Take note of the corporate types who sit in the lower sections near the ice. They've all got private boxes under the seats to retreat to between periods! Concessions here are very good. As are ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 27, 2002

Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club
40 Bay St
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2X2
+1 416 815 5500; Tic

Toronto Raptors Basketball Club

Attraction | "Raptors Game"

Quote:
Like the Maple Leafs, the Raptors sell out a lot. However you can usually get tickets for Raptors games within a few days of games, sometimes even the day of. Although important games and weekend games do sell out well in advance. The crowd at a Raptors game is younger and often more energetic than what you'll get a Leafs game. Quite fun. This is probably at least somewhat due to the fact that the average fan can still actually get tickets to a game easily when it comes to the Raptors. Look out for the "Sprite Zone" tickets. These are dirt cheap and a good deal. However you have to put up with the "Sprite Zone Cheerleaders" who are suppossed to make this a fun place to sit and add to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 27, 2002

Toronto Raptors Basketball Club
40 Bay St
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2X2
+1 416 815 5453; Tic

Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Blue Jays game"

Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
10 years ago the Blue Jays were one of the most successful franchises in major league baseball. They had this new stadium that was on the cutting edge of stadium technology, were setting attendance records, and winning World Series' (1992, 1993). My how things have changed! The team hasn't contended for a title in years, the fans stay away, and most people think the the stadium sucks. Anyhow let's break down what you may like or dislike if you were to venture out to Sky Dome to watch a game. The building still is impressive. The retractable roof and the huge jumbotron out in centre field are still cool. You may find yourself watching the jumbotron more than the actual live action. If ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 16, 2002

Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
1 Blue Jays Way
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1J1
+1 416 341 1000; Tic

Air Canada Centre

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Air Canada Centre Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
If you want to get an upclose look at the Leafs and Raptors new digs aside from seeing a game at the ACC, well you may want to take a guided tour. This facility is amongst the most impressive of the new sporting venues built in North America recently. Making for an interesting tour. They run daily at 11,noon,1,2, and 3. They cost $10 for adults, $7 for children, and $8 for students and seniors. The tour is interesting enough taking you through this immaculate facility. You'll get to go inside Tie Domi's private box, one of the platinum suites, the Raptors practice facility, the Leafs hall of fame, the various restaurants, and all sorts of other places. When the Leafs are away you sometimes get t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 7, 2002

Air Canada Centre
40 Bay St
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2X2
+1 416 815 5500; Eve

TTC Fare Card Photo, Toronto, Ontario
Quote:
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is Toronto's public transit system and unless you want to sweat the traffic it's your best way to get around. The system incorporates three subway lines, streetcars, buses, and an LRT extension. The TTC will be most useful for you for the following: 1) If you are concentrating all or almost all of your visit on the downtown core. If this is the case don't even bother with a car. Streetcars and subways come often and will take you anywhere you want to go. And travelling this way will save the cost and hassle of parking. Plus driving downtown can be confusing and frustrating with all its "no left turn" intersections, one way streets, and the high volum...Read More

Homelessness in Toronto

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
If you visit downtown Toronto at all it won't take you long to notice a number of homeless people hanging around sidewalks, city parks, public spaces, etc. You may see them sleeping, panhandling, or just passing time. You'll generally find that most people either toss them a little change or else walk right by. In fact most people tolerate or even ignore them in such a way that it must feel quite dehumanizing for the homeless person. A few pointers on interacting with homeless people if you want to do so. It's best if you don't want to give any money to at least say something to the person such as "sorry not today". Just to acknowledge their presence. You'll often get a friendly respon...Read More