Canada / Exploration / Toronto

A Self Guided Tour of Toronto

When I was in Toronto last and my boyfriend was here we didn’t see much of the city.  We did a few touristy things like going up the CN Tower but that was it.  Much like London, many of Toronto’s neighbourhoods have distinct styles/feels to them which adds to the overall richness and diversity. So this time around I was determined to show him more of his potential future city.

My friend Shawn (the one I visited in Japan) who lives in Toronto came with us and basically was our tour guide.  I’m gently trying to convince him to take up being a tour guide on the side, he’d be great at it.

Our first stop was Maple Leaf Gardens which was formerly an arena.  It has now been turned into a grocery store, glamorous.  It is also partly an athletic centre for Ryerson University.

On the way to our second stop we passed by this church built in 1878.

St Andrew’s Latvian Lutheran Church

We continued on to the Allen Gardens Conservatory.  It was a nice break from the brisk -3 temperature outside.  Each room held gorgeous plants with different temperatures, I have to say the cactus room was my favourite.

We passed another church on our way out of the area – St Luke’s United Church built in 1832.

We were finally able to go inside a church when we visited The Cathedral Church of St James.  It’s actually pretty small for a cathedral but beautiful nonetheless.

On our way to St Lawrence Market we passed a beautiful old building, St Lawrence Hall.  Shawn had never been inside and neither had we so we decided to see if a visit was possible.  We found out from the plaque inside that the hall was an important venue for many African Canadian activities in support of abolition and the welfare of refugee slaves in Toronto.

The main hall room was closed but Shawn called a number which had a security guard on the other end who said he would open it up for us.  It was nice to see the main hall but I have to say from the outside of the building I didn’t expect this inside:

Pink and blue?!

Next up St Lawrence Market which is ridiculously busy at the weekends.  We were there mid week so it was nice to stroll through and see the various stalls in a relaxed manner.

After the market nearby is the popular Gooderham Building known as the Flatiron building, the first of its kind in the world.

Mural on the back of the building

We also went through the financial district but ended our tour in the historic Distillery district where we had a meal at the Mill St Brewery.

Gallery inside of A Taste of Quebec

We finished off the night at the Air Canada Centre to take in a Raptors basketball game. They won which was nice, rare these days, but nice.  It was fun to be a tourist, Shawn was a good guide and there were so many things I learned about the city that I never took note of before.  Part two coming soon.

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9 thoughts on “A Self Guided Tour of Toronto

    • Thanks! There are so many layers to the city and I just didn’t really appreciate that before. I was determined to really discover interesting things about the city and there are many. Hope you get to go back soon!

  1. I had no idea about St. Lawrence Hall ..even though I’ve biked by it hundreds of times. I lived there for over 20 years before moving. St. James Cathedral is a lovely to have for the city. Looks like no snow in Toronto during that time! Best of luck in the future.

    • There is so much about the city that I don’t know. I want to explore more when I am back in August. We lucked out, it snowed the second day we got in and it was mild and there was no snow for the rest of the trip.

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