The Travelers Guide: Toronto 101

Toronto-Canada-001Whether you’re an international student from a faraway country or a Buffalo native, if you haven’t visited Toronto yet… what are you waiting for?!  With a population of 2.6 million residents, Toronto is the closest city around D’Youville that can offer you a rich variety of cuisine, culture, art and entertainment.  During MLK weekend, I brought a few of my American friends over to visit my ‘home’ away from Buffalo.  Follow us on our journey; maybe it will inspire a road trip of your own! :)

Stop #1: Eaton Centre

Eaton Centre is the largest mall in downtown Toronto.  Located at Yonge/Dundas square, one of the busiest intersections in Canada, it houses several well-known and reputable brands which include Harry Rosen, Bebe, A&F, Hollister, etc. It also hosts a number of restaurants (i.e. Baton Route & Mr. Green Jeans) and several business offices located above the mall.

1Stop #2: Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

If you’re looking for a mix of art and culture, visit the Art Gallery of Ontario. Be sure to bring your student ID as you get half off ($11 admission).  It is also located right beside the OCAD University (Ontario College of Art & Design) which you can take a gander at on your way to AGO.

Stop #3: Kinton Ramen

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish that has a meaty/savory-soup base.  It is very delicious and popular among Torontonians.  It also warms the heart when all of the servers/staff greet you upon your arrival and departure!

Spicy Pork Ramen

Stop #4: Kensington Market

Kensington Market is a distinctively multicultural neighborhood that is hidden beside Chinatown.  It is filled with a mix of food stores that sell a variety of meats, fish, produce, baked goods and specialty goods.  Be sure to check out Blue Banana!

2Stop #5: CN Tower

You haven’t truly experienced Toronto if you haven’t visited the CN Tower.  The admission fee is a little steep if you’re on a student budget ($40) but it is definitely well worth it! I’d recommend going at night because you can see the beauty of Toronto’s city lights.  Be sure to check out the observation deck and their roller coaster (it was fake but fun).  If you have a little extra cash, you can eat at the 360 Restaurant; meals typically go into three digits, but you won’t have to pay for the admission fee to check out the skyscraper of Toronto.

 

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General Rules:

Rule #1: Make sure you leave with a full tank of gas. Gas is more expensive in Toronto so you’re going to want to fill ‘er up before you go. Also, pack snacks and try not to drink too much water: it’s going to be a 1.5-2 hour ride.  If you’re taking the bus, the Mega bus and Grey Hound will take you from downtown Buffalo to downtown Toronto.

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Goofing off at the Glass Floor, CN Tower

Rule #2: Try to figure out your hotel/motel plans beforehand.  I wouldn’t recommend booking a hotel in the downtown core because it’ll probably wrack up an expensive bill. Find a hotel/motel close to Finch Station, Kipling Station or Yorkdale Mall (all locations that are TTC subway-accessible).

Rule #3: Stemming off the last rule, get a TTC subway day pass on Saturday, Sunday and/or holidays. For $11/day, you can ride the TTC subway and buses all day for up to 5 people.  Be warned, this doesn’t apply on weekdays (one day pass is valid for one person on weekdays).

Do you have any recommendations of places to check out in Toronto? Let us know in the comments section below!