Escape to Toronto

Escape to Toronto

Two Weeks in Toronto

I have just returned from a lengthy work assignment in Toronto, Ontario, Canda.

Geocache method

By Jim Donovan

Though my work days were long, I tried to take advantage of the many outdoor adventures that Toronto has to offer.  My visit fell over the Sumer Solstice so the days were long, yet the morning and evening temperatures were perfect for biking, hiking and exploring.

People often compare Toronto to Chicago and it’s true that both cities are built on the shores of a Great Lake and both are big cities comprised of interesting small neighborhoods.  But the two cities really have their own unique feel, vibe, and features.

Toronto Is:

Canada’s largest city with a population of 5.6 Million.

The capital of Ontario.

The fifth largest city in North America.

My favorite feature unique to T dot O are the Toronto Islands which are a chain of islands right off the coast of downtown.  The islands provide the perfect, quick escape for outdoor activities and are home to parkland, several boat clubs, beaches, and the Billy Bishop Airport.  The islands do have year round inhabitants and are considered to be the largest urban car-free community in North America.  Access to the island is by ferry and water taxis.  There are several beaches and outfitters renting canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards.  The islands are hiking, biking, and rollerblade friendly.   

Toronto also does an amazing job of is catering to cyclists.  Their lakeshore bike path is paved, well-marked and even features bike traffic lights to safely control traffic at every intersection along the bike path.
I quickly fell in love with Bike Share Toronto for both transportation around town and pleasure riding.  Boasting over 2700 bikes across 270 stations, every bike I used was well maintained and comfortable to ride.  Every Wednesday in June they offered free rentals, but their passes start at $7 for 24 hours (and that is CAD).  Bike Share Toronto also uses pedal power to transfer their bikes from station to station with a “Cargo bike” pictured here.

One Must Do is a visit to a Sweet Jesus ice cream shop.  Sweet Jesus’ goal is to combine conceptual thinking with high quality ingredients and products, in an effort to make something that tastes and looks unlike anything you have ever had before.  I consider myself an ice cream expert and I would say they are exceeding their goal!

The perfect destination for a weekend, or long weekend, get away! 
If you drive to Toronto, you can park your car and leave it!  If you fly into Toronto, you won’t need a rental car as Toronto has an extensive and easy to use public transportation featuring Trains, Cable Cars, and UP express from the Pearson International Airport.  Also, the super convenient Billy Bishop Airport is located right downtown on the Toronto Island.  Regional service is by Porter Airlines.  The airport features free bus shuttle transportation to the downtown hotels.

Top indoor attractions downtown:
Hockey Hall of Fame
AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario
ROM – Royal Ontario Museum
Casa Loma
CN Tower

Planning Tip #1 – Toronto host hundreds of festivals and special events.  Check the
Planning Tip #2 – Unless you plan to take in a Toronto Blue Jays game, you might want to plan your visit for a period when the Jays are out of town as the massive Rogers Centre Stadium holds 49,282 baseball fans who fill the bars and restaurants around the city centre.

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