What is the one must-do activity when visiting Toronto?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Ilona Kauremszky

You cannot visit Toronto and forget to take a streetcar ride especially the legendary one known as the 501 Queen street car.

The Queen Street route takes you across the city from east to west or vice versa.  The most westerly point is the Long Branch Loop and the easterly hub is the Neville Park Loop.

Locals have affectionately nicknamed their transit system as the ‘Red Rocket’ due to the dark cherry red facade from early days. The streetcars still maintain this traditional hue and so do the drivers uniforms. As soon as you hop inside the 501 be prepared to experience an interesting ride through the cities bygone past to its gentrified present.

Pass the enclave frequented by the city’s boho-artsy crowd in a section dubbed West Queen West. You’ll know you’ve arrived as soon as you see The Drake Hotel, one of the hip new/old venues there.

Meanwhile an earlier version of Queen’s trend setters known as Queen Street West which was big during the seventies through the nineties has been taken over by big name brand stores. Although some holdout shops still remain as you cruise Queen between Bathurst and John Streets.

One of the quaintest hubs is by The Beach or Beaches in the city's east end. This neighborhood feels like you’re on vacation. Some homes look like old cottages because that’s what they once were. The leafy Queen Street there is lined with two story storefronts catering to the doggie and stroller set with neat coffee shops, galleries, bars and patio nooks everywhere.

Get ready to step off the 501 by Kew Gardens and hang in this hood for hours.

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