What’s the best time to visit Toronto?

As the largest city in Canada, Toronto offers something for you to do no matter what time of year you visit. Winters in Toronto are as unpredictable as the weatherman; one January may bring snow banks as tall as your 10-year-old, while the following year it barely slips down to the 30s. But, to be safe, unless you have a parka made out of whale blubber, you’ll want to stay away from Toronto during the winter months. With the wind whipping off Lake Ontario, the winter days that barely reach the teens are that much worse. Though you can hop over to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, and skate on the Rideau Canal, which becomes the world’s largest skating rink during the winter. When the waterway is not completely frozen over, it’s the oldest continually operated canal system in North America.

If you prefer to walk the streets without turning into an icicle, plan your trip to Queen City during the summer. The last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August are particularly awesome times to visit. As you stroll the streets of the vibrant neighborhoods where the sidewalks are overflowing with patios, you’ll truly understand that Toronto bursts to life in the summer. Chock full of street festivals and open-air extravaganzas, the warm months in Toronto mean nonstop activity. Whether you venture to the enormous Toronto Pride Festival in June or the Toronto International Film Festival in September, your trip to this metropolis will be jam-packed with culture and fun.

  • On June 25, 2013
    Rosemina Nazarali answered the question: Rosemina Nazarali

    What are some things to know before visiting Toronto?

    Toronto is a diverse city that has something to offer to every walk of life. This is a city that loves art and culture, has an amazing music scene and absolutely loves food. 

    The one thing to look into before planning a trip to Toronto is the weather. Generally speaking, during the months of June to September the city is hot, hot, hot. Hot and humid. Us Torontonians tend to love these hot days simply because our winters are long, cold and, between January and Feburary, full of snow. 

    Toronto is also best experienced the way a true Torontonian would. While seeing a few tourist attractions are an absolute must, you should also explore the city's different neighborhoods, check out a few local bars and visit some smaller eateries that specialize in fare from around the world.
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best museums in Toronto?

    I find the best museums are not only those that have extensive rich collections but more importantly these days a cultural institution needs to engage its community.

    The Royal Ontario Museum manages to do both effortlessly.

    The other night I experienced a Friday Night Live at the ROM. Nearly the entire venue -- dinosaur bones and all --became a backdrop to a fashion party and the whole city was invited.

    Lots of bling-attired patrons, some in frilly dresses, while others donned their latest original creations came out. There was a music component too with an intimate jazz performance held in the fabled Glass Room.

    Projected twitter hashtags #FNLROM clung to the walls designed by Daniel Libeskind and DJ tunes echoed by the cocktail bars.

    This summer’s ROM blockbuster is Mesopotomia: Inventing Our World, a richly sourced exhibition showcasing rare artifacts on loan from the British Museum among others which are all under one roof for the first time.

    You’ll see a multimedia show that recreates Babylon in all its glory too, what a vision to behold.
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best kids activities in Toronto?

    On hot days when the temperature soars, there’s nothing like a trip to the Ontario Science Centre. This beacon of fun nestled in the lush Don Valley ravine is rife with activities.

    Right now kids can marvel at a fabulous IMAX documentary titled Flight of the Butterflies, the true story of Dr. Fred Urquhart’s lifelong dream to trace the migratory routes of these fragile flying insects.  Spoiler Alert: he did.

    But the other nice surprise captured in this movie is to learn how this Toronto native as a youngster used to spend long summer days lying in the grass watching his beloved monarchs. It's a stunning inspiring film that could foster future Fred Urquharts.

    Techno-crazy kids should also get a kick out of the new exhibit Game On 2.0, a whacky trip down memory lane that explores gaming history from the first coin operated pinball game to Xbox and Pacman and more.
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  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best places to see a play in Toronto?

    Whether it’s mainstream or edgy avant-garde plays you’re after, Toronto’s theatre scene has got such a wide portfolio, no wonder Broadway hits come here to test the productions before heading south.

    We can thank one local theatre family for that. The Mirvish family helmed by Ed and later his son David resurrected old stages like the Royal Alexandra and new builds like the Princess of Wales to bring big productions here.

    Watch the acclaimed Broadway musical hit, The Book of Mormon return next year to the Princess of Wales Theatre.

    The Toronto Fringe Festival (July 3-14) is a collection of fringe productions performed in unique spaces like a pawn shop and a laundromat. It’s definitely a festival to consider if you want to mingle with the city’s artsy hipsters.

    And if you want to avoid staying cooped up inside during a hot night, then consider heading to Toronto’s High Park to watch Shakespeare in High Park performed by the Canadian Stage Company.  The Bard’s words lift off the page under a sea of stars there. Truly divine!!
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best places to see a play in Toronto?

    Whether it’s mainstream or edgy avant-garde plays you’re after, Toronto’s theatre scene has got such a wide portfolio, no wonder Broadway hits come here to test the productions before heading south.

    We can thank one local theatre family for that. The Mirvish family helmed by Ed and later his son David resurrected old stages like the Royal Alexandra and new builds like the Princess of Wales to bring big productions here.

    Watch the acclaimed Broadway musical hit, The Book of Mormon return next year to the Princess of Wales Theatre.

    The Toronto Fringe Festival (July 3-14) is a collection of fringe productions performed in unique spaces like a pawn shop and a laundromat. It’s definitely a festival to consider if you want to mingle with the city’s artsy hipsters.

    And if you want to avoid staying cooped up inside during a hot night, then consider heading to Toronto’s High Park to watch Shakespeare in The Park performed by the Canadian Stage Company.  The Bard’s words lift off the page under a sea of stars there. Truly divine!!
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What restaurants have the best views in Toronto?

    Toronto’s been building vertically a lot these days. Chances are pretty good you’ll spot a building crane erecting another highrise condominium.

    And among the restaurants with fabulous city views, the pickings are excellent too.

    The revolving restaurant atop the CN Tower will guarantee a fabulous panorama vista. Aptly dubbed The 360 the resto is helmed by Executive Chef Peter George who serves up a vibrant market fresh menu in what used to be revered as the world’s tallest tower up until a few years ago. 

    Business suits gather at Canoe. Located in the heart of the Financial District, the restaurant overlooks Lake Ontario with lively views of the harbor and the cluster of Toronto Islands.
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best outdoor activities in Toronto?

    Let the summer begin. Think because you’re in the city outdoor activities don’t exist? Think again.

    Cycling is cool.
    The city has created a web of bike lanes with more on the books. It’s a fabulous way to visit all the neighborhood pockets. For rentals check with Bixi Toronto.

    Canoeing is wild.
    I totally enjoy hopping inside a retro Voyageur canoe (it’s wider and deeper than the regular ones) and paddling out to the Toronto Islands. See Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre for rentals.

    Another great nautical route is kayaking or canoeing by the glass calm Humber River. A local outfitter Toronto Adventures is available under the Old Mill Station by the river and has a nice selection of crayon-colored floating vessels. I love the cherry red kayaks – they pop out at you and can be seen for miles.

    The whole experience feels like you have entered a scene from the African Queen. Lots of vegetation on both sides, slow moving water, the Humber River is gorgeous!!
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    Should visitors rent a car in Toronto?

    No.

    Who needs the hassle? Besides the city’s been suffering from a major grid lock problem for years. The TTC which is the city’s transit commission has a slogan “Take the TTC, it’s the better way.”

    Car rental just means extra charges, driving on heavily congested roads, parking headaches, not to mention facing the city’s ticket-happy parking violation officers who seem to creep up the moment your parking meter expires.

    Toronto’s main downtown attractions are also easily reachable by foot or by public transit. The city also introduced a bike sharing program called Bixi which lets you rent a bike for whatever length of time is needed. Once you’re done cycling, park the Bixi at any of the downtown Bixi bike racks. Check the map and routes on their website.
  • On June 24, 2013
    Ilona Kauremszky answered the question: Ilona Kauremszky

    What are the best neighborhoods in Toronto?

    Summer’s a blast in Toronto especially when you hone in on the neighborhood scene as so many serve up unique attractions or have cool restaurants opening or just a fabulous urban vibe.

    My favorite stroll for high-end shopping is Bloor-Yorkville. Not only is this the spot for exquisite Chanel, Tiffany and Hermes finds but the restaurant scene has also seen some fabulous executive chefs strut their stuff.

    For that cottage feel where you swear you can still hear the old front screen door spring open, the Beaches is the place to mellow by the sandy shoreline and kick back some pints with old friends along the main hub of Queen Street East. Home to Kew-Balmy Beach and the Kew Gardens Pavilion, one of the hottest anticipated events is the upcoming Beaches International Jazz Festival, celebrating 25 years.

    When I feel like exploring the artsy community and feel ultra trendy, I head to West Queen West. This stretch includes terrific contemporary art galleries and has funky clubs and hotels under one roof like The Drake plus plenty of eclectic shops and coffee shops.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Rosemina Nazarali answered the question: Rosemina Nazarali

    What are the best places to see a play in Toronto?

    Toronto’s theatre scene is booming, with several venues to see both large and small productions. The very best include the Ed Mirvish Theatre, Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

    The Ed Mirvish Theatre first opened in Toronto in the 1920s and has a capacity of 2200. The theatre is currently hosting a production of The Wizard of Oz.

    The Royal Alexandra Theatre was built in the early 1900s and has a capacity of just under 1,500. The venue’s most noteworthy upcoming show is I Love Lucy -- Live Onstage.

    The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is a venue that hosts both theatrical and musical productions. It opened in 1960 and has just over 3,000 seats. Upcoming shows include Russell Brand, the Pet Shop Boys and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of The Goddesses.
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