When my soul sister from Toronto, announced she was engaged, all I could think about was: I am going to make attending her wedding happen.
Never did I expect telling her this would lead to being asked to be a bridesmaid, which was such an honour. Luckily for me, the dates worked and I was able to plan a two and a half week holiday to Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and New York City with my mum.
We had five nights in Toronto and although I wish I could have arrived a little earlier before the wedding, the timing was perfect to fit in with Malado’s honeymoon plans following the wedding.
Toronto is a great international city. It’s not as touristy as other cities but it has all the features of one – landmarks, culture, atmosphere and population.
We travelled from Perth to Sydney to Dallas with Qantas and American Airlines from Dallas to Toronto. It was my first time travelling Qantas internationally which seems quite bizarre as an Australian but they don’t have many international flights from Perth. I thoroughly enjoyed the flights and the service and found the food to be very modern and not too heavy.
We arrived in Toronto the Thursday night before the wedding and stayed at Malado’s condo building in the guest suite. It was such a sweet deal for CAD75 per night in downtown Toronto. The room had a queen bed, bathroom and lounge area with chairs and a coffee table. It was very roomy.
The next day it was all about wedding preparations – dress fitting, meeting with the wedding planner, putting together the favours (bonbonieres).
That afternoon we explored the St Lawrence Market, a fresh food haven for locals and tourists. In the evening we explored the Distillery District. It was a cold night and the streets were quiet so it didn’t seem very atmospheric but there were some cool photo opportunities which is what we love. The area has bars, cafes, bakeries, galleries and gift shops, and is supposedly amazing during Christmas time when there are Christmas markets.
That night it was pre-wedding drinks with mainly the groom’s friends at Michael’s on Simcoe around the corner from the condo. We only made it out for one mojito but it was nice to meet some of the groomsmen and other friends before the wedding.
Saturday came around so quick. I was up at 6am for 6.30am hair and make up. We got ready in the function room on the 16th floor of the condo building which had floor to ceiling glass panels offering an amazing view over Toronto’s skyline and in particular CN Tower.
The wedding day was a lot of fun and I am so thankful I was asked to be a part of it and so so happy I came over for it. It was an honour to witness two beautiful people get married.
The next day I took my mum to Center Island in the morning. It is approximately CAD7.50 for a return ticket to the island and takes 10 minutes to get there. I didn’t realise it was a seasonal attraction as when we got there everything was closed including the bike hire. We still walked around and explored the area which has a pier with a direction sign to NYC, a lighthouse, manmade beaches and a great view of the Toronto skyline.
When we got back to downtown, we stumbled across the Toronto sign in Nathan Phillip’s Square which is a new attraction since my last visit. In winter there is an ice skating rink in front of the sign and at night the sign lights up in different colours.
We walked to Kensington Market which was a bit of a hipster area with decorative streets, op shops and multicultural cuisines. For lunch we settled for something safe and dined at Last Temptation pub which had a mix of Canadian and American food on the menu. We shared fried tofu with hot sauce, spicy chicken wings, fries with chilli and cheese and a garden salad (even though we asked for a Greek salad).
After lunch we wandered the stalls and had a pick me up at Casa Coffee. Coffee is a little hit and miss in Canada – some are good, some are not. We then wandered Chinatown and walked to Dundas Square which is a mini Times Square with a lot of buskers and homeless around.
We had a late dinner at Catcus Club, a hip rooftop bar in downtown. We sat at the bar downstairs due to no other tables being available and both had wholesome salads and a cocktail – me a passionfruit Bellini and mum a Brazilian. Both salads were very unique and delicious.
Monday was our last full day in Toronto and mum was booked on a full day tour to Niagara Falls with Niagara Airbus (I did it with Malado on my last trip), so I was lucky to get to spend the whole day with Malado.
We started with a walk through Toronto’s underground city which is heavily used in the winter months when the weather is extreme. The underground network connects the train system and has food outlets, shopping, services and entrances to buildings.
We drove to Casa Loma, the largest castle in North America; walked through the cherry blossoms at High Park, Toronto’s largest inner city park; and went to the Toronto beaches, specifically Woodbine Beach and had a Tim Horton’s – Canada’s answer to Starbucks. The beach water is from Lake Ontario and the sand is a lot browner than Australian beaches.
To celebrate our last night in Toronto (well it wasn’t a celebration, more sadness), Malado, mum and I went to dinner at STK – a modern high end steakhouse originating in the US. We received complimentary garlic butter bread and shared tuna tartare for entree. Main was a fillet of steak and we shared burrata salad, fried cauliflower and mash potato. Of course there were cocktails involved as well.
After dinner we headed to Shark Club sportsbar at Dundas Square to meet up with the groom and a few of his friends for more drinks.
The following morning we ended our Toronto visit with breakfast at Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen where I tried the famous peameal bacon – basically a thickened piece of bacon. It is very tasty but very salty too.
Then it was off to the airport for us in the pouring rain for our flight to Quebec. We flew with Porter which departs from the heart of downtown at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport – so convenient for anyone staying in the city.
At the airport there are complimentary drinks and snacks including cookies and mixed nuts to enjoy. We also received a complimentary wine and snack on board.
Next week I will take you to the magical city of Quebec.