As many of you scroll through Air Canada or YYZ Deals, you'll be happy to hear that there are also pretty surreal places within Toronto. For city rats like myself who thoroughly refuses to leave the city whenever possible, I'm glad beautiful spots like this exist nearby. But don't worry, these places don't even feel like you're near the city.
It's nice to spend day trips roaming around and finding hidden gems, especially where something is always happening. Compared to other cities in Canada, Toronto definitely has the highest and arguably most interesting buzz around local food and beverage, fashion, film and picturesque havens.
Here are some of the most surreal and beautiful places in Toronto, that doesn't feel like Toronto:
Of course Toronto's majestic CASTLE was going to be on this list! Casa Loma is one of Toronto's top tourist attractions and event venues. The castle and beautiful estate gardens are the perfect social backdrop for fancy events and special occassions. It's not a surprise this gorgeous castle is also a highly desirable location for photoshoots and TV or film shooting. I can attest that the exteriors and interiors of the castle is absolutely stunning and it will make you feel like a princess (or prince).
This year, Casa Loma is hosting their annual Thanksgiving brunch on October 7th. You can first-hand experience the beauty and buzz around this stunning city castle because your brunch cost also covers admission costs. After the scrumptious thanksgiving brunch with the fam and friends and SO, you can all explore the castle together.
The Great Library
When was the last time you actually went inside Osgoode? Have you ever? This is one of Toronto's most prestigious and important buildings in the heart of the city but somehow weirdly lacks our praise. Probably because Osgoode's gated black fence tends to discourage people from exploring their lovely grounds.
Located at the busy trifecta of Queen, University & York, Osgoode Hall is actually a peaceful quarter with well-tended gardens and completely bewitching libraries. The Great Library looks like something out of Harry Potter. Makes sense, because this study space is actually a private space paid for by lawyers who have a membership, but the public can still access it during normal operating hours (photography isn't allowed).
The Toronto Pumpkin Fest is home to, well, Toronto. This gorgeous scene of scattered orange pumpkins is happening at Downsview Park on October 6th-8th and over the course of 3 days, the pumpkin festival has got LOTS of fun stuff planned like pie eating contests, food trucks, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Talk about festive.
This event is totally FREE to enter (yay!) and the only thing you need to pay for is food and pumpkins. I think this event is totally interesting because most people think they have to travel to some far away land in the 'burbs to visit a pumpkin patch. Nope. There's one right in the city and it is orange as hell. You won't want to miss it!
Located just on the Toronto waterfront, Tommy Thompson Park is a unique urban wilderness that is minutes from downtown! This enchanting park in Toronto is located on a man-made peninsula (the Leslie Street Spit) and it extends onto beautiful Lake Ontario.
This park has dreamy wildflower meadows, cottonwood forests, coastal marshes, cobble beaches and even sand dunes. You'll feel like Snow White at this park because there is an abundance of wildlife, especially birds, that flourish here. It makes it one of the best outdoor spots in the city to nature-watch!
Super busy every holiday season, the Toronto Christmas Market doesn't disappoint. From their infamous Christmas tree to giant turkey legs and lots and lots of mulled wine, you're bound to find something interesting here. The best part is their abundance of hanging fairy lights all around the market. It doesn't make you feel like you're in Toronto at all!
This year, the Toronto Christmas Market is bringing back their stunning 100 foot light tunnel. This year's festive holiday event will feature a magical, sparkling light tunnel in place of the fabulous Cluny Bistro in the Distillery and it's a beautiful spot to snap some holiday photos.
Yep... not only can you paint in the heart of a beautiful glass aquarium at SUNDOWN but you also get the chance to explore Ripley's after dark if you arrived before the 7pm event start time. It always seems Ripley's has got some novel event ideas up their sleeves.
The event is 19+ and it's a Paint Nite where you are taught how to paint on the canvas. The most magical part is that you're painting in the middle of a glowing aquarium where hammerhead sharks, sea turtles and tropical saltwater fish swim around. Sounds dreamy.
This stylish neighbourhood is one of my favourite spots in the city. Maybe it's the stunning Hazelton hotel or maybe it's the scattered designer boutiques on Bloor West (Chanel... ugh). It could also be because Yorkville is home to a giant Homesense where anyone can happily spend hours wandering around, looking for beautiful stuff for your home. Oh, and frequently seeing exotic lambos on the street is pretty cool, too.
I think what I love about Yorkville most is that it's a tight knit neighourhood (some people even call them Yorkvillains). It's the perfect place to people watch because you frequently bump into the same people like, all the time. The best part is they're polished from head to toe, looking like legit movie stars, even when they've just run from of a spin class at Soul Cycle. The whole scene here is just fanatically interesting, rich and beautiful.
The One Eighty Rooftop Lounge
The One Eighty at Manulife Centre is a swanky place with killer cocktails and a killer skyline view. This spot is of my favourite restobars to unwind and grab some girly cocktails at happy hour and enjoy the sunset. I love watching the pink hues come up while the skies darken making way for the city lights to break through. It's serene out on the lounge patio, and then loud and bustling inside the bar. The perfect mini getaway!
The views of this library is insane. The library is pretty much a landmark here in Toronto because it has undeniably one of the most visually appealing interiors of any building downtown. It's a stunning spot to get sh*t done or escape from reality inside a good read. If this spot is within your day route, why not step inside and take a few minutes to just relax, meditate and unwind?
This impressive architectural piece called the Gooderham Building sits at the intersection of Church, Wellington and Front St. It was built to house offices for the Gooderham family who were mostly wealthy bankers. Most people call it the Flatiron because it reminds them of NYC's impressive Flatiron Building.
This distinctive building owes its appeal to more than just its interesting shape-- the building's rich colours and copper roof express the utter wealth of the family and power in the community. I mean, when you look at the building, most people visualize power and reputation. There is a beautiful painting on the rear of the building called the tromp l’oeil which has also become an attraction!
This hotel is the essential Toronto experience. It's right in the downtown core beside Union Station and also minutes from city attractions like the CN Tower, Ripley's, Scotiabank Area and the Sony Centre for Performing Arts. This luxury hotel has multi-million dollar guestroom that are so elegant you won't know what to do with yourself. From award-winning restos, to casual locales for drinks and bar bites to classy business meetings or an intimate staycation in the city, the Fairmont has it all.
This beautiful bridge is a pedestrian and bike path with a clear view of the Humber River. This arch bridge is picturesque especially during sunset and was also the recipient of numerous local architectural design and engineering awards! The bridge is situated at the mouth of the Humber River, the start of the "Toronto Carrying Place" trail, which is actually an ancient aboriginal trading route, which is why you'll see designs like carved turtles and canoes. This area in the city is known as the Martin Goodman Trail, and is one of the most popular pedestrians and cycling routes in the city! Great place to people watch with a coffee in hand.