Toronto Bucket List - 100 Things to See and Do in Toronto http://www.showmetoronto.com/blog/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=698&TB_iframe=trueBefore You DieMonday, February 9th, 2009
Toronto is full of sights and events that you won’t want to miss. It can be difficult to figure out just what you should do, so we’ve compiled this Bucket List to give you the absolute best things to see and do in the city.
1. Walk the underground PATH. This underground shopping center won the Guinness World Record for being the largest in the world. There are 27 km of shopping areas with 371,600 sq. metres of actual retail space, spanning 1,200 stores.
2. Take a helicopter tour of Toronto. There are plenty of tour options in the city, but if you really want to get a good look, then a helicopter is the absolute best way to go. Soaring over the city will give you a great look at all the main attractions from a bird’s eye view.
3. Have dinner at the top of the CN tower. For the ultimate in Toronto dining experiences, you need to head to the top of this tower and enjoy an elegant dinner while rotating slowly to get a view of the entire city.
4. Enjoy a day of sunbathing “au natural” at Hanlan’s Point Nude Beach on Center Island.
5. Watch the Pride Parade with 1 million of your closest friends. It’s the highlight of Pride Week and one of Toronto’s most famous tourist attractions.
6. Tour the city on a Hippo Amphibus. A bus that is designed for both land and water allows for a very unique way to see the city of Toronto.
7. Visit the African Lion Safari. Though not technically in Toronto, this safari is worth traveling for to see African animals wandering about the reserve.
8. Play hockey with Wayne Gretzky. No trip to Toronto is complete without visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame, where you can try to score against a virtual Gretzky.
9. Eat your way through Toronto’s delicious ethnic neighbourhoods - Little Italy, Greektown, Little India, Chinatown, Little Korea, Little Portugal, and more.
10. Cheer for the Blue Jays. Toronto’s official baseball team (the only Canadian team in the Major Leagues) is something you just have to see in action while in town.
11. Make a gingerbread man. If you’re in Toronto over the holidays, it’s worth stopping by the Gingerbread Cookie Factory at Sherway Gardens with the kids or on your own.
12. Take a dinner cruise. Could anything be more romantic than an evening on a yacht with an elegant dinner served as you enjoy the brightly lit skyline of Toronto?
13. Be on TV. The Gladstone is a bar that transforms once a month to provide live television recordings with local guests that audience members can meet after the show.
14. Eat a real Montreal smoked meat sandwich at the Centre Street Deli. It’s in Thornhill, a little north of the GTA, but well worth the drive.
15. Take a tour of Ontario’s Wine Country. Though not technically in Toronto, it is only 1 hour away via the Gardiner and QEW. Ontario produces world class wines, and some of them are only for sale at the wineries. Don’t forget to bring along a designated driver.
16. Browse the St. Lawrence Market. Everything can be found here, from flea market bargains to fresh veggies, all ensconced in a historical building. Don’t forget to try an amazing veal sandwich downstairs!
17. Gape at shoes. If you love shoes or history, then the Bata Shoe Museum is the place to go. There are over 10,000 pieces of footwear from up to 4,500 years ago.
18. Don’t miss Caribana, North America’s biggest street festival. You’ve got to experience the parade for yourself - brilliantly costumed masqueraders, and dozens of trucks carrying live soca, calypso, steel pan, reggae and salsa artists all along the 1.5 km parade route.
19. The Santa Claus Parade is one of Toronto’s most beloved events. It has been a Toronto tradition since 1905. Have you seen it yet?
20. Take a tour of the Rogers Center and the world’s first fully retractable roof. It actually opens or closes in 20 minutes.
21. Visit Kensington Market, a shopper’s dream. You can find the most exotic spice in the world right next door to a fabulous vintage shop.
22. Travel back in time. The Medieval Times is a dinner theater where you can enjoy a good old-fashioned tournament while feasting on traditional medieval food.
23. Visit Black Creek Pioneer Village. It is living history. Experience how people lived in the 1800s.
24. Hike Toronto Island. The network of trails here and the ferry ride over are peaceful and enjoyable.
25. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It’s newly renovated and just spectacular with over 4,000 pieces of new art. There are also great programs for kids so bring along the whole family.
26. Ride the Queen Street Streetcar, the 501. It is the longest route on the TTC with 15.4 miles of double track, and is one of the longest streetcar routes in North America.
27. See the Toronto skyline at dusk. This is a truly amazing sight. Don’t forget your camera!
28. Check out Niagara Falls. It is one of the most breathtaking sites on the planet and one of the most popular honeymoon destinations for decades. It’s about 1.5 hours by car from Toronto. Don’t forget to ride the Maid of the Mist.
29. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Housing over six million artifacts, this museum is definitely one of the more impressive cultural exhibits in Canada.
30. Go skating outdoors at Harbourfront Centre or at Nathan Phillips Square.
31. Immerse yourself in theatre. Toronto ranks among the world’s best with New York and London. We have everything from major productions to small, independent theatre.
32. View native art. Ontario is alive with the history of the native people and this is very evident in galleries like the Bay of Spirits Gallery.
33. Check out the Lantern Festival. This is an annual event that brings Chinese Lanterns to life each August in an amazing display that you shouldn’t miss.
34. Enjoy a concert at the Toronto Music Garden. Here’s one of the best places to listen to music and really have a great time, either on your own or with friends.
35. Take in an event at Old City Hall. This building was built in 1899 and resembles a castle. Interesting enough on its own, Memorial Day is the best time to see this attraction.
36. Don’t miss the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. This collection is a must see if you want to know more about Canadian art history. There are plenty of paintings here from the Group of Seven.
37. Visit William Lyon Mackenzie. This famous rebel has long since gone, but his home is now a museum where you can learn more about his life.
38. Cycle the city. Ignore the hustle and bustle, mount a bike and head out on the bike paths for a leisurely tour of Toronto.
39. Stop in for a minute at the St. James Cathedral. A historical church that has been rebuilt three times, this is definitely worth a spot on your Toronto to do list.
40. Step back into the fifties. At the Rex Jazz and Blues Bar, you’ll be able to relax and listen to music in a very 50s style at very reasonable prices.
41. Go to Open Doors Toronto. Over 175 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and/or social significance open their doors to the public. Admission is free.
42. Walk down Toronto’s widest street. Not as well known as Yonge St., Spadina Avenue measures 149 feet across and hosts some impressive shopping deals.
43. Ride on the 3rd largest transit system in North America. Toronto outranks just about everyone else, except for Mexico City and New York with the size of their transit system.
44. Snap a photo in front of the Parliament buildings. This is a quintessential part of visiting Toronto.
45. Pick up some gifts. The annual Ten Thousand Villages Christmas Fair lets you buy arts and crafts from people around the world, including Latin America and Africa, among others.
46. Watch the new Miss Universe Canada be selected. This pageant is every January and is certainly one of the most popular events in Toronto.
47. Take in a film or two. Toronto is home to several independent film festivals, such as Hot Docs and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.
48. See the lake that’s like an ocean, but not. Lake Ontario is one of the Great Lakes that separates the US from Canada and is famous for its size and massive storms.
49. Explore the Ontario Science Centre. Not just for kids, this science museum is fascinating and educational for all ages.
50. Excite your taste buds with vegetarian fare. The Vegetarian Food Fair occurs every September and features cooking workshops, as well as plenty of delicious food.
51. Spend a romantic evening at the Distillery. This section of the city has been restored to its original splendor and is full of great shops, beautiful architecture, as well as romantic restaurants.
52. Participate in a Mennonite quilt auction. During the annual Pioneer Festival, you can bid on handmade quilts, enjoy live music and pick up fresh veggies at the farmers market.
53. Be dazzled by Christmas lights. The Cavalcade of Lights is available to the public throughout November and December each year, lighting up the city.
54. Walk Toronto’s famous Yonge Street. This is what most people think of when they think Toronto. Yonge Street is full of restaurants and shops, everything a tourist could want.
55. Tour Casa Loma. This historic castle is truly magnificent. You can check out the secret passages and underground tunnels while listening to an audio tour.
56. Play a round of golf right in the GTA. Several courses are TTC accessible.
57. Run in the Toronto Marathon. With over 12,000 participants from around the world, you’ll be in good company!
58. Hit the Toronto Jazz Festival. For anyone who loves jazz, this festival is something you absolutely must be there to experience.
59. Learn to kayak. Lake Ontario is the perfect place to try out your newfound paddling skills and you can get a great view of the Toronto skyline.
60. Smell the roses at the Toronto Rose Festival. This annual festival attracts rose lovers from around the world and it’s a great place to meet fellow gardeners and pick up some great tips.
61. Go to a Toronto wine tasting. An annual wine tasting event is the Bloor-Yorkville Wine Festival held each May, which lasts for a week.
62. Tap a sugar maple. Each spring, when the sap starts flowing, sugar tapping is a big attraction. Turn the maple sap into maple sugar and enjoy!
63. Stay up all night for Nuit Blanche and experience a full night of contemporary art and performance in three zones across the city.
64. Visit the Campbell House Museum. This building has double importance. It’s the oldest building remaining from the city of York and was the home of Sir William Campbell.
65. See the oldest church in Toronto. The Little Trinity Church is a quaint place of worship that is an integral part of Toronto’s history. It puts on a fabulous Christmas pageant every year that delights kids of all ages.
66. Bet on a horse race. Woodbine is Toronto’s hard hitting race track where the pros go to watch racing.
67. Wander through InterAcess. While Toronto is home to many museums, this one is different with a variety of electronics on display.
68. Learn about boat making at the Pier. Despite the name, this is actually a museum where interactive displays teach you all about building boats.
69. Remember the fallen. At the Holocaust Center in Toronto, you can view memories of those who survived the Holocaust, as well as those who didn’t.
70. Take a look at the statues in Queen’s Park. Figures representing historic persons are everywhere in this park that sits in front of the legislative building.
71. For four days, every August, the most entertaining street performers from around the world gather in the St. Lawrence market area for Buskerfest and perform for Torontonians. Admission is free but a donation to Epilepsy Toronto is appreciated.
72. Find the lost side of Toronto. A Lost World tour will give you a glimpse of areas that are not on the regular tourist agenda and is certainly worth a look.
73. Buy a ticket to the Toronto After Dark Film Festival featuring new horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, animated, and cult films from around the world.
74. Visit the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. It is the first building of its kind in Canada built specifically for opera and ballet performances with the finest level of acoustics and it has the longest free-spanning glass staircase in the world.
75. The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic houses over 3,000 pieces in its permanent collection and has fabulous art classes for children and adults.
76. Listen to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, especially at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performances of Handel’s Messiah.
77. Experience the textures at the Toronto Textile Museum. Whether you are interested in textile arts or not, this is a very impressive collection of techniques and fabrics.
78. Take a walk on the Boardwalk right here in the Toronto Beaches neighbourhood. Located in the east end it is famous for its Lake Ontario shoreline, funky shops, great restaurants, and Jazz Festival.
79. Wine and dine at Toronto’s Winterlicious and Summerlicious Festivals when over 150 of our finest dining establishment offer incredible 3-course meals for amazing all-inclusive prices.
80. Check out the view from Panorama Restaurant. On the 51 floor of the Manulife Centre, Panorama has 2 of the country’s highest patios.
81. Explore Fort York. These buildings built in 1812 were part of the original fort that was the beginning of Toronto and offer a glimpse of the history here.
82. Laugh yourself silly at Toronto’s Just for Laughs Festival in July. There are plenty of free events day and night.
83. Celebrate Canada Day on July 1st and take in the fireworks at Ontario Place and at Ashbridge’s Bay in the Beaches.
84. Take a look at the history of the Canadian Police Force. At the Toronto Police Museum, you’ll see a tribute to the members of the Police Force in ‘Canada.
85. The Toronto Fringe Festival is one of the best in the world and Toronto’s largest theatre festival. It hosts over 800 local and international artists performing in over 135 unique productions.
86. Peek inside the Toronto Reference Library. It might sound boring, but inside this amazing historical building you’ll find a waterfall and elegant pool that turn this bland place into a paradise.
87. Attend the National Canadian Ballet. Right in Toronto, this gives you the opportunity to cross another wonderful experience off your list. The ballet is quite lovely and well worth seeing.
88. Spend some time in Canada’s premier scream park “Screemers” if you dare! There are walkthrough attractions, a slaughter house theatre presentation, and carnival rides at the Field of Screams Midway.
89. Visit Toronto Necropolis. A historical cemetery that is well worth an afternoon spent walking through it. You’ll find quite a few famous people buried here, as well as some great examples of High Victorian Goth architecture.
90. Hike the Bruce Trail. Just north of Toronto, this is a beautiful trail that lets you see something besides the buildings of Toronto as you walk through the forest.
91. Come out to Queens Park for Afrofest, a fabulous free celebration of African music and culture in Toronto.
92. Take in Irie Fest an exciting celebration of Caribbean culture, music, and food taking place in August at Nathan Phillips Square and Queen’s Park. 93. Enjoy yourself at Ontario Place. This is one of the best amusement parks in Ontario and you will easily be able to spend a whole day checking everything out and riding all the rides.
94. Head out to the Toronto Islands for a fantastic 2-day rock festival - The Virgin Festival.
95. Enjoy a pint or two at the Toronto Festival of Beer, Canada’s largest beer festival. This delicious event features over 250 brands of beer
96. Everyone is Greek during the Taste of the Danforth, one of the highlights of Toronto’s summer festival season. Danforth Avenue between Broadview and Jones Avenues will be closed to traffic and transformed into a fantastic street party for 3 days.
97. See the Olympic Spirit Canada museum. This museum is full of sports memorabilia and memories of the Olympic Games held in Canada.
98. The CNE, or The Ex, is a Toronto tradition founded in 1879. This 18-day fair attracts over 1.25 million people annually. It is the largest annual fair in Canada.
99. Take a drive through Cabbagetown. Originally given this name because of the large number of Irish immigrants that settled here, this area of Toronto is now one of the most impressive collections of Victorian homes around.
100. All the stars come to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and you won’t want to miss it either. Stake out a spot at your favourite star gazing patio in Yorkville and be ready with your autograph book.
There you have it, 100 things you really must do in Toronto before you kick the bucket. Whether you live in this beautiful Canadian city or are just visiting, you will certainly want to make the effort to complete this list and see and do everything important and interesting in Toronto. It’s well worth it.