Toronto the city of burning secrets part 2

Ok, so we have the CN tower and Eaton center covered, what is there still left to talk about you might ask yourself…? Lots of things that is my answer! Last year wasn’t my first visit to Toronto, but it always feels like like it, as you every time I come here I seem to discover new things. One of the“discoveries” I did this time was the Distillery district or known as the Gooderham and Worts Distillery until 1990 as this was the year they closed their doors for making bourbon and whiskey. Nowadays you’ll find theaters, a few artsy shops, some nice lunch options and a museum on the Distillery. What attracted me here (besides the nice lunch spots) was that the fact they have kept all the original buildings (although I’m sure that at some point it must have burned down like everything else in Toronto) and this gives lots of character to this part of town and the jazzy music jazzed it up :-).  We had our lunch at the “Brick street bakery” where we had some very satisfying sandwiches (I had the day special “meatball sandwich”, not sure what my bride to be had 😦  ). If you’re not really for sandwiches for lunch, I’m sure there will be something else to your liking in the Distillery district for every kind of budget). What you should also know about The Distillery is that it has been used in lots of famous movies like Chicago, The Farm (with Al Pacino) and X men. (you can find a more complete list on the following link). So basically you can even pretend that’s you’re on a movie set 🙂

Distillery (1) Distillery Bakery

Distillery Entrance

Distillery my lunch

Distillery

Distillery Art

Distillery

Distillery me

If you are into food (like me) a visit to the St. Lawrence Market is a real must! Walking here felt a bit like walking in a cleaner version of Barcelona’s “Mercat De La Boqueria” (which is an amazing covered market). Just like at ‘La Boqueria’ you can buy as well as eat both local as foreign products, but also farmers selling their own products. On top of this you can also follow cooking workshops here, given by some of Canada’s best chefs! A stop at Placewares while at the market is highly recommended as they really have every kitchen appliance you can imagine at a normal affordable price (I was like a kid in the candy store, to bad I had keep my luggage weight in mind).  I can say for a fact that this market woke up a very big appetite!

St Lawrence market St Lawrence mrkt (1) St Lawrence market (2) St Lawrence mrkt (3) St Lawrence mrkt (4)

St Lawrence mrkt (5)

Just like in every other city Toronto has a huge choice of restaurants of any nomination and cuisine, so I’m sure you guys won’t starve! Personally I didn’t try too many restaurants in all the times I was here, as I prefer eating the great food my aunt makes! She is a very good cook, I know when she’ll be reading this she’ll say she isn’t, but she is (she’s just modest)! She had two of my preferred cooks as examples 🙂 her mom and her mom’s sister aka my zia Livia (you might have already read about her in my post about her). However a restaurant that I hope to get to next time I’m in Toronto is restaurant ‘Nota Bene ‘. Why? Well a friend of mine (who now works at my favorite wine shop and studied at one Belgium’s best chef schools) worked there for a while and was so enthusiastically about this place that I just have to try it and I’ve also seen lots of positive reactions on this restaurant on the web…  (Last year it didn’t work out to go there)

My aunt's chicken

Nota bene

If you would have the time, I can really recommend you to also explore the area around Toronto. One thing you just have to have seen are the Niagara Falls, they are only an hour drive away from Toronto… so to Canadian standard very close by. I have seen it both at winter time and during summer and the last is definitely better as during this gives you the opportunity to walk a bit and see the falls from almost every angle or do a little walk in the park. You could also take a boat or walk under the fall, but is all quite expensive to do…I mean once you’ve seen the falls you’ve seen the falls. The “town” at the falls is a bit tacky if you ask me, Vegas style, a lot of light, lots of noise, casino’s and junk food 🙂 not really my thing, but still an experience… what I do recommend is stopping at Niagara on the lake, which is the opposite of Niagara town.

Niagara Falls Niagara Cruiser

Another great trip outside of Toronto would be through the Ontario Wineries (if you like wine obviously), you would really be surprised what beauties (referring to wine) you’ll find here. You can check the following link to know more about the wineries and plan a route.

Or a stop at Oakville (an upscale town at Lake Ontario) could be nice if you like to see some smaller towns… We had a nice dinner at restaurant Julia, which to my opinion was a place where you can eat well for a modest price and enjoy some local wines… what more do you need?

Julia's our food (3)

Julia's our food (2)

Julia's our food (1)

Julia's my aunt & me

I could keep talking, but one has to stop somewhere… Toronto, Ontario or better whole Canada have all so many beautiful things to offer for you to discover  from beautiful nature to great cities with a European touch and Canadian friendliness . I recommend everybody to go there at least 1 time in their life!

I would also like to thank Gabby and the family for making our trip even more amazing. Thanks guys!

BTW: I didn’t know I had such big fans in Canada? These guys even had a Spinelli Sticker on their car 🙂

Fans

Toronto the city of burning secrets

Toronto front view

The following question is without any doubt a very popular quiz question “What is the capital of Canada?” funny enough most people will be wrongly answering “Toronto” instead of “Ottawa” which is the actual capital… I’m not sure why, but I will try to tell you what makes Toronto a very special place (besides me having family there). If you would be thinking visiting Toronto don’t do this at wintertime, wait for the spring or summer! I’ve been there in both seasons and in wintertime it is sooooooo cold, when the wind is blowing it feels like little razors cutting in your skin. On top of that the city is so much more beautiful in the warmer season, all the flowers, being able to sit outside to eat or drink, …

Toronto is a ‘smaller’ and calmer version of New York to my opinion. I know there is only 1 NYC, but did you know that most movies that seem like they are recorded in NYC are actually recorded in Toronto?! Next time you see a movie in “NYC” check the credits from the movie and I’m sure they’ll be thanking the city of Toronto.  Toronto even has their own mini ‘Time square’ aka Dundas Square  🙂

Dundas Square

Dundas Square (2)

Dundas Square (3)

I know I did already mention it in previous post of cities (and will keep mentioning it) I’ve visited, the way to get to know a city it taking a sightseeing bus on the first day! So that’s what we did (this wasn’t my first time in Toronto, but it was for my fiancée). You just get such a good overview of the city and it is easier to see which parts you would want to explore further. I can also strongly advise you to take the boatride in the sightseeing package as this way you’ll get to see Toronto in a front view (great to take pictures)! You also get the see the islands in front of Toronto … Yes the islands which also has one nudist beach (for those who would be into this  … sorry no pictures :-).) and one of the smallest airports in the world. In case you don’t feel like taking a boat y ou also have a great view of the airport and the islands when going on top of the CN Tower.

Boattrip (1)

Boattrip (2)

Boattrip (3)

Boattrip (4)

Boattrip (5)

Boattrip (6)

The CN tower is without any doubt one THE most important landmarks (ok, maybe also Rogers center), it isn’t cheap to go on top, but it is worth it as you get a really beautiful overview of this city and it is then that you notice that it is a very green city with lots of trees and parks…

CN (1)

CN view (3)

CN view (2)

CN view

CN wow what a view

CN view down

CN airport

One thing I’ve learned during the sightseeing is that Toronto is a very new city when it comes to architecture. Why? Because since the 18th century until now, there have been more fires in Toronto than snow 🙂 Really I think every building you see in Toronto has at least burned down once in its history 🙂  But nevertheless there are some very beautiful buildings and houses in downtown Toronto! From very modern architecture and reinstatements of buildings that burned down.

Toronto Buildings (1) Toronto Buildings (2) Toronto Buildings (3) Toronto Buildings Hockey Hall of fame Toronto Buildings CN Tower Toronto Buildings Distillery Toronto Buildings Shoemuseum

For the shopaholics amongst you, I’m sure Toronto will also have a lot to offer for you! Try to get to Eaton Center, probably one of the biggest malls I’ve ever seen! You could also just walk down on Yonge street, but I would think twice if you would want to walk the whole street as this is one of the longest streets (with sidewalk) in the world and it would take you around 48hours to walk from North to South 🙂 but then again women always like to shop until they drop 🙂

To be continued as I’m not done talking yet and I still didn’t talk about the food…. so stay tuned!