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24 Hours in Toronto

Toronto is one of the biggest cities in North America — with the world-class food, art, culture, history and shopping that come with modern-day metropolises. But part of Toronto’s magic is that it doesn’t feel overwhelming thanks to its high concentration of amenities in the heart of the city, orderly network of eminently walkable neighborhoods and genuinely friendly residents. Here’s how to see the best of this vibrant, multinational city in a day.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Culture and Breakfast.

    Baking is an art at Blackbird Baking Co., and after trying your first brioche cinnamon roll, you’ll wholeheartedly agree. The brainchild of baker and owner Simon Blackwell, the rustic bakery focuses on organic and heirloom grains. Opt to walk the mile from The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto as the route goes straight through one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. Look for the vendor stalls, shops and eateries at the corner of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street.

  • Most Interesting Neighborhood.

    Toronto is home to more than 200 ethnicities, and nowhere is the eclectic mash-up more vibrant than in the Kensington Market neighborhood. A national historic site, Kensington is a treasure trove of vintage and secondhand clothing, esoteric gift items and gourmet foods from all over the world. Not to mention bars, bakeries, ethnic eateries, butchers, fishmongers, grocers and perhaps the highest concentration of local coffee shops in Toronto.

MIDDAY
  • Canada’s Largest Museum.

    The Royal Ontario Museum contains a whopping 6 million items and 40 galleries. You’ll find notable collections of dinosaurs, Near Eastern and African art, East Asian art, European history and Canadian history. Don’t miss the world's largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale of the Canadian Rockies.

  • Relax on the Islands.

    They’re only a 10-minute ferry ride, but the Toronto Islands feel like a world away from the big-city bustle. Sandy beaches, grassy parks and boardwalk strolls with city skyline views are all in play, as are more active endeavors like canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Bring a picnic lunch or eat at the upscale Rectory Café.

AFTERNOON
  • Architecture Galore.

    Two miles from The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto lies the historic Distillery District, home of the largest collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America — nearly 50 buildings dating back to as early as 1850 that have been brilliantly restored. It’s also a 13-acre cultural district with cobblestone car-free streets and an array of artist studios, galleries, shops and cafés. Treat yourself to artisan chocolate at Soma before you leave.

  • Walk the Edge.

    The CN Tower, a communications and observation deck, presides over Toronto from 1,815 feet — three times the height of Seattle’s Space Needle. Glass-fronted elevators whisk visitors up to the LookOut in 58 seconds, where floor-to-ceiling walls offer an unparalleled view of the city and Lake Ontario. Thrill seekers can go outside onto the EdgeWalk, a 5-foot-wide terrace with no rail, don a harness attached to an overhead trolley and walk hands-free around the lookout. For a less precarious but even higher viewpoint, take the special elevator from the LookOut up 33 more stories to the SkyPod. At 1,465 feet above Toronto, it’s one of the highest observation decks in
    the world. On a clear day, you’ll see 100 miles to Niagara Falls and New York State.

EVENING
  • Toronto Italian.

    Helmed by Chef Oliver Glowig, one of Rome’s most celebrated culinary leaders, TOCA restaurant incorporates locally sourced, seasonal ingredients into its handcrafted cuisine. The restaurant is also home to Canada’s only cheese cave — tours are available daily at 5:30 p.m.

  • Local Theater.

    As a major international city, Toronto hosts all the big-ticket touring plays and musicals. But you’ll get a better sense for the city’s spirit with its independent troupes, which are among the best on the continent. Check with the concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto for tickets as well as recommendations for performances at local favorites like the iconic Factory Theatre, the progressive Soulpepper and the venerable Canadian Stage.