Saturday, October 5, 2013

Toronto, Canada

Executive summary by darmansjah

Characterized by a mish-mash of ethnic communities, Canada’s biggest city can lay claim to world-class museums and gastronomy, North America’s tallest tower and year-round festivals and cultural events.

TORONTO has heavy snowfall in winter and hot, humid summers. July marks the Toronto Fringe Festival while the Toronto International film festival take places in September. 

The Toronto Transit Commision operates the subway, tram and bus networks. Single fares (US$3), day passes (US$11) and weekly passes (US$38) are available. Trams tend to be slower than subway services, but they do stop every block or two.

Air Canada flies from Singapore to Toronto, while KLM caters flights to Toronto Pearson International Airport from K.L. International Airport. Airport Express operates a bus service connecting Pearson international to downtown Toronto returns US$40.

The star of Toronto’s skyline since 1976, the CN Tower is primarily a radio and TV tower, but it has sideline in transporting visitors up to the skies. A glass elevator whizzes up to a lofty observation deck, where there’s a wallet-busting revolving restaurant (301 Front St West; admission from US$9).

A 10-acre cultural complex on the redeveloped waterfront, the Harbor-front Centre includes an alfresco concert stage and guerilla gardening spaces. its power plant gallery displays contemporary Canadian art (231 Queen’s Quay West; gallery admission us$6).

Built by the British in 1793, Fort York represents something akin to a birthplace for Toronto. There’s a handful of buildings, all restored after US troops destroyed much of the fortress in the 19th-century (250 Forty York Blvd; admission US$8).

The Royal Ontario Museum has been expanded in recent years, with a crystal-shaped structure making for a controversial new centerpiece. Collections include dinosaur fossils and Egyptian mummies (100 Queen’s Park; admission US$16).

Toronto’s 12-acre Distillery District sees clusters of galleries, design shops, coffee houses and restaurants springing phoenix like from a 19th century distillery in summer, its red-brick streets play host to jazz concerts and food events (55 Mill St).

More than a dozen types of beer are brewed at Mill Street Brew Pub, an artisan microbrewery in the Distillery District. Order a sample platter so you can try everything from pale ale to organic lager. Typical pub food, such as burgers san sandwiches, is in on hand to provide ballast (55 Mill St; beers from US$7).

Something of a local institution, the Queen Mother Café is much-loved for its cosy wooden booth seating and an accomplished pan-Asian menu. It also does a fine line in Canadian comfort food, with steaks and burgers in support (208 Queen St West; lunch mains from US$11).

Counter service meets haute cuisine at the Gilead Café in East Toronto, with an ambitious menu scribbled up daily on its chalkboard. The kitchen serves up the likes to poutine – fries with cheese curds, braised beef and gravy (4 Gilead Pl; lunch mains from US$11).

A sleek destination diner situated in downtown Toronto, Bymark has a creative kitchen that mixes and matches local ingredients in some unlikely combinations – such as wild truffles, quail and soft-shell crab (66 Wellington St. West; from US$27).

Harbor Sixty Steakhouse serves up a formidable range of steak and seafood in an qpulent Baroque dining room. For those who can’t choose between field or ocean, there’s a ‘surf and turf’ option. Book ahead (60 Harbor St; mains from US$55).

Les Amis Bed & Breakfast is a 19th-century townhouse with colourful rooms decorated by the Parisian owner’s artwork. In the finest French tradition, gourmet vegetarian breakfasts include omelettes and croissants, and the leafy decking area around the back makes a pleasant place to relax (31 Granby St; from US$118). 

Au Petit Paris Bed & Breakfast occupies an exquisite Victorian bay-and-gable building in East Toronto, with some skylit guestrooms looking out onto the garden. Breakfasting on the roof patio is a good way to start the day (3 Selby St; from US$126).

A 1900-era hotel with a grand red-brick façade, The Hotel Victoria is one of Toronto’s best downtown hotels and has benefited from a refurbishment in recent times. The stately marble lobby harks back to turn-of-the century glamour, while its comfy rooms have hardwood floors and contemporary décor (56  Yonge St; from US$142).

The century-old, recently revamped Drake Hotel is a bohemian favourtie. Idiosyncratic rooms feature vintage furniture, rugs and bare-brick walls. There’s a rooftop patio and a basement bar that regularly hosts live music (1150 Queen St West; from US$190).

One of Toronto’s longest serving hotels, The Gladstone Hotel has 37 individually designed rooms ,with themes ranging from Canadian forests to motorbikes. One floor is dedicated to exhibitions, and local sourcing applies to everything from the food to the bathroom products (1214 Queen St West; from US$260).

L’oeuf At First Sight Eggspectation is a great place for breakfast and brunch. It specilises in eggs – if you want tem served  with bacon and maple syrup then go ahead, but I prefer mine with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce. They also serve lunch and dinner, but you can’t start the day in a better place than here when you’re in Toronto (220 Yonge St; dishes from US$6).

Guilt-Free dining Fabarnak is a little gem of a restaurant offering a delightful combination of lavours. What makes it truly special are its social programmes: all profits go to the community centre next door. Fabarnak offers a menu that is over 60 percent locally and sustainably produced. Its speciality is aa satisfying bento box, dubbed the square Peg. It offers a gourmet take on salad, a vegetable side, a main and a taste of desert (519 Church St; closed sun; mains from US$13).

City Archipelago the Toronto Islands are around 10 minutes from the city centre by a scheduled ferry service (US$6). Three ports give access to an amusement park, numerous picnic and boating areas as well as of Ontario’s cleanest beaches. Try and avoid Saturdays, especially during the busy summer months. Visit Ward’s island for its unique homes, bicycle routes and city views.

Find out more : For more on Toronto; Tourism Toronto has ideas for both activities and accommodation in the city. Read in the skin of a lion – a novel by resident Michael Ondaatje, set in the city in the 1920’s (Picador, US$14).

No comments:

Post a Comment