Even in the colder months, Toronto remains a bustling city that offers something for every gourmand traveler. Forget hibernating this winter – here’s how to explore Canada’s largest city in style
It might not be a tropical paradise during the winter months, but Toronto still remains a centre of cosmopolitan culture when the cloud rolls in and temperatures plummet.
Swap the ‘kini for a coat and trade your sun cream for a scarf – when it comes to enchanting escapes, this thriving foodie city knows how to put on a show.
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton
Amongst Toronto’s skyscraper peppered backdrop, you’ll find an abundance of luxe stays. To wine, dine and recline, splash out on the Ritz-Carlton, a vast downtown hotel brimming with both elegance and outstanding amenities.
A hive of well-clad guests and visitors, inside the revolving doors awaits over 400 pieces of art to admire, as well as 263 guest rooms. These offer impressive views either across Lake Ontario or the towering city buildings (and come kitted out with plenty of coffee-making facilities to help ward off the jet lag).
The Ritz-Carlton has earned its five-star status for good reason – the interiors are sleek, the rooms are large, the food is sublime and the friendly service will have you scouring the diary for your next available weekend.
Don’t miss a dip in the inviting pool or a spot of pampering at the Spa My Blend by Clarins, both found on the fifth floor.
Depending on seasonality and weekday, rates vary between $500-$1400/night for a deluxe room. Find out more and make a booking here.
Six Things To Try
1 Best for shopping: Saks Fifth Avenue
For shopping with Saks appeal, head to this enormous department store for a multitude of designer brands. Bags, watches, clothing and every shoe under the sun – you’ll have a hard time leaving without a modish memonto. saksfifthavenue.com
2 Best for feasting: Leslieville & Riverside Food Tour with Culinary Adventure Co.
Epicureans can whet appetites with this fun and engaging food tour. Eat your way around one of Toronto’s hippest neighbourhoods, where old meets new and cuisines collide.
From freshly roasted coffee and cider to ice cream and charcuterie, this hunger-busting activity is the perfect way to sample Toronto’s delectable food scene. culinaryadventureco.com
3 Best for something enchanting: Ontario Place’s Winter Light Exhibition
Keen to indulge your arty side? Open until mid-March, Ontario Place’s stunning outdoor exhibition features intricate ice sculptures, beautiful light displays and creative talking points – all inspired by the curatorial theme of “Disruptive Engagement”.
It’s open throughout the day, but wait until nighttime to see the display at its most magical. ontarioplace.com
4 Best for a culture dose: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Toronto is a fascinating city, filled with unique history and a myriad of cultures. This expansive museum showcases it all – displaying iconic art, culture, and nature from around the globe and across the ages.
Marvel at the world-class collections and face your eight-legged fears at the Spiders: Fear and Fascination exhibition, open until 6 January 2019. rom.on
5 Best for sport fans: Toronto Raptors game
Foam fingers on the pulse – it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement at a Toronto Raptors game, especially as the team continues to improve.
Book tickets to watch the Canadian professional team dribble like lightning around the stadium’s court, much to the delight of chanting fans. nba.com/raptors
6 Best for explorers: Holiday Traditions in Toronto Old and New with Bruce Bell
Forget what you know about boring guided tours. Join the dynamic Bruce Bell or one of his team for a fascinating city adventure.
Learn about old department stores, explore Toronto’s most popular streets and learn the secrets behind the buildings and iconic sights. brucebelltours.ca
Where To Eat
A melting pot of culture (there’s over 140 languages spoken across the city) it’s no surprise that Toronto’s food scene is as diverse as its community.
Fast becoming one of the world’s finest gourmand destinations, discover one of these tempting bites this winter.
1 360 in the CN Tower: For lunch in the clouds
Bask in winter sun at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, one of Toronto’s coolest dining experiences. Indulge with a three-course feast at over 351 metres, with revolving views of the exquisite terrain beneath. If you’re a wine fan, you’re in luck – this rotating restaurant boasts a selection of over 550 international bottles. cntower.ca
2 Cacao 70: For sweet tooth satisfaction
Tucked away in Distillery District awaits a restaurant serving those with a sweet tooth. Grilled marshmallows, brownie platters, melted chocolate pizzas – ditch the diet and fight off the winter chill with a dose of seriously delicious decadence. cacao70.com
3 Tubule: For Middle Eastern mouthfuls
With four restaurants scattered across the city, Tabule serves up authentic, award-winning Middle Eastern dishes. Stylish surrounds with trendy decor, friendly service and a much-loved menu, pull up a pew for a feast to remember. Must-orders include the falafel, house-made hummus and Labni. tabule.ca
4 Assembly Chef’s Hall: For speedy eats
Offering a chasm of cuisines all under one roof, the trendy Assembly Chef’s Hall features 17 of Toronto’s culinary giants. A chef-driven community market, bite into flavours from across the globe at this downtown hub. Insta-addicts, don’t miss out on ordering a rainbow latte at Bulldog Coffee to evoke some serious social media envy. assemblychefshall.com
PLUS: Foodie dates for the diary
Savour St. Lawrence Market, January 28 – February 6 2019
Explore this historic food market behind closed doors and embark on an edible “history tasting” dinner and food tour. Toronto’s very own version of Borough Market, expand both your knowledge and tastebuds as Chef Scott Savoie leads the way.
Post-tour, guests will then head to the Market kitchen for a four-course cookery demonstration and dinner.
$100 per person, click here to book.
Ecotraveller World Of Taste Tourism & Gastronomy Festival, March 22 – 24 2019
Learn about beautiful destinations whilst devouring a plethora of cuisines at this upcoming food festival. Make the most of chef tastings, cultural shows and vibrant flavours – with everything from Africa to Latin America on offer.
$15 per person, click here to book.
Make it happen
For further information about Toronto, visit Tourism Toronto at www.seetorontonow.com.
Getting there: Air Canada
Air Canada offers more daily flights from the UK to Canada than any other airline. From London Heathrow this winter, the airline operates six non-stop weekly services to Toronto, with Economy fares starting from £489.62 per person inclusive of taxes and 1 x checked bag (subject to change).
From Manchester next summer, Air Canada Rouge operates daily non-stop services to Toronto, with Economy fares starting from £678.98 inclusive of taxes and 1 x checked bag (subject to change).
From Dublin this winter, Air Canada offers up to six non-stop weekly services to Toronto, with Economy fares starting from EUR 355.30 per person inclusive of taxes and 1 x checked bag (subject to change).
Find out more at www.aircanada.com or call Reservations on 00 800 6699 2222.
Getting around: Toronto City Pass
A Toronto CityPass provides access to key attractions across the city including the CN Tower, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre. The passes are £52 for adults and £34 for children (plus taxes). Getting around Toronto costs just £7 per day with a TTC day pass.
Words by Sophie Ritchie