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Five Great Places to Explore In Toronto

Thanks to travel-pro Robin Esrock and Ford Canada, I’ve been entirely inspired to mock up an ongoing bucket list for myself. Having lived in Toronto for over 30 years, you’d think I’ve done it all in such a colourful, uber-busy city, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s kind of an impossible task; there is just so much happening at any given moment of every day in this much loved urban landscape. I have blindly chosen my adventures so far, and thus am finding that there are some experiences I continue to miss year after year, simply due to lack of planning. Up until last month, I had not once stepped foot into the St. Lawrence Market, despite it being a major tourist attraction. It might be because it’s a tourist stop that I hadn’t given it much thought, but Esrock and Ford went and fixed this error by having a group of us all meet there for lunch on a brilliantly sunny Saturday this past April.

After a delicious meal (the hot dogs at Carnicero’s are awesome, yo,) we all hopped into some gorgeous eco-friendly Ford vehicles and made our way to Toronto’s Archives, through a more scenic route east of Yonge St; the Archives is something I’ve wanted to visit for years. I’m a geek for local history, and there are questions I want to find answers to of old Toronto. While we didn’t go digging through Toronto’s rich history at the Archives, we were treated to a truly inspirational talk by Esrock, and his experience with a bucket list. Did you know that Swarovski has a picturesque spa in Vernon, BC? The epically beautiful Sparkling Hill Resort, embedded within the Monashee Mountains, along Lake Okanagan is now on my Travel Bucket List (on Pinterest.) Particularly special for its Cryotherapy Cold Sauna, which according to Esrock, is cold. Where else could you walk into a -110 C cold room in a tee and shorts for $40, which supposedly has health benefits. If you thought this past February was cold, it would be considered rather balmy ‘compared to this cold sauna in the KurSpa!

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After learning Esrock’s journey, we left the Archives and took a short walk to Toronto’s Casa Loma, which was just up the street (a block or two north of TTC’s Dupont Station). It wasn’t a first visit for me, but I always learn something new whenever I visit! I had no idea that the Canadian Girl Guides first began in Mary Pallet’s sitting room, nor that one of the rugs in this room alone cost $250Gs (back then, in the early 1900s!) Also learned that top-secret sonar technology was built in the stables in 1939 (there really should be a movie made about this!) And the Sir Henry Pallet’s favourite horse, Prince, is buried underneath the stables (creepy!) Casa Loma is also home to some of the original Ford vehicles, which is always awesome to admire. It was a moment that I got to fully appreciate, since my camera decided to die two minutes before we made it to the stables. Doh.

Visiting Casa Loma with Robin Esrock and Ford Canada as part of #BucketListTO

After such a fabulous treat with some great peeps, here are…

Five Things on My Toronto Bucket List

  1. Finally Step Into the Maple Leaf Gardens

    I’ve never once visited the Gardens. I’ve passed by it numerous times, both when it was an arena and now that its a Loblaws grocery store (that’s supposed to have an AMAZING wall of cheese!) You would think that as a Torontonian, one who grew up in a hockey family, that I’d have made it there at least once, but nope, never happened. Really should just drop by next time I’m in the area.

  2. Visit Fort York

    Somehow, in all the years I’ve spent in school in Toronto, none of my classes made a trip to Fort York. Arguably one of the major hotspots that made Toronto what it is today, and alas no childhood appreciation for it. I’ll actually be going next week as part of a blogger event, so am looking forward to checking this location off my bucket list already!

  3. Tour the Graffiti

    When you hear/read the term “graffiti”, you probably think of ugly calling cards and general defacement of public property. Anyone riding the subway between High Park and Dundas West stations know that there are some truly gorgeous murals and such found all over Toronto, and I would love to capture as many fantastic bits as I can with my DSLR.

  4. Spend a Week at the Boathouse, Ward’s Island

    You may have heard of the Toronto Islands, particularly Centre Island/Centreville, where there are a ton of things for everyone in the family to enjoy on a day trip, including amusement park rides, BBQ/picnic, splash pad/wading pool, beach fun (including Toronto’s only nude beach at Hanlan’s Point!) Just north-east of Centre Island is Ward’s Island, which has quite a few B&Bs and other accomodations, including a small apartment known as the Boathouse. I would love to spend a week there with Jay, and get an idea of what its like to live on a Toronto Island. I would love to have early morning pictures of the Toronto skyline from the islands!

  5. Camp in Rouge National Urban Park

    Over 40km2, Toronto actually has a wilderness attached to it, along with the only over-night campgrounds you’ll find for the city. Jay and I have been talking about spending a weekend at the Glen Rouge campgrounds for well over a decade now. Really need to purchase a new tent (our old one got ripped to shreds by a raccoon, heh,) and get our camping on. I’ve been wanting to find a great spot to stargaze in Toronto, and have a feeling that these grounds would be a great place to bring our telescope.

This is just a tiny portion of places to visit in and around Toronto. Is there anything on your bucket list that has you Toronto-bound? If you’re planning on doing a trip throughout Canada you should definitely check out Robin Esrock’s book series of intriguing places to experience on your travels. The dude is amusing, and I can guarantee that he’ll have suggestions you’ll never thought of. Has anyone ever suggested to you to stay overnight in a jail cell? Well, go read his books, and then you can say that someone has!

Follow Robin Esrock , and Ford Canada on Instagram!

Ford Fleet of Eco-Friendly Vehicles used for #BucketListTO
Did you know that the Ford Electric Focus car doesn’t make a sound when you turn it on? Its kinda embarrassing on the kind of sign @AshleyMacnie and I needed just to know the car was running. Like a big neon sign that said “Power On”, it was SO quiet!

Living in Superman’s Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, squees over comic art, hunts down the nerdiest places to visit and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction. Read More…

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13 Comments on “Five Great Places to Explore In Toronto

Susan
May 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm

FYI new kids on the block concert. Was at maple leaf gardens 😛

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Aeryn Lynne
May 29, 2015 at 7:42 pm

WHAT?! Really?? OMG, I had NO clue! (obvs) Huh. Guess I can say I did go to Maple Leaf Gardens after all, woot, ROFL. We were how old? 8? 12? I do still want to visit the wall of cheese, ’cause this addict needs to visit the mecca heh.

Also, all I remember about NKOTB was that we nearly went deaf with the constant screaming, and buying the program. I don’t know why actually purchasing the program is so prominent, but the location of that concert complete escapes me, lol. ;D

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Layne
May 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm

I love bucket lists. This has inspired me to make my own. And next time I’m in Toronto, I’ll have a look at some of these places! Casa Loma looks pretty!

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Aeryn Lynne
May 29, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Not that I’ve been to many castles, but Casa Loma is certainly one of the truly pretty ones! Even had a few secret passage ways, including one that required electricity/magnetism to unlock the door panel (which certainly wasn’t a common thing back in 1914!) It was sorta a bit of life-hacking, lol.

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Little Miss Kate
May 30, 2015 at 10:32 am

Ok I am not going to lie, even though I am right near Toronto I have only been to 1 of the places on your list! I need to get out and do some more exploring!!!

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Aeryn Lynne
June 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Let me know if you want to head to any of these destinations together, lol. I’m adding more to this list everyday… like, did you know that Toronto has a lighthouse on Hanlan Island? The Ontario plaque for the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse even alludes to it being haunted, lol! I didn’t know the historical society discussed hauntings on their official blue/gold signs, heh.

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Suzanne Rudge
May 31, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Wow, there really is so much more to Toronto then meets the eye! I had no idea there was a camp ground down there! We have done lots of the touristy stuff before, but that would be a first for sure.

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Aeryn Lynne
June 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm

If it weren’t for Jay (TheHubs,) I wouldn’t have known about the campgrounds either! I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed it’s existence with anyone else (friends/family), before this post, lol. It’s definitely a hidden gem! 🙂

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dani@lifeovereasy
May 31, 2015 at 11:25 pm

Great list! I’ve been to many of these places but I had no idea that you could get accommodations on Wards Island! It’s a lovely place, and I’ll definitely be adding that to my bucket list!

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Aeryn Lynne
June 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Its a dream of mine to live on an island, lol! Seeing as it’s gonna have to remain a dream, I decided to look for the next best thing (B&Bs n such, which is how I came across the boathouse.) Hoping to check this off my bucket list on our next staycation! 🙂

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Jennifer (momvstheboys)
June 1, 2015 at 10:20 am

It’s been so long since I visited Casa Loma, I would love to go back! I didn’t even know you could camp in Toronto! I’ll be visiting the Island this month for my first time ever, Can’t wait!

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Tammi @ My Organized Chaos
June 1, 2015 at 10:32 am

I can’t wait to go back to Toronto, each time I visit, it’s so short that I feel like I miss a ton! This is a great list for the next time I go!

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ashley p
June 18, 2015 at 6:21 am

I had no idea that there was anywhere to camp IN Toronto….thanks for linking up on the Tales of Mommyhood bucket list linky!

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