24 Hours in Toronto

24 Hours in Toronto

Many mistakenly think Toronto is the capital of Canada (sorry Ottawa) – and after spending a day in the city it’s easy to see why. Toronto boasts one of the country’s most iconic landmarks (the CN Tower), world-class museums and a multicultural community, with more than half of the city’s inhabitants born outside Canada. All of these give Toronto a vibrant, cosmopolitan charm that you often find in a capital city. That charm draws visitors from around the world, so if you’re planning to join them for 24 hours, we’ve curated some of our favourite things to do during a day trip in Toronto, including the best museums and neighbourhoods to explore.



A good breakfast can set you up for a busy 24 hours in Toronto. But where to eat? The sprawling St. Lawrence Market brings together food vendors serving every kind of delicacy, including brekkie staples like bagels, brioche and bacon sandwiches. With more than 120 speciality stalls, this is a great place to browse while enjoying breakfast on the go. Grabbing a quick bite to eat means you can get in line at the CN Tower early; this soaring superstar of the Toronto skyline is the most popular tourist spot in the city, so we recommend a morning visit before the crowds build up. The observation deck opens at 9am, which means you can be 346 metres high and enjoying the epic views before most people finish breakfast.


Late Morning

After you’ve ticked the iconic tower off your list, it’s time for a spot of culture. Like any good city Toronto has museums aplenty, so to help you narrow it down, we’ve picked three of our favourites. One of the largest art museums in North America, the prestigious Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has a collection of more than 120,000 pieces of art, including significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists. Widely considered an architectural masterpiece, the building is as impressive as the objects it holds. Meanwhile, all things clay is on display at the Gardiner Museum, which is dedicated to ceramics; you can also get your hands dirty at one of the museum’s regular classes, covering pottery basics like wheel throwing and hand building. Lastly, lace up your walking boots for a stroll to the Bata Shoe Museum. From ancient slippers to trend-setting trainers, this small gem of a museum celebrates footwear from every era of human history and explores our unique fascination with what we wear on our feet.



Unfurling a picnic blanket in High Park means only one thing in Toronto: lunch. For a few weeks in springtime, the cherry blossoms burst into life and the park becomes pretty in pink, and in winter, when temperatures drop well below picnic weather, locals come to the park’s Grenadier Pond to ice skate. Whatever the season, High Park is a tranquil oasis in the busy city, with hiking trails, a mini zoo and even an outdoor pool. To take your lunch break on the beach instead, head to Balmy Beach Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. There’s sand to sit on, a boardwalk to stroll along and kayaks to hire for a leisurely post-lunch punt around the lake. Take your pick of the city’s parks to recharge ready for the second half of your 24 hours in Toronto.



Time for some souvenir shopping? The bustling, bohemian Kensington Market neighbourhood is our favourite place to shop. Located at the heart of Toronto, the stores here sell a hodgepodge of vintage clothing, second-hand books and handcrafted homeware, making it a great place to source a one-of-a-kind gift. Meanwhile, the Distillery District (once a whisky distillery and now one of Toronto’s top destinations) is entirely free of chain stores or big brands; instead, you can unearth unique and unusual treasures from independent shops situated in beautifully-preserved Victorian buildings. Souvenirs secured, spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, whether that means heading back to the beach for some lakeside lounging, photographing Graffiti Alley’s spray-painted street art or touring the colourful neon signs (and delicious snacks) of Chinatown.



For an evening of local entertainment, join Toronto’s legion of sports fans and head to a game. The Raptors (basketball) and the Blue Jays (baseball) both receive hearty support, but the city’s true love is its ice hockey team, the Maple Leafs. If you can secure a ticket, cheering on the Leafs is a fun way to round off your 24 hours in Toronto, made even better with the addition of a cold beer and a tray of poutine (chips and cheese curds topped with gravy, a Canadian classic). If overpriced stadium snacks don’t take your fancy, you’ll be pleased to know that Toronto is the culinary capital of Canada, with a food scene that’s been rated the most diverse in the world. The city’s multicultural make up means you can eat just about anything from anywhere in Toronto. From sushi or souvlaki to paella or pad Thai, all your favourite flavours are here (as well as plenty you might like to try). Toronto is also the first and only Canadian city to have Michelin-starred restaurants, so you won’t be disappointed if fine dining is your thing. Tuck in and toast a memorable 24 hours in Toronto.