Things to do in Toronto any time of year

Top tips for making the most of your time in Toronto, Canada

More than 40 million tourists flock to Toronto every year and it’s easy to see why. For starters, the city is right next door to one of the world’s most famous natural wonders.

Then there are Toronto’s green spaces, its foodie scene, and its offshore islands that serve up everything from hiking opportunities to sunbathing spots.

Top things to do in Toronto


Explore Toronto's islands

Just off the mainland of Downtown Toronto, 15 islands sit like lily pads in the waters of Lake Ontario. Each one has its own world within a world quality.

Some are completely bearded with forest, some feature Blue Flag beaches, others are laced with cycling trails and picnic spots, and one – Centre Island – is packed with family-friendly activities like an amusement park and a farm.

You can catch the ferry from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal in Queen’s Quay to Centre Island, Hanlan’s Island and Ward’s Island.

Or you can can leave the logistics to someone else and explore the islands on a guided tour.


Get cultured inside Toronto's museums

Toronto is home to a trove of museums. Highlights include the Royal Ontario Museum that’s set inside a building that looks like it’s made from several oversized shards of glass. Its exhibits explore art, culture and natural phenomenon from around the world.

There are 40 galleries and more than six million objects on display.

Other options range from the Textile Museum of Canada, where the collection of garments, fabrics and cloth spans 2,000 years, and the Bata Shoe Museum, where every shoe on show has a story.


Tick seeing Niagara Falls off your bucket list

Niagara Falls is the stuff of bucket lists. It's up there with Machu Picchu and The Grand Canyon on the list of the world’s most must-see places.

More than six million cubic feet of water careens over these falls every minute. To put that into perspective, there’s about 90,000 cubic feet of water in an average swimming pool.

There’s a long list of activities to take part in at the falls. You can do everything from cruise the river at the foot of the falls to view the water from a slightly higher perspective on the lookout platforms.

Dining, drinking and shopping experiences also surround Niagara’s white water. To pack as much in as possible, you can also take a guided tour .


Unwind in Toronto's High Park

Towards the east of Toronto you’ll find High Park. This is the place locals go to take a time out.

The pooling green space is home to a large collection of cherry blossom trees, an outdoor swimming pool, a zoo, and lots of wild open spaces criss crossed by nature trails.

In winter an ice rink pops up at the park and locals visit to do a spot of cross country skiing.

If you’re short on time you can explore the park on its trackless train, which will take you around the attraction in 30 minutes.


Shop to your heart's content at St Lawrence Market

The timeline of St Lawrence market can be traced back more than 200 years.

Today there are three buildings on the site. The South Market is open from Tuesday to Saturday and features more than 120 specialty stalls ranging from artisan jewellery makers to bakery stalls where you can tuck into specialities like peameal bacon sandwiches.

The North Market is best known for its Saturday farmers market when stalls are stacked with antiques and produce.

It’s easy to lose a few hours here by yourself but if you want a deeper insight into the market’s history and producers you can book onto a guided tour with as many as 14 food tastings included.


Discover the Distillery District

Just over ten years ago, a group of entrepreneurs converted 47 old Victorian warehouse buildings, formerly known as Gooderham and Worts Distillery, into a new cultural quarter for Toronto.

The characterful area now features boutique shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, art galleries and accommodation options. There’s also a brewery on site where you can take tutored beer tasting of products like bierschnaps – a spirit that’s distilled from oatmeal stout.

To really get under the district’s skin you can take a tour – go for something conventional like a walking tour or try something a bit different like a segway tour.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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