5 Non-Touristy Things To Do In Toronto
It hit me recently that I have lived in Toronto for nearly a decade. Although I’ll always be a small-town girl at heart, this city finally really feels like home. Now that I’m basically a local, I thought I would share my top five non-touristy things to do in Toronto. If you haven’t yet planned a summer holiday, think about booking a trip to Canada’s biggest city. I promise you won’t be disappointed, especially if you see the city like the locals do.
1. Explore Kensington Market - Although you might find this neighbourhood in some touristy guidebooks, it’s also where the locals go to hang out on a Sunday afternoon. Do some thrift shopping in one of the markets many vintage shops and buy food the way they do in Europe: meat at the butcher, milk and cheese at the dairy, and bread at the bakery. Kensington Market is also a great place to experience some of Toronto’s living history. The area has a unique heritage as waves of immigrants have moved into the neighbourhood and built on top of each other over the last century.
2. Go To Hot Docs Cinema - Toronto's Hot Docs Cinema in the Annex is a lovely little neighbourhood theatre that shows exclusively documentaries. Being from a small town, I never had the opportunity to see non-mainstream films on the big screen, so if you don't have a documentary cinema in your home town, this is your chance! A bonus: the concession stand serves locally brewed beer that you can take into the cinema with you.
3. Hang Out in Trinity Bellwoods Park - This is honestly one of my favourite things to do with friends in the summer. This park is almost big enough to forget you’re in the city and it’s easy to make new friends with people playing baseball or starting a drum circle nearby. Before you settle into the park, stop by Nadège for a patisserie or Type Books for a unique art magazine and get comfortable under a tree.
4. Check out Local Indie Music - Toronto is building a reputation as Canada's music city with tons of festivals throughout the summer. But you can enjoy some locally-gown musical talent all year round at a number of downtown venues. Three of my favourite spots are The Cameron House, The Horseshoe Tavern, and the Dakota Tavern.
5. Eat & Shop in West Queen West/The Ossington Strip - West Queen West and the Ossington Strip are where the locals go for good food and great fashion. Most of my social life (and my shopping life) revolves around this little pocket of Toronto which was named the 2nd coolest neighbourhood in the world by Vogue magazine. If you do decide to visit, you can get all the details on this area in this audioguide I made for VoiceMap.
Have you ever been to Toronto? What are some of your favourite things to do in the city?