Canada is an awesome country, far and wide, and there are a lot of things we do better than anywhere else, like hockey, cottaging, breakfast, and apologizing.
But there’s something about spending a day in Europe that’s unlike anything else in the world. Rather than drop the cost of a flight just to experience it, however, we thought we’d help you find the perfect gelato, hit up a market, sneak in a siesta, and still make it back to work for a productive day.
Well, maybe not.
Here’s a suggested itinerary for spending a European day in Toronto… although we all know real Europeans would never pay attention to an itinerary.
Ditch the alarm clock, leave the presto card at home and enjoy a morning stroll over to this adorable French inspired cafe located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. Remember, Europeans don’t rush breakfast (or anything else) so instead of getting a coffee to-go like you usually do, sit down, open a newspaper and spend some time taking in the relaxing morning atmosphere.
Address: 100 King St W, Toronto (Food Terrace, Upper Level)
Phone: (416) 216-6767
Get in the European mindset while you leisurely bike around the streets of a new neighbourhood – try Cabbagetown or Roncesvalles. If you don’t own a bike of your own, rent one from one of Bike Share Toronto’s 200 pick up spots for only $7. Stop to check out a gallery or to get a quick bite to eat. And hey, for a couple hours, try to leave Toronto’s reputation as a ‘bike versus car’ city at home.
Address: Find which of the 200 locations is most closest to you.
Phone: 1 855-898-2378
Grab a blanket and meander your way over to Toronto’s favourite summer hangout, Trinity Bellwoods. Settle into a nice shaded cozy spot, and watch the slack-liners and frisbee tossers. Don’t stress about the time – lay back and relax. And if you’re a little sleepy from the bike ride, a little siesta in the park never did anyone any harm.
Address: 790 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3
Phone: (416) 338-4386
Grab yourself a scoop of traditional gelato with a twist at this Queen West classic, Death of Venice. Once you see a list of the flavours they have to offer, you’ll get why many Torontonians call it the best gelato in the city (roasted hay with honey and baba ganoush to list a few). In true European form, skip the cone, take it in a cup and people watch.
Address: 536 Queen St. West, Toronto
It’s nearly impossible to walk through any major city in Europe without hitting a fresh market, and it’s easy to understand why. Fresh food tastes better and it’s better for you, too. Head to Toronto’s biggest farmer’s market, St. Lawrence, and spend some time picking out fresh produce and meat. Talk to the merchants to learn about the food before you buy it, get enough to last you the week, and if someone offers you a sample, taste as much as you can.
Address: 93 Front St E, Toronto
Phone: (416) 392-7219
Their ‘no cut, no colour, just wash, blo, go’ motto says it all, and what’s more European than a quick mid-day pampering? Skip the morning shampoo and let the experts do the work. Of course, champagne, wine and coffee is all complimentary, and with a regular blow being just $33 for girls and $21 for bros, why not drop an extra few bucks to get your makeup, nails and waxing done. Fine, fresh and ready to… relax.
Address: 626 King St W Suite 102, Toronto
Phone: (416) 703-1256
Call up some friends and catch a spot on the patio of this adorable French Bistro. The menu will not disappoint, with authentic French cuisine (highly recommend the quiche lorraine) and the best fries (or what they call, frites) in the city. Much of the European way of life comes from their dedication to lounging on patios (no matter the season), so take your time, order a couple courses and enjoy the company. Don’t worry about them rushing you out with the bill, like true European joints, you’ll have to chase them down to pay up.
Address: 432 Wellington St W, Toronto
Phone: (416) 596-6405
With long wooden communal eating tables and endless beer (and cider) options on tap, wvrst is the closest thing you can get to a real beer hall outside of Germany. Bring the dinner crowd and meet some new people to add to the group while you’re there. And if you get a little too excited about trying all the beer, the duck fat fries are there to help soak the ‘one glass too many’ up.
Address: 609 King St W, Toronto
Phone: (416) 703-7775