Exploring Toronto – Be a Tourist In Your Own City (Doors Open is this weekend!)
May 24, 2019
I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of things to do and see in Toronto that I only partake in when I have out of town guests. Sites like the CN Tower and the Distillery are obvious choices, but Toronto has a lot to offer including a lot of great walks. Jane’s Walk, The Royal Ontario Museum and Heritage Toronto are just several of the organizations that offer guided tours, but you can also follow walks from the City, the Cabbagetown Business Improvement Area or map out one of your own during Doors Open.
I have been on a number of these walks last year and the Royal Ontario Museum continues its guided tours this year from May 29 to October 20. These walks offer an amazing opportunity to explore neighbourhoods, historical sites and cemeteries from North York to the Waterfront with guides that know their stuff. Many tours are free!
Heritage Toronto is leading 64 different tours between May and October on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Many are free, but for those they are suggesting a $10 donation. Upcoming tours include discovering The Ward, Riverside, Toronto architecture, North York’s Little Manila, Toronto’s Lost Breweries and Pride Outside the Village, LGBTQ+ Heritage.
Prefer something self-guided? Check out the number of Discovery Walk tours on the City of Toronto’s website. You can learn about the green roof at City Hall, check out murals in Etobicoke, or learn about the rich history of Spadina Avenue.
Doors Open Toronto is taking place on May 25 and 26 this year. While it’s a great opportunity to explore Toronto and see buildings that aren’t normally open to the public, it’s just one of many options for discovering Toronto, whether you’ve moved here recently or have been here all your life! They don’t have walking tours per se, but visit the website and you can plot out a route to maximize your time.
The Cabbagetown Business Improvement Association has put together a list of notable Cabbagetown residents and created a tour of their homes. It really is one of the most historical neighbourhoods in the city (and of course has a Heritage District designation) so it’s worth a walk on a sunny spring day. Pop into one of the restaurants on Parliament, visit Riverdale Farm and take in the sunset. What could be better?
For something a little more specialized, there are a number of companies that offer tours in Toronto, such as Tasty Tours, which offers such options as Kensington Market Sweet and Savoury Food Tour (churros!) or Toronto’s Ultimate Chocolate Tour. As well, there is the Tour Guys, who will take you through the PATH and other downtown spots – it’s not free, but it’s ‘pay what you feel’. Sometimes it’s nice to be a tourist in your own city.
And of course, you can find hidden gems all on your own, just picking a neighbourhood and wandering!