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5 Unique Things to do in Toronto | Like a Local

By Daisy Li
Toronto is a city full of life, love, and excitement. Here are a few unique things to do in this urban dwelling!

Toronto was recently ranked by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as a must-see destination. It isn’t really much of a surprise. Consider the beautiful architecture and grand scenery, Toronto is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking to explore the Great White North.

The city’s sometimes glamorous, sometimes casual setting can be appealing to a range of people.

Unfortunately, the crazy housing market of ‘little New York’, has led me to move to one of the many suburbs of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Nonetheless, I still proudly call Toronto home (when I’m sure I won’t get caught by a true Torontonian cause Mississauga, as close to downtown as it is, really isn’t Toronto).

From the CN Tower to the Toronto Islands, there are many things to do in Toronto. However, let’s skip the usual tourist destinations and focus on a few other fun alternatives. Having stayed in and around Toronto for half of my life, below are 5 unique things you should be doing when in town.


 

 Fancy Nights Out at the AGO & ROM

 
Some folks love to explore museums when they are visiting a new city. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. After living in Paris for 4 months, I didn’t even get enough momentum to go visit the Louvre!

Regardless, there might be some hope for me-especially when museums pull fancy events that involve a little boozing. Gotta mix that class with some sasssss.

The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum hold such events. For the AGO, the first Thursday of every month means an adult-only late night outing with stacked bars, tiny appetizers, artists with groovy music, exhibition openings, and a well-dressed crowd. The prices may differ based on the performer.

My friends and I try to attend whenever I’m back in town. We’d chill to the music, make some art, and try (very hard I must say), to enjoy the Group of Seven’s landscape paintings. This is our attempt to transition smoothly into adulthood.
 

The ROM holds something similar. Their Friday Night Live has DJs & live music, food, and drinks. Compared to the AGO, the museum is a bit bigger and a tad fancier. The tickets are around CAD 18 and I tend to see lots of heels and dresses involved, which is definitely a level up from business casual.
 

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Visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

 
BAPS-Shri-Swaminarayan-Mandir-during-the-day

Home to millions of people from different culture and sociopolitical backgrounds, Toronto is extremely diverse. From churches to mosques, the city is known for its inclusivity. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir speaks to such a declaration. A traditional Hindu place of worship located in Etobicoke, the architectural designs of this prayer space are beautiful. From marble white walls to the recognizable pointed tops of the facility, this hidden gem is a doorway to a whole different world (cue Aladdin????????????).

BAPS is open to visitors 9:00am – 7:00pm daily throughout the year. There are Satsang activities every Sunday, which can be found here.
 

Escape from the Casa Loma!

 

escape-room-huanted-house
Casa Loma is a popular tourist destination. The historic mansion is both a museum and an event venue. It often acts as a set, hosting the filming of movies such as X-men and shows like Titans.

If you aren’t up for the interiors of these century-old rooms, why not try something new? Casa Loma opened its doors as an escape room facility not too long ago. Now visitors can immerse in four types of escape games.

 
Picnic at Scarborough Bluffs

 
Scarborough-Bluffs-during-the-day
This scenic spot is a must for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The 15km escarpment overlooks Lake Ontario. Unlike the crowded Toronto Island or the hectic downtown core, Scarborough Bluffs is relatively laid back. The blue waters, ample greenery, and chilled vibe make it a great picnic spot during the summer.

 

Event Hop at Dundas Square

 
toronto-during-the-sunlight
Dundas Square is located right downtown, near Eaton center. I don’t know how many events I’ve attended and how many freebies I’ve received over the years, but the location has been custom for my friends and me whenever we decide to head downtown.

From performances to activities to real-time experiences, something is always going on at Dundas Square. We’ve attended pillow fights with strangers, jammed to local artists, and squeezed into mile-long lines for free Harvey’s burgers.

If we aren’t shopping at Eaton, we’d head towards Bathurst Street for a drink, or towards Chinatown for a quick bite.

 

Final Thoughts

 
Toronto can be as adventerous or as laid-back, as exciting or as relaxed as you make it. Grab a beer, head to a Blue Jays’ game (or not), walk the busy streets and smile at strangers. Have a good time!
 
Need some Travel Inspiration? If not, what are you waiting for?




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