Traveling to Toronto.. help/ideas?

  • tomjack

    Posts: 91

    Sep 08, 2013 4:11 PM GMT
    Hey a friend of mine and I are head up north... We are going to check out Niagara Falls. But that's all we know.. hahah

    Where is the gay area Toronto?
    where should we stay?
    What are your favorite places to grab a drink etc.
    What is public transportation like?

    We are on a budget icon_smile.gif

    and other little tidbits you recommend.

    Thanks!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 08, 2013 4:34 PM GMT
    Public transportation is great. Check out AirBnB for great flats at value rates. I stayed at one at The Garrison at Fort York.
  • UBottomboy

    Posts: 7

    Sep 08, 2013 9:31 PM GMT
    Gay ghetto in Toronto - Wellesley & Church St. any downtown Toronto hotel is good and close.
    Great city icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 08, 2013 9:48 PM GMT
    GAMRican saidPublic transportation is great. Check out AirBnB for great flats at value rates. I stayed at one at The Garrison at Fort York.


    What?!!!! Transit is awful in Toronto!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 08, 2013 9:49 PM GMT
    UBottomboy saidGay ghetto in Toronto - Wellesley & Church St. any downtown Toronto hotel is good and close.
    Great city icon_biggrin.gif


    +1
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 08, 2013 9:49 PM GMT
    Good choice! If you have time & money to spare, I'd also recommend visiting Montreal.

    Toronto's main gay scene is along the Church street, south of Bloor St. and north of College/Carleton street. You'll find a wide variety of LGBT stores and restaurants there, as well as the night clubs and bars. The most popular night scenes are hosted at Woody's, Fly and Buddy's Bad Time Theatre... but, seeing that you are from NY, you probably won't find anything new or different.

    Public transportation is okay in Toronto; the subway system is much cleaner and has less sketchy users than the one in NYC. You can get around downtown pretty easily via subway and streetcars, though I'd personally recommend walking. I would highly recommend using public transportation to get to wherever you are staying from the airport; the cab fare can cost you ~$50, whereas using TTC (Toronto's public transportation system) will only cost you $3 (per trip). if you need information on how to access TTC from the airport, just send me a message via here and I will give you the detailed instructions.

  • 1blind_dog

    Posts: 376

    Sep 08, 2013 11:38 PM GMT
    Take bikes with you. Easiest way to get around. If you're into Thai food some of the best I've had was at Khao San Road. Totally worth it. I stayed in York area which is one of the nicer parts of the city and within walking distance of the gay area.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 1:19 AM GMT
    I want to know how it goes! I want to visit the place as well icon_smile.gif have to get a passport so I can go to other places as well. Have a brother in Italy for another year. HAVE to visit him while he's still out there.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 1:34 AM GMT
    Best places to visit in Toronto are:

    -Hockey Hall of Fame
    -Art Gallery of Ontario
    -Toronto Science Centre (a bit of a ways from downtown, but accessible by transit)
    -CN Tower
    -Leafs Games @ Air Canada Centre
    -The Beverley Hotel on Queen Street West
    -Toronto Eaton Centre for shopping/ Bloor Street West
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 1:48 AM GMT
    Love my home town. Transit is great. The DT area is maybe a 2 hr drive from Niagara Falls if you have a car. Depending on traffic...LOL.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 2:25 AM GMT
    My first piece of advice is to walk. If you're downtown everything is pretty close, so you'll see more of the city if you're on foot.

    Second piece of advice is to be prepared for any kind of weather. Southern Ontario is surrounded by water so weather often changes from day-to-day, and sometime from minute-to-minute.

    As for places to go, the CN Tower is a must for the views and the glass floor. The restaurant doesn't have a great reputation, but I've heard it's gotten much better in the recent years. It is pricey though. If you're looking for a place to eat with a view, the Jack Astor's at Yonge & Dundas Square is one of the best patios in the city.

    Another place to go with great scenery is Toronto Island. It's best experienced in the summer when you can go on the beach, but I'm sure it's beautiful in the fall with the leaves changing colours. Just be prepared for the cold. The view of the skyline is worth it too.

    The Distillery District, East of downtown is also a great place to check out. It feels almost as if you've walked into the 1800's. They've got some great bars and shops. It's one of my favourite places to take visitors. I would highly recommend it if you're into historic architecture.

    If you're on a budget and looking for a cheap bar, Sneaky Dee's on Bathurst and College has great prices for beer, and awesome nachos. They've also got live band performances on the second floor sometimes. You can find other cheap bars just outside of the University of Toronto.

    There's a lot more to do in the city, depending on your interests. The Royal Ontario Museum, The Science Center and Canada's Wonderland are other tourist attractions. Also, look up what events are going on around the time that you visit because those are often the best experiences you can have in the city.
  • tomjack

    Posts: 91

    Sep 09, 2013 3:33 AM GMT
    YOU GUYS ROCK!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!!! We decided we are going to stay at the bond place
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:39 AM GMT
    Toronto has some of the most expensive cabs in the world, and as someone who tends to drive, parking is also ridiculously expensive and always difficult to find so as others have said - walk once you're in down town - and also get TTC passes - I find public transit to be annoying particularly street cars but if you're a tourist, they do the job. Pretty fantastic public transit app for Toronto (and other places) - free, at least on the Canadian iTunes store: http://thetransitapp.com/. Others suggested bikes but it's not something I recommend friends do given how cabs drive (and tourists) around Toronto. If you really want to, there are bixi bikes (https://toronto.bixi.com/) but bring a helmet.

    For broad guides here:
    http://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/top-5-things-to-do-in-toronto/ - good starting point
    http://www.timeout.com/toronto/features/229/20-great-things-to-do-in-toronto - another good selection to start generating general ideas
    http://www.toronto.com/things-to-do/ - run by the TorontoStar (one of the local papers)
    http://www.seetorontonow.com/seasonal/things-to-do/ - things specific to the fall
    http://www.blogto.com/best_of_toronto/ - great guides for all sorts of stuff, mostly good for food

    Other guides:
    http://www.hemispheresmagazine.com/2011/04/01/one-city-five-hours-toronto/ - 2011, but kensington market is a good idea - I also liked the distillery idea above
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i129-Three_Perfect_Days_in_Toronto.html 2006 -(Zelda's moved from where it used to be and as I understand it, it's not as good)
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/canada/toronto/travel-tips-and-articles/76141 2010
    http://www.elitetraveler.com/destination-guides/north-america/toronto/4-concierge-recommendations-for-a-perfect-day-out-in-toronto - not exactly budget, but one recommends st lawrence market which is kind of a cool space and nice market but everything is pretty expensive.

    I'm a huge foodie - so if you're in town on a weekend where Toronto Underground Market is happening, go - as it's also at the Evergreen Brickworks which is a cool little place in the middle of a valley that is pretty close to downtown (free shuttles):
    http://www.yumtum.ca/
    It's an event that always sells out though, so you'd have to plan early and buy tickets. My favorite places for food - both are fairly inexpensive but be forewarned that food tends to be a bit more expensive than the US:
    Banh Mi Boys (they have two locations I think) which is a fusion korean/vietnamese sub place - http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish/openings/2013/04/29/banh-mi-boys-yonge-toronto-restaurant/ / http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822947#8037630
    RaviSoup (though the founder recently passed away) - they do amazing soups and wraps: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/10/335027/restaurant/Entertainment-District/RaviSoups-Toronto
    Khao San Road (http://www.khaosanroad.ca/): awesome place for thai food, it's not entirely cheap but the menu is online, and you can't get reservations, you just have to go and line up so try to go earlier during the day.
    For late night (they're open 24 hours) but middling food: http://www.fransrestaurant.com/ - all day breakfasts and a great place to hang out after clubbing

    If you're really on a budget, for groceries go to one of the Chinese grocers near Dundas & Spadina (I use the larger one on south east corner) - groceries are far cheaper than Loblaws / Sobeys / Metro (typically you'll find that veggies are 1/3 the cost at the Chinese Grocer's but they don't really have things like bread or typical things to make sandwiches). Patrons are a bit pushy and the places are a bit fragrant so the bf prefers paying the white guy premium and western grocers. Expect prices in general to be more expensive than the US.

    For cool architecture/history, check out Steamwhistle Brewery's tour - basically you can drink as much of their beer as you want at the end of the tour for the cost of $10 of the tour. I also really like their space. You may have to sign up early though as I do know they do book up:
    http://www.steamwhistle.ca/tour/tourInfo.php

    A reminder: basically the only places you can buy alcohol other than the obvious restaurants and bars are the LCBO stores + Beer Stores + Wine stores (not many and they only sell ontario wines as I recall - I'm not a drinker but I have enough friends who have visited who are). LCBO's hours are sometimes limiting which some friends find a bit frustrating. To find stores that sell alcohol - which the bf uses religiously: http://www.beerhunter.ca/

    More generally, check out Yelp which is fairly well populated in Toronto, also blogTO and torontolife.com. As an aside, you can get free wifi from Starbucks + many McDonald's should you need it as many cell phone providers rape customers for roaming - and not in the good way.

    For something active over the weekend, check out the o-course - I haven't done it but a few friends who have, have really enjoyed it:
    http://www.theocourse.com/

    There are also a number of drop in games/leagues in toronto and also gay ones though not sure they will do drop ins - you can look (just google the sport + drop-in + toronto [+ optional: gay/glbt]). It's kind of nice to meet different people in a city I think...

    You can also drop into most gyms and Goodlife is the dominant general gym in Toronto where you can get a several day pass online for free:
    http://www.goodlifefitness.com/Memberships/FreeVisitPass.aspx

    If you're somewhat masochistic, check out a local CrossFit gym (I go to CrossFit Toronto which is a bit out of the ways via public transport, but on google maps you can find a few of them closer to the core). But drop ins generally cost about $20 bucks.

    Oh and niagara falls is not toronto ;)... but you might want to check out wine tours in the area if you're down there.

    Please post what you end up doing and like as it's useful for future recommendations icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:41 AM GMT
    You didn't say when you were visiting Toronto, so some good places to start planning are the free newspapers the city offers to see what's popular and what events are going on:

    Xtra! (biweekly gay newspaper) http://www.dailyxtra.com

    NOW Magazine http://www.nowtoronto.com

    The Grid http://www.thegridto.com

    The gay village is primarily in the Church/Wellesley area, although there are other venues outside of this area (check Xtra for info) One of the most popular places in the village is Woody's/Sailors bar http://www.woodystoronto.com -- it has daily events and can be a fun place to have a drink.

    The village is surprisingly small considering the size of the city but there are still various places you can go out to eat, drink or dance -- it all depends on what you're into.

    As for the city itself, there is the CN Tower, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Second City Toronto (always a good time), Canada's Wonderland, the Distillery District, Toronto Island (weather permitting), and the Toronto Zoo.

    Enjoy your time here! Let us know how it went!



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:42 AM GMT
    tomjack saidYOU GUYS ROCK!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!!! We decided we are going to stay at the bond place


    Am assuming you're driving... not sure if the hotel offers parking, but don't park there... one of the best deals for parking is in the Ryerson Library lot particularly on the weekends where anyone can park... it's a large lot and it's pretty safe.

    It's on the north west corner of Victoria and Dundas so really close to where you're staying - it looks like a dead end but the entrance is at the end of the block there on the left as you drive up (and in front of the massive planters where they decided to close the street onto the campus)

    Costs:
    http://www.ryerson.ca/ubs/parking/rates/index.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:47 AM GMT
    financial_jock said
    GAMRican saidPublic transportation is great. Check out AirBnB for great flats at value rates. I stayed at one at The Garrison at Fort York.


    What?!!!! Transit is awful in Toronto!


    The range of my points of reference are Northern California on one end and South Florida on the other.

    Toronto is way better than many. I was there this June for a conference at what was the Delta Chelsea. I stayed at The Garrison at Fort York. I had no problem getting to/from the airport, nor any problem getting around town on those delightful streetcar like buses. So clean too! No vomit or urine smells like some of the transit in San Francisco or New York City.

    But then again, I'm a public transportation WHORE. I gave up my car when I moved to San Francisco and I don't miss having a car at all. I'll even take the 47-Van Ness or the 31-Balboa at night. I loved the Subte in Buenos Aires. Sardines have more room in their can! It was fabulous! I love being with the people. All the people!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:50 AM GMT
    Oh. And the men in Toronto?







    FAWKING HAWT!!!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:53 AM GMT
    go_dreaming said...
    As for places to go, the CN Tower is a must for the views and the glass floor. ...


    And, there is the EdgeWalk...

    movie_ph.jpg

    Ahhh! Memories of Sydney Bridge Climb!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 3:58 AM GMT
    GAMRican said
    go_dreaming said...
    As for places to go, the CN Tower is a must for the views and the glass floor. ...


    And, there is the EdgeWalk...

    movie_ph.jpg

    Ahhh! Memories of Sydney Bridge Climb!


    Not cheap $175 + tax (13%) per person - and space is fairly limited:
    https://tickets.cntower.ca/WebStore/Content.aspx?Kind=LandingPage

    There are also great ways to see the city at night at the periphery... either off Toronto Island, or drive out to the T&T grocery store off cherry street after sunset or at sunset to take pics of the skyline... I also find driving across where the DVP (the north south highway on the east side of the city) hits the Gardiner (the highway that's falling apart on the south end of the city near the water), to be fun at night because of the narrower lanes and basically the skyscrapers rise up around you on the highway so there's a great view of the skyline (though kind of hazardous to take pics).
  • disasterpiece

    Posts: 2991

    Sep 09, 2013 4:07 AM GMT
    Best possible advice : travel 600km east and go to Montreal instead.

    icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 09, 2013 4:01 PM GMT
    GAMRican saidToronto is way better than many. I was there this June for a conference at what was the Delta Chelsea. I stayed at The Garrison at Fort York. I had no problem getting to/from the airport, nor any problem getting around town on those delightful streetcar like buses. So clean too! No vomit or urine smells like some of the transit in San Francisco or New York City.


    Transit here is so-so. I think it used to serve it's purpose, but the last few years has been telling of how underdeveloped the system is, especially underground. If you're trying to take the subway from Dundas Station during rush hour, you might end up waiting for as many as six trains to pass before you can find a spot to stand. And the ride will be pretty cramped up to Eglinton at least.

    With that said, any time I've been taking visitors around town I've never had any issues. It really depends on where you're going and at what time. As for how clean it is, you'll get your share of urine and vomit every so often. There's a reason why they call the overnight bus the Vomit Comet. icon_lol.gif