Toronto, Canada

Distant Guide Solo adventures in Toronto

Hello, solo traveler! You’ve decided to go on quite the adventure, haven’t you? Toronto is the perfect city to explore on your own as it’s famous for being multiculturally diverse. Many Toronto residents were born outside of Canada and, as such, the city is a melting pot of cultures which makes blending in incredibly easy! 

Planning and Booking Description

A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out.

GEM OF ONTARIO

Toronto sits in southern Ontario on the banks of Lake Ontario, just a short drive from the UNESCO Site of Niagara Falls. The city is home to an array of award-winning restaurants, quirky art-house bars and a handful of museums depicting both Toronto and Ontario’s rich history. From annual festivals (we’re looking at you Pride Festival!) to regular sporting events (Go Toronto Maple Leafs!), there’s plenty to see and do here for everybody.

Quick Tips

See

From the staggering Niagara Falls to the world’s tallest tower, to museums and galleries - there are plenty of things to see in Toronto. 

Do

You’ll spend your days exploring different markets, enjoying a diverse culinary scene, shopping, catching shows and trying to catch up with all that Toronto has to offer. 

Eat

You will be having one local foodie experience after the other at some of the city’s most iconic restaurants. 

Stay 

Toronto has a huge range of accommodation options for different budgets that cater to all types of travelers. 

City Guide

Plan Section

Flights & Transport

Flight costs are annoyingly unpredictable. You’ll save the most money if you book 3-6

months out. Toronto’s Transit Commission (TTC) runs three modes of transport: bus, subway and streetcar and this is the best way to explore downtown and the suburbs. Recommended booking websites and hire companies are listed in Additional Resources.

Accommodations

Although we advise you to book some of your hotels and excursions before you depart, it’s always good to keep some things spontaneous! Allow yourself the flexibility (and the budget!) to go on an exciting  adventure such as Tree Top walking or kayaking or book yourself into that boutique hotel you just happen to find.

There are plenty lodging options available— as a solo traveller your best chance of meeting new people is staying in hostels. If you’re happy exploring on your own there’s also plenty of great airbnb’s and hotels in the city to suit all budgets! 

Insurance & Passport

Give yourself peace of mind, and take out some travel insurance for your trip. Although Canada is a safe destination and popular with tourists all over the world, it’s still best to be covered for the unexpected. Be sure to inform your insurance company if you plan to do some adventure sports

You’ll be happy to hear that as an American Citizen you do not need a Visa to enter Canada (so long as you’re on a tourist trip and not business or study related). All you need is a valid U.S. passport. If you’re not traveling from the states you will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to enter the country.


Checklist

A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out.


Tips

Adapters

Lucky for you Canada’s electrical supply and electrical outlets are exactly the same as those found in the United States. The plugs are two pronged (Type A) and the electrical supply is 120 Volts and 60 Hertz. If you’re visiting from outside the United States don’t forget to pack your adapter!


Currency

USD. 


Landmarks

  • If you like little quirky boutiques and quaint cafes, head over to Queen West. 

  • To get the ultimate view of Toronto, hop on a ferry and go to Centre Island. 

  • Head over to Local India for some of the finest fabrics and jewelry. 

Packing

• Traveling light is always ideal. Roll your clothes to save space and avoid creases. If you want to take it to the next level, use vacuum compression bags to maximize space.

• Choose your footwear wisely. Bring a pair of walking boots for hiking trips out of the city and a pair of comfy sneakers or canvas shoes for walking around town.

• Pack your shampoo, toothpaste and any other liquids in ziplock bags in case they spill in transit. However, these are items you can always acquire once you’re in Croatia.

• Don’t forget your sunscreen, aftersun and sunglasses. The sun can be quite intense during the summer months, so take care of your skin.

• If you’re visiting in Winter (December to March) make sure you pack your snow gear as temperatures can fall below 32°F (0°C). Autumn (September to December) is a relatively cold month too so bring thermals, gloves and a raincoat.

• Remember your camera, charger, memory card and power . Be well equipped to capture all of the beautiful sites when wandering the city.

• Be sure to have cash on hand—it’s not uncommon to find cash only restaurants and shops, even in major cities.


Apps

• Splitwise | eliminates the headache of bill splitting & a must  for group travel

• Tripadvisor | a favorite resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores

• Whatsapp | free text messaging to other Whatsapp users

• NobelApp | make cheap calls locally and back home


Transit Booking Sites

• skyscanner.com | easy to use website for finding low air fares

• google.com/flights | helpful fare prediction technology

• http://www.ttc.ca | Toronto transit commission fares and passes

• https://www.torontopearson.com/en/toandfrom/ground/ |

Toronto airport shuttle bus

• https://www.torontopearson.com/en/toandfrom/carrentals/# |

Toronto airport car rentals

• https://goo.gl/71TN8Y | Toronto to Niagara Falls bus


Tipping

It’s customary to tip anything from 15-20% on the bills in restaurants. 

Itinerary

Day 1 

Arrival

Welcome to Toronto! 

This unique city sits on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario, and its old town and downtown districts are perfect places to explore while working off that jet lag. The city is home to plenty of green spaces, skyscrapers and brunch spots to boot too so get settled in your new city and prepare for a fantastic week ahead.

Morning

GET SETTLED

Toronto Pearsons International airport is located just under 16 miles west of the city. There is a UP Express train which runs virtually every 30 minutes. This is the most convenient option for accessing downtown Toronto. Alternatively, the TTC runs both buses and trains into the city. Tickets can be booked online or purchased from the driver.

 The best way to explore the city is to buy a TTC weekly pass. The pass gives you unlimited rides on the city buses and metro systems which allows you to explore the city at your own pace. 

Afternoon

After checking into your lodging take the metro over to Lady Marmalade cafe for a spot of brunch. Kick off your Canadian trip in style with eggs and bacon piled high onto a slice of sourdough bread and accompany it with a steaming cup of fresh coffee.

After refueling head west to the Royal Ontario Museum, the largest museum in Canada. The museum features world culture, art and natural history exhibits including dinosaur collections and East African art pieces. In 2007 the museum was expanded, and a peculiar steel structure was attached.

Evening

Day 2 

Morning and Afternoon

SEE THE SIGHTS

This morning it’s time to see Toronto’s most famous landmark, the CN Tower. This concrete tower was the world’s tallest tower until 2009 when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai overtook it. Today the tower is home to an aquarium, a 360 restaurant, and a knee-trembling skywalk experience. We recommended buying tickets for the Tower Experience; this grants you access to two observation levels where you can enjoy spectacular views across Toronto from 1,136ft high. 

After enjoying epic views over the city the afternoon can be spent exploring Kensington Market set in the delightfully diverse neighborhood of Kensington in downtown Toronto. The market is home to vintage stalls selling clothes, crafts, and services along with fresh groceries and second-hand books. A good hour or two can be spent exploring the colorful neighborhood. 

HISTORIC THEATRE

This evening head down to the famous Ed Mirvish Theatre in downtown Toronto. The theatre dates back to the 1920’s and was once declared the largest theatre in Canada. Today the theatre produces a handful of plays and musical tributes and it's worth visiting the website to see what’s on. Pre-book your tickets to ensure disappointment (https://www.mirvish.com/

Day 3

Morning

This morning rise early for a trip to Toronto Islands, a small chain of islands located on the north side of Lake Ontario. To get here, take the 15-minute ferry from downtown Toronto at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. The islands are all connected by small paths and bridges, meaning you can walk around all 15 of them! There’s plenty of activities to enjoy here including SUP, canoeing, and cycling. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in the sun! 


Afternoon

After a relaxing morning on the islands its time to catch the ferry back to the mainland and head to Casa Loma, a gothic house, and gardens located in Old Toronto. Built in the early 1900’s the castle has been used as a location in many movies thanks to its unique revival architecture. The former home of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, a successful Toronto financier, is now open to the public and you can take a guided tour around all four floors (and gardens) to admire the period furnishings.


Evening

This evening it's time to get into the Canadian spirit with a visit to the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice-hockey team. Whether you consider yourself a sports fan or not the atmosphere here is addictive, and you’ll soon find yourself cheering the Maple Leafs along! The stadium is multi-purpose, so if you’re here in the summer, you might catch a basketball game instead (root for the Toronto Raptors). Check the website online to see what's on when you’re in town (https:// www.aircanadacentre.com). 


After the game, head to Grand Electric restaurant to dine on delicious Mexican chilaquiles and tacos in an informal setting.


Day 4 

Today is a great day to jump on a bus or hire a car to Niagara Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site well known for its natural beauty, cascading falls and endless white spray. The falls straddle the United States border and can be admired from either side of the border, though rumor has it that

Morning

ARRIVAL IN NIAGRA 

Take the Greyhound Bus (or Megabus) from downtown Toronto directly to Niagara. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes and departs at multiple times throughout the day. Catch an early bus outbound and a late bus inbound to make the most of your


Afternoon

TABLE ROCK & MAID OF THE MIST

 Niagara Falls is made up of three impressive waterfalls; Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Here 750,000 gallons of water cascade down the falls every second and many come from far and wide to view this natural wonder. The first place you want to visit is Table Rock, from here you get a spectacular view of Horseshoe Falls in all its glory. 


Up next is the ‘Journey Behind the Falls’ an exciting excursion that takes you in and behind the falls for a closer look at the thundering spray. On this 30 minute tour, you’ll descend 150 ft by elevator to reach an outdoor observation deck behind the falls. From here you can watch as the water hits the basin at tremendous speeds - prepare to get a little damp. 

Your final activity for the day is a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat. Don your yellow poncho and climb aboard this 20- minute tour which takes you as close to the mouth of the waterfall as you can get. You can’t leave Niagara without feeling the full force of the falls! 


Evening

RETURN TO TORONTO 

After an exhilarating day soaking up the falls take the Greyhound Bus (or drive back) to Toronto in time for an evening meal at 416 Snack Bar. This quirky, hipster, hangout is the perfect spot to indulge in delicious Asian food. Thanks to the relaxed vibe, you’ll have no problem finding a table for one.


Day 5 

Morning

This morning head down to the Harbor located at Queen’s Quay West on the shores of Lake Ontario. Take a stroll along the boardwalk amidst families shopping and street performers entertaining the crowds. In the summer, take a stroll through HTO Park and come while in the winter you can hit the Harbourfront Centre ice rink.


After a stroll along the boardwalk head northeast to the Hockey Hall of Fame which sits just a 15-minute walk away. To really understand Canadian sports culture you’ve got to visit this museum dedicated entirely to the history of ice hockey.

Afternoon

CHECK IN AND RELAX 


Chinatown, Little Italy and Little India are all on the cards this afternoon as you explore Toronto’s culturally diverse neighborhoods. To meet new like-minded people why not join a Chinatown walking tour to learn how the area has developed over the years. If you’ve got the room for a late afternoon snack (or you skipped our lunch recommendation), you should try the ‘steamed bao with pulled pork’ from the Banh Mi Boys restaurant on Queen’s Street. 


Evening

A NIGHT AT THE BALLET!

 This evening head to the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto’s premiere ballet company located at 145 Queen Street West. The company produces a handful of ballets a year with the Nutcracker being a staple year in year out. Simply check the website to see what’s on when you’re in town (https:// national.ballet.ca/Cart), order your ticket online and collect from the NBC box office at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. Get ready for a thrilling night of beautiful ballet, impressive handmade sets, and enchanting live musical sets.



Day 6 

Morning

St. Lawrence Market is one of Toronto’s biggest farmers markets and spreads out over three buildings. You’ll spend your penultimate morning in the city wandering through the artisan vendor stalls, stopping to sample fresh produce as you go. To observe a cooking lesson, or to join in with a culinary workshop, head over to the Market Kitchen and see what's going on.


Afternoon

The afternoon will be spent soaking up the last of Toronto's culture at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at the Harbourfront Centre. This Canadian public gallery is devoted entirely to contemporary art and showcases both temporary and permanent exhibits. Check out the past exhibits on the Congo including Sammy Baloji’s ‘Urban Now: City Life in the Congo.


After a culture filled morning, it’s probably time for a bite to eat. Head over to Bonjour Brioche, a quaint French Bakery, for a lite


Evening

You can’t leave Toronto without trying some of the local cuisine! Your final night in the city will be spent dining on poutine (a traditional Canadian dish of chips, cheese curd, and gravy) at Poutini’s House of Poutine. This quirky Canadian restaurant has taken poutine take it one step further and offer an array of additional toppings including roasted mushrooms, smoked meats, and pulled pork. This casual dining Queen Street restaurant is cash only so be sure to have some notes on you!



Day 7

Choose to fly out of Toronto in the evening so that you can savor your last day. Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it! You may have just enough time to make one last memory or see one last attraction. But, beware of traveling too far out of the city; missing your flight home is not how you want to end your magical trip! Check out the Art Gallery of Ontario if you haven’t done so already. It houses a collection of over 80,000 works including work by Kara Walker and Andy Warhol.

Emelryn Vebs Dichoso