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CNY Essentials: A Trip to Toronto

CNY Essentials: A Trip to Toronto

Your weekend in Canada awaits. Life in Central New York is wonderful because we have access to world-class cities without the hassle of a lot of commuting. New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia are about four hour drives away. But, if you want an international experience, you can head north to one of the world’s great cities: Toronto.

Fall is the perfect time to visit CNY’s northern neighbor. The slight drop in temperature provides the perfect excuse to explore the many comfort foods available in what some call Hollywood North because of its strong film presence.

Spending a full week in Toronto is the best way to delight in the city’s offerings. To help you make the most of your time, we’ve compiled a list of breathtaking sights as well as some of the best international cuisine experiences.


While U.S. citizens only need a passport, travelers of international origin will need a Canadian visa. Plan about three weeks in advance and begin by completing the application process for a multiple entry visa by completing this form.


Driving a car is typically the fastest way to Toronto, but be aware that traffic into the city is almost always slow.  The local railroad service, Amtrak, or one of the many bus companies like Megabus, provide transportation alternatives that can cost between $20-$180. While in the city, public transportation in the form of subways and buses can get visitors to most important spots upon arrival in the city.

  • The famous skyline of Toronto by Shuai
    The famous skyline of Toronto by Shuai
  • A grand view of Toronto at night
    A grand view of Toronto at night by Shuai Wang.
  • Shuai was having birthday dinner dinner with her friend in the CN Tower.
    Shuai was having birthday dinner with her friend in the CN Tower. Photo by Li, Shuai's friend.
  • Classic Dim Sum in Hong Kong Cafe
    Classic Dim Sum in Hong Kong Cafe by Shuai.
  • BBQ in Hong Kong Cafe
    BBQ in Hong Kong Bistro Cafe by Shuai Wang.
  • An art square in Distillery Historic District
    An art square in Distillery Historic District by Shuai.

Day 1


Travelers who choose to get an early start on their trip will experience scenic landscapes, only interrupted briefly by the bustling city skylines like Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls.


We begin with a trip to Toronto’s Centre Island on Lake Ontario. While waiting for the ferry, take advantage of the picturesque landscape by dining or shopping along the world-class lakefront corridor. Toronto boasts a unique skyline created as the city fabric meshes into the lake to create an amazing view that is often captured on postcards.


An amusement park, beach, and breathtaking views allow Centre Island to serve as a huge playground entertaining both children and adults for the afternoon. There is enough along the lake to entertain and engage ones senses for hours.


As the evening winds down head on over to the Canadian National Tower (CN Tower), a television transmission tower, tourism resort, and one of world’s tallest modern wonders. LivableCNY’s

Shuai Wang recommends 360 Restaurant, a revolving upscale venue at the top of the tower offering an exquisite menu with an unforgettable view. After a gourmet dinner, you can attend a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game or see a ballet at the Four Seasons Center to finish of the night.

Day 2


To start your second day try authentic Dim Sum, morning tea, which can be found at the local Hong Kong Bistro Cafe. “Imagine waiters dressing up in aprons and carrying Dim Sum with carts. The scene exactly the same as what we saw in old Hong Kong movies!” Shuai said.


For a day of adventure Shuai recommends tackling three sections of downtown…

Casa Loma, an old castle built in 1911 with 98 gorgeous decorated rooms, a traditional conservatory, and fives acres of garden, all reminiscent of noble life in medieval Europe.

Distillery Historic District, once the largest British Empire distillery, is now an art and creative district with theater, gallery, art studio, and cafe. It has even become a popular location for filming of Hollywood movies like “Chicago” and “X-Men.” It’s even artful how the brick, glass and steel textures flow throughout the corridor creating a cozy venue for a lunch experience or rest from sightseeing.

Toronto University is Canada’s largest university and important cultural center. Walking through the peaceful campuses allows you to appreciate the architectural sights on campus as well as the softer side of this large, humming metropolis.


After an early dinner, you’ll be ready to call it a trip and be back. There’s something exhausting but cheerful, with having bathed in a new vision of geography and culture.

Other Options

If by chance you have extra time and travel during the peak time of the season, from late September to early October, Algonquin Provincial Park is a desirable alternative sight to see. The Canadian Maples that fill the park are only a three hours drive north from Toronto.

Regardless of your interest or taste, Toronto has something to cater to your desires. The city is enriched by many pockets of immigrant culture, truly providing a world-class experience. “Compared to New York I prefer to travel here, a neat, open and cozy city,” Shuai said.

About The Author

Wenyan Liu

Master of Science in New Media Management


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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