Lusting Over Long Haul
“The most multiculturally diverse city on the planet”, claims Lonely Planet.
Toronto is a dynamic and buzzing city, full of unexpected sights and fascinating experiences. The skyline is populated by skyscrapers and the neighbourhoods by people from all over the world, undoubtedly adding to the character of this very special city. Famous for the CN Tower and its 360° views, but home to so much more than the typical tourist traps.
Trinity Bellwoods Park is in the west end of Toronto and is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic, especially in the latter spring months when the cherry blossoms are in bloom – the perfect backdrop for an Instagram selfie. ‘Nadege’, a patisserie just along from the park, is not to be missed. Set up by a French pastry chef and selling what are known as the best macaroons in the city, make sure it is at the top of your ‘to-do’ list.
Not far north of the park lays Toronto’s Annex district, a bohemian neighbourhood full of independent businesses and entertainment venues. Spend your evenings here, either at Lee’s Palace, the area’s concert venue; or Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century old movie house specialising in quirky documentaries.
Ossington Avenue is an area that has been transformed in recent years and is now a must visit for any foodies taking a trip to Toronto. We recommend grabbing a sandwich from ‘Schmaltz Appetizing’, a Jewish deli in the neighbourhood. The ‘Chubchub’ is the deli’s signature, a bagel piled high with fishy goodness: it’s a handful of pure deliciousness.
To discover more than just the city, jump on a ferry to Toronto Island and explore the eclectic markets. Kensington Market has all the cuisine options you could imagine; including a vegan and gluten-free bakery, a mouth-watering burger joint, and a big fat burrito bar; all squeezed into mural-covered streets alongside an array of vintage shops. It really is hipster paradise. If you’re visiting in the summer months, ‘Pedestrian Sundays’ are designed to celebrate and showcase the neighbourhood. Think street food vendors, samba music, giant board games and a whole lot of fun.
Just 80 miles from Toronto is Niagara Falls. If you’re going to travel all the way to Canada, it’s worth dedicating at least a day to discovering the Niagara region. If you’re not confident driving, there are pre-organised tours available from Toronto in which you see the sights of Niagara Falls as well as the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You might even like to throw in a ‘Hornblower’ boat ride or a visit to the observation deck of the Skylon Tower, offering views from 775 feet above the falls.
“The epitome of cool”, exclaimed by many, many people.
Boston is a city rife with history, architecture and red brick buildings. Often referred to as America’s oldest city, Boston has a unique charm not appreciated until you’ve actually visited. As well as sampling the obligatory lobster rolls and chowder, there are so many secret parts of the city you must discover when you visit.
The Freedom Trail is arguably the most iconic way to spend a day in Boston. Encompassing sixteen of the city’s most historically significant sites, if there’s one thing you do whilst you’re in Boston, make sure it is this. Get yourself on a guided walking tour or download the app and follow the two and a half mile path through the city. Learn more about the American Revolution and Boston in the eighteenth century; and visit sites including Massachusetts State House and Faneuil Hall. It shouldn’t take you longer than half a day to complete.
The first stop on the Freedom Trail is Boston Common, the oldest public park in America and an ideal location for a spot of people watching. If you’re visiting in the summer, there’s an outdoor theatre, a carousel, tennis courts and a splash pool. If you’re visiting in the winter there’s an ice skating rink on Frog Pond, gentle slopes for sledging and special New Year’s Eve celebrations involving fireworks and ice sculptures.
Whilst you’re in the neighbourhood, you’d be foolish not to check out Beacon Hill. Boston’s most prestigious postcode, the area is just how you’d imagined Boston to be, with cobbled narrow streets and red brick houses. A great place for food and shopping, we recommend ‘Figs’, a snug pizza joint perfect for either a lunchtime bite or an evening meal. The best late evening jaunt is ‘The Beacon Hill Pub’, located at the end of Charles Street and one of Beacon Hill’s worst kept secrets. A dive bar with a loud jukebox and friendly staff, what more could you want?
Arguably the best view of Boston is from the Skywalk Observatory, which offers a bird’s eye perspective of the city. According to the attraction’s website, on a clear day you can see for up to 100 miles and sights including the Hancock Tower, the Esplanade and Harvard University. Get a ticket which allows you to visit during the day and then return at night after dark to get the best value for money.
If anyone in your party is in to sport, Fenway Park is a must. Home to the Boston Red Sox since 1912, this baseball park is located in the city of Boston. If you’re not lucky enough to catch a game, there are one hour walking tours available in which you can see inside the press box and the view from behind the Green Monster.
With Primera Air launching direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto from Birmingham Airport in May next year, book your seat now to avoid disappointment. One way fares start from just £149 per person, including taxes.