Three Great Things to Do in Toronto That You Probably Won’t Find in the Guidebooks

by Jules on March 12, 2014

CN Tower, City Hall, Museums, Yorkville shopping and the Islands. The list of famous Toronto tourist attractions is long – and they’re well visited by the locals too.

But, even for return visitors and those whose families have made a home in Toronto for generations, there’re a few spots and things-to-do that you won’t find in most tourist guides. They might not all be for everyone, but each will show a part of Toronto that’s off the beaten path, but none-the-less fun and exciting.

  • Authentic Mountain Biking Downtown (well, almost downtown) – The conventional wisdom is that you need mountains, or at least proper hills, for mountain biking. But, as it does in so many other ways, Toronto turns the conventional wisdom around by being a city of urban valleys, including the Humber, Don and Rouge Valleys, which are all within the city limits. While they all have their own mountain biking trails, the Don Valley, which rolls right into downtown Toronto, offers challenging mountain biking trails within about a 15 minute bike ride from the main intersection at Yonge & Bloor Sts.
  • The Longest Streetcar Ride in North America – Following a decline in the mid to late 20th century, streetcars are enjoying a bit of a renaissance in public transit systems across North America. In recent decades, major streetcar routes have re-emerged in Seattle, Dallas and Washington D.C., among other cities. Toronto never gave up on her streetcars and the Toronto Transit Commission now maintains the most extensive streetcar network on the continent. And it features one of the longest public transit surface routes in the world, the 25 kilometre long 501 Queen Streetcar. From Scarborough in the east to Etobicoke in the west, the 501 connects Toronto’s inner suburbs in a route that carries you through The Beaches, many ethnic neighbourhoods, the heart of downtown and Toronto’s financial core, the trendy Queen West arts community and lot more in a ride that lasts just over 90 minutes. Pack a lunch and enjoy it with this slice of T.O.
  • Skinny Dipping – This is the one you’re most likely to have heard about because news of naughty things like public nudity tends to travel far and wide. But you probably didn’t read about the Hanlan’s Point Beach on the Toronto Islands in a glossy brochure. From the ferry docks in Toronto’s harbor, you’re about a 15 minute boat ride from being able to legally walk around in the buff. A one kilometer section of the beach has for decades been known locally as the place to go if you want to bare all, but it wasn’t until 2002 that the section was officially declared ‘Clothing Optional’.

To add to your unique visit to Toronto, there are several alternatives to the traditional hotel rooms, which are perfect for business or pleasure. For example Toronto Escape lets visitors experience the city from the comfort of fully-furnished suites and houses that feel like your home away from home.

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