Babes and bikes in Niagara’s vineyards

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONT. — High atop the Niagara Escarpment, the Brock Monument seemed as lofty and enchanting as Shangri-La when the rain clouds parted and it came into view. The cycle path was mercifully gentle as we started climbing toward the 19th-century stone column, but then again, we were hauling a pair of bike trailers containing two infants, their overnight paraphernalia, our luggage, and the spoils of visits to various tasting rooms. And we were running late for our Sunday afternoon train. This Niagara wine tour was turning into quite the adventure.

Fact is, the words "adventure" and "Niagara wine tour" rarely appear in the same sentence. These jaunts typically involve leisurely drives or bicycle rides between the peninsula’s bucolic vineyards (often book-ended by gruelling journeys along the infamously busy Queen Elizabeth Way). But it’s amazing what the presence of two eight-month-olds – and the new Bike Train service from Toronto – can do.

On Saturday morning, Michael, Allana and Olive Lagimodière pulled up in front of Union Station just as my wife, Angela, was extricating Ava from her car seat. Since we knew we’d be carting all our gear around by bike, there were no Jolly Jumpers or Electro-Magnetic Baby Hypnotizers in the satisfyingly small pile of luggage taking shape on the sidewalk. Just one backpack and bicycle per person, along with a plastic-wrapped, unassembled tandem bike trailer from Mountain Equipment Co-op. (We planned to rent another one from Zoom Leisure in Niagara-on-the-Lake.)

After checking in, we proceeded to Platform One, where our ride – a 56-passenger Via Rail car – was being boarded by Spandex-clad keeners and more casual cyclists such as ourselves. A few toddlers could be spotted milling about, but Ava and Olive were definitely the youngest passengers.

"It’s a hassle-free, environmentally friendly way to start and end a Niagara getaway," said the 32-year-old former director of Toronto’s Green Tourism Association as he chatted with passengers. "If the response from the public and our sponsors continues to be positive, we plan to package more accommodations and tours with the train next summer."

This would also help visitors, as Saturday night-only accommodations in Niagara-on-the-Lake are difficult to find on summer weekends, and few bed-and-breakfasts seem to cater to young families.

With our rooms (and cribs) squared away, the joys of packing light was soon replaced by the joys of speeding past vehicles on the sluggish QEW. Coffee was served, Ava and Olive napped, everything was going according to plan.

I should have known better. When the Niagara Wine Tours International shuttle bus dropped us off at the company’s office in downtown NOTL, I discovered that our unassembled bike trailer was missing a key component: the hitch that attaches it to an actual bike. "Well, that’ll make it easier to pull," someone joked as we crammed both kids into the rented tandem trailer for a half-day guided tour of the surrounding vineyards.

The first few minutes of the outing were sketchy at best. The comments of our guide, a stunningly patient and helpful B&B owner named Jeff Weir, were mostly ignored as parents took turns adjusting infant sun hats and worrying about the wobbliness of the trailer’s left wheel. Eventually, however, the steady bumps in the path lulled the kids to sleep as we made our way to Marynissen Estates, the first of three wineries we would visit that hot and sunny afternoon.

Thanks to Weir’s local connections, we had the good fortune to meet the vineyard’s founder, John Marynissen, on his porch near the entrance to the 17-year-old winery. As we sat around a patio table sampling a chilled bottle of Sandra’s Summer Blend, Marynissen, 83, reminisced about the region’s plonk-filled past, and praised his daughter Sandra’s dedication in turning the estate into an award-winning vintner.

We went on to sample more fine vintages at the nearby Riverview and Lailey wineries, then pedalled back along the river, past the earthen ramparts of Fort George, to the tour company’s office.

After moving the rental trailer’s hitch to the roomier Mountain Equipment Co-op model – and arranging for a second carrier for Sunday – Angela and I hauled Ava to the nearby Harbour House. This four-year-old, colonial-style boutique hotel is an ideal spot to relax after a day of wine touring, as it blends a serene, Maritime ambience with plush amenities including every cyclist’s best friend: the oversized whirlpool tub.

With Ava’s diaper changed and our muscles well-soaked, we headed out to meet the Lagimodières for dinner at the Charles Inn. Our risky plan was to dine on the restaurant’s lovely wraparound porch with both kids in the bike trailer (hopefully, the day’s excitement would knock them out). To our surprise, it worked: We had a memorable meal without even having to deploy the hotel crib Michael and Allana brought along as backup.

Well rested and breakfasted, we were feeling confident about our self-guided tour on Day 2. After all, we had one extra trailer and nearly five hours in which to cover the 20 kilometres of pristine bike path between NOTL and the Via station in Niagara Falls.

As it turned out, Sunday’s tour started, and ended, at Reif Winery. After adding several bottles to our collection, the day’s 40-per-cent probability of precipitation turned to 100 per cent. Huddling under a gazebo, we realized we would have to make a break for it in order to make our train. Out of nowhere, Weir appeared, and made a valiant attempt to find us a ride. But to no avail – when the deluge let up a bit, we battened down the trailers’ canopies and hit the trail. The last thing I heard as I pedalled away was Weir’s pledge to find a van and catch up with us somewhere along the path.

We seemed to be making good time as we approached the escarpment, but by the time we reached its top it was just past four, and we knew we were cutting it close. Suddenly, Weir pulled up in a rickety Zoom Leisure panel van. With less than an hour till departure and about eight kilometres to go, we gladly accepted a ride.

As we careened down the Niagara Parkway, crammed into a windowless van with a half-dozen bikes, our tour guide-turned-saviour jokingly yelled, "and on the left, you’ll see the botanical gardens."

I laughed, partly at his dry humour, and partly because for the rest of our trip, someone else would be hauling me around.


Pack your bags


Bike Train Initiative 416-338-5090; Round-trip tickets cost $59, and can be booked by calling 1-888-619-5987. Trains are running tomorrow and Monday (the weekend of Aug. 25 is the last run this summer).

Zoom Leisure 2017 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.; 1-866-811-6993; Will pick up bike gear from the Niagara Falls train station.


Harbour House 85 Melville St., NOTL; 1-866-277-6677; Summer rates start at $355 (breakfast included). Families welcome.

Wine Country B&B 75 John St., NOTL; 905-468-8701; A lovely abode co-owned by the wonderful Jeff Weir (also a guide with Niagara Wine Tours). Starts at $165.

Orchid Inn 390 Mary St., NOTL; 905-468-3871; A recently opened inn that accommodates families. From $130.


Niagara Wine Tours International 92 Picton St., NOTL; 1-800-680-7006; Provides fun, informative tours by bike or passenger van. Will pick up Bike Train passengers from Niagara Falls. Guided cycle tours start at $65.

Diner aan het water



Diners’ dilemma: A decent lake view

We ate our way from west to east to find out if there is anything better than cart-dogs on the waterfront

When eager, helpless diners shuttle to the city and request a restaurant recommendation, how many times have you suggested an eatery on the water? I’ll answer first. Zero.

If the greening of Toronto’s waterfront is the most politicized where-land-meets-lake issue, the dining along the waterfront should be the dark-horse concern en route to all citizen hearts (our stomachs). Isosceles slices and tepid cart-dogs are the standard shoreline fare, followed closely by thick cardiac fries from the chippy van. Save for the occasional Harbourfront festival offering ethnic delights, nothing reputable comes to mind.

Am I simply unaware of the lake’s hidden gems, or are the best chefs in Toronto afraid of the water? I visited six restaurants that boast immediate proximity to Lake Ontario to investigate their options. At each I sat as close to the water as possible; patio trumped dining room, south-facing view trumped north.

Although this isn’t a comprehensive list of waterfront dining options, your reporter braved a league of choppy waters with the hope we may all one day dine like the court of Triton, or, at least, find decent eats near gentle waves.

Snug Harbour, 14 Stavebank Rd. S., Port Credit

I drove to Port Credit with the intention of brunching at the ambitiously named Waterside Inn. However, the clearest views from its Breakwater Restaurant are of a parking lot and the east side of Snug Harbour, a comfortable seafood bar and grill, so a last-minute change in course was made.

A 20-minute wait for a table at the Snug Harbour bar was spent in the company of a petite Caesar, served in a rocks glass. The sun- and gin-kissed yachtsman to my left asked the price. I replied, "$7.50."

He whistled and exclaimed, "For that?" Aye, Captain.

The simply decorated pale yellow and blue interior matched the small-town charm of the restaurant’s exterior and surrounding boardwalk. Rocky landscaping along the harbour waterway made for a pleasant stroll; the only blemish on the idyllic view of the mast-marked lake was an apartment to the near west.

I tried the Scallops Nantucket, three large sea scallops served in a shell-shaped dish with a single leaf of purple cabbage for garnish. They were chewy – overcooked or frozen – and dominated by the slippery cheese the menu promised. The affable and attentive wait staff were prepared to replace the dish, but the cloth napkin on my lap with the loonie-sized yellow stain urged me to forgo an attempt on the Pan-Fried Rainbow Trout.

Quality of waterfront view: Handsome
Quality of food: Throw it back
Crowd: Pensioners, families, part-time skippers

Casa Mendoza, 2161 Lake Shore Blvd. W., ,Etobicoke

A hard turn off the Lake Shore deposits you at the gently sloping entrance to Casa Mendoza, immediately fetching in its guise as a Spanish villa. Although the main-floor dining area was well appointed, I walked up to the second floor and sat on the terrace to maximize the view.

The city skyline is clearly visible in the southeast, and a grand expanse of grass below, populated by frolicking groundhogs, stretches to a service road at the edge of a Lake Ontario cove. Tall, thick greenery on either side of the estate isolates the terrace, completely drowning out the buzz of the Lake Shore, as well as the loud nostalgic exteriors of Casa Mendoza’s neighbours.

The lobster gnocchi was delicious: perfectly puffed with a rich and restrained sauce, then tossed with generous pieces of lobster meat and a few lengths of fresh dill. I adored the meal, but I couldn’t help feeling a pang of ordering jealousy when my neighbour’s table was presented with an epic seafood platter – a treasure chest of tails and claws and legs and shells.

Service was polite; food arrived quickly. The view was so pleasant I hardly minded the 45-minute wait for the bill.

Quality of waterfront view: Surprising serenity
Quality of food: Catch of the day!
Crowd: Small parties of those in the know

Pier 4 Storehouse,
245 Queens Quay W.,

If you enjoyed the film franchise but have yet to visit a Pirates of the Caribbean theme restaurant, you can fudge the trip to Disneyland at the Pier 4 Storehouse. Statues of sea icons worthy of Madame Tussauds populate the main room, complemented by a giant shark and nets filled with barrels (rum? gunpowder?) hanging from the ceiling.

The day I visited, the dining room’s small windows only offered a view of the starboard side of the Passion For Excellence, docked just outside, so I docked myself on the slightly more scenic patio.

On the Pier 4 patio, you order cafeteria-style from a pub-fare menu (clam chowder, wings, burgers) and pick up your food when your number is called. The no-nonsense staff scowled when I asked for satchels of both the plum and barbecue sauce for my chicken nuggets and fries, but the snack met my modest expectations and would be enough to satisfy the li’l skippers in the family.

The bolted-to-the-ground tables featuring umbrellas were occupied by a number of shirtless patrons, but if you manage to secure a corner table, you’ll have an adequate view through to the Toronto Islands, and the water won’t be five metres away.

Quality of waterfront view: Partly obscured/pleasant enough
Quality of food: Fit for a manatee
Crowd: No shoes? No shirt? No problem

Toulà Ristorante & Bar,
One Harbour Square, 38th Floor, Westin Harbour Castle
Glass elevators that fly 38 floors up the side of the Westin Harbour Castle freak me out. But the ascent of terror was worth it. Once you’re seated on the south side of Toulà, you can see every ounce of Lake Ontario, as well as the islands, Cherry Beach, Rochester and my car. The dining room is circular, offering excellent views at each of the 360 degrees. Thankfully, it doesn’t revolve, sicketatingly, like some other mile-high establishments we could mention.

The pancetta-wrapped jumbo tiger shrimps were impressive in both flavour and presentation, looking more like jumbo butterflies in mid-launch. They were smoky, tender and delicious – the kind of appetizer you’d leave your wife for. The catch of the day was a whole sea bass, so fresh it was almost flavourless. Drizzled with olive oil and accompanied by an odd assortment of roast vegetables (parsnips? In July?), my main leaned more toward bland than delicate.

While I tucked in to the meal-saving crème brûlée, my wonderful riot of a waiter lowered the lights and let the moon show off the lake, emphasizing the importance of arriving at Toulà at sunset.

Quality of waterfront view: Unmatched
Quality of food: Inconsistently delicious
Crowd: Hotel patrons, dress-code adherents

Boardwalk Pub,
1681 Lake Shore Blvd. E.
Approaching the Boardwalk Pub at Woodbine Beach, I was greeted by the strains of a wedding band covering Outkast’s Hey Ya. The group on the patio forced their stamp on Usher’s Yeah, Christina Aguilera’s Ain’t No Other Man, and, of course, Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love. Conversation was impossible, but this didn’t bother the ladies dancing beside their tables, or the lady dancing on her table (at 5 p.m.) The spring-break-for-adults vibe couldn’t detract from the shady sun respite offered by the patio’s lush tree cover, but it also couldn’t mask that the water is very, very far away.

Your view from the patio is grass, then walking paths, then beach, then beach volleyball courts, and then you spot the lake. I think. I didn’t have the energy to make the trek.

The Greek salad was satisfactory, though the olive count (three) could have been higher. The hamburgers were fine – the type of beach barbecue/company picnic standard you’ve enjoyed many times.

Quality of waterfront view: There was a waterfront?
Quality of food: Improves with each pint
Crowd: Club Med alumni

Bluffers Restaurant, 7 Brimley Rd. S.
If you’ve never visited the Scarborough Bluffs, you must. Well, unless you dislike being delighted. The twists and lumpy turns of Brimley Road conclude with the option to park to the west or feed to the east. The single row of tables on the balcony patio at Bluffers Restaurant means no jostling for a lakefront sightline; attentive servers take orders and disappear, allowing you to gaze contentedly at the marina waters 20 feet below, or the lake, 20 yacht slips away.

Not five minutes after being seated, I was enjoying a crisp Caesar salad topped with the airiest of croutons. A moment after my last bite, the plate was gone, replaced with a pair of gorgeous crab cakes. The crunchy coating encased a platonic balance of sweet and savoury, and only a basket of pillowy rye bread paced my fork.

Post-heaven, I ambled along the paths of Bluffers Park, and made plans to return with friends (noting that, in addition to an appetite, I should bring a loaf of bread to appease the geese and ducks hungrily approaching my empty hands).

Quality of waterfront view: Hidden paradise
Quality of food: Elegant, yet substantial
Crowd: Quiet nibblers

Wij blijven op zoek naar een goed restaurant (aan het water). Dit artikel in de Globe is een goede aanaleiding binnenkort toch maar eens het restaurant Toula, in het Westin Hotel, te bezoeken. Casa Mendoza maakt ook een goede kans, al is het een stukje fietsen…

Welland Canal

Welland Canal rises above expectations

Scott Stinson, National Post
Published: Thursday, August 02, 2007

ST. CATHARINES -It is one of the many incongruities of Niagara Falls that a place with one of the world’s more remarkable natural features has become almost as well known for its many man-made attractions.

Of course, where the Falls are majestic and powerful, the man-made stuff — wax museums, "4D" movies, slot machines — are best described as corny. Or perhaps cheesy.

But a little west of the thundering waters can be found a feat of human ingenuity that is impressive in scope and at the same time entirely lacking in neon signage.

The Welland Canal was built to allow boats to pass from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, because while the Falls are a fascinating spectacle, they also make the Niagara River rather useless from a shipping perspective.

The canal isn’t simply a matter of rerouting ships around the Falls, though. It also effectively takes boats over them. A series of eight locks are used to raise ships almost 330 feet — the difference in height between Lakes Ontario and Erie. (The Falls themselves have a drop of 176 feet.) Several of the locks have areas where visitors are welcome to watch the massive ships be raised (or lowered, depending on which way they are headed). The Welland Canals Centre overlooks Lock 3, and it has the strange feeling of a visit to the zoo, except instead of peering through the fence to look at, say, a tiger from Sumatra, visitors are craning to see a shipworker from Glace Bay.

The complex at Lock 3 has a large observation deck that offers a good view in both directions, so the incoming ship can be spotted a fair distance away.

A visit on a recent sunny day found about two dozen people clustered along the deck as a liner approached from the south. It is at about this time that the young children in the crowd begin to ask questions that their parents or guardians struggle to answer.

"Why is the boat way down below?"

"It will be raised up once it gets in the lock," a parent responds. "How high will they raise it?" "Um, a lot." (50 feet.) "How do they raise it?" "They add water into the lock." "How much water?" "A lot." (93 million litres.)

"How do they get the water in there?"

"I think it has something to do with gravity." (Correct!) "How long will it take?"

"Not long." (About eight to 10 minutes.)

And, indeed, about eight to 10 minutes later, the ship has been raised up to eye-level, which is when it really starts to feel like a zoo exhibit. There you are, standing on the observation deck and looking through a fence, and on the other side is the ship’s deck. One guy has set up a folding chair and is working on his tan. Two guys are smoking and chatting. Another guy is mopping something up. A four-year-old reads a sign on the ship’s deck: "No smoking," the kid says. Busted.

Moments later, the doors on the lock open and the ship is on its way. The small crowd files down off the deck. There’s a gap of a few hours before the next boat is due, so people filter around trying to decide if they want to kill time here and stick around.

Inside the building is an interactive centre with some displays and models of the canal and its locks and bridges. In other words, a place where the children can find the answers to all the questions the parents couldn’t answer.

T.O’s un-tourist guide

1. Quad-hopping and rooftop quaffing

Hidden within the University of Toronto’s Gothic revival buildings are the quadrangles – so cooling in the summer, so Brideshead Revisited. On the east side of St. George St. is Knox College (1915), its quad romantically overgrown, its leaded windows closed, a fountain gurgling. Next, University College (1892), with cloisters and mature maples; Hart House (1919), a more formal and open quad, often used for receptions; and Trinity College (1925), where a medieval knot garden is being built. Nearby Philosopher’s Walk leads north to Bloor St. W. and the rooftop bar of the Park Hyatt, or the stunning/scary view from the Panorama Lounge on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre.

2. Berczy park

Contrasts tell stories, which is part of the magic of Berczy Park, a little triangle of green and shade shoved against the glass and steel towers of downtown. Without the towers, it’s just green space; with them, it’s a beckoning oasis. Truth told, it wasn’t even meant to be a park. The city bought the land, behind the
Gooderham Flatiron building (1892), in the early 1970s to house the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. When that was built across the street instead, locals petitioned for a park. Named after painter William Berczy (1744-1813) — an early settler whose best-known work is a portrait of the Mohawk chief Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) — the park is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely noon-hour by the fountain. Just don’t forget to bring along a peameal sandwich from nearby St. Lawrence Market.

3. Tommy Thompson Park

Officially, at least, it’s Tommy Thompson Park, though in local parlance it’s more commonly called the Leslie St. Spit or simply, the Spit. The latter name does resonate with the park’s origins as a massive landfill, like some huge, pocked tongue sticking out into Lake Ontario. But what that moniker misses is nature’s subsequent conquest in creating a great wilderness anew. To wit: After crossing the little red bridge along the main road (approximately five kilometres out), follow one of the little paths to the right.
You’ll end up overlooking a sleepy lagoon with a beaver den at the far end, next to a huge colony of cormorants nesting in the trees. It’s almost like walking into the pages of a National Geographic special on the Everglades.
4. Park Dream

The course of true love travels west on the King St. car, yes it does. Up Roncesvalles to the Thin Blue Line, the sweetest little cheese boutique at Number 93B. Your heart melts at the sight of the Ciel de Charlevoix, which you purchase with cranberry and hazelnut crisps, a piece of pâté. Olives of course. And stout bread. Stroll now into High Park, wending through the main gate on Parkside Ave., up to the
amphitheatre where you spread your blanket on cool grass, share your picnic, and await the arrival of Puck and Oberon, and the latest CanStage performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The hour of 8 arrives. The play’s afoot. Night falls. Stars pepper the sky. You surrender.

5. Gerrard India Bazaar

Toronto is known for its little neighbourhoods, but Little India remains an off-radar gem, bursting with flavour and colour on Gerrard St. E. between Greenwood and Coxwell Aves. It’s best to start in the afternoon. Snack first, then shop. Try a shammi kebab in a bun with mint and chutney, a Pakistani college favourite, and a kulfi iced pop. Then check out the strip for new DVDs or CDs, visit Nucreation (1414 Gerrard St. E.) to look at sarees. Buy some paneer or good garam masala to take home from one of the many grocers.

Make the climax a trip to Toronto’s longest-standing construction site: the Lahore Tikka House. Aside from offering excellent biryanis and butter chicken, they’ve been building the new restaurant for three years.

6. Dufferin Grove Park

Not so far from the madding crowds of downtown, Dufferin Grove Park – on the east side of Dufferin St. across from the mall – offers a rare, small-village experience. Toronto the aloof this is not.

Thank two wood-fired ovens, which serve as the focal point. Summer Tuesdays and Wednesdays (noon to 2 p.m.) and Sundays (1 to 3 p.m.), $2 will get you a lump of dough, tomato sauce, cheese and herbs from the garden, plus access to the pizza and bread oven. Thursdays (3 to 7 p.m.) feature a farmer’s market and Fridays (6 p.m.) host regular community dinners, at $6 for a main dish. Add-ons include soup, salad, dessert and the park’s homemade Italian bread.

7. Lawrence East

"Salaam aleikum, brother," a customer booms at Om-Anas Islamic Fashion, which sells hijabs, modest blouses, the book What the Young Moslem Says and the Hajj Fun Game, ($19.99) "What time do y’all close?" he asks. Like most places in Toronto’s Arab Quarter, on Lawrence Ave. E. between Victoria Park and Warden, it closes as darkness falls, around 9 p.m.

In the 40 Middle Eastern restaurants and shops you’ll find Syrian pastries, sugared chick peas, the new disc from the darkly handsome Egyptian heartthrob Amir Diab. Habibi!

The jewel on the strip is Arz Fine Foods (1909 Lawrence): store-made hazelnut ice cream ($3 a scoop); 23 kinds of olives; bastura, a spicy Middle Eastern prosciutto; zaatar, the thyme mix; and the luscious, yogurt cheese, lebneh.

8. Humber trail & Sunnyside

An evening promenade on the western waterfront trail: yacht clubs, a small lighthouse, the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat and a glimpse of a Red Admiral or a Mourning Cloak. The path, sweetly fragrant, below Lake Shore Blvd.W. near Parklawn Rd., leads to an eccentric pedestrian bridge over Mimico Creek, designed by Santiago Calatrava (of the cathedral-like BCE Place). Further on, a memorial to Air India flight 182 and to the east, the pearly hues of the city’s skyscrapers. Stroll on, for 3 km., past wetlands and
a bridge arching delicately over the Humber River, to your destination, the Moorish-style Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion. As romantic as it sounds, the 1921 pavilion is a reminder that before the Gardiner Expressway this was once a rollicking amusement park.

Pause at the Sunnyside Café, for a brew ($4.75) or a sundae ($5.99), with nothing less than Lake Ontario at your feet.

9. Ward’s & Algonquin Islands

An odd thing happens most days at the Toronto Islands ferry dock. There’s a crush of people, bicycles, strollers and coolers all funnelling onto the ferry marked "Centre Island." If retro amusement-park rides and swan boats happen to be your thing, this is the line for you.

If not, look to your left. Scarcely anyone queues up for the Ward’s Island ferry, which is precisely why that’s the one to take. Once you disembark from the boat less taken, a magical little world awaits, where quaint cottage-houses and gardens line a warren of broad, shady sidewalks. Swim at the beach on the south side, then head to the Rectory Café for a snack. Or, better yet, pack a lunch and picnic on the north side of nearby Algonquin Island, with its fabulous views of the skyline.

10. North Toronto Station

Inside the North Toronto Station, you can still hear the loud rumble of passing trains through the thick limestone walls. You can still stand in the waiting room, with its 11.5 metre-high ceilings, arched windows and herringbone-tiled floors, and feel the energy of trips past.

These days, however, no train will stop to pick you up, as the building, built in 1915, now houses an enormous LCBO outlet. Instead, a visit will tempt you to linger in the history of Rosedale neighbourhood.
Sit on a bench in Scrivener Square and admire the station’s 41-metre-high clock tower, modelled after the Campanile of Venice’s St. Mark’s Square. Nibble on bread and cheese from nearby specialty shops. Or head across Yonge St. to the renowned Rosedale Diner.

11. El Convento Rico

College St. W. on a Friday or Saturday night is one of the busiest places in Toronto. It’s a more mature crowd than the entertainment district, but with less pretense than Yorkville. But nowhere is more welcoming, literally, than El Convento Rico, the latin dance club just east of Ossington Ave. frequented by partiers of all sexual varieties, but mostly straights, who come by the hundreds to see the infamous drag shows after midnight.

Hang-ups are checked at the door, so don’t be surprised to see a stagette party whooping it up with gender-bending dream girls. The bar opens at 9 p.m., with an $8 cover charge.

12. Oakville Galleries

Housed in a lakeside estate home bequeathed by its owner, James Gairdner in 1971, the Oakville Galleries’ property at Gairloch Gardens is a hidden gem of contemporary art and shoreline idyll. Open to the public, its acres of meticulously groomed greenspace and flora tumble gently to the lakeshore. But the real wonders are inside. The curating staff have mounted some of the most interesting contemporary shows in the province. In the process, they’ve amassed a collection of works by an absolute A-list of Canadian artists–Roy Arden, Robin Collyer, Rodney Graham, Angela Grauerholz, Gathie Falk, Liz
Magor and Micah Lexier. Must-see: Jane Cardiff’s "A Large, Slow River."

13. Baldwin St.

Indian, Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Japanese — the tiny two-block stretch of Baldwin St. bound by Beverly and McCaul Sts. is a veritable United Nations of culinary options.

This being Toronto, it seems only fitting, but "Baldwin Village," as some like to call it, has managed to maintain its multiplicity in the face of growing pressures from nearby Chinatown. At only two short blocks, it’s a welcoming oasis, and not just for the food. Narrow and refreshingly car-unfriendly, this stretch of Baldwin, tucked behind Mount Sinai Hospital, seems to repel automotive traffic by sheer force of will.

On a lazy summer evening, the hypnotic scents of a dozen national cuisines teasing at your nostrils, Baldwin Village is the perfect spot for a peaceful urban meander.

14. Pacific Mall

Not quite the shopping frenzy of Hong Kong, but the Pacific Mall in Markham, 25 km. northeast of downtown at Steeles Ave. and Kennedy Rd., is as close as Toronto gets to a frantic eastern market.

You need courage – bargaining is expected and weekend parking is tight, despite 1,500 parking spots. With 14 optical stores, prescription glasses are a good buy. Cellphone and car part modifications, pirated DVDs (seven for $20), and all the sequined shoes, plastic waterfalls and satin cushion covers you could wish for.

If you tire of the pace, have lunch ($11 for two) in Heritage Town, on the second floor, where Ken Sun, who hails from the Yellow River, uses martial as much as culinary arts in his made-to-order hand-pulled noodles. Slapping the dough yields the most delicate, ginger infused dumplings. That alone is worth the drive.

15. Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs, a massive memento of the ice age, extend 14 kilometres along Lake Ontario, towering 65 metres high. The sandstone and clay cliffs appear dark gray when wet and almost white when dry. Erosion has carved out oddly shaped pinnacles, reminiscent of western badlands.

To see the bluffs bottom-up, take Brimley Road South to Bluffers Park, a mix of picnic areas, restaurants, marina and wide beach. The best top-down view of the cliffs is from Scarborough Bluffs Park (east of Midland Ave., off Undercliff Drive). That park also has a conservation area, a kilometre-long looping path through wild flowers and grasses that locals call "The Meadows." From up there, sailboat-sprinkled Lake Ontario goes on forever. "Don’t tell anyone," pleaded a dog walker. "It’s a secret."

Wanneer een fooi, hoeveel?

Het geven van een tip is hier naast het uitten van waardering ook het aanvullen van het scahmele loon van de serveerster, kapper, portier of chauffeur. Hieronder een overzichtje van de situaties en de gewenste tip. Overigens bereken je deze tip over het bedrag voor de PST/GST. Dat scheelt weer. Omdat het PST/GST bedrag in Ontario 14% is geeft het een aardige indicatie hoeveel je er nog eens bij op moet tellen…
  1. In het restaurant: 15% (maar ook de pizza bezorger)
  2. De taxichauffeur: 10-15%
  3. De portier van het hotel: $1-2 per koffer
  4. De kapster: 15%
  5. De pedicure, make-up verzorgster etc: 15%

Een artikel over de wijze waarop Canadezen ermee omgaan…

Canadians tight-fisted about tipping, survey says

Canadians can be bad tippers and could use a few tips on being more generous with gratuities, says a new survey. Bank of Montreal’s tipping etiquette survey suggests Canadians are sometimes chintzy because they are often confused about when and whom to tip.

The findings, released yesterday, found that while 78 per cent of us tip the standard 15 per cent or more in restaurants, we tend to be stingy with other service sector workers who count on generous tips to boost their incomes beyond minimum wage. Pizza and food delivery workers receive the worst tips with 40 per cent of Canadians tipping less than 15 per cent. Almost half of those tippers are 25- to 44-year-olds, the survey said.

Canadians are also tight-fisted with taxi and limo drivers, with more than one-third leaving bad tips. Gratuities are particularly scant for workers in nail salons and spas, the survey found, noting 24 per cent of Canadians never leave a tip for these services. "When it comes to manicures, pedicures, facials and waxing, Canadians are not very generous," the report said. "Only 34 per cent of Canadians are tipping the standard 15 per cent, with 55 to 65 year olds doing most of the tipping."

Some hair stylists are cut out completely – 12 per cent of clients leave no tip at all. Nancy Marescotti, director of the bank’s Mosaik MasterCard program, said some people don’t tip because they didn’t plan ahead or just don’t know how much to leave. Fifteen per cent of the pre-tax bill is the general rule of thumb, she said, adding most people don’t mean to be cheap.

"Canadians generally don’t know who they should be tipping," Marescotti said. "It becomes a socially awkward situation …" The Bank of Montreal survey was conducted by Leger Marketing using a sample of 1,501 adults between Nov. 23 and Dec. 3, 2006. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Its findings differ from those of another survey released earlier this month. That study, conducted by market research firm Synovate, suggested that Canadians were among the world’s most likely and biggest tippers. It found that 97 per cent of Canadians regularly tip and almost one-third tip wait staff between 15 and 20 per cent. Seventy-seven per cent tip their hairstylists.

That survey, which included more than 6,800 respondents in 10 countries, found that Canucks were about as likely to tip as Americans (98 per cent), followed by the British (84 per cent), while only 59 per cent of Brazilians and 31 per cent of Indonesians usually reward good service with a gratuity. "We’re definitely not cheap," said Rob Myers, a managing director at Synovate. "We’re lower tippers, on average, than Americans. But in terms of the world, we are one of the countries that tip the most."

Nancy Coelho, co-owner of If Lounge, a neighbourhood hot spot on Dundas Street West, agreed that while most of her regular customers and tourists are fair tippers, there is always the odd client who leaves chump change. "That’s your livelihood, your tip money," said Coelho. "If you are not making any tips, you are not making any money." Her worst experience was when someone left her a penny. But she’s also been surprised by people’s generosity. Kristen Gale, owner of Ten Spot Nail Bar in Toronto on trendy Queen St. West, said tipping outside of restaurants is unfamiliar to some people. Clients often tip 5 to 10 per cent and sometimes not at all.

"It really should be 15 per cent," she said. "In actual fact, someone who is working on your calluses and scrubbing your feet is actually working a lot harder than someone who is fetching your drink." Perhaps consumer confusion stems from the fact that tipping standards vary around the world. In some European and South American countries, the gratuities are included in the final bill. In Argentina, tipping is technically illegal, whereas in Japan, it is considered offensive. In Thailand and New Zealand, tips are simply not expected.

Tipping guidelines also differ across the United States. In 2001, New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs developed tipping recommendations for a wide range of service workers, but the agency was unable to confirm yesterday if those standards were still in use. There are also a plethora of handy online tip calculators such, but there appear to be no hard and fast rules.

Tips on tipping

Porter the new transporter

Porter, The New Transporter

Porter Airlines, which started taking reservations last week, has an unbeatable hook: where most airlines land miles away from downtown, Porter's planes will set down practically at the foot of Toronto's iconic CN Tower.

Porter uses Toronto's little-known City Centre Airport, which is on an island in Toronto's harbor, 400 feet away from the mainland. Their fleet of 10, 70-seat Bombardier propeller planes will land in front of a newly renovated terminal, where a ferry will depart every 6-8 minutes to bring people to terra firma. At the ferry dock, you can catch public buses or a free Porter shuttle to Union Station, Toronto's main train station a few blocks away.

Yes, I said 70-seat prop planes. These things aren't the bumpy little puddle jumpers you think of when you think "propeller." They're the monster truck of prop planes: Bombardier Q400s, capable of flying 400 miles an hour at 25,000 feet but using significantly less fuel than regional jets, making for lower operating costs. The Q400s can travel 1,500 miles, but Porter is focusing on destinations within 500 miles of Toronto. Ottawa came first, but soon travelers should expect flights to Montreal, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, Porter president and CEO Robert Deluce said. In each of those cities, Porter will be looking for smaller, closer-in airports, except in New York where Newark may be the first airport served, he said.

Porter will be aiming to serve each city with many flights per day. Their core market is business travelers, who will want frequent schedules. But the close-in airport location also works for leisure travelers looking to have a quick, fun weekend in Toronto.

"Competitive fares and a good variety of flight times provide a very attractive offering," Deluce said.

Porter isn't a low-fare carrier, but they're trying to give you more for your money. That's why I compare them to Midwest Express — with its home-baked cookies — rather than to spartan Southwest. Porter's planes will have two-across leather seats with extra legroom, "premium snacks" and one glass of free beer or wine per passenger; the terminal will have Wi-Fi, "nice lounge furniture" and a cappuccino bar. Yet their lowest fare right now, a C$120 one-way to Ottawa, is only $3 more than Air Canada's lowest Tango fare. (It's more expensive than the train fare, though; VIA RAIL runs three trains a day making the four-hour trip for C$69.)

For the $3 difference between Porter and Air Canada, Deluce notes, you save an hour's worth of travel to Toronto's outlying Pearson International Airport. While you can get to Pearson by public transportation (I've done it several times), it's a haul.

"This gives leisure travelers a chance to upscale a bit for a pretty attractive price," Deluce said. "Who wouldn't want to ride in a nice new airplane with spacious leather seats and a premium snack?"

Check out Porter Airlines (tel. 888/619-8622; and keep an eye out for new routes throughout 2006 and 2007, including flights to the U.S.

Discuss travel to Canada on our message boards.

Related Information:

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Sightseeing & Shopping

Toronto may be short on history, but it’s long on culture. Galleries showcase the best in classical and contemporary art, sculpture and photography, while smaller outposts in Yorkville and on newly fashionable Queen Street West house more cutting-edge works. Big commissions for galleries and concert halls by renowned architects are breaking ground across the city, while the profusion of ethnically diverse neighbourhoods offers a sensory overload.

The observation deck at the CN Tower is the best place from which to get a sense of the city’s layout. Once on solid ground, you’re within walking distance of what is known as the “downtown core”, where most attractions are clustered, with the exception of the Harbourfront Centre (like much of Toronto’s waterfront, severed from the city by the Gardiner Expressway). If you don't want to walk, public transport is the easiest way to get around.

Our favourites*

Kill an hour
Dundas and Spadina
234 Bay St
off Mill St
92 Front St East
Cultural highlights
111 Queen’s Park
231 Queens Quay West
100 Queen's Park
History lessons
1 Austin Terrace
BCE Place
301 Front St West
Serenity in the city
1873 Bloor St West

Chinatown and Kensington Market
Dundas and Spadina

To catch a slice of Toronto's vibrant Chinese community (one of the city's largest ethnic groups), head to the cluster of streets that fan out from Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West. This is the biggest Chinatown in North America and contains restaurants, shops and street stalls selling a cornucopia of Asian goods. There are good deals to be had on items like clothing and electronics, but you often get what you pay for.

Extend your walk westwards to Kensington Market, one of the more bohemian parts of the city and a fine area for weekend meandering. There is a small swathe of second-hand clothing shops, which are very good for vintage T-shirts, and food shops that import meats, cheeses and spices from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Walk east along Dundas to view progress on the Frank Gehry-designed façade for the Art Gallery of Ontario or the irreverent Will Alsop-designed Ontario College of Art and Design building—an unmissable structure that resembles a white cuboid on brightly coloured pillars (or a shoebox on stilts, depending on whom you ask).


Design Exchange (DX)
234 Bay St
M5K 1B2
Tel: +1 (416) 363-6121
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat, Sun 12pm-5pm

Design buffs will enjoy this gallery devoted to new trends and past talents in the world of fashion and design. The DX, as it is funkily known, is housed in Toronto's original stock exchange building, a heritage property which retains a 10,000 square-foot trading floor. It showcases all sorts of design themes, ranging from the industrial and urban to the theatrical and architectural.
The gallery is divided into two exhibition spaces. The first floor displays an ever-rotating roster of work by new designers, while the third floor hosts a permanent collection of post-war Canadian design plus the gallery's special exhibitions. These change three to four times a year and in the past have explored plastics, theatre-poster design and sustainable development.

Review: Bij ons eerste bezoek aan de DX valt het een beetje tegen, het gebodene is wel erg beperkt. Advies: Alleen voor de echte design freaks!

Distillery District
off Mill St

This sympathetic conversion of 13 acres of gritty Victorian industrial buildings has created one of Toronto’s most appealing environments. The Gooderham and Worts Distillery was founded in 1832 and went on to become the biggest in the British Empire. Having distilled its last in 1990, it spent a decade as a film location before its transformation into a pedestrianised precinct. Today, this collection of galleries and studios, restaurants and coffee bars occupies about 40 separate buildings.

Bargain-hunters will be disappointed by the high prices, but it’s still an excellent place to come for a wander and a coffee, just 20 minutes' walk from King subway station. The renovations ensured that the industrial atmosphere remained intact, thanks to lots of bare walls, air vents and old pieces of machinery left lying around in arty fashion.

St Lawrence Market
92 Front St East
M5E 1C4
Tel: +1 (416) 410-9242

Gourmands in search of local delicacies should make a beeline for St Lawrence Market, two brick arcades at the foot of Front Street. In the South Market, two levels of stalls and shops sell excellent fresh produce, fish, cheeses, meats, baked goods and prepared foods every day except Sunday and Monday. On Saturdays, the North Market across the street swells with stalls from over 50 vendors hawking everything from chrysanthemums to organic cheddar from 5am onward.

Because this is Canada, the atmosphere throughout is relatively calm, except at the Mustacio's counter on the lower level of the South building, where orders for veal and aubergine sandwiches at lunchtime can reach fever pitch. While you’re here, be sure to see North America’s oldest Flatiron Building, an elegant triangular structure wedged between Front and Wellington streets, one block to the west.

Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
231 Queens Quay West
M5J 2G8
Tel: +1 (416) 973-4949
Open: Tues, Thurs-Sun noon-6pm; Wed noon-8pm

A single smokestack and industrial facade are all that remain of the generating plant that gave this contemporary art gallery its name. Since it opened in 1987, the Power Plant has earned a reputation as a world-class exhibition venue, where shows by local and international artists, architects and designers tend to generate a lot of buzz. A glass-roofed central corridor leads into three lofty exhibition spaces. The gallery is in the Harbourfront Centre—a hive of performance venues, shops and services that anchor one of the city’s only attractive points of access to Lake Ontario.

Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen's Park
M5S 2C6
Tel: +1 (416) 586-5549
Open: Mon-Thur, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Fri 10am-9.30pm

Toronto's daunting Royal Ontario Museum (known as the “ROM” to locals) contains five floors packed with over 6m cultural and historic artefacts from around the world. But don't let the size put you off. A brisk visit here can focus on the museum's gems, such as the Art Deco collection, the Canadian and indigenous peoples’ collections, or “Hands-on Biodiversity” (the interactive gallery).

An eagerly awaited extension by Daniel Libeskind, a Berlin-based architect, scheduled for completion in the spring of 2007, will bring thousands of never-before-seen artworks and artefacts out of storage to fill seven bright new galleries. The Far Eastern Galleries of the original 1914 neo-Gothic building recently underwent ambitious renovations, which increased display space for the museum’s world-renowned Chinese collection, and added a new gallery of Japanese and Korean art. Most of the galleries remain open during the overhaul—including the Samuel European Galleries and the Egyptian and Greek galleries—and a programme of temporary exhibits continues.

ArtGalerie of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario Canada
M5T 1G4

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is an art museum on the eastern edge of Toronto's downtown Chinatown district, on Dundas Street West between McCaul Street and Beverley Street. With 486,000 ft² (45,000 m²) of physical space, the AGO is the tenth-largest art museum in North America.

Its collection includes more than 66,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present-day. It includes an extensive collection of Canadian art, which depicts the development of Canada's heritage from pre-Confederation to the present. Indeed, works by Canadian artists make up more than half of the AGO's collection. The museum also has an impressive collection of European art, including works by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Edgar Degas. In addition to these, the AGO also has one of the most significant collections of African art in North America, as well as a contemporary art collection illustrating the evolution of modern artistic movements in Canada, the United States, and Europe, including works by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Jenny Holzer. Finally, the AGO is home to the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, which houses the largest public collection of works by this British sculptor. Moore's bronze work, Two Large Forms (1966–1969) greets visitors at the museum's entrance.

In 2004, the AGO unveiled a $194 million (since risen to $207 million) redevelopment plan by architect Frank Gehry. The new addition would require demolition of the 1992 Barton Myers/KPMB Post-Modernist wing. Notable elements of the new building include a glass and wood sculpture gallery at the north end along Dundas Street; a 4-story, box-like contemporary arts gallery and hosting centre clad in blue titanium facing Grange Park, as well as a new entrance aligned with the historic Walkers Court and The Grange.

During the course of the redevelopment plans, board member and patron Joey Tanenbaum temporarily resigned his position due to concerns over donor recognition, design issues surrounding the new building as well as cost of the project. The rift has since been healed and the project is proceeding apace, with $180 million raised. The building is slated to be completed by Spring 2008.

The AGO was founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens, as the Art Museum of Toronto it was renamed the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1919 and then the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1966.


Toronto – Wise buys

It may not offer the same selection of far-out fashions and cutting-edge designers as a big European or American city, but Toronto is still a good place to shop. Stores ranging from high-end international designer chains to one-off boutiques are clustered in three main areas: Yonge and Dundas, Yorkville, and Queen Street West. The mini “towns”—Chinatown, Little India, Greektown and the like—also offer a huge variety of international goods.
Provincial and general sales taxes of 8% and 6% respectively will be added to your bill. The general sales tax on any item over C$50 is refundable for non-residents at the border.
Lululemon Athletica
734 Queen St West
M6J 1E9
+1 (416) 703-1399
This Vancouver-based, yoga-inspired athletic wear chain has successfully parlayed the spiritual into the commercial, with new-age aphorisms alongside clothes in every combination of the house fabric, a body-hugging Lycra-nylon blend, as well as karma-boosting accessories like yoga mats and bags.
100 Bloor St West
M5S 3L3
+1 (416) 323-3289
The outdoorsy aesthetic of this Canadian casual-wear institution is apparent in its high-quality shoes, clothing, accessories and leather goods, dozens of which are stamped with the company’s beaver logo—now a thoroughly patriotic symbol.
100 Bloor St West
M5S 3L3
+1 (416) 962-9455

Almost any cooking implement under the sun can be found at this gargantuan two-level store, which carries items to outfit every room in the house, from serving bowls to sun umbrellas, sourced from around the world. Beware of steep prices.

Indigo Books,
Music & Café
55 Bloor St West
M4W 1A5
+1 (416) 925-3536

This 40,000-square-foot giant made its reputation because of its very good selection of books, which means you shouldn’t have trouble finding what you want. But you'll need a bit of luck to get staff to recognise titles that aren’t on this week’s bestseller list.

Nicolas Hoare
45 Front St East
M5E 1B3
+1 (416) 777-2665
A hushed, formal atmosphere prevails in this charming shop, which boasts an excellent cache of titles in every genre, many displayed face-forward on shelves, like fine artworks. Comfy armchairs invite prolonged browsing through art, travel, cooking and design books, as well as impressive biography and fiction selections.
Pages Books
and Magazines

256 Queen St West
M5V 1Z8
+1 (416) 598-1447
Skip past the snooty sales staff at this independently owned shop to browse books organised under subjects that appeal to left-leaning clientele, like Cultural Theory, Small Press, and Iconoclasts and Activists. The excellent selection of art and photography titles changes frequently.
Harry Rosen
82 Bloor St West
M5S 1L9
+1 (416) 972-0556

Shopping for a suit begins and ends at this rarefied Toronto institution, where well-heeled customers navigate three storeys of menswear from Europe’s best designers, with the help of expert sales staff.

Nicolas Men
153 Cumberland St
M5R 1A2
+1 (416) 966-2064
Fresh espresso and bathrooms stocked with Paul Smith cologne appeal to the jet-setting corporate types who shop at this high-end store. They are encouraged to reject boring boardroom basics for stylish offerings from the likes of Kenzo, Romeo Gigli and Canali.
The Bay
176 Yonge St
M5C 2L7
+1 (416) 861-9111

The present-day incarnation of the Hudson’s Bay Company—a former trapping and trading outfit that at one time owned most of the Canadian North—The Bay now hawks mid-priced, basic, department-store fare. The signature striped woollen blanket remains a classic. (the local Vroom & Dreesman)

Holt Renfrew
50 Bloor St West
M4W 1A1
+1 (416) 922-2333

Canada’s pre-eminent high-end department store chain carries many designer lines of clothing, shoes, accessories and make-up, as well as a healthy selection of up-and-comers. A concierge can navigate the fray for those shoppers who prefer to recharge at the day spa or one of the cafés. (Bijenkorf)

Honest Ed’s 
581 Bloor St West
M6G 1K3
+1 (416) 537-1574
Carnivalesque flashing lights and hand-painted signs mark the entrance to the city’s ultimate discount emporium, named for its larger-than-life proprietor, Ed Mirvish, a local entrepreneur. Inside, great bargains can be found in bins of low-priced merchandise that span three creaky, maze-like floors.

138 Cumberland St
5 Old York Lane
M5R 1A6
+1 (416) 922-4248

A favourite with fashion-industry types for its selection of cult handbags, this tiny boutique could take a serious chunk out of your bank account.

Up to you
1483 Queen St East
M4L 1E2
+1 (416) 778-6487
Entering this shop makes you feels as though you’ve stumbled into a designer's home. Which is appropriate, really, given that hundreds of hard-to-find, internationally sourced design objects, from homewares to high heels, are displayed in the rooms of an actual flat.

Bags and Shoes
23 Saint Thomas St
M5S 2C1
+1 (416) 920-4001

Ignore the name and focus instead on the popular selection of buttery Italian calfskin and Nubuck bags which come in muted colours and modern shapes. The minimalist aesthetic at this airy shop continues in a line of men’s and women’s clothing.

1726 Avenue Rd
M5M 3Y6
+1 (416) 783-8688
There are both established and up-and-coming designer shoe lines on offer at this uptown shop, a regular haunt of footwear fanatics who covet the well-pruned selection.

*Bovenstaande informatie is overgenomen uit de Economist City Guide Toronto



PATH is downtown Toronto’s underground walkway linking 27 kilometres of shopping, services and entertainment. Follow PATH and you’ll reach your downtown destination easily in weatherproof comfort.

PATH provides an important contribution to the economic viability of the city’s downtown core. The system facilitates pedestrian linkages to public transit, accommodating more than 100,000 daily commuters, and thousands of additional tourists and residents on route to sports and cultural events. Its underground location provides pedestrians with a safe haven from the winter cold and snow, and the summer heat.

  • According to Guinness World Records, PATH is the largest underground shopping complex with 27 km (16 miles) of shopping arcades. It has 371,600 sq. metres (4 million sq. ft) of retail space. In fact, the retail space connected to PATH rivals the West Edmonton Mall in size.
  • The approximate 1,200 shops and services, such as photocopy shops and shoe repairs, found in PATH, employ about 5,000 people. Once a year, businesses in PATH host the world’s largest underground sidewalk sale.
  • More than 50 buildings/office towers are connected through PATH. Twenty parking garages, five subway stations, two major department stores, six major hotels, and a railway terminal are also accessible through PATH. It also provides links to some of Toronto’s major tourist and entertainment attractions such as: the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, and the CN Tower. City Hall and Metro Hall are also connected through PATH.
  • The building furthest north on the PATH network is the Toronto Coach Terminal at Dundas and Bay Streets (just south of SickKids). The building furthest south that can be accessed through PATH is the Toronto Convention Centre’s Convention South Building. PATH does not follow the grid patterns of the streets above.
  • The first underground path in Toronto originated in 1900 when the T Eaton Co. joined its main store at 178 Yonge St. and its bargain annex by tunnels. By 1917 there were five tunnels in the downtown core. With the opening of Union Station in 1927, an underground tunnel was built to connect it to the Royal York Hotel (now known as the Fairmont Royal York). The real growth of PATH began in the 1970s when a tunnel was built to connect the Richmond-Adelaide and Sheraton Centres.
  • In 1987, City Council adopted the recommendation that the City become the co-ordinating agency of PATH and pay for the system-wide costs of designing a signage program.
  • In 1988, design firms Gottschalk, Ash International, and Keith Muller Ltd. were retained in by the City of Toronto to apply the design concept for PATH.
  • PATH’s name and logo are registered to the City of Toronto. The City co-ordinates and facilitates the directional signage, maps and identity markers throughout the system.
  • Each segment of the walkway system is owned and controlled by the owner of the property through which it runs. There are about 35 corporations involved.
  • In the early 1990s, signage for PATH was developed to provide pedestrians with better ease of use and functionality. The signage enhances PATH’s visibility and identity, ultimately increasing its use, attracting more people to downtown Toronto, and drawing more businesses there.
  • Each letter in PATH is a different colour, each representing a direction. The P is red and represents south. The orange A directs pedestrians to the west, while the blue T directs them to the north. The H is yellow and points to the east.
  • Signage includes a symbol for people with disabilities whenever there is a flight of stairs ahead.

Download a printable PATH map PDF file format (1.671 Mb)

Ron’s Toronto Tour

De onderdelen worden elders uitgebreider beschreven, een gedetailleerde beschrijving met kaart volgt). Een zeer goede conditie en stevige wandelschoenen, of TTC muntjes zijn vereist om alle onderdelen te bezoeken. Veel plezier!

1. Business and Trade, new and old




(de CN Tower)
PATH, vanaf Union Station naar Bay Street
Het Design museum
(het banken centrum, kijk omhoog)
King Street E – Front street shoppen op klein formaat
(diverse kleinere mode zaken, boeken, outdoor)
St. Lawrence Market (versproducten, kaas, vis, sfeer en ambiance)
The Distellery District ,

(met de tram vanaf Kingstreet naar King/Yonge, (transferkaartje) metro naar Bloor)


2. Shoppen, Cultuur en Kennis (gaan die samen?)




(Of vergeet de metro en loop linksaf Yonge St in. Bij de kruising met Queen:
– Eton Centre doorlopen in Noordeelijke richting.
– Vervolg buiten langs Yonge Street, CD’s, electronica, kleine (mode) winkeltjes)
Bloor Street en Yorkville
– Holt Renfrew, Roots, Harry Rosen,
– Guzzi,
– In Yorkville achter Bloor
Royal Ontario Museum
Campus van de University of Toronto
The Annex

(volg University Ave naar het zuiden en sla rechtsaf Dundas St in)


3. Art en Arty – Cultuur en China


Toronto Art Gallery
China Town, Bloor Street
Trinity Bellwood Park
Queen Street West
Entertainment district (tijd voor een hapje op King Street W, of de Paramount bios)

(Volg John Street, in zuidelijke richting en loop via Rogers Center naar het Waterfront)


4. Waterfront en Islands


Waterfrontcentre, The Powerplant etc.
Ferry naar Toronto Islands
Afsluiting met picnic of diner in de groene oase van de Toronto Islands.




Overview, kaart 1,

Toronto Islands

It offers a villagey, unpolluted atmosphere, ideal for a couple of hours pottering.You can feel quite removed from the thrum of the city, which provides a handsome view over the water.

Toronto Tourism
Toronto Tourism

Toronto Islands
Tel: Ferry information: +1 (416) 397-2628

The islands are mainly interlinked by land or bridge. The biggest are Ward’s, a quiet residential area dotted with cottages, gardens, parks and forests; Centre, a more developed area home to a children’s amusement park in summer; and Hanlan’s Point, which has a clothing-optional sandy beach (would-be swimmers take note: Lake Ontario is quite polluted).

Cars require a special permit, which means that the six kilometres of boulevards and pathways that trace a route through the scenery are trafficked mostly by cyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians. Allow several hours to traverse the island’s many trails on bicycle; a day or more can be occupied by doing the same on foot. Ferries depart from the foot of Yonge and Bay streets every 20 minutes during peak season and take 15 minutes to cross; the Ward’s Island and Hanlan’s Point boats run year round, while the boat to Centre Island operates only from spring to early autumn. Bicycles and rollerblades can be rented near the ferry docks and on Centre Island.

Uit de Explorers Guide "Toronto Islands":

You Are Standing on a Sandspit
Welcome to one of Lake Ontario’s biggest sandspits. Other examples in the Great Lakes can be found east of Toronto at Presqu’ile, and at Long Point and Point Pelee in Lake Erie.

The Toronto Islands were created over thousands of years by the deposition of sand eroded from the Scarborough Bluffs. The thick sedimentary layers of sand on the Bluffs were laid down by glaciers during the last Ice Age, when Toronto was covered with a sheet of ice more than a kilometre thick. After the retreat of the glaciers about 15,000 years ago, the erosive forces of wind and waves began to remove sand from the Bluffs. This sand was carried westward by currents and deposited in the shallows off the shore of what is now downtown Toronto to form a sandspit.

Sandspits are dynamic landforms that are constantly changing with sand being deposited on one side and eroded on the other. They are at the mercy of wind, ice, currents and water. The sandspit or “Peninsula” that Elizabeth Simcoe observed in 1793 and which created such a fine natural harbour was a hooked formation stretching nine kilometres from its base at the foot of present-day Woodbine Avenue. A spine of sand on the outside of the sandspit kept Lake Ontario at bay; on the inside, finger-like spits, wetlands and ponds stretched out to the northwest.

The Peninsula became the Toronto Islands on April 14, 1858. On that night, a violent storm breached the neck of the sandspit, opened up what is now the Eastern Gap, and forever severed the Islands from the mainland.

Since that time, human hands have greatly changed the sandspit we call the Islands. To counter Lake Ontario’s erosion, most of the Islands’ shorelines have been armoured with rock, protected by revetments and groynes, or encased in seawalls. The shape and size of the Islands has been altered and expanded by dredging and filling. The construction of the Leslie Street Spit (Tommy Thompson Park) has cut off the source of sand that created and sustained the Islands. Despite these changes, the Islands retain much of their beauty, uniqueness and character.