Tag: the 6

Travel Swellness: 5 musts for the first-time Toronto visitor (and a discount for your next BOOKING.COM trip!)

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Traveling is a passion of mine but after a whirlwind couple of years in and out of town, I definitely need to balance it with quality time at home in Toronto. And even though I spend a lot of time escaping the city, there is definitely a lot to love about TO. If a friend who had never visited Toronto, what would I take them to go see in Toronto? Here’s my personal guide to some of my favourites in the 6 for those who’ve never been to T.O. (and if you’re planning on booking a trip, be sure to use this booking.com link to get a discount on your travel booking!).

Visit the CN Tower. Yes, it’s touristy (possibly the most touristy thing), but these attractions are popular for a reason. I’ve done the CN Tower Edgewalk, and it’s thrilling and fun if you’re not scared of heights, but even just going to get the view of the city on a clear day, it’s fantastic. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, though; have been up the Empire State Building as a kid, and to Vancouver Lookout. the SkyDeck in Chicago, and Sky100 in Hong Kong. Nothing like the breathtaking views of the city below you to remind you that you are just a small speck in this big beautiful world of ours.

Tour Casa Loma. I think I became enamoured with Casa Loma as a teen reading a YA book and the characters went to Casa Loma on a date. And then I finally got the chance to visit it when I moved to Toronto. I have been back once or twice for events, and I just love that there’s this magical little castle in the middle of the city. I bet you’ll fantasize about being of royal descent and living there, just like I maybe (totally) have.

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Run along the Lake Shore. Or walk or bike. Not all of it the route pretty, but how can you not love the pretty pink beach umbrellas at Sugar Beach or the phenomenal view of the downtown skyline from the new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail (which is just off of the Lake Shore trail)?

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Eat. Eat. Eat. One of the things I feel so fortunate about living here is the wealth of good food we have here. I don’t go to very many places regularly because there are so many options, but some spots off the top of my head that you should try: go for a burger and fries at the beautiful Café Cancan (it’s the pretty pastel nistro pictured above); go with an empty stomach to Bar Raval and eat as many tapas as you can (even better if you’re a bigger group so you can try as much as the menu as possible); have dim sum at Rol San in Chinatown; carb load at Buca downtown (their pizzas — especially the burrata pizza, oh my gosh, so good — and pastas are simply beyond; that’s their carbonara pictured below); do a little taco tour and hit up Grand Electric, La Carnita and Campechano; stop into Momofuku Noodle (it’s in the Shangri-La Hotel, which is one of my favourite hotels to stay in when I travel, their service is always top notch) for some pork belly bao and to slurp up a bowl of ramen.

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Hike in Rouge Valley National Park. The Rouge Valley Park is a new discovery for me. It’s outside of the core, but there’s now Parkbus that’ll get you there. I know when I travel to cities, it’s busy and noisy and sometimes I just need a half-day to decompress. Getting out into some nature and solitude is what works best for me, and the park is green and pretty.

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Not motivated to drive an hour to Rouge Valley? Stay central and pop over to Trinity Bellwoods Park or to High Park for a summer picnic.

Now, ready to book your next trip? Here’s how you can save some money:

Inspired to go travel, whether it’s to come here to Toronto, or anywhere in the world? Well, here’s a little gift for you: book through www.booking.com using this exclusive link (it’s my exclusive refer-a-friend link), and you’ll get a $40 discount from your reservation. That money you save could go towards a great meal, or tickets to a show, or whatever you choose to do on your adventures!

www.booking.com

And I’d love to hear about your travels! I’m always looking for wanderlust inspiration!

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4 Comments July 24, 2017

Travel Swellness: Where to eat in Toronto if you’re running the Nike Women’s 15k

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It’s hard to believe that the Nike Women’s Toronto 15k is this Sunday! If you haven’t yet heard, Nike Women Village will be taking over part of the Harbourfront, complete with a floating barge known as the Crystal Coliseum where Nike will be holding more than 30 NTC classes from Thursday, June 11 until Sunday June 14! You can register for these free classes online; I’ve heard most of them are full already but there will be a handful of spots available if you want to try to nab a walk-in spot! Hope to see you there! I’ll be at the Crystal Coliseum Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be running the race! I’m in Wave 2 (I guess I was pretty darn optimistic when I registered for the race!).

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Now if it’s your first time in this city, you may be wondering where to eat in Toronto. I’ve pulled together a short list of my favourite spots (I tend to plan my travels where I want to eat, do you, too?). I haven’t gone into much detail at all here about each spot so if you have any specific questions, feel free to comment here or tweet me, or ask on Instagram! I’m used to people asking for my restaurant recos (I guess my Instagram makes it seem I eat out a lot…). Most of my list here tends to be in the west side as that’s where I now live, but a few of the places I’ve included to have a few locations around the city, such as Fresh and Terroni. Some are obviously for post-race indulging (I’m not suggesting you eat doughnuts and burgers before the race!).

Queen Margherita Pizza

Queen Margherita Pizza

Italian

  • Terroni. A Toronto favourite of, like, everyone. Everything is solid here. Do not ask for substitutions. Just don’t.
  • Buca. Upscale. Some ingredients may be more challenging for less adventurous eaters (think pork blood pasta, for example), but they’ll be able to find something on the menu for sure. Buca is my fave restaurant in Toronto if I had to choose just one.
  • Pizzeria Libretto.
  • Queen Margherita Pizza. My favourite spot for pizza in Toronto.
  • Enoteca Sociale.

Tacos

  • Grand Electric. You may have to wait awhile for a table. It can be loud in here, but it’s fun atmosphere.
  • La Carnita.
  • Fonda Lola. Great Mexican food that’s got a healthier angle to it. They also have Kombucha margaritas and some incredible spicy sweet bacon.
Khao San Road

Khao San Road

Thai
Khao San Road (possibly long wait for a table, always busy)

Acai bowls from Bolt Fresh Bar

Bolt Fresh Bar

Vegetarian

  • Fresh. Always rammed. Be prepared for a long wait, possibly both for a table and for your food…but when you have a few bites and it’s so flavourful, you’ll decide it’s worth the wait!
  • Bolt Fresh Bar. Great salads but it’s their acai bowls I’m seriously addicted to!
  • Live Market (which is in Liberty Village, the same neighbourhood as where the Nike Women at Running Room store is located; there are a handful of chairs at Live Market but it’s more of a takeout spot than a restaurant).
Greenhouse Juice Pink Milk

Greenhouse Juice

Cold-pressed juice

 

Dim sum

  • Rol San. I can’t find a website for Rol San. It’s in Chinatown at 323 Spadina Ave. (just about a block or two north of Dundas). You order off of a menu checklist (not carts). Point to dishes on other tables if you’re not sure based on the descriptions (my favourite item is #5, these tofu rolls with pork inside, delicious!).

Burgers

Santouka ramen

Santouka

Ramen

Hokkaido Santouka Ramen. Always busy! Just east of the Eaton Centre.

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Sweets (Doughnuts, cupcakes, ice cream, etc.)

  • Jelly Modern Doughnuts. I’ve recently been eating doughnuts pretty regularly. These are by far my favourite in Toronto. Classic Jelly, you can’t go wrong!
  • Prairie Girl Bakery. Before I fell in love with doughnuts, I had a cupcake habit.
  • Bang Bang for giant, incredible ice cream sandwiches
  • Sweet Olenka’s. Sometimes they have quirky flavours like butter!
  • Milk Bar. Compost cookies, yum! I’ve yet to try the soft serve. And, of course, that famous crack pie!
  • Le Gourmand. The best chocolate chip cookies ever. They also sell these cookies at Portland Variety.
coffee and bomboloni at Sud Forno

Sud Forno

Coffee

  • Dineen Coffee (gorgeous cafe and pretty tiles for a #ihaveathingwithfloors if you are a bit Instagram-obsessed…). It’s also just south of the Eaton Centre if you’re staying in that area.
  • Lost & Found (it’s a men’s clothing store but they’ve got great coffee too!)
  • Colette Grand Cafe (worth going just to see the stunning space)
  • Sud Forno (get a nutella bomboloni while you’re there! Pretty tile floor, too! From the Terroni peeps)
  • Nadege (French patisserie with the prettiest desserts, macarons and yummy sandwiches)
short ribs eggs benny at Union

Union

Brunch*

  • Saving Grace (the wait can be unbearably long; also, they are closed Sundays, I think…best to check first)
  • Union (the short rib eggs Benny is amazing)
  • La Cubana (Cuban brunch!)
  • Fonda Lola (Mexican brunch! My fave is the chilaquiles. Say hi to owner Andres!)
  • County General
  • The Federal
  • The neighbourhood Leslieville (it’s in the east end of the city) also has a lot of good brunch places but I haven’t been in awhile so I don’t feel I can name any confidently.

(*N.B. A friend has said that all my favourite brunch places are “hipster brunch spots.” Just FYI. You’ve been warned. haha)

I have so many other favourites that I realized I forgot to note here (I got so focused on how I usually eat Italian before a marathon…) but Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, Porchetta, Patois, Rhum Corner, Patria. Bar Isabel is actually tied with Buca for my all-time fave restaurant in the 6.

Miraj Caudalie Spa

Miraj Hammam Spa at Caudalie

Post-race spa time
And if you’re looking for a spa to treat yourself at after the race, my favourite spa in the city is the Miraj Hammam Spa at Caudalie in the Shangri-La Hotel. My blog post on the Miraj Hammam Spa is here!). The Shangri La Toronto also has a great running program they’ve just launched; I got to try out the package; click for my review of Running is Shangri-La.
If you’re more interested in soothing your post-race body at a spa water circuit, head to Body Blitz.

There’s nothing worse than wasting a meal or spa opportunity by going somewhere mediocre or just plain awful, right? So I hope this list is helpful. If you do try out any of them, please let me know (even if you weren’t all that impressed with it, but I’m confident you’ll love them, except for the potentially long waits at some of the places — what can I say, the good places have lineups!). I’m on Twitter @healthswellness and on Instagram @healthandswellness. And good luck in the race, and I hope you enjoy your visit to the 6. (Oh, and if you’re looking to get some nail art, head to Tips Nail Bar. they’re the artists behind our nail art in the photo below!)

Toronto skyline

Toronto skyline

Leave a Comment June 9, 2015


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