David Walberg CEO at Pink Triangle Press, Canada’s leading gay media group. If you’re visiting Toronto, pick up a copy of their local newsmagazine Xtra or check out the Toronto section of their website.
Hop a ferry to the Toronto islands. The nude beach at Hanlan’s Point is a popular destination, but it’s also fun to picnic under a tree in the park or meander around the charming cottages on Ward’s Island. A rental bike will be helpful if you want to explore. The Rectory Cafe has a great garden patio. If you fear ferries, Sugar Beach is a fun little urban beach with deck chairs and pink parasols right downtown at the foot of Jarvis Street.
Kensington Market is one of my favourite neighourhoods. It sits smack in the middle of downtown but has retained its grungy charm despite being surrounded by massive development and gentrification. Cute cafes and bars, food and vintage shops and monthly car free Sundays make for a delightful stroll.
Cabbagetown is an interesting residential neighbourhood to explore. Walk through the little side streets and laneways to discover elegant brick Victorian homes, renovated workers cottages, beautiful gardens and parks and two of Toronto’s oldest cemeteries. At the Eastern edge of the neighbourhood is Riverdale Farm where you can visit the animals.
Toronto loves coffee. On the east side, I like Jet Fuel in Cabbagetown, Rooster on Broadview overlooking Riverdale Park or Dark Horse on Queen East in Leslieville. On the West Side, Ideal coffee in Kensington or the old Cafe Diplomatico on College in Little Italy both have a ramshackle charm and outdoor seating.
For spectacular views of Toronto’s modern skyline, head to Canoe in the financial district atop the TD Bank Tower, exquisitely designed by Mies van der Rohe. Or snag a seat on the terrace at the rooftop bar in the Park Hyatt hotel in Yorkville for great city views and sunsets.