advertisement

After you've taken in some of Toronto's best-known landmarks by following the 1-Day Tour, it's best to choose between one of two itineraries, each one worth a day. The first focuses on Yorkville, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and other nearby attractions (with a whimsical castle to boot). The second heads downtown. Note: This tour includes the city's top museum — the ROM — which could easily command a day on its own, so budget a few extra hours for this tour if you plan to explore the museum at the same time you sample the rest of the itinerary.

Start: Bay Station.

1. Yorkville
Filled with chic boutiques and elegant galleries (and high-priced condo developments and hotels, such as the Four Seasons), this neighborhood, which is part residential, mostly commercial, has long departed from its groovy 1960s vibe when it was home to the city's hippies; a century before that, it was a cemetery. Progress?

2. Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Toronto's most famous museum embarked upon a Daniel Libeskind-designed renovation in 2002. Ambitiously titled Renaissance ROM, it was intended to expand the viewing area, largely through the addition of six crystal galleries that jut out over Bloor Street West. Where you spend your time here will depend on whether you have kids in tow: The collection of dinosaur bones is truly awesome; the Biodiversity Wall a breathtaking collection of species rare and beautiful, and the Bat Cave is a must. Adults may be more interested in the stellar Chinese galleries, which include a Ming tomb. The Libeskind remains a divisive addition to the city's new architectural destinations.

3. George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art
Just across the street from the ROM, the Gardiner (which was beautifully renovated in 2006) is an understated gem. The singular collection of ceramics and carefully curated exhibits are a rare find. For those who want to get their hands dirty, there are hands-on workshops, too.

4. Gardiner Bistro
A great bet for lunch or a snack is the Gardiner Bistro (conveniently located across the street from ROM), which is overseen by local celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy. Don't miss the splendid soups, famous frites, and delicious sandwiches.

5. Victoria College
This historic college is federated with the University of Toronto but maintains its own digs just east of the rest of the campus. It has a pretty college quad, bordered by imposing Romanesque architecture (there's some blocky 1960s stuff, too). It was also home to the famous scholar Northrop Frye.

6. Queen's Park & the Ontario Legislature
This sweeping, pretty midtown park is also home to the less beautiful provincial legislative building. (A New Yorker humor writer once dubbed it "Early Penitentiary.") It's possible to take a tour on most days, or just enjoy the setting and, if you're in luck, one of the many peaceful protests that take place on the lawn.

7. Casa Loma
Casa Loma is a kitschy castle on a hill that offers an inspiring view of the sweep of the city (you'll see a lot more of Toronto than you did from the CN Tower the day before yesterday). But while you can admire the view for free, it's worth visiting the castle, too. The elegant rooms and period furniture are appropriately grand, though most interesting is perhaps climbing the towers (one Norman, one Scottish, both great).

8. Spadina Museum Historic House & Gardens
This mansion with spectacular seasonal gardens reopened in 2010 after an extensive and expensive renovation. The result is worth a visit: Now a museum run by the City of Toronto, it's a year-round destination to get a sense of domestic life in Toronto in the 1920s and '30s. The garden is also themed: It's a Victorian-Edwardian masterpiece.

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.