Spend your first 3 days following the earlier tours, then top it off with this exploration of the best that Toronto's east end has to offer. This tour will take you through some of the oldest areas, which keep evolving in new ways, and to one of the city's most dynamic, reinvented destinations that combines environmental rehabilitation with great food, superb events, and lush parkland.
Start: Sherbourne Station, and then walk 1 block south, left on Parliament.
You can't walk these residential streets without getting a powerful sense of Toronto's history. Once considered a slum, Cabbagetown is now filled with beautifully restored Victorian and Queen Anne-style houses. Even the first housing project in Canada, Spruce Court (at the intersection of Sumach and Spruce Sts.), looks like a charming collection of cottages.
2. Riverdale Farm
For some, this farm is a sacred space. Whenever you visit, you'll find kids here, many of whom live in the area, learning about farm life, interacting with chickens and rare-breed piglets, and cuddling bunnies. Sound bucolic? It's a serene spot and well worth a visit, especially with young ones in tow.
This Victorian cemetery is not only picturesque, but also filled with monuments to famous people who played key roles in Toronto's history. And the Gothic Revival chapel, tiny though it is, is considered a great example of this style.
4. Daniel et Daniel
If you go to an event in Toronto and discover that Daniel et Daniel is catering it, you know that you're in excellent hands. At the shop, in addition to the divine pastries and chocolates, you can order salads and prepared meals for takeout.
5. Allan Gardens
This was Toronto's first civic park, and the Edwardian Palm House conservatory is still a glamorous relic of the past. But it was only fairly recently, when the University of Toronto's old greenhouses were relocated here and reborn as a conservatory for children, that Allan Gardens became a place to hang out again, free in the daytime of much of the seedier activity it had become known for.
6. Distillery District
Once the home of the largest distillery in Canada, today, it's a multifaceted complex that has something for everyone. The redbrick architecture — a signature of Toronto's red-clay brickworks — is a Victorian wonder, but the art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques are all completely modern. You might want to stay well into the evening: Performing-arts troupes such as Soulpepper are based here, and if you're visiting in nice weather, there's probably an open-air art fair, market, or festival underway. There's great chocolate, too, at Soma.
7. Evergreen Brick Works
This is the perfect place to finish your tour. Once the home of the city's founding brick factory, it has been reinvented by the dynamic, Canadian Evergreen foundation (national in scope: its business is to "green" cities) to include a farmers market that runs year-round on Saturday mornings, a cafe and restaurant featuring local goods under the Café Belong moniker, marshlands, a beautiful park, and thoughtful exhibits that take advantage of the unique setting of the age-old kilns where Toronto's signature red bricks were once formed. A taste of past and present, the Brick Works is proving to be one of the city's most attractive locales for brilliant events. There are programs for families, parties for grown-ups, and much more.
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.