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Nikki's Blog: My three-night break in Toronto

There is a misconception that visiting Toronto is only possible for a long holiday or as a start or finish to a trip to Canada, but, believe me, it's not. I recently spent a three-night break in this great place with my brother and it worked perfectly.

On day one, we landed late afternoon and arrived in the city after a very easy 25-minute train transfer and a short taxi ride to our hotel.

The hotel was busy, checking in guests, so we retired to the bar for our first drink in Canada.

After a short break, we collected the keys to our rooms on the 18th floor. A quick change and then we were soon off exploring and familiarising ourselves with the neighbourhood. I then sampled my first meal of poutine; this is a traditional dish and consists of chips, gravy and curd cheese. I accompanied this with a signature cocktail and beer mixer! The scene was now set for day two.

The best way to start the day is a hearty breakfast and we found the ultimate diner in George Street. Ash, the owner, prides herself on her legendry Irish breakfast. From one Irish woman to another, it is the best I have ever had (don’t tell my mum!) Ash even had black and white pudding on the menu. This little diner packs a huge punch when it comes to food, service and atmosphere. Even the cuppa was big enough to swim in.

I have always thought that an open top bus tour of any city I visit is a great way to get a feeling for a new destination. After two hours, we really began to understand Toronto so much better. City Sightseeing Tours offers something different by visiting places we could easily have missed such as Dundas Square and the CN Tower, Yorkville, Hockey Hall of Fame, Casa Loma, The St Lawrence Market and the Distillery District. We even passed a shoe museum on route.

After the bus journey, we visited Ripley’s Aquarium - home to 16,000 water bound species from across the world.

In the evening I was fortunate enough to meet up with many of my relatives from the Mercer family who originated from the Emerald Isle. The link to Ireland went even further when we spotted a street in Toronto named after us!

On day three, we had another amazing breakfast in a diner established in 1950 that was close to our hotel.

On this morning, we were leaving the city to visit the iconic Niagara Falls. First stop was the Niagara College Canada that is a winery run by its students. I sampled three wines: a Sauvignon Blanc, a Merlot and an Ice Wine. Ice Wine is mainly produced in Canada and is made from frozen grapes picked direct from the vine. Its sweet amber nectar is similar to a good Sauterne and I was quite taken by it.

After the wine, it was on to the falls and a helicopter flight that was truly amazing and really allowed me to appreciate the whole area of both the American and Canadian Falls, a sight that I will never forget.

Part of the tour included lunch at Table Rock where the view was again awesome. Unfortunately the Maid of the Mist and other boats were not operational due to ice, but we did manage to get behind the falls on foot.

After the falls, we visited Niagara on the Lake, a quaint town offering quaint gifts. We then returned to Toronto and headed to the CN Tower just in time to see the glorious sunset over the city – a perfect end to day three.

Sadly, it was already day four which began with a hosted breakfast where I met Vitto and Kate from the Chelsea Hotel. The hotel is the largest in the commonwealth with 1,600 rooms. It is in a super position and has a heated pool with a flume on the second floor and an adult-only pool on the 27th floor. It also offers two function rooms, a games room and a gym. During the summer months, there is even an individual check-in for the kids with complimentary gifts, too.

I never knew that Toronto boasts an underground city. I was blown away by the infrastructure just below ground level. There is mile upon mile of walkways connecting many areas of the city, which is perfect in winter for getting around whilst staying dry and warm. Just follow the PATH...

All around are fantastic eateries, gyms, barbers, cocktail emporiums and of course shop after shop of every description. One wonders why you’d ever come up.

Our time in Toronto was coming to an end so we took a short taxi ride to the UP at Union Station. The UP is the connecting train to the airport. I’d recommend allowing time for travelling, security checks, shopping and the Premium Plaza Lounge.

Toronto really is a prefect city break. Why not give it a try? You won’t be disappointed.

Top Tips

  • Niagara is a must-see. Coach trips are convenient and with knowledgeable expert guides on hand you learn so much.

  • If you can stay over at Niagara, it's worth it to get a full experience without time pressures.

  • Pre-book your time slot at the CN Tower especially during busy times.

  • Don’t be afraid of taking the train between airport and city.

  • Take a bus tour on your first day to get your bearings.

Thanks to my travel partners: First Class Holidays, Explore Canada/ Canada Specialist Program, Destination Toronto and the Chelsea Hotel for making it all happen

Toronto you were amazing and there's so much more to discover!

Why not contact me? I’ve been there every step of the way!


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