Toronto and Niagara: a perfect pairJun 19, 2023 02:40PM ● By John Liburdi
A valid passport is your ticket to visit two fabulous places for the price of one. Toronto, Canada, is a wonderful city, often touted as being just like New York but brilliantly managed by the Swiss. A visit to Toronto is also the perfect opportunity to make the trip to glorious Niagara Falls.
Getting around Toronto
Getting to Toronto is easy enough. Major cities offer nonstop flights and interstate highways in the Midwest and New England provide easy access. The best time to visit is late spring or early fall, but avoid going around the Toronto International Film Festival (September 7-17 this year) as hotels are fully booked and room prices are as high as the city’s famous CN Tower.
Speaking of money, Canadian ATMs and merchants accept conventional U.S. credit and debit cards.
The optimum place to stay is in the downtown Lakeshore area. From there, it’s easy to get around Toronto on foot, via trolley, on the subway or aboard the big red tour buses that continually travel a loop around town. Even if you drive to Toronto, it’s best to park your car and use these public forms of transportation because it’s hard to drive or park amongst all the city’s busy construction. High-rise condos are being constructed everywhere downtown to accommodate the swelling population.
The big challenge to dining in Toronto is selecting a place to eat. There’s such a wide variety of ethnic cuisine. Choices abound, including clusters of fast food joints throughout the 19-mile PATH shopping area and underground subway.
Toronto has plenty of world-class sightseeing activities. The CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and the Steam Whistle Brewery are located together, along with nearby harbor tour boats. The Art Gallery of Ontario is extremely impressive. The old Distillery District is a car-free zone that has industrial character. Nearby St. Lawrence Market is an expansive indoor food bazaar with many specialty shops that offer lunch fare. Kensington Market is populated with colorful clothing boutiques and artisan shops.
Fall for Niagara
At some point during your visit, you’ll want to take a day trip to Niagara Falls. Make a tour reservation for a date that’s early in your stay so that there’s flexibility to reschedule in the event of foul weather.
Plan an organized tour bus excursion, preferably one that offers the Sheraton Centre lunch buffet. It’s a two-hour trip out to Niagara, but it’s a comfortable ride if your bus is equipped with a restroom.
Niagara Falls is a breathtaking sight, and getting close to the falls via one of the huge boats is a real thrill! You’ll also enjoy many floral panoramas in the surrounding area, mostly created by alumni of a nearby horticulture university.
Leaving Toronto will be the toughest part of your visit. Although full of melancholy thoughts, you’ll need to have a response ready when your taxi driver or Uber asks which terminal you’re departing from at the international airport. Be sure to arrive early, and don’t forget to exchange leftover Canadian dollars for U.S. currency.
My wife and I truly enjoyed our combined Toronto and Niagara vacation. Everyone was so nice to us and we felt safe everywhere we went. I’m pleased to report that after 47 years of marriage my wife gave me a big hug instead of a hard shove as we were standing at the top of Niagara Falls. We’re a perfect pair, just like Toronto and Niagara.
If you go…
NiagaraFallsStatePark.com/plan-your-trip | 716-278-1794
CNtower.ca | 416-868-6937
RipleyAquariums.com/Canada | 647-351-3474
Steam Whistle Brewery:
Roundhouse.SteamWhistle.ca | 416-362-2337
Art Gallery of Ontario:
AGO.ca | 1-877-225-4246
The Distillery District:
TheDistilleryDistrict.com | 416-364-1177
St. Lawrence Market:
StLawrenceMarket.com | 416-392-7219