Toronto, Canada

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Toronto Guide – Spend Less Do More 

Toronto skyline nightThe Canadian National ('CN') Tower, Ripley's Aquarium and Casa Loma probably all come to mind when you think about Toronto, the most populous city in Canada and one of the most liveable cities in the world. If these are already on your to do list and you are looking for something else to make your trip a little different, there are plenty of options from which to choose.

It's a free for all!

See stars as you wander down Canada's own celebrity Walk of Fame. Honouring performers, athletes, academics and philanthropists within the Canadian community who have achieved international success, you may well discover that more of your favourite celebrities hail from Canada than you realised.

For a glimpse into the creative work of talented Torontonians, look no further than the art collection held at Hart House on the University of Toronto grounds. Free guided tours of the gallery operate weekly and with over six hundred pieces, more than fifty of which have been designated national treasures, a tour is definitely the best way to see it. Check the website for tour times.

If you happen to be in the Dufferin and Rogers area, be sure to stop by the smallest house in Toronto. 'The Little House' was built in 1912 on what was intended to be just a lane way between two existing houses on Day Avenue.

Instead of heading to the local Cineplex…

Toronto city center winterStep back in time on a 90 minute behind the scenes tour of one of the world's last stacked (double decker) Edwardian theatres, The Elgin and Winter Garden. If you have time, take in a show while you're there to complete the experience. Tickets can be purchased online or in person.

If you're mad about museums, you won't want to miss the Bata Shoe Museum. Showcasing footwear worn throughout history and around the world, some of the highlights include Ronald McDonald's clown shoes, Elvis Presley's patent blue loafers, Marilyn Monroe's red heels and even Napoleon's dirty socks!

Top off your afternoon of historical exploration by partying like it's 1830 at Montgomery's Inn. With different food-related events and activities held throughout the week, be sure to check the website in advance.

For the price of a trolley tour…

Spend your time making a connection with historic Toronto in the Distillery District. Now an art and culture hub, the district was the centre of manufacturing, industry and whiskey production during the 19th century. Attract attention from passers-by as you ride through the city's past on a guided Segway tour.

Having trouble finding the ideal souvenir from your trip to Toronto? Create your own at Gardiner Museum! Informal clay sculpting and stoneware classes are professionally run and open to students of all ages and skill levels, so take your family and mould pieces of ceramic art which will remind you of your time spent in Toronto long after you leave.

If you're not too easily spooked, interact with the 'other side' of Toronto on a haunted night tour. You will hear stories of public hangings, haunted buildings and tales of Toronto's deadly past as you traverse the downtown area by the light of a lantern. Hope you're not afraid of the dark!

While Torontonians are quick to declare that veal sandwiches are the city's specialty, one of the best ways to discover the diversity of food available in Toronto is on a guided food tour. Spend approximately four hours discovering local favourites and specialty cuisine as you roam through the city, gaining insight into its cultural background and historical points of interest as you go.

Live in the moment!

By having saved so much on the cost of your hotel, you can afford to do something special while you're in Toronto. Set on the 54th floor of an office tower with spectacular views of downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario is Canoe restaurant. Consistently rated among Canada's top dining experiences, the menu boasts some of the best regional cuisine around.

If you're more of an outdoorsy type then be a part of the view as you paddle a multi-person canoe on a tour from the harbour front to the Toronto islands. See birds and beavers as you gently glide through Lake Ontario in a replica Indian war canoe, stopping on the beach at sunset for a gourmet picnic featuring seasonal ingredients.

Have the time to head further afield?

Hire a car to discover the area surrounding the city while you are there. Niagara Falls is probably high on your list of road trips, but there are many other picturesque locations to explore as well. Flowerpot Island lies four hours northwest of Toronto by car. So-called for its natural rock formations that resemble flowerpots, the best way to take in the fantastic views of the bay is to hike the forest trails. Travel by glass bottom boat to and from the island and be sure to say hello to the lighthouse keeper while you're there.

Alternatively, head west to Elora Gorge Conservation Area. Particularly beautiful during the summer months, make your way down to the river where you can swim and fish or brave the Grand River rapids in a tube.

Spend Less, Do More

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