I sort of avoided Toronto in all my years spent in Canada. It seemed intimidating, unapologetically North American and ever restless - all things a European is trained since birth to avoid at all costs. We're more into "il dolce far niente" than "work hard play hard" end of things, not because we're lazy, but because we can. Be that as it may, I decided set sale (more like take the bus) to the big city and prove myself wrong (or wright), then gently slip into a food coma from eating all the delicious goodies I'll stumble upon (which is basically my reason to travel anywhere anyway).
How to get there. Mama raised this pink haired fashionista to budget like a pro (hello, more $$ for delicious food during my epic adventure). So my advice to you is to stalk the Megabus website like it's your business a few weeks in advance. Score some of their $15 tickets and save yourself the stress of driving on the busy highway and parking god knows where.
We packed light, snacked our weight in chips and giggled our way to downtown Toronto. I don't know if it was the selfie taking, or getting sucked in the black hole of Instagram (did I mention the free Wifi on the bus?), but I barely noticed the two and a half hours that passed until we arrived. Tip: reserve one of the seats 1 to 4 to get a really cool first row view on the upper deck.
Where to stay. I used to think that staying in Toronto will cost me an arm and a leg, but then my sister introduced me to the magical world of Airbnb (I have been living under a rock y'all). We rented a beautiful condo smack down in the middle of downtown (CN tower anyone?) that was super well equipped with everything we needed and much cleaner than most of the hotels I've stayed in before. Not to mention half of the price!
What to do. I'm a water creature, so when I saw the aquarium I did not walk, I ran. The jellyfish stole the show, hands down, upstaged only by the anemone (or as they shall be called from now on, pom-pom fish). Try to avoid their peak hours (which we didn't and my ears are still ringing from the squealing) and visit in the evening - Ripley's Aquarium is open until 11 pm most days. I think that would make for a pretty romantic date, don't you? "Look at that shark!" "OMG where, where?!!!" *smooch smooch*.
We then adventured to new heights at the CN Tower, where a nice Polish family highjacked my husband to take their 100 photos of the breathtaking location. I couldn't really blame them because the view was pretty awesome and my husband is such a hottie. My favourite part of the tower was the glass floor that made people nauseous and made me feel alive. "Ahem, Dora, I don't think you're supposed to lie down there."
We ended our sightseeing with the Art Gallery of Ontario and the prettiest miniature exhibition ever. Seriously, do other fashion bloggers in Toronto know of the cute little shiny things at AGO? I don't think they do, because they would surely swarm the place.
Where to eat/shop. I have one word for you. Chinatown. The food is cheap and delicious, cool things like Toronto Fashion Week happen there, plus you can walk around and soak in the unique vibe. Our favourite places to eat there were Ajisen Ramen and Asian Legend. I also wanted to go to Kimchi Korea House, which I hear is pretty good, but I was too drop dead tired to move another inch.
My only regret is that I didn't get to enjoy this awesome city during warmer weather, but I'll be back for sure, mostly because thoughts of steamy bowls of perfect ramen are keeping me up at night, and also because this European could use a dose of "work hard, play hard" once in a while.
Have a brilliant day!
P.S. Transportation provided by Megabus and Toronto Attractions Passports provided by Tourism Toronto. All opinions stated here are my own.