Toronto. If you didn’t know this tidbit about my life, this amazing city is my hometown. What makes this Ontario’s capital so awesome? There is a pulse you can feel like in no other city. Since my big sis was not able to get away with me for my fortieth birthday bonanza, we decided to plan a girls’ trip around downtown Toronto to be close to all of the action. I was so excited to continue my birthday celebrations at home!
A Getaway for Birthday Fun in Toronto
A friendly “re-Union”
I decided to travel by train for this trip home. Once I had my luggage and weaved my way through other passengers, I couldn’t wait to get off the train. Union Station is currently going through a transformation, so it took a bit longer to get out of the station.
Every time I arrive at Union Station, I get excited to see an old friend before continuing on my journey. I make a point to see the Union Station Plaza Clock. It lets me know I have really arrived home.
On this visit home, I opted to stay downtown. It is where all of the action is happening. Since this trip was about celebrating new milestones, I decided to try staying at an Airbnb for the first time.
After checking in, I took in the space. It was as though I was house sitting for a friend while I was in town. It was more spacious than some of the hotels rooms and suites I have stayed in, and I had more appliances at my disposal, too.
There were two beds to choose from for my four day stay, a full bathroom, a kitchen/living room combo, and my favourite feature: the view.
I was facing CN Tower, the sight many visiting and living in Toronto never tire of seeing. I was also able to have a peek of Lake Ontario, the Rogers Centre, and many other structures that make Toronto the mega city it is.
My stops throughout my birthday adventure
One fabulous thing you can say about Toronto is that you cannot see all it has to offer in just one visit. I popped by three places that are always a must-see when I come home.
Beauty within the chaos
Old City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square are always a popular spot to see the hustle and bustle of downtown life in Toronto. There is always a crowd in this area of town. Visitors and residents are snapping a shot at the Toronto sign.
My favourite sight to see is Old City Hall itself. Now acting as a courthouse, this grand building is a hint to what Toronto was like over a hundred years ago. It also brings a flavour and a beauty to the more modern buildings around it.
The calm at the edge of the city
Toronto’s waterfront is a stop I try to make every time I am home. I feel as though this spot in the city is the calm at the edge of this metropolis. I love that is just steps away from the downtown core.
Bike/walking paths are set up along its length for people to exercise or leisurely take in the sights of this area. Taking in this part of the city is like taking being in a more suburban part of the city. The pace is slower. The views of the lake are calming. And the sights are simply amazing.
There are museums, shops, eateries, and boats to take in. Seeing the long boats and other water vessels always make for a fun time. Looking at them makes me want to sail away on one of them for a tour of the lake.
Another hot spot to visit along Toronto’s waterfront is HTO Park. It is an urban beach that has been opened since 2007. This park allows for visitors to escape and sit by the water’s edge in comfy Muskoka chairs.
Visitors area also able to get a view of the Toronto Islands and the planes landing at Billy Bishop Airport. Whether a picnic is in order, a rest from a jog, or a getaway from everyday chaos of work life, Toronto’s waterfront is the place to go!
Shop ‘til I drop!
I love shopping, especially when I can’t find what I am looking for at home. CF Eaton Centre is where I pop into (actually, I could spend hours there) whenever I can when at home to get some items I crave.
When entering through the Queen Street West entrance, the glass feature that welcomes visitors it stunning. There are so many photo ready opportunities to take at this post in the mall. You know I took the time to take a few.
Another great feature of the mall is its accessibility. There are plenty of entrances for visitors to take you to and from various parts of downtown. Public transit in the form of street cars and the subway run frequently to move people to and from this hot spot. My big sis and I made many trips to Eaton Centre during my visit. I love going there!
A taste for any time of the day
Another favourite past time of mine is eating. Since this birthday was a big one, I made a point to make sure I had fun while away from home.
No matter what time of the day and your taste in food, Toronto is a fabulous city to find something to eat. My big sis and I didn’t have to travel far to sample some of the delights the Toronto food scene had to offer.
We enjoyed big breakfasts, sea-worthy lunches, hip and trendy dinners, and sugary treats in between. Most of the restaurants and eateries we visited were places we never ate at before. Many of these places were close to where I was staying, while others were a fun streetcar ride away. It is fun to take in the various places to eat in Toronto and the neighbourhoods they reside in.
From chair dancing to Toronto to saying my fond farewells to my sis and to my hometown, my fortieth birthday trip home was amazing! I had so many new experiences, revisited favourite places around the city, and ate some delicious dishes. We always see something new and find people who become new friends. I can’t wait to go back to Toronto! It is a city like no other!