What to do in Toronto in one morning?
January 24, 2013 3:27 AM   Subscribe

What would you do if you had tomorrow (a Friday for posterity) morning free in Toronto and had never been there before? I need to be at the University of Toronto at 12.30 or so. Assume College and Spadina as a start and end point. If a transit museum existed (it seems to have been proposed, but doesn't exist), I would go there.
posted by hoyland to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The CN Tower is pretty close.
posted by empath at 4:06 AM on January 24, 2013

Royal Ontario Museum

Shopping or people watching at Holt Renfrew
posted by tmharris65 at 4:34 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could wander through chinatown and kensington market. The art gallery of ontario is within walking distance if that's what you're into.
posted by hylaride at 5:09 AM on January 24, 2013

Buy a TTC Day Pass and spend your time on the streetcar, hopping off when you see something that interests you. South on Spadina is Chinatown; west on College is Little Italy; east on College/Carlton is Cabbagetown, and if you continue east along Gerrard, you'll come to Little India. Fantastic cross-section of the city, just on those two lines.
posted by GreenEyed at 5:23 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

How early are you starting out? St. Lawrence Market opens at 8 a.m.
posted by girlpublisher at 5:30 AM on January 24, 2013

Best answer: The Toronto Railway Museum is open Wed-Sundays, it is a volunteer effort in a classic train Roundhouse.

Apparently, The St Lawrence Market was ranked the best market in the world by National Grographic. It is primarily a food market.

The Textile Museum of Canada doesn't open until 11am, but it's small and does interesting exhibits.

If you dress warmly (hat, gloves, scarf, probably long johns, boots)...

I just discovered that the City of Toronto has a collection of self-guided walking tours online... Spadina, Jane Jacobs, Marshall McLuhan, Kensington Mkt might be of interest to you and be local to UofT.

If you have 30+ minutes for lunch near College & Spadina: Mother's Dumplings or any of the restaurants at the corner of Augusta and Oxford (1 west and 1 south of College & Spadina) are all yummy.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 5:58 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go for dim sum!
Forest View Chinese Restaurant
466 Dundas W
Toronto, ON M5T 1G9

This one is slightly rustic and more oldskool chinatown but the quality is very good. opens at 9.
posted by captaincrouton at 6:51 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I second the Royal Ontario Museum. I love to walk down Bloor Street East (east from Yonge) until I run out of time and take the subway back.

Riding a street car around, I like along Queen Street (east or west).

Seconding Kensington Market and Chinatown too.
posted by mamabear at 6:52 AM on January 24, 2013

Rare book library. Ohhellyes. And/or the AGO.
posted by windykites at 7:13 AM on January 24, 2013

As a bonus, it's the university's rare book library. You could also just hit Nathan Philips Square or Yonge and Dundas square and see if there's anything happening. Even in the weather there's probably at least a few street performers at yonge and dundas, and there's a skating rink at nathan phillips.
posted by windykites at 7:17 AM on January 24, 2013

Art Gallery of Ontario is incredible. Also I love the Bata Shoe Museum, because it's just so weird and adorable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:33 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hockey Hall of Fame is pretty great and it's downtown.

We did a bus tour of the city when we first visited and that was only a morning.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:44 AM on January 24, 2013

There's a police museum on College that opens at 8 am and costs $3. If you get to U of T early, there is a little art collection on campus that is free. Personally, I'd wander around Kensington/Chinatown, but these are just another couple of options.
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 10:13 AM on January 24, 2013

If you don't feel like being a tourist (ie museums, galleries and the like), then I agree with GreenEyed, buy a ttc day pass and take the streetcar around to get a feel for tr neighbourhoods of the city. From college and Spadina, take the 506 car west to Roncesvalles. Get off and transfer to the 504 King car (southbound at this point) or just walk down Roncesvalles to Queen. Great retail strip. At Queen (get off the 504 if you got on originally) take the 501 Queen car east. When you get back to Spadina, get off and switch to the 510 car northbound, which will take you back to College.

This route will take you through Little Italy, Little Portugal, High Park (the edge of it anyway), Parkdale, Queen West (major art and shopping area, and Chinatown. Wander one block west to Augusta in Kensington Market for lunch. Urban Herbivore if you lean vegetarian, Jumbo Empinada otherwise. Not touristy, but an actual taste of regular Toronto. Enjoy.
posted by dry white toast at 8:44 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you like small art galleries the stretch of Queen St W between Ossington and Bathurst has lots to look into, as well as great places to eat and drink. Go to Poutini's
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:05 PM on January 24, 2013

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