Help us show some Czechs a good time
July 2, 2007 5:34 AM   Subscribe

What can we do with Czech tourists in Toronto?

I have two family members visiting from the Czech Republic for three weeks. The woman is 50 years old; speaks zero english. The man is her 32 year old son and can speak and understand a little bit. Enough to have ask and answer easy questions.

So my parents invited them here to Canada and now they're here. What can we do with them? Its day 3 and we're scraping the bottom of the buckey for ideas.

We'll go to Ottawa a couple days and take them to the CN tower, but what other options are there? Are we so boring?

***OTHER PERTINENT INFO: We live in Etobicoke (the suburbs), have cars and some money. We're willing to drive, but need great destinations that arent reliant on knowing English.

Thanks for any help you can offer
posted by kevin_2864212 to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by mdonley at 5:58 AM on July 2, 2007

If they're into art, I don't see a lack of English being a problem at the AGO. Maybe they'd enjoy a baseball game? It's nice beach weather too, as long as it's not too windy. The zoo would still be neat, though it's been a while since I've been there. If they are beer drinkers, check out for the best in local microbrewery stuff. There are nice hikes to be had, it's perfect weather for that. Pack a picnic and head to Glen Eden?

I've been to places where I don't speak much, if any, of the local language and I still enjoyed doing all sorts of things, even if I didn't understand everything people said. I assume someone speaks Czech, it's not that hard to translate stuff.
posted by glip at 6:14 AM on July 2, 2007

Niagara Falls. If you can be there on 4 July, the fireworks are astonishing. I was there 2 years ago (on the Canadian side, where the view of the falls is best) and it was one of the best days of my life.
posted by essexjan at 6:33 AM on July 2, 2007

The city has some webpages.

High Park? The Grand Prix race this weekend at Exhibition Place? Send them off to Eaton Centre on their own to shop? Niagara Falls? Blue Jays game? Argos game?

The key to longer-term houseguests is to dispatch them on their own rather than accompany them everywhere.
posted by jellicle at 6:40 AM on July 2, 2007

I'm afraid the AGO is under construction at the moment. Frank Gehry's addition is being built, and only a tiny portion of the gallery spaces are open.

Admission is voluntary though.

I still paid... but it was kind of a ripoff.
posted by BeaverTerror at 7:12 AM on July 2, 2007

The ROM is open. And maybe I'm just a huge flaming 'mo, but the Bata Shoe Museum is fabulous.

Let them loose in the Distillery for an afternoon.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:54 AM on July 2, 2007

Seconding the Bata Shoe Museum - it's surprisingly fantastic and one of only two Michelin-starred tourist spots in Toronto.

Hockey is big in the Czech Republic, so how about the Hockey Hall of Fame? It is very good too.
posted by lockedroomguy at 10:14 AM on July 2, 2007

take them out for fun dinners at a korean grill restaurant, that's where i always take my foreigners. cheap, fun, time-consuming, and oh-so-ethnic.

take them to see a play at the toronto fringe festival. hit that link, then click on "play index sorted by title", and then browse the spreadsheet for plays categorized as "musical" or "physical theatre". in fact, the first one on the list, "an inconvenient musical", is probably great- i've seen other stuff by that company and they're hilarious & charming; i think they'd cross the language barrier quite nicely. at any rate, the plays are short (60-90 mins) and cheap ($10), so you really can't go wrong. all the fringe theatres are in the annex and quite easy to access by TTC, so you can make an afternoon of it. in fact, that korean grill place i linked to above is in the neighbourhood, you can do both in one outing!
posted by twistofrhyme at 10:24 AM on July 2, 2007

day trip to niagara falls,
sushi dinner,
botanical gardens,
toronto islands (even adults will have fun on the bumper cars in centrville, and there are those swan rides and the sky cable thing and the log rollercoaster is pretty sedate but still fun)
toronto harbour cruise,
medieval times,
casa loma,
black creek pioneer village,
fort york,
eaton's centre (yeah, i know, blech, but my relatives love it)
one of those ceramics-painting places?
whatever little weekly festivalette is happening at harbourfront centre?

oh, and

the canstage production of a midsummer night's dream in high park?
(show up at the park at around 5-6pm, leisurely 20 min stroll to the dream site, and have a little picnic and a bottle of wine before the show. bring your own food & wine (you're allowed), and take sweaters, flashlights, bug spray, blanket to sit on.)
yeah, it's in english- but it's shakespeare, so just barely- and your relatives probably know the story already.
posted by twistofrhyme at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2007

What about taking them to Ottawa by way of Algonquin Park? Such forests and lakes may or may not be interesting to them - my Polish friend always got amazed stares from his relatives when they visited. Not many big trees in Europe these days.
posted by anthill at 10:57 AM on July 2, 2007

They may like Niagara on the Lake, while you're in the area of the Falls.

There are boatloads of parks around - you could try camping or something to that effect. It's a hike (~ 3 hours), but taking them up to Tobermory for a couple of days would be nice. Lots to do up there - take a glass-bottomed boat out to see shipwrecks, visit flower pot island, hike and find the grotto (there's a nice beach nearby too - but the water is usually pretty cold). You can stop at Sauble Beach on the way home.

Montreal (seconding) might be worth a stop if you're heading to Ottawa. Kingston too, perhaps?
posted by backwards guitar at 11:07 AM on July 2, 2007

Yeah, just eat out in every neighbourhood in the city. On Roncy there will be other Czech-speakers, if that helps.

They’ve also probably never seen a mall as huge and centrally located as the Eaton Centre. Don’t underestimate that as a source of wonderment for foreigners.
posted by joeclark at 3:18 PM on July 2, 2007

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