Last week I traveled to beautiful Canada and stayed in Toronto for 48 hours. Since the trip was quite spontaneous, I did not have any plans on what to do and where to go. The only thing I wanted to include in my schedule was a day trip to Niagara Falls, which is why I booked the tour online prior to the trip.
Let’s start at the beginning. Traveling from Boston to Toronto by plane is short and convenient. I traveled to Toronto Pearson International Airport with Air Canada and went through Canadian immigration within a few minutes. The airport is located out of the city and it takes around 40 minutes to get to downtown Toronto. Going downtown with Uber or taxi will cost around 45 CAD. However, there is a cheaper alternative available. The UP Express Train departs from the airport every 15 minutes and goes to downtown Union Station for 13 CAD one-way.
I stayed in an AirBnB located on Stewart St in the Fashion District. The location was amazing and I can highly recommend staying in this area! It is full of fancy and modern bars, restaurants, and shops. Major tourist attractions like the CN Tower or the Harbour Front are within 15 minutes walking distance. The main shopping area around the Eaton Centre is within 20 minutes walking distance.
DAY 1 – CN Tower, Toronto Islands, Eaton Centre
After arriving at my accomodation, I went to visit the CN Tower located in the Entertainment District. I recommend purchasing the tickets online in advance because crowds in front of the ticket office can get quite long. Besides the General Admission ticket for 38 CAD, visitors can purchase a General Admission ticket with additional access to the SkyPod for 53 CAD. The SkyPod is another observation level located 447m above ground and 100m higher than the regular LookOut Level. Although this might sound exciting, I do not recommend buying the combo ticket as the view remains the same and 100m do not make a big difference. Take a look yourself at the two pictures below: the left one was taken from the LookOut Level and the right one from the SkyPod.
After checking out Toronto from above, I recommend taking a boat tour to Toronto Islands. This is the best option to get to see the entire skyline of Toronto and take amazing pictures. I took the title picture of this blog post on the Harbour & Island Cruise Tour operated by CitySightseeing Toronto. They offer a 45-minute boat tour through all 14 islands of Toronto for around 14 CAD.
Lastly, the area around Yonge-Dundas Square and the Eaton Centre are perfect spots to go shopping or buy souvenirs from Toronto. Located on 4 floors with more than 200 shops, visitors can easily spend their entire day (and budget) in the Eaton Centre.
DAY 2 – Niagara Falls
On the second day I booked a day trip to Niagara Falls with SeeSight Tours. For 199 CAD, I purchased their Niagara Falls Day Tour – Toronto Departure. This tour includes visits to the Skylon Tower, the Journey Behind the Falls, and a Hornblower Boat Cruise. I got picked up in Toronto downtown at 7am and returned around 3pm. What I really liked about this tour was small size of our group. Including the tour guide, our group consisted ouf of 7 people. After being picked up in Toronto, it took a little more than one hour to get to the city of Niagara Falls. There, we first visited the Skylon Tower. From the observation deck visitors can get a better understanding of the falls, the US side, and the Canadian side.
The second stop was the Journey Behind the Falls. Here, visitors get the unique experience of standing right below and behind the Niagara Falls as well as experiencing the power of the falls. As things can get quite wet down there, the journey operators provided visitors with complementary rain ponchos.
The final stop was the Hornblower Boat Cruise which clearly is the top tourist attraction at Niagara Falls. Make sure to wear your rain poncho because you will get extremely wet depending on where you stand on the boat. Besides getting wet, the boat cruise was an amazing experience. Getting so close to the falls is just breathtaking.
Altogether the value of this tour was great and I would recommend it to everyone planning a guided day trip to Niagara Falls. Our guide was very knowledgeable and provided us with interesting facts about the history of Niagara Falls. Besides visiting the three main attractions, he drove us around the area and showed us the famous Flower Clock and the Niagara Whirlpools.
On a final note I would like to recommend the nice and charming café Portland Variety located on 567 King St W. If you are looking for a place to have breakfast or lunch, this is the spot! The prices are reasonable and the interior is nicely equipped with marble counters and chalkboards.
As this trip was super short, I did not have enough time to explore Toronto to the fullest. However, if you are planning a short trip to Toronto make sure to check out the attractions listed above. Also, let me know your favorite spots in Toronto!