Toronto’s most unusual dining venue – Part 1 – Dining with a view

Toronto is the most multicultural city on the planet and as such dining adventures that take you round the globe are easy to find. But hidden amongst the usual contingent of multicultural culinary cuisines are a number of more off-the-wall unexpected dining venues as defined by view, location and food. In the first of this 3 part blog the following places to eat top the list as having the most spectacular views of Toronto

360 Restaurant
Make no mistake, whilst the CN Tower IS a top tourist destination. the food and service in the stunning “360” restaurant is not your usual revolving restaurant “get em in and get em out” location. The spectacular gently rotating 360 degree kaleidoscope views of Toronto perspectives is supported by a top notch great value menu; classy ambience and professionally executed service. A quintessential Toronto “must do”
Phone: (416) 362-5411
http://www.cntower.ca/en-CA

Mariposa Dinner Cruise
Watch the setting sun bathe Toronto’s spectacular skyline in a reflected glow as you cruise, dine and dance the night away (with a live DJ) aboard one of the Mariposa Cruise Lines fleet of 7 vessels.
More of an overall entertainment experience (over 3 hours on board) than a gourmet foodie destination as dinner is served buffet style
http://www.mariposacruises.com

Palais Royal
Waterfront Wednesdays at the recently restored and revived Palais Royale
Immerse yourself in the ambience of a bygone era on the waterfront patio of Toronto’s original 1920’s jazz/swing venue.
Every Wednesday evening from July 3 -September 4, the 4000 sq foot patio is transformed into a glittering canopied al fresco jazz, dining and dancing space – cool lake breezes; stunning views of the city to the east; the sun setting over the lake to the west ……
Dress up!
see website for details
http://www.palaisroyale.ca/toronto-events/public-events-in-toronto/91

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Next – Dining – Location, Location, Location

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Toronto’s Hidden Gems part 2

Edgewalk
Okay not so much hidden as unique and a world first – how about walking full -circle hands- free around the CN Towers main pod, 356m/1168ft above the ground.
Attatched to an overhead safety rail, walk out with a small group of six others and see Toronto from a different angle – literally. Led by trained guides, thrill seekers will be “encouraged” to push their personal limits during the walk by leaning back off the tower into the sky above Toronto’s impressive downtown city core.
$175 for 1.5 hours including 30 minutes of adrenaline fuelled “sightseeing” on the Edgewalk
http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca

• Yoga or Life Drawing at The AGO

Perfect your downward dog in one of the stunning Frank Geary designed spaces of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Swap your mirrored yoga studio for a workout amidst priceless artworks either in the Henry Moore Gallery or Galleria Italia. Currently running 3 times a week on Mondays, Thursday and Sundays: check out the website below
If yoga doesn’t appeal, how about a spot of life drawing – with a model, in one of the AGO’s public galleries?
The AGO runs a couple of 2 hour sessions on one day every week. You can book for 10 sessions or simply drop in on a first- come first- serve basis. Normally around 10 Easels are set up so arrive well before the scheduled time.
http://www.ago.net

• Ride a Segway round The historic Distillery District
A national heritage site and the home of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery for 153 year, this pedestrianized village is one of the oldest most charming spots in Toronto. With cobbled lane-ways and North America’s largest collection of Victorian Industrial architecture, the distinctive 100 foot chimney, red brick and green shuttered buildings – now house around 90 restaurants, boutiques and galleries. The perfect setting then for a guided Segway tour led by a certified instructor. The tour starts with a run down on the basic techniques followed by 60 minutes discovering the area
$69 plus tax for 60 minutes, reservations required
http://www.segwayofontario.com

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Spend your whole summer on Toronto’s Waterfront!

Are you ready to think outside the box this summer?
Torontonians – “Everything summer” is literally on offer on a lake shore near you

Move
Cycle, skate or just walk the Martin Gooodman trail which is the Lake Ontario portion of the Great Waterfront Trail which stretches from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec border, along the shores of Lake Ontario and the Ontario portion of the St. Lawrence River.
No bike? no problem – you can use the Bixi bike system (https://toronto.bixi.com/) or hire from the rental shop under the Raddison Hotel.”Our” Martin Goodman portion of the cycle trail extends westwards past the Spadina Music Garden and Sunnyside pool, cafe and huge sandy stretch of beach, all the way along to an upfront close and personal view of the staggering “Grand Harbour at Lakeshore Boulevard” shore-front condominium complex. To the east it skirts the “Beaches” area of Toronto and sort of peters out before Scarborough bluffs
The Polson Pier complex east in the Port lands houses a couple of nightclubs – you fancy rounding off your day with some clubbing. There is also a Driving range; mini putting; a drive in movie theatre and beach volleyball and a Go Kart track

Beach
Want to sit and read a book on the beach. Again you have some choices.

Man-made beaches: you can choose an Algonquin lounger at Spadina beach or a deck chair at Sugar beach.
Cherry beach is a natural beach at the far east end of central Lakeshore – good for bathing; there is also a sailing club and it is skirted by the aforementioned Martin Goodman trail.
There is also the long expanse of boardwalked beach at Sunnyside to the west and a similarly boardwalked “Beaches” area east of the downtown core.
Eat
Try Pier 4, overlooking the Lake and the kitschiest most touristy restaurant in Toronto with its fishing nets, buoys and glass globes – so cliched, it actually works!!
Or simply watch the Lake schooners, ferries and sailboats (and the prop “Dash 8” planes flying low over the Lakeshore to and from the city airport) whilst sitting under sun umbrellas outside the restaurant on Wally MaGoos patio
Or get a different and lofty perspective and go up to the 38th floor to La Toula in the Westin’s circular but non-revolving restaurant jutting out across the Lake. Don’t expect much by way of food – seriously – just a great view.
Within the huge and glamourous Queens Quay centre adjacent to the tourist boat pier are 3 Waterfront restaurants – Bar Milano, the Waterfront Irish pub and W. On the 2nd floor there is a massive and old-established Chinese restaurant called Pearl with floor to ceiling views over the harbor and next to a small food court where you can sit on the verandah and watch the ferries ply to and from Toronto Island. The centre also houses speciality shops, gelato and coffee shops and exhibits plus you can purchase picnic food from Sobeys.
At Sugar Beach there is also “Against the Grain”
Tour
Countless options available – The Toronto sky-line is getting ever more spectacular and still topped by the streamlined and strikingly elegant CN Tower which at night is candy-cane bright with all the colours of the rainbow.
Sail on a Tall ship such as the Kajama
Stroll down to York Quay and you will find about 10 different styles of tour boat – paddle steamer; dine and tour options; the ubiquitous party boat and of course the cheapest of all -ride a Toronto Ferry back and forth.
The “Duck” also plys the Lakeshore, stopping off at Ontario PLace for a plunge into the harbour
Look out for the red jump on- jump off, double decker bus tours that stop off at various points along Lakeshore.
Learn
To sail, canoe or kayak at Harbourfront’s boating schools on Rees way – Trust me, nothing better on a summer’s evening than messing around in watercraft on the Lake; seeing the shore-line from a different perspective and watching the dying rays of the sunset alternately reflect from, and pick out in relief the massive glass and steel condo structures strung around the shoreline and clustering northwards into the city core.
You can also sign up for glass/ pottery and various other craft classes at the working studios flanking the Harbourfront centre.
Art
Visit the exhibits in the Power Plant (also part if the massive “Enwave” theatre complex)) which is currently hosting its ” World Stage” exhibition. The Harbourfront centre also has a large and ever changing display of art.For info on current exhibitions and events go to http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/
Performance
Throughout the summer, music and cultural performances/shows are staged at “The West Jet” open-air stage right on the quay. Free movies are often screened here from summer to summer depending upon funding.
A wonderful menu of every type of music imagineable is available on given evenings and weekends at Spadina Music Gardens to the west of the main Lakeshore drag. Google Spadina Music Gardens for more info on this
Escape
But hey, I hear you say ” I really do need to get out of the city and go to the cottage. So here’s the thing – even your “country in the city escape” is here too!
No need to spend hours traveling up and down to traditional cottage country when you have the fabulous Toronto Islands a ferry ride away. You can even stay at a bed & breakfast on the island or have a few days retreat at the Retreat Centre or at the Artscape Lodge (both centres are near Hanlans point west of the island)
Once again Lakeshore is the launchpad for the Toronto Island’s ferries which will take you to 3 points on the islands depending upon your mood.Do you want to rent a bike and cycle along boardwalk? Or use the beach by the pier or take the kids to Centre Park for some fun? – if so take the Centre Island Ferry.
Are you taking your bike over and want to explore the cute Island houses spanning both Algonquin and Ward island with their secret gardens and tiny laneways lining the shore and nestled amongst the trees? Best view of Toronto skyline from this perspective. The yacht club is also at this end. Then catch the Ward island Ferry.Or, you are inclined towards lush park land, white sandy beaches (including a nudist beach), the Retreats mentioned above and on Labour Day weekend a grandstand view of the Air show – then take the Ferry to Hanlans PointWorth a separate blog this……
Over and Out