With cool restaurants, galleries and boutiques, this compact Canadian city is ideal for a short break, says Rachel Cranshaw
As celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of confederation draw to a close, Toronto will be getting quieter. But this is still a city with a thriving restaurant scene, an aesthetically pleasing skyline and diverse neighbourhoods, all set on a manageable grid system and with a compact centre.
Queen Street West and West Queen West are hipster central, where you’ll find independent boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants, all on one handy strip. Head to King Street West for innovative restaurants where it’s easy to get a table. For upmarket shopping Bloor-Yorkville is the place. The Kensington market area spills out into Chinatown and Little Italy. Downtown and the entertainment district are home to stellar attractions including the CN Tower.
Air Canada (0371 220 1111; aircanada.com) operates a four-times-daily service from London Heathrow, from £837 return. Air Canada Rouge also runs a summer service via Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. AirTransat flies from Manchester and Glasgow.
Special treat Toronto’s Asian influences are a real credit to it, and the Shangri-La (1), at 188 University Avenue (001 647 788 8888; shangri-la.com), is no exception. The lobby hosts live music, and it’s next to the renowned Momofuku noodle bar. Doubles from Can$430 (£265), not including breakfast (from Can$22/£13). For a full review and to book, visit telegraph.co.uk/ tt-shangrilatoronto
Mid-range Drake Hotel (2) at 1150 Queen Street West (001 416 531 5042; thedrake.ca) brims with modern art, has a fulltime curator, 19 boutique rooms and a roof terrace. Guests get a discount at the Drake General Store. Double rooms from Can$219 (£135), not including breakfast (Can$15/£9). For a full review and to book, visit telegraph. co.uk/tt-draketoronto
Budget The Chelsea (3), at 33 Gerrard Street West (001 416 595 1975; chelseatoronto. com) offers excellent value and is perfect for families. It’s the largest hotel in Canada, with 1,590 rooms, and boasts Toronto’s only indoor water slide, and a children’s area with rabbits. Doubles from Can$155 (£95), not including breakfast (from Can$15/£9). For a full review and to book, visit telegraph.co.uk/ttchelseatoronto 5pm Blow away the cobwebs after your flight with a wander around the city’s waterfront area (4), on the shore of Lake Ontario. The regenerated 10-acre site of the Harbourfront Centre (harbourfrontcentre.com) is home to two forest-inspired squares, Ontario and Canada, plus an outdoor exhibition space, and hosts concerts and other events year-round. You can also take a boat tour of the islands just opposite, or go out on a canoe (paddletoronto.com).
8pm Head to one of King West’s most popular restaurants, Lee by Susur Lee (5) (001 416 504 7867; susur.com; book ahead), for a truly inventive take on modern Asian cuisine, in stylish surroundings and with a small terrace. The signature Singaporean-style slaw (Can$25/£15) contains 19 ingredients, all of which complement each other perfectly and look charmingly colourful. The curry roasted chicken is not to be missed. 10am Don’t miss the CN Tower (6) (cntower.ca), worth doing first thing to beat the queues; it opens at 8.30am and is well worth the Can$48 (£29) entry fee to enjoy unparalleled views of the city, and sometimes as far as Buffalo in New York State. There’s a glass floor panel you can walk across – which is not for the fainthearted. Even less so is the EdgeWalk experience,