Places To Explore In Toronto!
By Noah Pinno
If you’re new to Toronto, either because you’re from the suburbs or even if you’re coming as far away as another country, it can be hard to figure out where to explore to get a feel for the city. Woodsworth Orientation wants to help you all be as comfortable as possible discovering the city after O-Week and help you fall in love with some of the surrounding areas in Toronto. Here’s our top 5 areas to discover in Toronto!
Kensington Market is a 15 minute walk southwest of Woodsworth College, Located between College and Dundas, west of Spadina. This area is famous for its eateries, cafés, and pop up shops for you to explore. On Augusta Avenue, you can find tons of great places to eat, and lots of cool local vendors selling all sorts of trinkets and accessories. Augusta Avenue is a great place for hangouts, study dates, and shopping trips. Further east of Augusta is a lane filled with great thrift stores so that you can find tons of vintage items to upgrade your wardrobe for first year. There’s tons of great street art all over the market, so it’s a great place for photos to send back to family or to upload to Instagram. Kensington is one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Toronto!
The Distillery District
Located in the Southeast of Toronto is the Distillery District. This is one of the most artistic places in all of Toronto – all accessible for free! There’s tons of street art showcasing local artists with interesting messages, plus free art galleries where you can see paintings valued at absurd prices (and pretend you’re rich enough to consider buying them). The distillery district also has lots of cool stores and eateries for you to refuel during your art tour, whether you’re looking for a scoop of ice cream or a great meal. You can also take tours of some of Toronto’s local distilleries, with absolutely no pressure to drink – these tours are available for all ages. During the winter, there is also a gorgeous Christmas market that you definitely won't want to miss. There’s a great local theatre that plays lots of classic modern dramas, so if you plan your weekend well, you and your friends can easily spend a day there. The distillery district is one of Toronto’s underdiscovered cultural hubs!
If you’re looking to shop till you drop, the number one mall in Toronto is the Eaton Centre. This mall is so huge that you can spend a whole day scanning all the stores, and grab everything from clothes to skincare to books and everything in between. As long as packed malls don’t bother you, this is your best bet to grab everything you need on Black Friday. But outside the Eaton Centre, you can also find even more stores and restaurants, plus a Cineplex for when you want to see the newest blockbuster with your friends. To top it off, lots of free events are hosted at Yonge-Dundas Square during times like the winter holidays and pride month. Yonge-Dundas Square is the Times Square of Toronto, and if you get tired, just head down Yonge or Dundas to grab a bite to eat or see more of the big city.
The Village is one of the most queer-positive spaces in all of Toronto. While it’s famous for its night life, it’s worth visiting during the day – you can explore awesome book stores, cafes, and public study spots. If you’ve never heard of “Drag Brunch”, you should make plans to head to the Village on a Sunday morning – you can see talented local drag queens entertaining you as you enjoy awesome breakfast food. Don’t worry if you don’t identify as queer – the Village is happy to host anybody who comes with respect and interest for queer life and culture, and this iconic neighbourhood is one you don’t want to miss. If you’re here on pride weekend, this is the liveliest place in all of Toronto to be!
Queen Street is a bustling street with tons to explore – there’s great shopping at big brands, local fashion houses, and thrift stores. But Queen Street also has lots to offer in terms of food – all types of cuisines can be found here. Queen Street is the perfect location for when you want to just walk by and stop in as you see things you like – take a friend, have some great conversations, and casually pop in to whatever catches your eye. Queen Street is the low-stress version of the Eaton Centre – it’s hard to get lost, and it’s not quite so crowded. Definitely make an effort to check this street out while it’s still warm out, and you’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air and see if anything piques your interest – we bet you’ll find at least something you didn’t expect to find there.