As I write this, it has been about a week since I visited Toronto for the first time, and I already want to go back. I visited this city with my fiancé Luke for my 25th birthday and it exceeded all my expectations.
We decided on Toronto for a few reasons. I had never been to Canada (Luke had when he was in high school), and always wanted to go. We chose Toronto specifically because of the quick flight (under 2 hours), the huge market where handmade and vintage stores are on every corner, and so many different types of food to try!
Day 1: The Journey
We took a flight after work on Friday night and flew back mid-afternoon on Monday! We were only there for about three days, but it was such a memorable experience.
After landing a little after 10pm we made our way to our Airbnb. It was right in the heart of Kensington Market! There were people in the street and sitting outside just talking, drinking, and having a good time. We went right to sleep because I am a grandma.
Day 2: The First Full Day
The next day we started at around 10am walking around Kensington Market and getting breakfast at Average Joe’s. This is where Luke and I split baked eggs and thick cut French toast! It was so good and a great start to the trip! I also got a Cinnamon dolce latte which was decadent! Then it was off to roam the market! I can’t even name all the shops we went too! Luke hung out while I searched through racks, tried on clothes, and finally bought some goodies.
Check out my birthday haul coming soon.
We stopped at a great cafe called Rick’s cafe where I had the most delicious smoothies ever which included ice, banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, and a shot of espresso. It was so good! A smoothie with coffee in it was a new experience for me.
For lunch we stopped at the Burgernator (it was soo good I didn’t even take photos) where we split a two burgers. One had pineapple, jerk sauce, and all kinds of flavorful spices. The second was a lamb burger with mango salsa and was a fresher tasting burger if that makes sense. These burgers were so tasty and I highly recommend this place!!
For dessert, we stopped at Hibiscus a vegan joint that sold vegan ice cream so Luke and I tried Mung bean based ice cream in the flavors mocha and ginger. It was a bit of a challenge to eat, but pretty tasty for not being real once cream.
Roaming the market we searched vintage stores, browsed bookstores, and looked all the succulents and cactuses than I would ever want! I’ve been to malls and flea markets, but this was something so much different! I was in heaven.
(Again, didn’t take that many pictures because I was having so much fun!)
For dinner, we had a real treat and went to a place called Rasa. We sat at the bar while we waited for an outdoor table and met our bartenders Charlotte and Graham. Charlotte was super sweet and explained the contents of each plate as we received it. She even gave us more things to try because we were only visiting. When our outdoor table was ready, we decided to stay at the bar because we were having so much fun! We were having such a good time just chatting with the whole staff and eating delectable food! Luke and I hung out until around 11pm, when we finally decided to go back to our home away from home.
Day 3: Touristy Fun!
The next morning, we had a bit of a later start making it more of a leisurely journey. We ended up at Caplansky Deli known for their smoked meats. I got lox and eggs with latkes, applesauce, and fruit. It was heavenly. It was just enough to fill me up so we walked around a little more in the market and stopped at a Deciem store.
If this sounds familiar it is the company that carries the brand The Ordinary. If you haven’t heard of this brand it’s a skincare brand sweeping the beauty community that has lots of good ingredients for an even better price. I wanted to get a few things, but all the items I wanted were sold out! However, I was able to try a bunch of stuff out and get my hands on a serum. Trying a few products in the store really made me want to purchase these bits even more!
After wondering for a little longer we picked up lunch at the Kensington Pop Up. As it turns out everything was made of polenta at this place. I decided on a polenta poutine (say that ten times fast). I have never had poutine (a Canadian staple), but it was good even with polenta replacing what I can only assume was supposed to be French fries. Then again, I feel like anything with gravy and cheese curds is probably delicious. I wish I had tried the real thing, but that’s for the next trip.
I also had a drink there called a Caesar. A Caesar is basically a Bloody Mary invented and drank in Canada. I decided to try it and was not a fan. It was waaaay too spicy for someone who really like sweet drinks. Luke and I drank as much as we could, and I’m glad I tried it!
After about an hour of relaxing we went back to Ricks for another smoothie (this time I got a combo of blueberry, banana, soy milk, and maple syrup). **Fun Fact: This is the only place we visited more than once)
We decided to hit the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Luke had never been to an Aquarium and I haven’t been to an aquarium since I was a kid so we were excited! We saw so many cool fish and touched some cool fish! It was such a blast. I would definitely recommend this if you’re not too cool for a sweet Aquarium!
The Most Surreal Part
After the Aquarium, we headed to the CN tower where Luke made reservations at the 360 Restaurant where you literally eat on a spinning platform and can see the whole city. We had a perfect view of the sunset and had the most delicious dinner and dessert I have ever had. It was such a surreal experience that I will never forget.
After dinner, we walked over the glass floor in the tower which really reminded me of my fear of heights and caused me just a tiny bit of anxiety (I also might have been super anxious). The night was just so fun that I would definitely recommend anyone hitting Toronto for the first time to spoil yourself and go experience this.
Needless to say we went to sleep the second we got back.
Day 4: The Final Day/My Birthday
I took off from work the Monday of my birthday and we were able to stay in Toronto 1 extra day.
We started the day with an excellent breakfast from Aunties and Uncles. Here we got breakfast tacos and banana oatmeal pancakes. This might have been my favorite breakfast from the trip the tacos were awesome and who doesn’t like banana pancakes with real maple syrup?! My sweet tooth was in heaven. Then we stopped at the Crow’s Nest so Luke could get a quick haircut! He looks very handsome.
Next, we took a Steam Whistle Brewery tour! The pilsner brewed there is only sold in Canada. It was a really fun and informative tour. I think the coolest part was that they gave us a bottle of beer right off the bottling line and it had the time stamp of my birthday.
After hanging out there for a bit we made our trek home so we could head to the airport.
In true airport fashion, there was a three-hour delay to get home. However, it didn’t put a damper on the trip.
I had the best birthday I have ever had in my 25 years. I’m not quite sure if 25 will be able to match the year I had at 24. I know the future will definitely involve more travel for Luke and I.
In any case, this trip was completely above and beyond what I could have dreamed up for my 25th birthday and I will remember it forever.