Toronto, Ontario, the most populous city in Canada, was founded in 1750 as Fort Rouillé, though native peoples have lived in the area for thousands of years. Considered one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan urban centers in the world, Toronto is notable for its music, film, theater and television production, as well as its array of museums, art galleries, festivals, and sporting events. The city, home to the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, and the Canadian Stage Company, showcases Dream in High Park, an outdoor Shakespeare production in High Park each summer. Toronto also hosts Caribana, based on the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, in July and August.
The Patrician Grill
The Patrician Grill, which dates back to the 1950s, has been owned by the Papas family since 1967. Displaying its original decor, the diner is a tribute to mid-century design and has been featured in shows such as Due South, Suits and The Firm. The Patrician serves standard diner fare, such as, burgers, BLTs, bacon and eggs, and home fries, yet this Toronto institution makes a concerted effort to please their customers, priding itself as a place where “they know your name.” A breakfast favorite is the Greek omelet with feta cheese, tomatoes, onions and green peppers, which includes french fries, mashed potatoes or home fries, toast and coleslaw. The lunch and dinner crowd raves about The Patrician’s triple-decker club sandwiches, the outstanding deluxe burger selection, and Friday’s homemade meatloaf.
Niagara Falls Freedom Day Trip
Visitors to Toronto may want to make time for a day trip to Niagara Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. The Freedom Day Trip begins at Clifton Hill. From there visitors are free to explore the surrounding area, shops and attractions, as well as board one of the Hornblower Niagara Cruises for an up-close view of the majestic Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three waterfalls, which was forged during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode more than 10,000 years ago. A bus will then take visitors to the breathtaking Whirlpool Rapids observation deck, where visitors can take panoramic pictures of the falls, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, a tree-lined old town featuring nineteenth-century buildings and beautifully landscaped gardens. The tour will conclude a local winery, where guests can sample as well as purchase the latest vintage, and learn about the local winemaking tradition.
Richmond Station, headed by celebrity chef Carl Heinrich, is a cozy eatery, renowned for its seasonal pantry menu, which is “ingredient-focused and technique driven.” The restaurant features a main high-ceilinged dining room with a bar, and a cozier space in the back with views of the open kitchen. Heinrich, who graduated from Stratford Chefs School and trained with Daniel Boulud at DB Bistro Moderne in New York, specializes in solid comfort food, such as the short-rib stuffed burger, and tempura lobster poppers, as well as complex creations, such as slow-cooked black cod with coco blanco beans, and rabbit three ways with carrot puree and nicola potatoes. The dessert menu, the work of pastry chef Farzam Fallah, includes instant classics, such as coconut creme brulee, and sourdough ganache with bay leaf sherbet.
One of the most culturally diverse cities in North America, Toronto can be all things to all people. Whether it’s art, sports or entertainment, the city features a wealth of leisure time activities. Art lovers will want to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, the largest art gallery in Canada, which was recently redesigned by architect Frank Gehry, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario Science Centre, and the offbeat Bata Shoe Museum, featuring footwear from around the world. Sports enthusiasts can stop by the Hockey Hall of Fame in the historic Bank of Montreal building, or catch a Toronto Argonauts football game at BMO Field, a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game at Rogers Centre, or a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game or Toronto Raptors basketball game at the Air Canada Centre. Star Trek fans won't be disappointed by a visit to Toronto City Hall, an ultra-modern structure dating back to the 1960s, which has been consistently used as Star Trek's Federation Headquarters since the original series.