This past weekend we headed to Toronto to celebrate my son’s 18th birthday. When I was trying to decide where to go, I have wanted to take the teens to Toronto and Niagara Falls because that was one of the most cherished trips that I went on as a teenager. After watching numerous YouTube videos and reading multiple blogs, I created an itinerary for us.
We arrived in Toronto at 12:30 p.m. The airline I chose was Porter Airlines. They are a Canadian airline, and they had great prices that the other airlines couldn’t beat. When we saw the plane, we were all nervous especially me. I am terrified of flying, so I was already thinking, “Oh no! Turbulence.” However, the flight was smooth. We even arrived earlier than expected. The flight attendants were friendly and accommodating. They also offer free beer and wine, which is always a plus. They don’t have Wifi, but all you have to do is download a movie or show episodes before the flight, and you are good.
We took a Lyft to the hotel. I have always used Uber, but I will say that I liked Lyft as well. I decided to stay at Hotel X. It is a new hotel that is near Harbourfront and super close to Billy Bishop Airport, which is where we arrived. Even before we arrived, I sent them a message to request that we get two beds, and they quickly responded. I was coming with my son and dad, who was staying with my sister but she was coming on a later flight. They were even fine with my dad arriving with us, which showed how excellent their customer service was. I loved this hotel. It was a beautiful hotel. When I was doing research, I was worried that it was too far away from all the attractions, but it wasn’t. In a way, where it was located made it even easier to get to everything because you are not in the middle of all the areas that are plagued by heavy traffic. Everyone was helpful and got an A++ in customer service. They must have an extensive training program because everyone was flawless in how they treated the guests. Our room was beautiful and had the best view of the lake and skyline. I never slept so well away from home, and I had to turn on my alarm to get up.
The bathroom was like a spa retreat. I took a shower and then soaked in the bath with bath salts they provide. The only thing was there was no fan or my son and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. When we checked out, we still were going to explore the city. They held our luggage for us. When we returned, they took us to the airport. I will be staying at Hotel X any time I visit Toronto.
St. Lawrence Market
After we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we headed to St. Lawrence Market. Our Lyft driver was like a mini-tour guide and taught us a lot about the city and how it changed since the last time I visited. St. Lawrence Market was terrific. It is two floors filled with different food options and mom and pop shops. We grabbed an Italian sandwich that was bigger than my head (and I have a big head!). We ate outside because there was no place to sit inside. Luckily, it was sunny, so it wasn’t bad.
We walked to the Distillery District. It is about a 15-20 minute walk, so we decided to save some money and do it. Distillery District has art installations around the area with restaurants and shops. We went to the coffee shop there, and it was a great cup of coffee. My son had the hot chocolate and loved it. We walked around checking out the different art installations. We were glad to have gone and checked it out.
We proceeded to Yonge-Dundas Square. Our Lyft driver that was like a tour guide told us the history of how a previous mayor wanted Toronto to look more like New York so Yonge-Dundas Square was built. It did have the same feel as Time Square. It was really nice and had great stores. However, it made me feel a bit bummed that Toronto’s mayor tried to make this beautiful city like another one. We went into a huge food hall that looked like a mall. We left and headed to Eaton Centre. That mall is BIG. The only issue is that it didn’t really have many options for men. My son was disappointed that he couldn’t find anything for him but H&M, Gap, and Nordstrom. We found a cute area called Trinity Square and we sat for a while before proceeding to Chinatown.
The last time we went to Toronto, we had delicious Chinese food, so before our dinner reservations, I shifted gears to find a dumpling place. We went to Yummy Yummy Dumplings. We decided on boiled dumplings and steamed dumplings. They were delicious. I especially loved the boiled dumplings. My son preferred the steamed dumplings. They do not accept credit cards or non-Canadian debit cards. Please make sure to have some cash with you.
My son wanted to have Italian food to celebrate his 18th birthday. I looked at different options and decided on Stelvio. I am glad that this was the restaurant I chose. We walked there from Chinatown and it was easy to find. Our waitress was a class act. She spent time explaining the menu and each of the dishes. I was impressed by how knowledgeable she was.
She told us the menu changes every season. I decided to go with her recommendation of the Pizzoccheri Di Teglio. I found out that this is hard to find in the United States and it’s only served in the winter months in Italy. I didn’t know what to expect but it was delicious. My dad and son were also happy with their dishes.
It was a nice time with family while eating delicious food.
We had a great first day. After that, my sister and nephew arrived that night. The second day is our Niagara Falls trip.