For all my teenager years I knew Toronto only as the hometown of Rush and I am going to admit that I was still carrying that excitement a little bit when I arrived at YYZ. But in spite of all my thrill I couldn't carve out enough time around our hectic schedule to explore the city. We did try to make the best use of a few hours we had early in the mornings and late at nights though. So, I am not in a position to give a proper review of the city but will try to name a few places we had good time at.
If Toronto is the hipster capital of Canada like everybody says the headquarters must be somewhere on Queen West Street. It is a pretty long stretch of designer shops, restaurants, bars, cafés and art galleries. Following blogTO's suggestion our first night we ended up at the Vietnamese pho restaurant Pho Tien Thanh at Queen West and Ossington and it was spot on... We had quite a blast.
A few days later we also had a really good experience at Swan Restaurant which was looking like one of the most popular places to have a breakfast around the neighborhood. It is very hard to ignore a place with a long line of locals outside waiting for a table. After a short wait we were lucky to get our table and I have to say it was worth the wait out in the cold. Smoked trout eggs benedict were superb and the coffee was the best I had in town. Another good place I like to mention around the neighborhood is Communist's Daughter. It's an incredibly small but popular bar with a nice crowd and good music selection. It reminded me small hidden bars of Berlin.
We also rushed through famous Kensington Market one morning, which is basically the Toronto version of Venice Beach only fifty degrees colder. Our timing was a little off though. Forget about opening their shops, nobody wakes up in that neighborhood till noon... A short visit to Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation was great. Their venue is actually more like a museum than a gallery and presents a small but very carefully curated and nicely presented selection of contemporary and modern art.
At the end I am pretty disappointed that we couldn't spend enough time in the city. There were so many art institutions, landmarks, restaurants and bars I wanted to visit. Hopefully next time...