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September 4, 2016 / Retirementallychallenged.com

Vibrant Toronto

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Toronto is Canada’s biggest and busiest city, and its most diverse. Over 140 languages are spoken there and it is estimated that over half of its residents were born outside of Canada. The most populous city in Canada, it is the fourth largest city in North America (behind Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles).

Even knowing all of this, I found myself a little overwhelmed at first by the size and vibrancy of Toronto.

Our Airbnb was located on a side street in the downtown area, between two busy boulevards. It appeared that most of the residents of the tall apartment building were students, possibly attending the nearby Ryerson University. The flat itself was quiet and nicely appointed and, because it was up on the 21st floor, we had a nice view of the downtown.

Although we didn't sit around much, our Airbnb flat was very comfortable.

Although we didn’t sit around much, our Airbnb flat was very comfortable.

As we did during most of the other stops along our recent road trip, once we parked our car (free, off-street parking was included – a huge plus in this busy city), it remained unused for the three days we were there. We were able to get everywhere we wanted to go either on foot or using public transportation.

Dancers enjoying the Salsa Festival.

Dancers enjoying the Salsa Festival.

In addition to a high-quality outdoor art show (top picture), we were delighted to discover that there was also a food festival and a Salsa music festival taking place on the days we were in town.

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All within walking distance from our flat was Toronto’s Chinatown, the funky Kensington Market neighborhood, Old Town Toronto’s famous St. Lawrence Market, the Entertainment District, the busy Waterfront, and lots of tempting places to eat.

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Like other Canadian cities we visited, street art seemed to be everywhere in Toronto. Much of it was big and gorgeous, but there were also plenty of unauthorized contributions.

After just a three-day stay in Toronto, we felt that we hadn’t even scratched to surface of this amazing city. It’s loud and messy and crowded, but the vitality and energy is infectious. Although our travel schedule didn’t allow us to stay any longer, we agreed that a return trip – one that included much more time to explore other neighborhoods and indulge in additional culinary delights – could quite possibly be in our future.

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39 Comments

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  1. Shelley / Sep 4 2016 1:24 pm

    I enjoyed the street art.

  2. APlaceWeLike / Sep 4 2016 1:37 pm

    Lovely post, Toronto seems like a vibrant city!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 4 2016 2:18 pm

      Thank you! And thanks for stopping by… I took a look at your blog and it looks great. I like the way you write.

  3. APlaceWeLike / Sep 4 2016 2:21 pm

    Thanks 😊 I’m loving yours too!

  4. Kate Crimmins / Sep 4 2016 2:59 pm

    Sounds like a great place to visit but it needs more than 3 days!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 4 2016 3:05 pm

      There is always a trade-off between visiting more places and visiting fewer, but digging in deeper. Just like Montreal, I could easily see renting a flat for a month or so.

  5. Joanne Sisco / Sep 4 2016 3:47 pm

    It’s always a treat to see your own home city profiled by a visitor … especially when the visitor appears to have had a good time 😉
    Since I retired, I just started to explore my adopted city of over 30 years and I’m constantly surprised by what I find.
    I love your comment that ‘it’s loud and messy and crowded, but the vitality and energy are infectious’. Yup – that pretty well sums it up for me too ❤

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 4 2016 4:09 pm

      I think that I need to do a better job exploring my home city more. I just need to grab my camera and go. We had a great time in Toronto – there was so much to see and definitely not enough time to see it. I hope that we can make it back sometime in the future.

      • Joanne Sisco / Sep 5 2016 9:06 am

        I’ve been trying to make a date with myself once a week to just GO. It might be a small thing that’s intrigued me and I’ve never devoted the time to check it out before… or something larger that will take hours. When I’m lucky, I have someone to go with me … but either way I still go.

  6. Dan Antion / Sep 4 2016 4:18 pm

    This reminded me of our visit to Toronto about 12 years ago. Thanks for the memories.

  7. snakesinthegrass2014 / Sep 4 2016 4:25 pm

    Love how you made your graphics in a slideshow. WELL DONE. Those wall murals are cool — nothing like pop-art to get a glimmer of a city’s vibe. I last visited Toronto in the early 80’s. I guess I’m due for a return visit. It looks like you had a great time…

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 4 2016 4:43 pm

      WordPress makes slideshows pretty easy… believe me, that wasn’t talent on my part. We had a wonderful time! And, yes, you should go back for a visit. I bet a lot has changed since the 80s. 😄

  8. Liesbet / Sep 4 2016 8:04 pm

    A modern, cultural and vibrant city, with some amazing street art thrown it. I believe you that Toronto could entertain for days on end. Thanks for scratching the surface and showing some of the results with us, Janis!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 4 2016 8:58 pm

      We would love to go back and enjoy the energy for a longer period of time. They seem to have festivals just about every weekend once spring and summer arrives – so much to do and take in.

  9. lisadorenfest / Sep 5 2016 12:19 am

    Toronto is one of my favorite cities on the face of the earth. I could retire there. But seeing your great street art gallery from there, I realize it has been a long, long time since I last visited. None of that was there the last time I went. Fab gallery! Hopefully you will get to stay longer next time…but isn’t that always the way we feel when we leave great places behind?

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 5 2016 9:20 am

      I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve visited Toronto but I would imagine that it has changed a lot. It certainly would be a major shift for you to transition from a sailboat to a big city like Toronto. The murals were quite spectacular. I wonder if the city sponsors them, or the building owner, or who? Either way, I’m so grateful for the vision and the talent that goes in to their creation.

  10. rporter610 / Sep 5 2016 1:46 pm

    I’ve wanted to visit Toronto but have not done so. Your experience with Airbnb has given me hope that I might be able to go sometime in the next couple of years. What was the weather like?

    Rin

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 5 2016 3:13 pm

      We were there in early July and the weather was nice, but a bit warm and humid. We did run into a rain storm one day and were happy that we kept a couple of the rain ponchos we were given on a very wet tour while in Niagara Falls.

  11. Terri Webster Schrandt / Sep 5 2016 7:02 pm

    Looks lovely, Janis! I really need to get to Canada. My list is getting longer!

  12. susan@onesmallwalk / Sep 6 2016 1:56 pm

    Love to know about great walking cities. We got to the outskirts of Toronto once while visiting Niagara, but shamefully spent our time inside an air-conditioned mall to escape the heat. How was your weather?

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 6 2016 5:25 pm

      We were there in July so it was probably warmer than it would have been in the spring and fall (we had an event that dictated when we would be there, otherwise we would have scheduled it better). It also rained one day for a few hours… but we didn’t let it change our plans.

  13. Joe / Sep 7 2016 8:25 am

    Thanks for the introduction to another great Canadian city. Your rental apartment, right in the middle of the action, would be an excellent place for a longer visit.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 7 2016 8:48 am

      Airbnb (and other, similar online services) have really opened up the possibilities for long-term rentals. There are big fights in some areas between the pro-Airbnb-types and the anti-Airbnb-types (in our beach communities, for example) but, for people like us – quiet, clean, and respectful – it’s really a nice option. Too bad some renters treat the homes as party central.

      • Joe / Sep 8 2016 8:15 am

        You are right on. The “Airbnb” rental revolution has opened up so many options for the slow traveler. We use certain criteria in selecting our monthly rentals. The reviews are critical for finding the serious owners and their clean, quiet properties.

  14. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Sep 7 2016 12:14 pm

    I am (proudly) a former Torontonian. You captured the vibrancy and energy of this city very well. Made me homesick! Thanks for sharing.
    Donna
    http://www.retirementreflecitons.com

  15. Anabel Marsh / Sep 8 2016 4:46 pm

    We loved Toronto when we were there in the Spring. You must have been quite close to where we stayed which was also near Ryerson. I recognised a lot in this!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 8 2016 6:15 pm

      When I was there, I recognized several of the points of interest that you had pictures of in your post! I didn’t realize that you were near Ryerson too… did you stay at an Airbnb?

      • Anabel Marsh / Sep 8 2016 7:52 pm

        No, just a regular B&B, though it was more what I would call a guest house. Great city!

  16. Anju / Sep 30 2016 6:10 am

    Few years back I used to live close to Ryerson University. . It is amazing place to live. I always say that it is young city full of happy people. There were more students as my husband was too. Dandas square is a fun place in the evenings.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Sep 30 2016 10:28 am

      The few days we spent in Toronto were definitely not enough! So much to see and do. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  17. Sera in Toronto / Oct 1 2016 12:21 am

    I am from Toronto myself, and this is very accurate! Would love to have you visit again!

  18. forkandveg / Dec 18 2016 6:38 pm

    Got to love Toronto!

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