Don’t miss the downtown financial district on your trip to Toronto. There are some great restaurants and architecture.
I started my trip with lunch at Canoe atop the TD Bank Tower. I had a table with a great view of the lake and downtown. The décor was sleek and contemporary and the food really excellent. They surprised me with a taste of foie gras, which was wonderful, and the fish entrée with vegetables and an apple gastrique was perfect on a hot summer day. The service was really great and I enjoyed visiting with Mickey, the Manager, who is from Chicago.
The restaurant is in the six tower complex designed by the famous architect Mies van der Rohe; make sure to explore. There is also The Design Exchange, in the complex at 234 Bay St., which features Canadian design. I saw a very good photography exhibit and an interesting collection of chairs and other items by local designers.
I am a big Santiago Calatrava fan, after my trip to Spain in 2012, so I enjoyed seeing his spectacular atrium at the Brookfield Place, across from the TD Bank Tower, at 181 Bay St.
Nearby is Momofuku at 190 University Ave. I have been hearing the buzz about chef David Chang ‘s Toronto branch of his well-known Momofuku. I sat at the kitchen counter watching the chefs prepare their creative noodle dishes. The first level Noodle Bar has casual dining at long tables or at the counter. There is also a lounge, Nakai, on the second floor and fine dining restaurants daishō and shōtō on the third. The menu was very creative. I loved the smoked chicken ramen with miso, menma (fermented bamboo shoots) and egg.
Make sure to walk by City Hall, at 100 Queen Street West, designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell and opened in 1965. The Old City Hall building is also worth a walk-by at Queen and Bay. On the way, stop at The Bay or the Hudson’s Bay Company, the famous department store. You can buy items with the signature colors of the original point blankets consisting of a green, red, yellow and indigo stripe on a white background. If you see me wearing a summer straw hat in Chicago with those colors you will know where I bought it.
The Thompson Hotel: Close to the Financial District, at 550 Wellington St., is the Thompson Hotel which is a newer, larger property you might enjoy. This is a contemporary boutique hotel located not far from the convention center and the Entertainment District. It has a very sleek, contemporary lobby, two restaurants and a popular rooftop bar. The bar is open to hotel guests and members only!
St Lawrence Market: Not far from the Financial District, at 92-95 Front Street. Don’t miss this two-level covered market that dates from 1850. Here you will find produce, fresh meats, fish and cheeses, chocolates, local wines from Wine Country Merchants and Everyday Gourmet, a coffee roaster serving good coffee drinks. I would definitely try Buster’s Sea Cove for a seafood lunch. Across the street is an enclosed farmers market that is open on Saturdays during the summer growing season.
Harbourfront Centre: A large complex along the water that has public spaces, shops, restaurants and an art museum. There are festivals, theater performances, films and music events throughout the year. You might check it out during the warmer months.
You should also check out the website of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, at the Harbourfront Centre, to see if there are any art exhibitions that you might want to view. It was closed when I was there as they were mounting a new exhibition.