There is such a wealth of ‘things to do’ in Toronto, that we recently realized that anytime is a good time to visit Canada’s largest and most diverse city. The city’s description as being Canada’s Downtown is appropriate. And unlike some other North American metropolis-sized cities, Toronto is kid-friendly – making it an ideal family destination.

My favourite way to make the trip is with VIA Rail, with a downtown-to-downtown hassle free service. If you’re travelling at lunchtime or in the early evening, the Business Class service that includes cocktails, wine with dinner and after-dinner apéritifs is worth considering. We took a late morning train, boarding at Dorval and arriving in Union Station just in time for hotel check-in and an early evening of sightseeing.

The Rogers Stadium is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team

The Rogers Stadium is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team

We recently enjoyed a long weekend that combined business and leisure. Like the thousands of Montrealers who travel by air, train and car to Toronto for business purposes, we recently did the same and extended into the weekend. I’m a baseball fan and was a partial season ticket holder to our Montreal Expos – so I’ve missed the excitement of a live baseball game. A major component of a recent trip with my daughter included a Saturday afternoon Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre, with the retractable roof.

The stadium has been renovated over the past two off-seasons, and the result is a fan-friendly baseball park. Seating has been moved closer to the field, bringing you closer to the on-field action. There are bar-areas where fans get enjoy a beverage and food while still being able to see the field. We attended a game on Mother’s Day weekend and the ballpark was full of families having a good time. For Montreal baseball fans, taking in a home-stand series of Blue Jays games could be an enjoyable focal point to a Toronto visit.

But there’s more… lots more.

The theatre scene in Toronto is robust, and is ranked third in the world, just behind New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. Anchored by the Mirvish Group, there are enough productions playing simultaneously that you could easily plan a theatre-themed visit, seeing successive musicals and plays on consecutive evenings.

Here’s a look at upcoming summertime shows in the Mirvish Theatres. The Royal Alexandra Theatre is a National Historic Heritage site and is the oldest continuously operating theatre in Canada. And its beautiful! The CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre is another elegant historic theatre in the ‘classic’ style that enhances your theatre experience. Wicked is playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre until July 21. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical will take the stage at the historic CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre from June 18 to July 26. Mean Girls will be performed at The Royal Alexandra Theatre from July 30 to August 25. Shrek – The Musical will have a limited engagement at The Princess of Wales Theatre from August 16 to 18. Classic rock fans will enjoy Rumours of Fleetwood Mac from August 20 to 26, also at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

Looking forward to the early fall, the inspiring blockbuster hit Come From Away will open at The Royal Alexandra Theatre on September 22 for an indefinite run. Life of PI will have a one month run at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre from September 3 to October 6, followed by Mamma Mia! From October 8 to November 10. Disney’s The Lion King will begin a new engagement on November 2. The Mirvish Theatres are elegant and easily rival those in New York or London.

Jazz Bistro in Toronto

The Jazz Bistro is an ideal club for a delicious dinner and jazz with some of Canada’s finest musicians performing

For over one hundred years, the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre (as it is now known) has been at the centre of Toronto’s popular entertainment scene. With a two-tiered auditorium that was completely renovated in 2021 and 2022 and with two seating configurations (1,600 and 2,000 seats), it is a perfect venue for everything from intimate plays to large-scale musicals. It is located at 263 Yonge Street (just below Dundas Street); the main entrance and box office are located at the rear of the building, at 244 Victoria Street. Patrons with tickets may use either entrance, however those who have difficulty with stairs should come to Victoria Street where there is wheelchair lift access to the main lobby, box office and Orchestra seating level.

Jazz Bistro

We visited the downtown Jazz Bistro, located on Victoria, across the street to the entrance to the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre. The building and club were purchased by Joan and Colin Hunter, who is the founder of Sunwing. The Hunters undertook a complete renovation, which included the opening of the second floor to create a balcony overlooking the stage. Oliver Jones held forth for three consecutive sold out performances as part of his retirement farewell tour. Colin Hunter has a successful sideline career as a jazz crooner and not surprisingly, he often performs at the club with Juno Award winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy and a quartet or big band.

Hop On Hop Off bus

The view north on Yonge Street from the upper deck of the Hop On Hop Off bus at Dundas Square

On the night we visited, the majority of the audience consisted of mature jazz fans who gave Montrealer Kate Wyatt and her musicians a warm reception. Jazz Bistro has a varied menu, from burgers to rack of lamb. We have dined there in several occasions over the years, we’ve always been pleased. The club is located within easy walking distance or short cab ride from many hotels.  We highly recommend an evening at Jazz Bistro, whether you’re in town for business or for a getaway.

Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour

This may seem a little ‘touristy’, but it’s a great way to see a city with an accompanying description from your guide. I’ve taken these tours various European cities and found them to be a great way to visit a new city. As the name suggests, you can get off and spend some time in an area or a location (like Casa Loma in Toronto) and then get back on when the next bus arrives, usually in 30 minutes. The tickets are for a 24 hour period and I extended my ride on the second day of our Toronto trip. The company also offers a full day excursion to Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and a winery. They pick you up with an Executive Coach at your hotel at about 8am and it’s a full day’s guided tour with someone else doing the driving.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

During the summer months, there is a lot of activity at Toronto’s Harbourfront area, including the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. It’s an outstanding exhibit, with the key excitement factor coming from the glass tunnels that enable visitors to walk beside and under a vast array of sea life; multi-colored fish, sawfish and everyone’s favourite – sharks. Lots of sharks!

Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium is a sure-fire hit for all ages, allow plenty of time

Ripley’s Aquarium has an abundance of interactive opportunities for children and youngsters to enjoy a hands-on learning experience, including an open (supervised) exhibit that allows visitors of all ages to pet the rays. The glassed-in viewing tunnel is North America’s longest. There is also a mini child-sized tunnel that was immensely popular with children. There are 16,000 aquatic creatures within the Ripley’s Aquarium in various galleries that include Canadian Waters, the Rainbow Reef with its brightly coloured tropical fish, the Dangerous Gallery that is home to the sharks, and Ray Bay. There’s an interesting exhibit showing how the huge pumping stations work. It’s an ideal destination for families, where you could easily spend several hours. It’s a good combination with the adjacent CN Tower…
Timesaver suggestion: Purchase your tickets online before travelling to Toronto.

Culinary Walking Tour

While we didn’t take a culinary walking tour this time, we have enjoyed the company’s culinary walking tours in the past; and I wanted to mention them in this article about summertime activities in Toronto.

The Culinary Adventure Tour Company offers a wide variety of private and group tours and neighbourhood explorations. We were tempted by the King & Queen West Brunch Tour, and the Chinatown & Kensington Market Tour would be great in warm weather. Next time!

Toronto - Distillery District

The Distillery District is immensely popular with locals and tourists

Culinary Adventure Company operates in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Halifax and Charlottetown.  The tours are a great way to learn about a neighbourhood, it’s people and history; all the while sampling interesting cuisine. Visit their web site:, or call 1-416-565-1730 or 1-877-317-4870

The Distillery District

The Distillery District has become immensely popular with residents and visitors to Toronto. Dating back to the 19th Century, the buildings made up the Gooderham Worts Distillery, the largest distillery in the world. It now houses fine restaurants and interesting artisanal shops.

As we said at the beginning, “Anytime is a good time to visit Toronto – Canada’s Downtown”.

Travel Planner:Mirvish Productions:

Culinary Adventures Inc., or call 1-416-565-1730 or 1-877-317-4870

Destination Toronto: