3sussur.lee              Chef Sussur Lee

4one.restaurantOne Restaurant, Yorkville

5mar.mcewan

Chef Mark McEwen, One Restaurant

7executive.chef.Walhberg

Chef Paul Wahlberg, Holt's Cafe

8our.burger7

The Wahlburger at Soho Metropolitan Hotel

9pretzels9Pretzels

 


By Carole Kotkin

 1skyline

The countless things that make international travel fascinating and stimulating such as dining, shopping, museums, galleries, theater, history, and architecture come together in the welcoming city of Toronto.

With a population that is now half foreign-born, the lakeside city offers a cornucopia of world cultures. With more than 80 different ethnic groups, its inhabitants speak more than 100 languages. This multiculturalism is what prompted The United Nations to name Toronto the world's most ethnically diverse city. 

 

It’s a great walking town, and part of what makes it so much fun to explore is the range and variety of the neighborhoods in which the city takes pride— from Yorkville, with its fashionable shops and department stores, to the Entertainment District filled with art galleries, the site of the Toronto International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and hip new night spots.

An explosion of culinary creativity has taken hold of Toronto. Not only are kitchens updating traditional Canadian fare like charcuterie and wild boar, but young chefs are tapping Toronto’s global roots in ways that transcend standard fusion.

Asian-fusion chefs like Susur Lee have gotten much of the attention; his restaurant, Luckee, is packed, and his most recent hot spot, Frings (opened with rapper Drake) is the place to see and be seen. But also making a mark are hot spots like Mark McEwen's contemporary Yorkville One Restaurant in the Hazelton Hotel.

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Besides the city's impressive landmark, The CN Tower, Toronto has impressive architecture by masters like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Santiago Calatrava and Thom Mayne. The Art Gallery of Ontario has just re-opened with a bold renovation by Frank Gehry, who grew up just blocks from the 109-year-old museum. 

What to See:

Yorkville Neighborhood: Joseph Bloor founded the area in 1830. Today Victorian and modern buildings, statues, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and hotels are all concentrated within several small streets. Celebrity sightings are frequent as many Hollywood stars stay, exercise, or dine out in the neighborhood

The Royal Ontario Museum, with its sharp-angled Daniel Libeskind addition, houses  impressive collections of Asian and Middle Eastern art and of Canadian painting. The Art Gallery of Ontario impresses with its popular recent exhibitions that have included shows of Ai Weiwei’s work and the landscapes of William Turner.

 

What to Do:

Approximately 1 million visitors a week pass through the more than 285 shops in the Eaton Center. Those looking for high-end goods go to Yonge Street for Gucci, Armani and Prada. Trendier shopping can be found on Queen Street and in Yorkville.

After shopping at the upscale Holt Renfrew, settle down for a delicious lunch at Holt's Cafe or for hamburgers and poutine at Wahlburgers in the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. Late afternoon is the perfect time to sink into one of the red leather booths at Steam Whistle Brewery with a pint of Steam Whistle Pilsner. After a busy day walking the streets it's time to relax at The Spa at the Hazleton Hotel. 

 

Where to Stay:

Hazelton Hotel, 118 Yorkville Ave.  416-963-6300

This design-focused property is right in the heart of the Yorkville neighborhood. Designed by the cutting-edge Yabu Pushelberg firm, the interiors are sleek, with elegant materials such as green granite, polished wood and silver velvet. Guest rooms are spacious and boast French doors and custom furnishings

So-Ho Metropolitan Hotel, 318 Wellington St. West, +1-866-764-6638   

The SoHo Metropolitan Hotel is one of Toronto's luxurious boutique hotels. Dubbed "SoHoMet," it's a vibrant scene in the Entertainment District. There are sophisticated pleasures such as advanced in-room technologies and innovative business services. European natural down duvets and triple Italian bed linens grace the luxurious king-size beds.  Naturally, during the annual Toronto Film Festival the hotel is a major see-and-be-seen place.

How to Get There:

Delta Airlines and Air Canada fly non-stop from Miami to Toronto and Porter Airlines, fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Toronto with one stop.

 

                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

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