- Taxi to downtown from the airport is $35 flat rate.
- We stayed at the Chelsea Hotel which is a centrally located, low cost hotel but we could not highly recommend it as it is in dire need of a major refurbishment.
- Find the gay district (Church Street) as soon as you arrive. Get your bearings during the day so you can find your way to this area easily at night.
- Find the Joe Fresh Market in Church Street which has to be one of the most beautiful shopping centres in the world for fresh food and grocery needs.
- Eat incredibly nutritious lunch at Joe Fresh for very reasonable prices.
- Best coffee is at Black Bear Espresso Australian owned establishment with expert baristas who know how to present fabulous coffee.
- Make sure to go to the Buddies In Bad Times Theatre for a fabulous live performance.
- Instead of spending a lot of time in Downtown Toronto, choose an overnight or 2 day stay in Niagara-On-The-Lake, one of the most beautiful towns we have ever seen in the world.
- Of course you will want to take a day trip to Niagara Falls and make sure your tour includes the boat experience (Hornblower) which takes you right into and under the falls.
- We did the hop on, hop off bus tour of Toronto but it was long and quite expensive. It did include a thoroughly enjoyable boat trip to some surrounding islands which are precious vacation spots for locals and have quite a colourful history.
- Central Square…. is the place to catch the red City Sightseeing Bus (right near the Hard Rock Cafe)
- Explore the underground food courts and shopping malls. Like some large Asian cities you can connect from one to another without returning to street level.
- Our favourite gay bars were Woody’s (made famous by Queer As Folk) which adjoins Sailor, Crews & Tangos, Flash and the Black Eagle. Make sure you catch the hilarious, nightly drag shows.
- Dine at the revolving 360 Restaurant at the top of the famous CN Tower.
Niagara Falls in a Day
We visited Niagara Falls on one of its hottest August days in years, marvelling at the perfectly clear blue skies. Our coach ride with City Sight Seeing took a couple of hours from the centre of Toronto to the Falls. On the way we dropped into Niagara College Wine and Visitors Centre to do a little wine tasting. The wine was interesting, but even more interesting was a couple of cuties we spied on our tour who helped make our day a delectable feast for the eyes.
Arriving at Niagara Falls we were shocked to find how built up it was. The Falls are surrounded on all sides by hotels, shops and a trashy entertainment area called Clifton Hill. Off the bus we went straight to the group check in for the Hornblower boat ride. This is the Falls official Canadian boat company, with all passengers looking fabulous clad in pink ponchos. We slowly cruised past the amazing American Falls, then the magic of Bridal Veil Falls and finally sailed right into the very heart of the famous Horseshoe Falls for a rather wet but highly exhilarating time. The feel of the fine mist and the thunderous power of the raging water pummelling our boat from Lake George ticks off a long time bucket list ‘must do’.
After our ‘horn blowing experience’ we decided to avoid the crowds and have a civilised lunch at the Sheraton Hotel directly opposite the Falls. The buffet lunch was reasonable but the views were simply spectacular. We asked to go out on the balcony of the dining room for an even clearer, totally uninterrupted view of the falls in their entirety; perfect for that memorable selfie.
Once lunch was over we walked around the beautifully manicured parkland which borders the edge of the Falls and watched those eager for high-adrenaline aerial adventures on the zip line that took riders along the edge the vast Niagara river gorge to the Falls observation landing.
Back on the coach we were off to the amazing small town of Niagara-On-The-Lake. Our bus driver said it was voted the most beautiful town in Canada. We could easily see why. The tour only included a 2 hour stopover and from the first few minutes we had a strong urge to stay longer, our mouths agape at the sheer beauty of the area. The luxuriant gardens, boutique shops and local heritage buildings were breathtaking, a little like a town built for a film set, only this is the real deal. Later we discovered that summer is the prime time for theatre events like the Shaw Festival and a plethora of outdoor fine dining options. To top it off the town is the centre of a rich wine producing area and there are plentiful vineyards and frequent wine festivals to experience on a longer visit.
If we were to return to Niagara Falls in the summer we would definitely plan to stay two or three nights in Niagara-On-The-Lake, not only to fully enjoy this stunning, quaint little town but also to see the illumination of the Falls at night or to take an evening Falls fireworks cruise. Of course staying at one of the hotels like the Sheraton overlooking the Falls would also be amazing. Whether just for the day or a longer stop, Niagara Falls is certainly a impressive sight and one that will long be remembered.
Leaving Niagara brought mixed feelings. The beauty and spectacle of this iconic region mixed with the disappointment of the unsightly development encroaching on this magnificent natural wonder left us a little disenchanted. At least we had our two cute day trippers sitting just opposite on the long journey back to the city to help us focus on the positives.
Know Before You Go
- Summer is the best time travel to Niagara Falls as temperatures can drop well below minus in winter.
- For a one day trip take an organised tour.
- Plan lunch at the Sheraton Hotel
- Don’t miss Niagara-On-The-Lake
- No gay scene in Niagara Falls