(FOR TORONTONIANS AND TOURISTS ALIKE!)
Who wants to be a tourist even if you are a tourist right? So whether you’re visiting Toronto for the first time or are a lifelong Torontonian, here are 10 “off the beaten track” places to visit this summer.
1. TORONTO NECROPOLIS CEMETARY 200 Winchester St.
Full of deep dark secrets, the Necropolis Cemetery offers public tours of the grounds including haunted tales of ghosts and ghouls. The venue’s pavilion and chapel are also said to be some of Canada’s best examples of Gothic Revival architecture. A must see even if it’s not Halloween!
2. HALF HOUSE 54 1/2 St. Patrick St.
As the name suggests, there’s actually half a house standing right off University Avenue on St. Patrick St. With an illustrious history dating back to the 1890’s in what was once a Toronto slum, this gem was one of six identical, structurally intertwined homes. Literally the last one standing after the others were slowly torn down one by one over the years, the Half House is a must see!
3. SECRET LOOKOUT Chester Hill Rd. ( Broadview & Danforth )
Yup, that’s right! The Chester Hill lookout is really an observation deck located at the end of a cul-de-sac off Danforth Ave. With magnificent view of the city you can experience your very own quiet moment away from the noise. Back in 2011 Blog TO even named it one of the best places to make out in Toronto. Just so you know! 😁
4. PAN AM PATH Ellesmere & Orton Park
Pan Am Path consists of an 80-km stretch of trails that run from Brampton all the way to the south portion of Rouge Park. The path is lined with various art installations and murals that are an ode to Toronto’s nature and cultural diversity.
5. WHITE ELEPHANT 77 Yarmouth St.
Just north of Christie Pits on Yarmouth St. resides a life-sized white elephant named Sally. The sculpture has made this her home since 2003 when she was designed as part of artist/industrial designer Matt Donovan’s thesis while studying at the Ontario College of Art. Made of fibreglass, chicken wire and plywood, the oversized lawn ornament most definitely stops people in their tracks!
6. TORONTO PUBLIC LABYRINTH Trinity Square
Yearning for some quiet time after spending time at the Eaton Centre? Check out the Toronto Public Labrynth at Trinity Square. This little-known oasis of calm sits atop the buried course of Taddle Creek and is approached via Tibetan arches. Likened to the 13th-century stone labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France, it inspires artful meditation for those who take the time to walk it.
7. THE VOG VAULT 686 Queen St. W.
The Vog Vault is an illusion room located in the back of John Fluevog shoes – a place close to my. heart since I used to work for John back in the day! Formerly the vault of TD Bank it’s been reimagined as a “gravity room” and features a Victorian loveseat and bookshelf. The 9 square foot room is a an Insta selfie lovers dream indeed.
8. BAMBOO GARDEN 160 College St.
Located within U of T’s Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, this stunning indoor bamboo garden is the perfect spot to recharge your batteries and experience some well deserved zen time.
9. COMMERCE COURT NORTH TOWER 25 King St. W.
This 34-storey limestone classic, part of the four-building complex that anchors the city’s financial district, was the tallest building in the British Empire when it was finished in 1931. But the gold-coffered ceiling and art deco styling made it a showpiece in its time and now a treasured heritage building.
10. CAMH HERITAGE WALL 1001 Queen St. W.
Formerly known as the Provincial Lunatic Asylum at 999 Queen St. W., it’s hard to believe that as part of their rehabilitation program, patients were forced to build the wall that once surrounded the entire block now known as CAMH – Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. The site has recently undergone massive redevelopment and most of the wall has been demolished any only a small part remains on Shaw St., south of Queen as a homage to the centre’s past inhabitants and their sad plight.