A Local’s Guide to Toronto

The entrance to Mamakas. 

Courtesy of Mamakas

There’s more to life than dinner, of course, and with the city’s walkability you’ll need to refuel during the day. For brunch, Dundas West has the ever-popular Milou where you can grab a BLT and people-watch from the patio. Just across the street is The Federal or Fed as the locals call it, where you can order a perfect Caesar—Canada’s answer to the Bloody Mary—and plates of waffles. If you’re after something a little healthier, try Hello 123 for their seven-day-a-week plant-based brunch that goes until 4 p.m. For coffee, pop into Sam James or Larry’s Back Pocket, and for other sweet treats in the neighborhood, look to The Tuck Shop or to the entirely vegan Bad Attitude Bread. If it’s hot out, you’ll be on the hunt for ice cream, in which case, try Honey’s or Moonmilk for their innovative flavors like Ontario sweet corn and jasmine taro.

Where to Shop

No trip is complete without a few souvenirs. Head to Easy Tiger for all your quirky home goods needs, while if you’re looking for clothing, head to their sister store across the street Ease which carries cult indie brands like KkCo and Nu Swim. Further down the block is consignment store VSP where you can often score mint-condition vintage pieces from designers like Dries Van Noten and The Row. Design lovers, meanwhile, should make a beeline for the minimally-minded AAVVGG where you’ll find minimalist furniture, glassware, and denim. And finally, if you’re looking for something to flick through on your flight home, head to Flying Books, a local publisher and bookshop where you’ll find the latest reads, classics with the best covers, and plenty of work from Toronto-based authors.

What to Do

If you’re in need of a workout while staying in the city, head to Jaybird on Queen Street for a challenging hot pilates or yoga-inspired burn. If you’re in the mood for something with more intensity try a spin class at Ride where the playlists are intense and EDM-heavy. And if it’s pop and hip-hop hits you’re into, Spokehaus has plenty of themed rides and upbeat soundtracks to match. 

If your skin could use a freshen after a long flight, Formula Fig offers ultra high-tech facials that all run under 30 minutes and carry impressively lasting results. For all your nail needs, look to Your Majesty’s Pleasure where a pedicure comes with cocktails, or to Naked if you’re looking for more elaborate nail art. Sweat and Tonic, meanwhile, is a one-stop shop for classes and massages, and comes with an infrared sauna and massages as well as a great smoothie bar.

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