07/15/2019 09:00 EDT | Updated 07/19/2019 10:11 EDT

Why Toronto Is the Best City for Curious Travellers

When was the last time a city surprised you—really surprised you?

Toronto is packed with big-name things to see and do, but to really capture the spirit of the 6ix—the nickname hometown superstar Drake made famous—you need to get off the beaten path. Fortunately, in Toronto, that’s surprisingly easy to do. 

© Tourism Toronto

Half the city’s residents were born outside of Canada, more than 200 languages and dialects are spoken on the local streets, and the community crackles with innovative ideas. This perfect blend of culture and creativity leads to some amazing, unique discoveries that will broaden your perspective and awaken your curiosity. 

Take something as seemingly simple as a salad. Greens, a few sliced veggies, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and that’s it, right? Not in the hands of local celebrity chef Susur Lee, whose 19-ingredient Singapore slaw is an Instagram-worthy tower of julienned jicama, fried taro root, microgreens, edible flowers and much more, accented with a salted apricot dressing. 

© Tourism Toronto

Many other metropolitan destinations offer you the opportunity to revel in the urban action. But in how many other cities can you also find the soothing calm of the island lifestyle within sight of downtown? From Toronto’s vibrant waterfront, you can take a ten-minute ferry to the Toronto Islands. There, you can embrace nature on countless walking and biking trails, indulge your inner child at Centreville Amusement Park or wander through a maze of 1,200 cedar trees. In summer, stick around for the Electric Island festival, and groove to EDM shows with the illuminated downtown skyline across the water as your backdrop.

© Tourism Toronto

If art piques your curiosity, you will be rewarded here. Toronto offers lots of great museums and galleries, but you don’t have to spend a dime to see great art. Toronto, and especially the Queen Street West area and its ‘Graffiti Alley’, is a hotbed of street art. Not only is that neighbourhood home to several photo worthy sprawls, it also features a legendary mural of 2019 NBA Champions the Raptors on the corner of a simple consignment store.

Care to be transformed by theatre? Taking in a stage production can stimulate your creativity and thought process and Toronto is the perfect place to be since it has the third largest theatre scene in the world. You could catch a Broadway-calibre musical at the Princess of Wales Theatre or, for an equally valuable experience, you could also check out a local play in a converted streetcar-repair shop, Wychwood Barns, or in an 80-seat basement theatre under a pizzeria called Coal Mine Theatre. The curtain rises and falls on shows of all sizes and Toronto caters to both the refined theatre goer and the casual fan alike.

© Tourism Toronto

After all that, let your taste buds take the wheel. Toronto is dotted with one-of-a-kind watering holes like the Vatican Gift Shop, where you can sip Italian-themed cocktails under the light of genuine antique church lamps dangling from the ceiling. Conquer your cravings with small plates from around the world—such as Barcelona-style tapas at Bar Raval or pepper shrimp from Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen. Or, Head to El Rey in Kensington Market for some crispy squid tacos.

When you have a positive attitude about new experiences like exploring street art or sampling different flavours, you open yourself up to more discoveries every day. 

Renew your sense of curiosity in life and try something new with Tourism Toronto.