In a very special edition of Roaming with Rob, our fearless leader offers his tips on how to best enjoy one of the gayest cities in the world and Out Adventures’ homebase, Toronto. We’ll spend two full days in Toronto before heading to The Hamptons of the North on our Big Gay Cottage Getaway tour this coming July.
Scroll down for all of Rob’s recommendations, including a few tips he couldn’t fit into the video
The CN Tower (301 Front St. W., 416-362-5411): At one time the tallest freestanding structure on Earth, the CN Tower has become Toronto’s most notable building. If you’re feeling brave you should suit up in safety gear and try The Edge Walk.
The Skydome (1 Blue Jays Way, 416-341-1000): Catch a Jays game here before or after taking in the CN Tower next door.
Ripley’s Aquarium (288 Bremner Blvd, 647-351-3474): Located downtown Toronto, Ripley’s Aquarium isn’t as large as other international aqua-zoos but what it lacks in size it makes up for in smart, well curated exhibits. We love snapping selfies beside the dangerous lagoon and jellyfish displays.
Best Restaurants and Cafes
Edulis (169 Niagara St., 416-703-4222): Married business partners Tobey Nemeth and Michael Caballo opened this 32-seater in 2012. It’s a romantic space serving beautiful French-Spanish cuisine with the slightest Canadian twist. Perfect for a romantic evening.
House on Parliament (454 Parliament St., 416-925-4074): A staple in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood, the gastropub is known for it’s affordable yet incredible British dinners. The menu has been tried, tested and true while the daily specials never seem to miss a beat. An impressive beer list is the cherry on top. If you can’t swing by for dinner, their brunch is also highly recommended.
Sabai Sabai (81 Bloor St. E., 647-748-4225): If you’re looking for a bustling atmosphere near the gay village head to Sabai Sabai on Bloor. The restaurant serves incredible Laos-Thai cuisine late into the night. You’ll likely need a reservation to snag a table in this popular restaurant.
Best Museums and Galleries
The Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648): Featuring the largest collection of international and Canadian art, including original work by Canada’s Group of Seven.
The Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park, 416-586-8000): The museum is one of the largest in North America and certainly the largest in Canada. Its exhibits feature world art, culture and natural history. While you won’t be able to see everything in one visit, don’t miss the dinosaur displays that never cease to amazing.
Best Gay Nightlife
Woody’s (467 Church St, 416-972-0887): One of Toronto’s best mingling bars, Woody’s (and connected bar Sailor’s) is located in the heart of the gay village. It’s your best bet every night of the week and is often a good starting point before exploring nearby dance venues.
Black Eagle (457 Church St, 416-413-1219): A little raunchier and risqué than most Church & Wellesley bars, the Black Eagle features a decent dance space, an incredible second floor patio in the summer and a popular dark room. Be sure to check their online event calendar as each party attracts a different sub-culture from kink to twink.
The Beaver (1192 Queen St. W., 416-537-2768): One of the first establishment’s in Toronto’s Queer West, The Beaver tends to attract a 20- to 30-something mixed crowd. At 10pm Thursday through Saturday the tables disappear and the bar transforms into an alternative dance space. Sunday karaoke is also very popular here.
Lounging in The Ryerson Quad: Located right in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Quad is a surprisingly calm oasis hidden amongst the hustle and bustle. The green space is best enjoyed in the summer when the majority of Ryerson students have vacated the university.
Cycling The Toronto Island: Easily the best view of the city is from Toronto island only a short 10 minute ferry ride away. Get off the ferry at Centre Island and rent a bike for the afternoon. The island isn’t large but you can easily spend an entire afternoon lazily biking from one beach or attraction to the next. Insider tip: the gays and nudists tend to prefer Hanlon’s Point beach on the west-side of the island.
People Watching in Trinity Bellwoods Park: Bring a blanket and a bottle of wine to the city’s hippest park for some serious people watching. The area is cluttered with everyone from trend-setters, dog owners, tightrope walkers and more. The park is also conveniently located near some of the city’s best restaurants along Queen W, Dundas W and Ossington Ave.
Out Adventures will be leading a group of guys through Toronto for two days before heading to Muskoka, Ontario (aka The Hamptons of the North) for our Big Gay Cottage Getaway this July.