Our second day in Toronto found us starting off at St. Lawrence Market. Unfortunately, it was closed since it was Sunday, but we grabbed brunch at Paddington’s Pump for some peameal bacon!
Peameal bacon was founded in Toronto. It’s a type of back bacon made by rolling cured and trimmed boneless pork loin in cornmeal. At Paddington’s, I got the breakfast on a bun (which has the bacon in it). The boyfriend got the classic peameal bacon sandwich. It was pretty delicious and the honey mustard they give you goes very well with the sandwich.
After eating, we ducked into a Sunday market thing they had going on next to the St. Lawrence Market. Don’t let the fact that there are random vendors selling mostly used goods fool ya. The prices were pretty dang steep. But I’m sure the people there were selling lovely stuff.
Afterwards, we went to Sugar Beach! Sugar Beach is actually a fake beach. It’s man-made, the pristine white sand was transported there, and the quaint pink umbrellas are well-maintained. I found it mind-boggling why anyone would make a fake beach, but I suppose it’s kind of like opening up a new community park.
We ran into a friend from Vancouver as we were leaving the beach! Small world.
Our next stop was a trip to Casa Loma and the Spadina Museum. As much as I wanted to walk through the halls of Casa Loma, I just couldn’t justify the crowds and price. Even when we got there, the number of tour buses that were dropping off loads of tourists was a real turnoff. Fortunately, we had done some research and learned that the nearby Spadina Museum provided guided tours on the Austin family’s old home.
Spadina House is infused to the brim with a rich history of what living in Toronto as a wealthy family would have been like. The rooms inside the house were arranged based on old family photos with the original furniture. The last Spadina family member had sold the house along with all the original furniture, so everything we saw was authentic. Our small tour group (of about 7 people) even got to visit a special closed-off section since we were “behaving so well” as the tour guide puts it! We saw a section of the house that wasn’t fancied up for tourists, which showed how much effort was put into restoring the rest of the house to its former glory.
All in all, I quite liked the Spadina Museum! Unlike Casa Loma, you get a person who takes you on a tour rather than an audio tour that you do by yourself. There are parts of Spadina that were influenced by Casa Loma, such as when the gigantic Casa Loma was built, the family didn’t want to be outdone and expanded their house as well. I wanted to get something from their little gift shop, but there weren’t many Spadina branded items to remind me of the tour so I gave it a pass.
We then took the TTC Subway back downtown. We had bought tickets for the aquarium but we wanted to grab dinner first. There were loads of cool restaurants near Yonge-Dundas Square but we ended up settling for a sushi all-you-can-eat place because we were starving.
I grabbed a Chatime roasted milk tea to have at the aquarium while I was downtown. The lineups were insane. I don’t recall Chatime being quite so popular in Vancouver, nor in Montreal. Like, sure, there’d be lines. But when I was in the downtown Toronto Chatime, the lines were something else altogether.
The boyfriend really wanted to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. You pass by the CN Tower to get to it, and while we both thought the CN Tower was cool, neither of us were interested in paying to go up it. So off to the aquarium we went!
I’d say the whole aquarium trip will take up about 2 hours of your time if you do it leisurely—which we did. There are loads of cool hands-on exhibits (touch a horseshoe crab! Touch a bamboo shark! Let shrimps eat your hand’s dead skin!). In the tank where the shrimps nibble at your dead skin, my boyfriend stuck his hand in. Unfortunately, he forgot he had a rather nasty cut on his hand and the little bit of skin that was hanging/healing got ripped off by a shrimp. Which was kinda painful. But I guess those guys thought they were doing him a favor.
We ended the night with the aquarium (pro tip: if you go at night, the tickets are cheaper).
The next day was our last day. We only had half a day left and we used it to explore more of downtown Toronto again! Instead of taking the subway, we took the streetcar from our Airbnb in Chinatown. The streetcar felt a little unclean, but I couldn’t complain since we were only taking it for a few stops.
We visited the Toronto Eaton Center, checked out Muji (Mujis outside of Asia are kinda…lame), and got cheese tarts at Uncle Tetsu.
The bus ride home was painful and I could only sleep in half-hour intervals. 8-hour bus rides are not fun—especially if there isn’t a fun end destination to look forward to! We took a Greyhound for the trip home, but when we left Montreal we had taken Megabus. I felt that Megabus was much cleaner and more comfortable. Unfortunately, the departure time we had wanted for Megabus sold out so we had to turn to Greyhound to get back to Montreal.
Toronto was lots of fun, but next time I visit Ontario, I’d love to visit some of the other cities! Fingers crossed I’ll get to see Ottawa sometime soon!