Travel: Insider's guide to... Toronto

What's the weather like now?

Toronto is temperate by Canadian standards. At the moment, although it can change with little warning, it's still summer here. The leaves are turning magnificent shades of russet and gold but, at least until the end of September, it's likely to remain shorts-and-T-shirt weather with the odd bit of rain.

What are the locals complaining about?

Traffic jams. It's cheap to make films here, so Hollywood heads this way and production companies often cause gridlocks. Residents are unimpressed.

Who's the talk of the town?

The city has been buzzing over the Toronto Film Festival. Hero of the hour is Atom Egoyan, the Canadian director whose movie Felicia's Journey was shown at a gala opening.

What's the cool drink to order this year?

Molson, Labatts - anything home-produced is passe. Order a margarita or simple glass of white wine instead.

What are people eating?

This being a city of WASPs (white Anglo Saxon Protestants) and immigrants, almost every sort of ethnic dish is available. "Fusion food" - a blend of Asian and almost any other cuisine - is all the rage.

What's the latest outrageous stuff on TV?

There's a choice of at least 67 channels: flick through them to find the cult favourite, a cable- network show called Oz (also shown on British terrestrial TV). It's a prison soap opera with no holds barred: love intrigue, murder, sodomy - you name it, they've got it.

Where would the locals not dream of going?

It's definitely not the done thing to go to Wayne Gretsky's restaurant near the Skydome - the city's baseball pitch and a major landmark. Gretsky is a mega-champion ice- hockey star who recently retired. Locals consider his Planet Hollywood-type venture tacky.

Where are the locals going that tourists don't know about yet?

The "hot" area is Queen East (to talk like the Torontonians, drop the "Street" in place names). This up-and-coming part of town has retro-style antique stores and "really cool" eateries.

Where are the chic doing their shopping?

By comparison to the UK, anything is a bargain. Armani and the like are downtown on Bloor, west of Bay; Yorkville, off Bay and Bloor, is full of boutiques where those with money and mobile phones like to be seen; Queen West has street cred and on Saturday is packed.

What's the trendy place to escape to for the weekend?

In summer, many Torontonians make the two-hour trek to weekend "cottage" country, at Georgian Bay on Lake Ontario (a cottage being anything from a log cabin to a mansion). The area was made famous by the Group of Seven landscape artists. In winter they bunker down at home - or in a bar.

Harriet O'Brien is a British journalist currently working for the `National Post' in Toronto.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments