We went to Cuba via Toronto in March 2016 and decided to make the most of the layover and see what Toronto had to offer. Both are very contrasting places which made for an exciting and unforgettable holiday of different cultural experiences, views and appreciation. We spent 2 nights pre-Cuba and stayed in Hotel Victoria (157e excl breakfast) and 3 nights post-Cuba and stayed in Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown (251e inc breakfast, breakfast was not great!).
We purchased the Toronto CityPASS for our pre-Cuba stop for 61e pps. This pass covered our entrance to a number of attractions. We did the CN tower and the aquarium in one day and the Museum and Casa Loma on the second day as part of this pass.
The CN Tower is a must when visiting Toronto. It is the most prominent and iconic feature of the Toronto skyline with outstanding views of the city at a spine tingling height of 553m. A glass floor offers another hair-raising experience. It is illuminated at night which provides an impressive backdrop when strolling along the streets at night.
View from the CN Tower Observation Deck
We enjoyed the underwater tunnel the most, it has a conveyor belt which carried us along while we admired the fish and sharks. Its busy so be chill!
Some of the sharks you can see in the Aquarium
Royal Ontario Museum is a very striking building with hours of interesting facts and artifacts. Wear comfortable shoes and make use of the map to pick a few exhibits to visit, instead of trying to conquer all! As childhood fans of Jurassic park, we were most excited for the dinosaur exhibit and it didn’t disappoint.
A Dinosaur skeleton at the Royal Ontario Museum
Casa Loma is a Gothic styled house which ended up bankrupting the owner due to its extravagant decor. Nice to walk around but you wont miss much by not adding it to your itinerary. There was some kind of random kiddies theme/party going on that we couldn’t make any sense of it with lots of kids roaming around. The house has been featured in some movies (X-Men, Chicago to name a few) so that may add appeal for movie buffs.
As part of the ticket you can also visit Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre, however due to time constraints we did not have time.
Post our Cuban holiday we spent 3 days in Toronto, mostly walking around the city. We visited the Entertainment District, China town, strolled from one shopping centre to another and walked the underground streets to avoid the cold.
A visit to Toronto wouldn’t be complete without going to see Niagara falls. We booked with King Tours which cost $113 / 76e pps and arranged to be collected from our hotel. After a short drive with a very talkative, eccentric bus driver we stopped off on Niagara-on-the-Lake, and then a winery co/owned by Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters actor). After tasting some ice wine we were on the road again towards Niagara Falls. We were given a few hours to roam around and take pictures of the falls and relish in the spectacular views. It was amazing.
Our lovely competent bus driver decided to leave without us which made for a slightly stressful finish to the day. After an hour of ringing the company the driver finally returned and brought us back to Toronto and gave us one more lasting memory by hitting a wing mirror off a car. Definitely an unforgettable tour, for both the good and bad parts!