Traveling Husky: A guide to Toronto

A look at Nathan Phillips Square, a popular ice-skating rink where natives and tourists alike skate for free. (Angie DeRosa/ DC) 

If you have a passport, you should definitely take advantage of how close Canada actually is to Connecticut. When your classes have you too exhausted, pack up your bags for a quick weekend gateway up north. Last month, I visited the city of Toronto (otherwise known as Drake’s hometown). It’s about an eight-hour drive, but well worth it because there is no better time to visit than winter.

Where to Stay

Fortunately, it is relatively inexpensive to plan a trip to Canada. Right now, with the exchange rate, one Canadian dollar is equal to about 75 cents in American dollars. I highly recommend using websites like Orbitz to get discounted rates on hotels. We did, and stayed at the Bond Place Hotel, which is a block away from Yonge-Dundasa Square–the “Times Square” of Toronto– and the Eaton Centre, a massive shopping mall.

Getting around Toronto is relatively easy as well, with most things within walking distance.  If you prefer not to walk, driving is really doable and parking is not hard to find; and more importantly, it’s inexpensive. They also have a public transportation system that, according to our taxi driver, is very simple to use.

What to See

Distillery District – The whole premise of our trip was devoted to visiting Toronto’s Distillery Distract. Though it’s too late now, from mid-November through December the area transforms for an annual Christmas Market. The market is rated within the top 10 holiday markets around the world. It resembles what the North Pole would be like, with craft and food vendors, beer gardens and live entertainment. You can get your photo taken with Santa Claus, within a sea of pink pine trees and the gigantic, decorated Christmas tree.

Air Canada Centre – If there is one thing you should definitely do while you’re in Canada, it’s go see a hockey game. Canadians are known for their love of this sport, so be sure to catch the Toronto Maple Leafs play. And while you’re at it, you can stop by the Hockey Hall of Fame and see the originally Stanley Cup.

Nathan Phillips Square – During the winter months an ice skating rink is set up for natives and tourists to enjoy downtown. It’s free to skate; you just have to pay for rentals. There are giant letters set up spelling “Toronto,” which makes for the perfect photo op. When you’re done with skating, you can walk around to explore a variety of vendors set up in the square and get a bite to eat at the food trucks along the street.

CN Tower – Now, I’m not one to typically want to do touristy things, but the CN Tower is a must, especially if you’ve never gone before. It is the third tallest tower in the world, and the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. On a cloudless day you can see out to the entire city. At the top of the tower there’s even a 360 restaurant, but beware: it is pricey.

A Toronto Maple Leafs game in the Air Canada Centre, a common event to attend when visiting Canada. (Angie DeRosa/ DC) 

Where to Eat

Eggspectation – Eggpectation is a Canadian restaurant with some franchises in the U.S. (the closest location is in Maryland). They primarily serve breakfast and lunch, and they have everything from traditional breakfast foods to sandwiches, crepes, burgers and pastas. They’re known for their French toast, and for good reason, as it is so savory and delicious. On weekends, they offer brunch specials on bottomless mimosas and bloody caesars.

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A photo posted by Angie DeRosa (@theangiederosa) on

The Loose Moose Tap & Grill – Just a few of blocks from the Air Canada Centre, The Loose Moose Tap & Grill is a rustic bar with a vintage feel. It is a popular spot amongst natives to hang out before a game, or to watch sports on one of the many large, flat screen TVs they have. Their food and beer options are endless, and it’s definitely someplace to check out if you’re in the area.


Angie DeRosa is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at angelina.derosa@uconn.edu.  She tweets @theangiederosa