Inside the Eaton Centre — Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Toronto Tourism Day One: Head over to the Toronto's Eaton Centre, Canada's third largest mall for some window shopping. Its famous for its exposed industrial-style ceilings and spectacular glass galleria and is one of the city's most popular attractions. It's open year-round (even on statutory holidays) and the multi-floored complex stretches two city blocks and is home to more than 230 shops, restaurants and services.
Take a short cab ride to the St Lawrence Market with its 50-vendors selling gourmet foods, cheeses, meats, produce, candy, and other local delicacies. Wander through the stalls, soaking up the smells and stop for tastings. Discover new taste sensations and stay dry. A great place for lunch.
Just two blocks away is the The Hockey Hall of Fame. Come and discover why Canadians love hockey so much at this shrine to Canada's favourite sport. It's located in a former Bank of Montreal and the grand building is covered with 1885 ornate carvings of Greek gods and coats of arms. See the original 1893 Stanley Cup, jerseys of the great players, a replica of the Montreal Canadiens' locker room and videos of big games. Hands-on exhibits allow you to grab a stick and test your speed or the accuracy of your shot.
[PHOTO_135715] Day Two: The AGO is an art-gallery not to be missed. It's new wing was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and the gallery now has a permanent collection of over 73,000 works of art in 110 galleries. See African and Oceanic art, alongside the largest collections of Henry Moore sculptures as well as Canadian works by Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. Visit the Old Master Collection for works by Dutch, Italian and French masters or the Thomson collection for an excellent survey of European art from the Italian Renaissance to the mid-1900s. Climb the spiraling Baroque Staircase up through the roof into the new Contemporary Galleries. You could easily spend the entire day here.
Next door is Chinatown where you can grab a great lunch at one of the many restaurants serving up hot soups and noodles. On the south-western corner of Dundas and Spadina is the indoor Dragon City Shopping Mall with 30 stores ranging from designer clothes to electronics to beauty products. There's an amazing assortment packed into this little mall. Grab a cheap and cheerful umbrella and walk up a block to Kensington Market where you can scour the vintage shops for some deals or grab something to eat.
The ROM's modern facade — Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Toronto Tourism Take the Spadina Streetcar up to Bloor Street and then grab the subway or take a cab for two-blocks to the Royal Ontario Museum. This is one of North America's oldest museums with an impressive collection of over six million Canadian and international artifacts. It's divided into three gallery spaces: World Culture, Natural History and Hands-on. Inside the Lee-Chin Crystal Galleries you'll find the best and largest collection of Chinese architectural artifacts outside of China. Equally impressive are the galleries on Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, and Bronze Age Aegean are standouts as well as the Bat Cave and the galleries devoted to birds and mammals. The famous dinosaurs remain the biggest draw.
Nearby is the Bata Shoe Museum with huge collection of shoes from around the world started by Sonja Bata, wife of the Thomas J Bata, owner of the iconi Canadian Bata Shoe Company. See ancient shoes from Egypt, shoes from notorious dictators and shoes from famous rock stars. A fun little museum. If shoes aren't your thing, head up around the corner to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art and see a vast collection of ancient American artefacts, Asian and European pottery and porcelain including Mayan and pre-Columbian exhibits, items from the Renaissnace, 17th century English pottery, 18th century Chinese and European porcelains.
Yorkville with all its fine cafes and restaurants is just a short walk away. Have a cocktail and then stay for dinner.
[PHOTO_135719] Day Three: The Ontario Science Centre is probably the most perfect rainy-day haven in the city. This hands-on museum will take an entire day to visit with its interactive installations that encourage kids, teens and adults to reach out and play. There are more than 800 interactive exhibits to enjoy along with events and demonstration, all dedicated to teaching science in a fun way. Wander through a real Rain Forest, examine a real human skeleton and organs, take a lie detector test. Challenge your brain with puzzles and illusions, visit the Moon and see meteorites from Mars, learn about butterflies and bugs. Watch a 20-minute demonstrations of lasers, metal casting, and high-voltage electricity that will make your hair stand on end. The IMAX Dome theatre shows films and documentaries on its giant screen (4,500 time bigger than a TV) with six-channel sound on 44 speakers. The Mastermind gift shop offers a gifts, games and book and the Market Place restaurant has healthy (and junky) cuisine. It's a full day outing that will leave your gang tired but happy.
Don't let a bit of rain or snow get in the way of you enjoying Toronto.