A Summer Staycation in Toronto

CN Tower, Harbour Front Centre, Rogers Centre
CN Tower, Harbour Front Centre, Rogers Centre

In August 2015, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Toronto the 4th most liveable city in the world – a position Toronto has held for several years now.

The EIU ranking is based on 30 factors in five areas and includes stability, healthcare, environment, and education.  Living in Toronto, we know how blessed we are.  So, when my husband took one week off of work, we knew that a staycation would be perfect!

A staycation is a vacation that is spent sleeping at one’s home while enjoying activities that are within driving distance.  Having spent the better part of two weeks in June traveling to four different cities, we were grateful to sleep in our own beds by night while going out by day.

We had three simple goals: sleep in, eat out, and do some tourist-y things!

Although this post is Toronto-based, I am sure that you can find similar activities to fill a day, a weekend or a week long staycation in your home town.  Do a search on local festivals and happenings (blogto.com is my favorite for Toronto).

Doing something as simple as playing tourist or spending the afternoon in a different neighborhood from time to time can help with unwinding and gaining a different perspective!

Here’s what we did:

The Canadian National Exhibition (The Ex)
The Canadian National Exhibition (The Ex)

The Canadian National Exhibition (also known as The Ex) is an annual end of summer fair down near Lake Ontario at Exhibition Place.  The fair has been running since 1879 and includes agricultural exhibits, amusement rides, midways, feature acts and music as well as food.  Our favorite parts include the farm exhibit, the Sky Ride cable cars, deep fried foods, and the shows. The Ex runs for two weeks and three weekends and ends on Labor Day.

Princes' Gates at The CNE
Princes’ Gates at The CNE

We tried to stay within 10 kms of Toronto to keep it relaxing.  The Beaches area is a community east of downtown with a beach, boardwalk, pool and shopping.

We combined a trip to the Beaches with a stop at the St Lawrence Market for lunch and ice cream for dessert from Ed’s Real Scoop.  The St Lawrence Market is a food market located at Jarvis St and Front St and houses over 120 food vendors.  Ed’s Real Scoop makes homemade ice cream with our favorite flavors being lime coconut ice cream and the raspberry and lemon sorbets.

One night, we went to see Kinky Boots at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.  The show was amazing and has won 6 Tony Awards.  Inspired by true events, the show is about two unlikely men who collaborate on making boots while discovering the importance of accepting people for who they are.  My favorite character is Charlie’s hometown love interest named Lauren – a character resembling Cyndi Lauper who wrote the songs!

Royal Alexandra Theatre
Royal Alexandra Theatre

Our staycation was during the week of the Toronto International BuskerFest in support of Epilepsy Toronto.  This festival is North America’s largest street festival and always includes international as well as local talent.  Yonge St is closed off for 4 days for performers and vendors to entertain and feed visitors.  This year a schedule was published making planning a lot easier. We combined this outing with dinner at nearby Golden Thai.

One weekday we went on a one hour tour of the Toronto Harbour with Toronto Harbour Tours.  This narrated tour includes many interesting facts about our city (for example, Front St used to be called Waterfront St and was truly at the water front before land was reclaimed) as well as a stop at Centre Island where you can rent bikes or go through a cedar maze.  That day we had lunch at Centreville Amusement Park, an amusement park that caters to young children.

And, one night we went to a Blue Jays game.  As the only Canadian team in the Major Leagues, the Jays get a lot of love from us and we go to at least one game in the summer.  No summer staycation in Toronto would be complete without the Jays, who are currently leading the American League East –  Go Jays!!

The Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre
The Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre

Finally, and because one really should try to relax, we did spend some time resting at home and enjoying family time.  Let me know what you do on your staycation!!


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4 thoughts on “A Summer Staycation in Toronto

  1. As a Canadian currently living in the US where school starts well before labor day, I miss the EX, especially going with my sweet friend and our kids. The Buskerfest, Toronto Island, basically all things Canada. I will be living vicariously through you.

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