How to take a staycation in Toronto

Presented by Expedia Canada: Look beyond the usual suspects to take your senses on an adventure in your own backyard


Toronto, it’s time for our annual September tradition of clinging to the waning summer with unabashed desperation. This includes the planning of fantasy trips (“maybe I’ll find a discounted last-minute flight to Belize…”) and the subsequent realization that all vacation funds have long since dried up. Well, there is one way keep the vacation going, funds or no funds.

We’ve teamed up with Expedia.ca to show you how to take your final holiday of summer 2015 here, at home, in the 6.

Discover Hidden Toronto

Do you know that Toronto has a Hindu temple? The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan mandir is a gorgeous, hand-carved architectural gem that sits on 18-acre grounds just south of Albion Rd. by the 427. The temple, its cultural centre, and a permanent exhibition about Indo-Canadian heritage are all open daily for free visits. For a car-free travel option, take a Lost River Walk through your own neighbourhood. These free, guided hikes map the city’s watershed, uncovering present and past river systems that underlie the grid. If you can’t find a route that suits you, take one of the website’s self-guided tours or, better yet, arrange to lead one of your own.

Leave Land Behind

If you’re hoping for less tourism and more tranquility, Float Toronto’s sensory deprivation tanks give you an hour or more of complete respite from all external stimuli (including the catwalk that is Queen West, where Float is located.) It costs $65 for an hour of saltwater silence. For more than 60 minutes away from it all, Expedia.ca recommends extending your usual Toronto Islands day-trip and check into one of the cozy Ward’s or Algonquin Island B&Bs. You can settle into a holiday pace with continental breakfast or a bike ride along the water, even while the CN Tower looms large on the horizon. Nightly and weekly rates vary.

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The view from Toronto Island.

Drink the City In

Even the daily coffee ritual can be elevated to vacation-level diversion. How? Cats. Toronto’s first cat café is opening any day now, it’s at College and Spadina, and Tot the Cat Café will deliver on the promise of both coffee and cats. In case your fur stands on end at the thought of felines, consider instead taking the Old Toronto Beer Tour. Traipse through town for a full day of drinking (and, presumably, some learning) on a history-minded brewery crawl, led by a beer expert. The day will cost $129, or $179 if you top off your buzz with a four-course dinner.

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TOT the Cat Café opens soon near College and Spadina.

Sweat It Out

For some low-key physical activity with or without booze, try your hand at shuffleboard at the city’s—and possibly country’s—one and only lawn games bar. Housed in a cavernous, woodsy Little Italy basement, Track & Field Bar has bocce and shuffleboard courts available for walk-in gamers or for reservation ($40/hour). Need more of a vigorous sweat session? The Monkey Vault training centre at Jane and St. Clair is a massive, 10,000 square-foot activity facility for parkour, gymnastics and rock climbing. An adult intro to parkour class is $20, or drop into the centre and monkey around for only $15.

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Track & Field, at 860 College St. West (at Concord)

For more great ideas on what to do right here in your own backyard, check out our event listings.

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