Toronto Makes for an Idyllic Budget Vacation Destination
Canada is becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Its favorable currency exchange rate and scenic beauty make it particularly attractive to Americans. If you’re thinking of making the northward journey, Toronto is a wonderful spring or summer destination. The city is packed with museums, and it’s a two-hour train ride away from Niagara Falls.
Canada is on the rise as a tourist destination. Interest in visiting Canada nearly doubled in 2016 for Americans and Germans, according to Travelzoo. For Americans, our northern neighbor comes with a number of plusses. The gorgeous country can be easily accessed, the natives primarily speak English and the U.S. dollar buys nearly 30 percent more in Canada. As of posting this story, $1 U.S. gets you $1.31 Canadian. In addition, the nation celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017 with special events, festivals and exhibits. City-lovers should consider lively Toronto.
Toronto’s population hovers near 2.8 million within town and balloons to more than 5.5 million when counting the suburbs, making Toronto Canada’s largest city. Many consider Toronto to be “the New York City” of Canada, a thriving financial center with top museums and a sophisticated theater scene.
Among the city’s must-see museums are:
· Ontario Science Centre, with more than 800 interactive exhibits that make play out of scientific principles.
· The Royal Ontario Museum, which explores diverse topics from dinosaurs, Canada’s First Peoples, Africa, and, starting March 11, 2017, blue whales.
· The Art Gallery of Ontario, which is actually a museum, is noted for its extensive collection of Henry Moore sculptures plus works by Canadian and European artists. A retrospective of Georgia O’Keeffe runs April 22nd to July 30, 2017.
· Not a must-see, but more of a you-will-be-surprised kind of place, the Bata Shoe Museum presents history and culture from the vantage point of footwear. What you walk in depends on your geographical location, your culture and, often, your economic position. That becomes clear when viewing items such as the nine-inch chopines worn by wealthy women in 16th century Venice, as well as the seeing the warm, practical and prettily decorated footwear of Arctic dwellers.
Harbourfront Centre, a 10-acre site on the shores of Lake Ontario, hosts thousands of events a year, from classical and rock concerts to a HarbourKIDS circus with juggling and magic acts. Take in the free Toronto Storytelling Festival, April 2, 2017, and check the calendar for upcoming events. A waterfront walkway along the lake makes strolling scenic. New grassy areas provide places to sit.
The iconic waterfront park has been under renovation for several years. With luck, the first phase, which includes the development of waterfront trails, should reopen in time for Canada’s July 1 birthday fête.
Day trip: Niagara Falls
The train ride from downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls – the Canadian side, of course – takes two hours. Once there, you have enough time to get thoroughly drenched aboard one of the boats that gets you close to the thundering waters. Dry off while taking in the scenic views from the White Water Walk boardwalk.