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Visiting Toronto and Montreal

KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
edited September 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm visiting Toronto and Montreal next week for 8 nights/9 days, from old London, to see family. I've got accommodation and flights sorted, with train trips between the two and to Niagara left to book. Visa requirements are not an issue either.

What I would like are suggestions for things to do in all of the above. I've done some reading and have some ideas, but would welcome local ideas. I like going out but probably won't be clubbing. I also enjoy museums, galleries and general historical stuff. Shopping or shows are not a big deal.

Also, any tips re, well, tipping, local customs etc

Thanks in advance

Freedom for the Northern Isles!
Kalkino on

Posts

  • Page-Page- Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Tip 15-20%. In Montreal you can get by just fine with minimal French, especially downtown, but it's nice to have a bit just to be polite.

    If you're not driving the public transit systems are pretty different. Toronto's public transit is passable, but the trains only run along a few major streets, so everything else is buses. They also close up shop around 1:30am, so try not to get caught out. Montreal's trains cover more area, but there are still buses around. It's easy to navigate without knowing much French.

    Last call in Toronto is 2am, in Montreal it's a bit later, I think around 3am? I don't drink, so whatever. Legal age is not like the US, so that shouldn't be a problem. It's 19 in Toronto, 18 in Montreal.

    There are usually some local festivals or whatever going on in each city, so check your dates to see if there's anything you'd be interested in.

    I'd personally suggest you check out Toronto's main, if small, Koreatown area, which is right downtown on Bloor St. between Bathurst St. and Christie St. If you haven't had good Korean food before then it's one of the best places to get it outside of Korea itself. My personal favourite place is Imonay. You can see it on google maps street view, it's right behind the godamn Coke truck. Their gamjatang (pork bone soup) is pretty much my all-time favourite food.

    Oh, one more alcohol related item: in Ontario it is all government controlled, but more strictly than in the UK. Bars and restaurants can be licensed and sell whatever until 2am, but the only places you can buy alcohol otherwise are government run stores, called The Beer Store and LCBO (which sells spirits and wines and such), and because they're government run they have terrible hours. In Quebec you can buy alcohol at every local store and supermarket.

    Page- on
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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Thanks. I hadn't thought about Korean food.

    I don't imagine I'll do a lot of drinking but I am keen to try the craft brew pubs, in both towns and the wine festival in Niagara

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • Page-Page- Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Toronto has a Distillery District which is where a lot of the local craft brews are set up. There are tours you can get in on that include food and drink tasting options. I've never been on one, but I've heard good things.

    Korean food is the best!

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  • LuianeLuiane Registered User regular
    I actually visited Montreal (and Ottawa, though not relevant for you) earlier this year and made a similar thread to this here: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/160755/visiting-canada#latest

    That said, the things I enjoyed the most in Montreal where probably the following:
    Taking in the view from Mont Royal, the mountain by downtown Montreal from which the city has it's name. You can get a good view over the downtown and it is generally a pleasant place.
    The olympic park, especially the botanical gardens. Depends on whether you like gardens and so I suppose, but their botanical gardens where great - especially their Chinese section I must say. Not sure how it is during this part of the year, obviously.
    There are several museums, their archaeological museum was a bit lacklustre in my opinion - as a European I'm used to archaeological findings being several hundred years younger before they get all that interesting (although they had a rather nice exposition on the Etruscans, it felt somewhat backward to be looking at an exposition about some ancient europeans in Canada. Had hoped for more on the natives that lived in Canada before the colonization.)
    There's also an art gallery that is supposed to be good, but since I am not a big art fan I did not visit.

    If you like shopping, the underground shopping mall is good - it is large and has a lot of shops, especially clothing ones.

    For food I liked the older parts of Montreal, quite close to the river. A few streets there that where rather quaint with a lot of restaurants to choose from. Also had some good food in Montreals Chinatown, which although rather small can be nice to have a quick look at - though not something to plan a day around.

    The metro in Montreal was good for getting around, buy a pass for a few days and it should cover all your transportation needs. The pass also works for buses to my knowledge, but I did not need to travel with any other than the airport bus during my stay.

    Steam id: Varys
    LoL EU West nickname: Irridan
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    I would love to show you around Toronto during the weekend! It's always fun to meet new people :)

    If you're interested you can PM me the details

    0WBv0.png
  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    The distillery district is always fun. The Steamwhistle brewery is pretty neat. I haven't checked out the Mill Street brewery, but their Organic brew is one of my favourites.
    The AGO and the ROM are both very cool for art and history museums.
    You may want to stop into Kensington Market. It's a neat little neighbourhood with lots of cool independent shops where you can find your vintage clothes or whatever.
    For bars, you may want to check out the Kind & Bathurst area (trendy), the Queen & Ossington area (slightly less trendy), the Wellsely and Church area (known as the gaybourhood) or the Bloor and Bathurst area (lots of bars.)
    I'm quite fond of Sneaky Dee's, which is a neat little bar that has live music upstairs. It was more of a punk hang out when I was in university. I'm not really sure what the scene is like there now since I don't get over there very often.
    If you get over to Ossington, check out my friend's restaurant. It's called Hawker Bar and servers some decent Singapore inspired food.
    If you make it to Queen and University area check out the Korean Grill House. All you can eat Korean barbeque that you cool yourself in the grill on the table. It's super delicious and the prices are very reasonable.
    For happy hour drinks try out Crocodile Rock. They have $4 drinks.

    As for payments, a 15% gratuity is customary at bars & restaurants. Also, don't feel badly about putting down exact change. The loonies and twonies pile up in your pocket and weigh you down, otherwise.

  • Page-Page- Registered User regular
    There's a place called the Victory Pub that my friends all like, which is at Bloor and Bathurst (just south of Honest Ed's on the non-Bathurst side). Best thing about that is Bloor and Bathurst is like 2 blocks away from the downtown Koreatown.

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Page- wrote: »
    Toronto has a Distillery District which is where a lot of the local craft brews are set up. There are tours you can get in on that include food and drink tasting options. I've never been on one, but I've heard good things.

    Korean food is the best!

    We went to Steam Whistle and Mill Street Pub over the summer - it was an interesting contrast if you're into beers and/or tours. If you can do just one, I'd recommend Steam Whistle; the beer is OK, but the tour was much better.

    Other things we liked was the Allan Gardens, if you're into plants (weirdo).

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Godfather wrote: »
    I would love to show you around Toronto during the weekend! It's always fun to meet new people :)

    If you're interested you can PM me the details

    I think I'll need to spend the weekend with my family, thanks though. I probably will have time to meet people during the week though, during the day-

    I am interested in the pub tour idea, I've not had an opportunity to do that yet anywhere

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Grifter wrote: »
    The distillery district is always fun. The Steamwhistle brewery is pretty neat. I haven't checked out the Mill Street brewery, but their Organic brew is one of my favourites.
    The AGO and the ROM are both very cool for art and history museums.
    You may want to stop into Kensington Market. It's a neat little neighbourhood with lots of cool independent shops where you can find your vintage clothes or whatever.
    For bars, you may want to check out the Kind & Bathurst area (trendy), the Queen & Ossington area (slightly less trendy), the Wellsely and Church area (known as the gaybourhood) or the Bloor and Bathurst area (lots of bars.)
    I'm quite fond of Sneaky Dee's, which is a neat little bar that has live music upstairs. It was more of a punk hang out when I was in university. I'm not really sure what the scene is like there now since I don't get over there very often.
    If you get over to Ossington, check out my friend's restaurant. It's called Hawker Bar and servers some decent Singapore inspired food.
    If you make it to Queen and University area check out the Korean Grill House. All you can eat Korean barbeque that you cool yourself in the grill on the table. It's super delicious and the prices are very reasonable.
    For happy hour drinks try out Crocodile Rock. They have $4 drinks.

    As for payments, a 15% gratuity is customary at bars & restaurants. Also, don't feel badly about putting down exact change. The loonies and twonies pile up in your pocket and weigh you down, otherwise.


    I've had a good wander through Bathurst /Ronscavelles today, which has been good. Do you know any good bars with gardens in the centre city? I'll probably be about there mid week

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • I needed a gnome to post.I needed a gnome to post. Registered User regular
    I miss eating at Schwartz's in Montreal. It's really simple smoked meat but it's fantastic. Often a little bit of a line but it's not that long a wait. Worth a bite if you're in the area and you like meat.

    7UVunkN.jpg
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    I miss eating at Schwartz's in Montreal. It's really simple smoked meat but it's fantastic. Often a little bit of a line but it's not that long a wait. Worth a bite if you're in the area and you like meat.

    So good!

    Also apprently there's a movie.

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Well, Schwartz's was pretty good today, but I'm still on the fence with poutine. I feel I should have been more drunk before eating

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    Ahh yeah, I'm not that big a fan of poutine but it's good after a night of drinking to soak up all that alchool! Taste will vary a lot depending on where you ordered it. I'm not a fan of poutines that use soft soggy brown fries.

    Anyways if you intend to go for a drink while you're still here in Montreal and you like microbrewery I would suggest a place like Dieu du Ciel, or L'amère à boire!

    PSN: PatParadize
    Battle.net: Fireflash#1425
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Fireflash wrote: »
    Ahh yeah, I'm not that big a fan of poutine but it's good after a night of drinking to soak up all that alchool! Taste will vary a lot depending on where you ordered it. I'm not a fan of poutines that use soft soggy brown fries.

    Anyways if you intend to go for a drink while you're still here in Montreal and you like microbrewery I would suggest a place like Dieu du Ciel, or L'amère à boire!

    Thanks for the tips. I've headed back to the hotel as was a bit shattered, but I'll swing pat Dieu du Ciel tomorrow as it is near the hotel

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    Good choice! Although I may be biased as I both live and work within walking distance of DDC :p

    PSN: PatParadize
    Battle.net: Fireflash#1425
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    I found that Montreal's underground city was an interesting area to walk around.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_City,_Montreal

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    edited September 2012
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Grifter wrote: »
    The distillery district is always fun. The Steamwhistle brewery is pretty neat. I haven't checked out the Mill Street brewery, but their Organic brew is one of my favourites.
    The AGO and the ROM are both very cool for art and history museums.
    You may want to stop into Kensington Market. It's a neat little neighbourhood with lots of cool independent shops where you can find your vintage clothes or whatever.
    For bars, you may want to check out the Kind & Bathurst area (trendy), the Queen & Ossington area (slightly less trendy), the Wellsely and Church area (known as the gaybourhood) or the Bloor and Bathurst area (lots of bars.)
    I'm quite fond of Sneaky Dee's, which is a neat little bar that has live music upstairs. It was more of a punk hang out when I was in university. I'm not really sure what the scene is like there now since I don't get over there very often.
    If you get over to Ossington, check out my friend's restaurant. It's called Hawker Bar and servers some decent Singapore inspired food.
    If you make it to Queen and University area check out the Korean Grill House. All you can eat Korean barbeque that you cool yourself in the grill on the table. It's super delicious and the prices are very reasonable.
    For happy hour drinks try out Crocodile Rock. They have $4 drinks.

    As for payments, a 15% gratuity is customary at bars & restaurants. Also, don't feel badly about putting down exact change. The loonies and twonies pile up in your pocket and weigh you down, otherwise.


    I've had a good wander through Bathurst /Ronscavelles today, which has been good. Do you know any good bars with gardens in the centre city? I'll probably be about there mid week

    Sorry, didn't see this until today. With gardens? There are lots of patios if that's what you mean. I think the Green Room up at Bloor and Bathurst area is a cool spot. There's kind of a patio area. To get to it you need to go in this back ally and the patio is kind of behind everything. If you want to do some good people watching the Black Bull on Queen West is really good and they have Organic on tap. Try the perogies. If you want something a bit more upscale then the rooftop bar at The Thompson Hotel is pretty awesome. The drink price is rather pricey, though. If you want an awesome sports bar experience then check out Real Sports Bar down by the Air Canada Centre. It's pretty impressive. I don't get down there very often since Shoeless Joes on King and Duncan is a really nice sports pub and it's closer to my place.

    Almost forgot about Jack Astors next to Dundas Square. Their patio is pretty awesome since it's a few stories up overlooking the square. Pretty fun hanging out there on a Saturday since there's always something happening in the square on the weekend.

    Hope that I'm not too late getting this info to you.

    Grifter on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Grifter wrote: »
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Grifter wrote: »
    The distillery district is always fun. The Steamwhistle brewery is pretty neat. I haven't checked out the Mill Street brewery, but their Organic brew is one of my favourites.
    The AGO and the ROM are both very cool for art and history museums.
    You may want to stop into Kensington Market. It's a neat little neighbourhood with lots of cool independent shops where you can find your vintage clothes or whatever.
    For bars, you may want to check out the Kind & Bathurst area (trendy), the Queen & Ossington area (slightly less trendy), the Wellsely and Church area (known as the gaybourhood) or the Bloor and Bathurst area (lots of bars.)
    I'm quite fond of Sneaky Dee's, which is a neat little bar that has live music upstairs. It was more of a punk hang out when I was in university. I'm not really sure what the scene is like there now since I don't get over there very often.
    If you get over to Ossington, check out my friend's restaurant. It's called Hawker Bar and servers some decent Singapore inspired food.
    If you make it to Queen and University area check out the Korean Grill House. All you can eat Korean barbeque that you cool yourself in the grill on the table. It's super delicious and the prices are very reasonable.
    For happy hour drinks try out Crocodile Rock. They have $4 drinks.

    As for payments, a 15% gratuity is customary at bars & restaurants. Also, don't feel badly about putting down exact change. The loonies and twonies pile up in your pocket and weigh you down, otherwise.


    I've had a good wander through Bathurst /Ronscavelles today, which has been good. Do you know any good bars with gardens in the centre city? I'll probably be about there mid week

    Sorry, didn't see this until today. With gardens? There are lots of patios if that's what you mean. I think the Green Room up at Bloor and Bathurst area is a cool spot. There's kind of a patio area. To get to it you need to go in this back ally and the patio is kind of behind everything. If you want to do some good people watching the Black Bull on Queen West is really good and they have Organic on tap. Try the perogies. If you want something a bit more upscale then the rooftop bar at The Thompson Hotel is pretty awesome. The drink price is rather pricey, though. If you want an awesome sports bar experience then check out Real Sports Bar down by the Air Canada Centre. It's pretty impressive. I don't get down there very often since Shoeless Joes on King and Duncan is a really nice sports pub and it's closer to my place.

    Almost forgot about Jack Astors next to Dundas Square. Their patio is pretty awesome since it's a few stories up overlooking the square. Pretty fun hanging out there on a Saturday since there's always something happening in the square on the weekend.

    Hope that I'm not too late getting this info to you.

    Just in time! I may have a chance to use the information this weekend

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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