For the next leg of my trip, I went to Toronto to visit some friends and some extended family. The first time I went to Toronto, I was only a small child, and when I went back in 2012, I didn’t get to do much as I was only there for a day or two. This time, I got to do a bit more exploring. Here are some of the highlights from my trip to Toronto.

Before my trip, I had no clue what there was to see in Toronto except the CN Tower, and Niagara Falls, which I had already been to. Luckily, this reddit post helped me find few places less traveled

Royal Ontario Museum

It’s a museum that displays different elements of world culture, art, and natural history. Think British Museum, but much much smaller. One thing the ROM has that a lot of museums don’t are dinosaur fossils! There other exhibits showing world history and culture as well.

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Located on the University of Toronto campus, this library is Canada’s largest repository of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada. Among its collection is a copy of Isaac Newton’s Principia from 1687.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

This aquarium is exactly what you’d expect. Lots of different kinds of exotic sealife, sharks, manta rays, etc. The main exhibit is a giant water tank that contains these animals, and a giant conveyor belt takes guests all around. It’s a pretty good aquarium for those who are into that kind of thing

Casa Loma

This is one of the few “château”s in Canada. It was the largest private residence ever built in Canada and was the former residence of Sir Henry Pellatt, a former Major-General in the Canadian Forces. Now it has turned into a tourist attraction. The museum shows off similar things to what one would expect at a European castle: cool architecture, fancy decorations in just about every room, paintings and other art, antiques, and a garden.


And of course, a giant wine collection.

SkullStore Oddity Shop

This place is SUPER out there. This is a store that sells the skeletons of random animals, the skin of snakes, human remains (bones, preserved brain, etc.), taxidermy, preserved bugs, etc. All cruelty free and legally harvested apparently. Half of the store is an actual shop selling these strange items, and the other half is a free museum of even more weird things that aren’t for sale

The Half House

This half a house just sits on the side of the street like any other building. There isn’t a sign explaining why this is, what it’s doing there or anything like that. According to this site, it’s part of the remnants of the neighbourhood that once was here, where the owners at the time sold only half the house, and so the rest of the community developed around it.

St. Lawrence Market

This place felt similar to something like Granville Island in Vancouver, or Pike Place in Seattle – a farmer’s market positioning itself on selling fresh local meats, seafood, produce, etc. It’s a bit out of the way from the downtown core, and when I went, it was almost closing time, so it wasn’t very busy.

The one thing this place has over other farmer’s markets I’ve seen (at least in Seattle and Vancouver) is the variety. If you zoom in on that picture, below, you’ll see what I mean.

Restaurants

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and therefore has a lot of offer in terms of food. Of all the places I ate at, these two places were definitely the best.

La Palette

This is a French style restaurant near the Kensington district of Toronto. It’s got an interesting selection of game meat, which was the reason why my buddy and I went. They’ve also got a good selection of wine and staff that are knowledgable about it.

Horse carpaccio (top left); horse tartare (bottom right)
Elk tenderloin

For those wondering, horse doesn’t have a strong flavour like beef does, and it chews like super tender beef. Elk on the other hand, tastes kind of like steak with a bit of gaminess, and is actually quite hard to tell the difference unless you’re someone with really sensitive taste buds

Diana’s Seafood Delight

This place is known for their quality oysters and sea urchin, and also precisely the reason why we were there. They have a selection of different oysters from different areas, but if you gave me a blindfold and asked me which oyster was which, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Sea urchin (left); steamed mussels (right
Raw oysters

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