The thing is that I will be visiting my son who is studying at the University of Toronto next Easter week.

My interests when visiting a new city -apart from blues and rock music shows- are:

1.- Contemporary architecture;

2.- Discovering places and neighborhoods not mentioned on tourist guides;

3.- One day trip to towns around the main city;

4.- Local "cuisine" as there´s an Spanish cuisine. Not meaning "hi-end cuisine" a la Ferrán Adriá. This trend seems to me like 70s progressive music -how to get the more complicated pentatonic scale-. Let´s keep it simple;

5.- Eating on the cheap. I mean affordable prices. Not breaking the bank;

6.- Drinking undiscovered beers and/or unexpected wines

7.- Bookstores (if they still exists); CD stores -if they still exist- and why not -the vice strikes again- audio stores -if they still exist-;

I´m open to your suggestions.

Thank you all.

watch Maple Leaves getting their arses kicked during the NHL season LOL!
Go up to the top of that big tall thing. (You can't miss it.). It even has some nice solid glass floors, in case you don't like heights. Other than that, just walk around and you should find something to do. The people are really nice. You can just walk up to them and ask them questions, and they'll actually answer you. (I'm from NY.)
You better be in Montreal or even in Quebec city with some nice chicks and bar are open until 3 o'clock .........
Hi Daniel – was born and raised in T.O. but don’t live in the city proper anymore so can’t really recommend anything - u can try this link.

things to do

Tried to get my daughter to go to U of T. She ended up at Western in London, Ont.

Marakanetz – Maple Leaf fans have developed a thick hockey skin as they have had to. A Montreal Canadiens joke is what do the Canadiens have that the Leafs don’t have.

"Stanley Cup Championship Team Photos in color"

Last Championship Year was 1967 for the Leafs – I was 5.
This years team is showing a little promise in the short season. They have had no reason to improve as they continue to make money.
You have to go to Sotto Sotto. I mean if you like Italian. Fabulous food. Small and quaint. Very famous with photos all over the place with every Star you could imagine taken right there. Rock Stars and Holly Wood alike. Prices will blow you away. No different from anywhere else.

116A Avenue RD.
Bixi bike rentals: Ride all around U of T and hit a couple of museums. You can even ride through China Town. The other place I love is Kensington Market. Buy anything-cheap. My favorite restaurant is Grilled Cheese in Kensington Market.
Coincident speakers are produced about 20km northeast of town. Email Israel Blume about a tour? I think his audiogon name is "Beanie".
Also, the best Dim Sum anywhere.
If you take a drive down Yonge St. heading north you will come to a little town called Richmond Hill where there is a good little shop called "American Sound" run by Angie...very nice gear there.

Not sure what is left in the downtown area, used to be nice shop in the Yorkville area, but it's been a few years since I was around there. Big HMV music shop on Yonge St. downtown - Bookstores are Chapters - like Barnes and Noble - the little places are gone.

Good restaurants everywhere in TO.

Lots of microbreweries around too....Have fun!

Ct0517 - I went to Western!
Granite Brewery on Eglinton Ave East. A great micro brewery.

The big tower is the CN Tower. It's a must see for a first timer.

Remember, Toronto is Canada's largest city so the opportunity to see top notch live music is abundant. I live in Rochester NY so for me to see a big name in Toronto is easier than going to NYC or Boston. I've spent a lifetime going to Toronto for very short trips. It's a beautiful clean city unlike anything you'll see in most of the U.S.

Comedy. Canadians are some of the funniest people on the planet and unlike say English humor, people from the U.S. get it. See if you can catch a show at Second City.

Good quality food is everywhere. I used to go to this seafood joint called The Filet of Soul. Not sure if its still around. To be honest, I would ask your concierge about dining. That sort of thing changes constantly in big cities. I've never had a bad meal anywhere in Canada. If its packed the food is good. One thing they do in Canada which is more of a tactic you would see at the Campo Di Fiore or Little Italy in New York is they come out on the sidewalk and try to lure you in for a meal. The best places don't need to do this, regardless of pricing.

If you haven't spent much time in Canada, you should try and find a good joint for Poutine. This is fresh cut fries with fresh cheese curds covered in a poultry gravy. It's really good and I've read recently that there's restaurants in Toronto that are kicking it up a bit with fancy ingredients.

There's a ton of great museums. If you have the time check one out. Again ask your concierge. I believe the Art Gallerynof Toronto is remodeling.

Check out China Town.

Go shopping at Eaton Centre.

Spend time asking questions. People are friendly. If your daughter is in school there, it's in your best interest to get to know the city. It's a great one I can assure you.

This is going to piss some people off but Canadians are not in love with the U.S. Remember this. They hate our outlook on gun laws and health care and cannot understand it at all. They basically think we're stupid on issues like this. If you lean towards the right On US politics keep it to yourself.
Soundscapes on College is a great CD shop.

Sonic Boom on Bathurst is great as well, haven't been to their new location but the old one was impressive.

Rotate This on Queen West is great for records.

Both Soundscapes and Rotate this sell tickets to shows and they have a good listing of local concerts on their websites.

Beer wise, Volo on Yonge or Beer Bistro on King Street are good if a bit pricey. C'est What on Front Street is quite good as well.

Hard to narrow down food but I hear that Burger's Priest is supposed to be good.

Lots to do there enjoy your stay...
The only stereo store that i know of downtown in bay bloor radio. For used books, bmv is a chain with the largest branch near bloor west of spadina. Elliot's is also a good used book store on yonge north of wellesley. As mentioned sonic boom on bathurst just south of bloor, has a large used cd, dvd blu-ray selection. They also are pretty well stocked with used and new vinyl. For food, i like the big smoke burger on king st east of yonge (don't go to the one at the eaton center). The swiss chalet chain serves a good rotisserie chicken at a reasonable price. There are many chinese and vietnamese restaurants in chinatown near dundas and spadina. I live in scarborough (north east of downtown) and am more familiar with the restaurants in that area. If you are driving there are many more options. Most of the stereo stores are in the suburbs. Lastly i heard the distillery district is pretty nice (i haven't been there myself}. If you have any specific questions that i can help with, feel free to pm me.

I just seen it today in the evening news, Toronto is the 4th
largest city in North America. You are lucky to come Easter week, it has been very cold so far,it is about to warm up by the end of this week. How do you like traffic? And in regards to CN Tower the bottom part looks bad ,its made of concrete in the 70's and now it can use some restoration work. Check the ROM [ Royal Ontario Museum ] at Bloor & St George and few blocks away on Bloor & Bay ,stop at Bay Bloor Radio .
Ct0517 - I went to Western!
So did the
important fellow that is managing our future retirement
I hope my daughter graduates from there, comes back,
becomes Mayor of Toronto and approves a transportation
system that will allow for people to get to work to downtown
Toronto in under one hour from the suburbs.
Sorry for the bit of fathers remorse I showed.
It just that it takes three + hours to drive to Western to
see her as we live north of Toronto.
We just wished “our little girl” was closer to home.
Hola Daniel,

You ask many broad questions but quite similar ones that would come to my mind were I visiting somewhere. As your son is probably living near U of T, he will be able to direct you to the numerous book and record stores as well as many eclectic affordable restos in the "Annex" area. I like Book City and Sonic Boom as mentioned earlier.

While I feel the city is generally not terribly interesting from an architectural point of view, you will be close to the Robarts Library on campus, a good example of the "brutalist" school, and likely not too far from the newish addition to the Royal Ontario Museum - definitely contemporary but a matter of taste! Next door to this is the Royal Conservatory of Music and Koerner Hall, my favorite concert venue in town. I'm not sure what is going on there the week you are here but it is worth checking out.

Toronto is a very cosmopolitan and tolerant place with people from various parts of the world living in relative harmony and celebrating their own culture and cuisine. I'm sure your son can fill you in on the numerous "ethnic" pockets that exist. I have to say that a lot of these neighborhoods are livelier in the summer months but you may wish to check out Kensington Market and the Distillery District as a couple of polar opposites. Others may disagree, but there really is little in the way of "indigenous" Canadian cuisine unless you are talking about back bacon or grilled cheese sandwiches. There are restaurants in town that emphasize the use of local ingredients but they are essentially a pricey take on meat, veg and potatoes.

A nice day trip if you have a car is a drive out to Kleinburg, at the northwest extreme of the city. There you will find the McMichael Gallery which houses some nice Canadian art. A little closer to town you will find a cozy venue in the west end of the city called Hugh's Room who has Jesse Winchester playing while you are visiting.

I think Donjr has pretty much nailed the political leanings of most city dwellers...however those in the suburbs might be a little different as they were responsible for electing our sitting mayor!

Enjoy your stay!
I lived in Orillia and drove past London to Chatham to visit home so I know what you mean Ct0517. I did enjoy stopping at yorkdale to shop and hitting the stereo shops that used to line Yonge st. some years back
What can I say?

Awesome and overwhelming.

I can see you canadians and some americans have a special fondness for Toronto.

Please, keep coming with more suggestions. For instance, contemporary residential architecture in Toronto. Is there any Richard Meier house or building? Or something like that.

An aside note: while writing this entry I´m listening Donald Fagen´s adventures in low-fi. Yes, the truly boring, poor sounding and worst produced "Suken Condos" japanese CD. And the sad thing is that this come from a die-hard Steely Dan fan.
Ask for, "Canadian Bacon" with your breakfast, and see if the waitress knows what the hell you're talking about.
Audiowoman, that is a really long drive. Makes our 3 hour drive seem not so far, a little traffic can add an hour or more. At least its driveable; not like Daniel having to deal with Toronto customs/security, and a long flight.

I remember Toronto on boxing day - for Americans its the day after Christmas which is a holiday here in Canada. There were big lineups to get into Sam the Record Man on Yonge St and the other record stores to buy lps. Now the lineups are at Best Buy and other big box stores for TV’s, computers and music that you take with you.

Marakanetz – last nights score Toronto 5 – Ottawa – 4
I would happily take that drive now. Currently I live in Richmond VA and drive back a couple times a year - 12 hours + depending on traffic and pitstops for us and the dog!
I remember very well everyone shopping at Sam's and also all the "fur" dealerships getting fined for being open on Boxing Day....everything used to be closed till the day after.
I think any of us from the U.S. who have visited Toronto can agree its a wonderful city. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Montreal and Kingston you will not be disappointed. I hope to some day visit Qeubec City as well as the Western Provinces. Great Country. Enjoy yourself. A close friend of mine went to school at the Trevis Institute of the Recording Arts. It was a lot of fun to visit way back when.
Audio stores, I would highly reccomend American Sound/Angies audio Corner(CALL FIRST) and Audio Excellence, both less then 25 minutes from UofT. if you find yourself downtown and looking for a REAL hamburger, look for Dangerous Dans or the Burger priest.
You cannot visit Toronto, and not check out the Distillery District.
Toronto eh . Known to us Canuiks as the butt hole of Canada .
Wow its travelgon!!
"Toronto eh . Known to us Canuiks as the butt hole of Canada ."

Then why's it the largest city? I'll say that I enjoy Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal better bit it seems like the people living in Toronto enjoy it. What about Niagara Falls? Now there's a hole. The only place worse is the American side. That's the arm pit if the universe.
Please, everyone knows Pittsburgh is the arm pit of the universe. I visited Toronto once and enjoyed the stay. I thought it was nice, clean, safe, with plenty to do. The people were nice and helpful, plus, where else do they have coal black squirrels?
Most underated cities in N.America are Ottawa and Halifax .
would hate Pittsburgh that much. Pittsburgh has several times been rated the country's most livable city. We have black squirrels here, too.

I haven't been to Toronto in a while... Is Phantom of the Opera still playing?
I'm flying to Toronto in a few weeks to do a turntable setup and alignment for a customer. It has a great diversity of restaurants, friendly people, and good roadways, not to mention a Timmy's on just about every corner and certainly at every exit along the 401. I will also be visiting Kingston and Ottawa. Haven't been to Kingston before, but Ottawa is pretty remarkable.
Essential. There's a ton of pubs and restaurants in Kingston, all in the old town by the water. There's also some great small venues for live music down there. I actually saw Dan Akroyd at a small blues bar on Princess Street one summer. If you stay in the old town, you won't have to drive anywhere. If you like fish n chips try The Pilot House. My favorite fine dining is Casa Domenico. Chez Piggy is great for lunch. Kingston Brewery, Tir Nan Og, and The Toucan are great places to have a beer and hang out with the locals. Morrisons is a good place for a traditional breakfast or try Pan Chanco Bakery for a more creative breakfast or lunch.
Thanks, Donjr!