If you’re in Toronto for work, we’re guessing you don’t have a lot of free time in your schedule to explore this city of neighborhoods. But if you’ve got even a couple of hours to spare, you’ll find that’s plenty of time to discover what makes business travelers fall in love with Canada’s largest city.
If you happen to be staying at the Kimpton Saint George, our Annex neighborhood hotel perfectly positioned near the upper border of Downtown, all of these experiences are just minutes from your front door.
Be a Good Sport
It’s a pretty great time to be a Toronto sports fan or just a sports fan in Toronto. The Raptors and the Maple Leafs are both having great seasons, which means now is the time to score tickets to watch them play. Scotiabank Arena, home base for both teams, is at the southern end of the Downtown Core, just steps from Union Station, the city’s largest transit hub. If you can’t actually make it into the arena, just seek out one of the great nearby bars or restaurants that will definitely be showing the game.
The massive Real Sports Bar & Grill, just across Maple Leaf Square from Scotiabank Arena, with its 200 HD TVs and one 39-foot HD screen, is typically packed with fans rooting for the home team on game nights. Another favorite, The Loose Moose, features tasty pub grub, 65 beers on tap, and is a 10-minute walk from both Scotiabank Arena and the Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play come baseball season.
Get a Taste for the City
Toronto’s food scene has gained a reputation for being excellent and diverse, with good reason. Within every pocket of the city you’ll find at least a handful of stellar restaurants, and that includes Downtown. Whether you’re entertaining clients, going for dinner with your team, or just grabbing a bite yourself, you won’t have to travel far to find something delicious. Dining with a group where everyone’s in the mood for something different? Try Assembly Chef’s Hall, billed as “Canada’s first chef-driven community market.” Housed in a massive venue on Richmond Street, it features a series of stalls serving up different cuisines from some of Toronto’s most exciting chefs, restaurateurs and baristas. Think: hand-tossed pizzas, Thai street food, pit-smoked barbecue, and so much more.
The Financial District, right in the center of Downtown, has a number of restaurants that consistently impress. The Chase is all about contemporary fine dining, with steakhouse classics and high-end seafood offerings. Richmond Station features seasonal cuisine (and a killer burger) and is co-owned by Top Chef Canada winner Carl Heinrich.
Venture towards the western section of Downtown and the Entertainment District and you’ll be overwhelmed (in a good way) with fantastic and varied restaurant choices including Patria (Spanish), Figo (Italian), Montecito (farm-to-table, California-inspired), Byblos (Mediterranean), Lee (Asian fusion) and on and on.
The Northern part of Downtown is crowded with excellent dining choices as well, and there’s much to discover in the food scene around Kimpton Saint George, particularly in the Yorkville neighborhood. Tasty spots like The Oxley (classic British pub), Planta (vegan fare) and Cibo Wine Bar (Italian and an extensive curated wine list) are all within walking distance.
Relax and Rejuvenate
Working a little bit of self-care into your business trip is a must as far as we’re concerned. Luckily, Toronto has an abundance of spas Downtown where you can indulge in some “me” time with a massage, facial, or even a soak. Bahn Thai Spa on Adelaide just east of Yonge Street offers a selection of Thai massages, a Swedish massage, and an infrared sauna. Seek out Hammam Spa on King Street West for massages, facials, manicures/pedicures, and their signature treatments like the Hammam Turkish Bath or the Céla Seed Skin Ritual. Ladies can check out Body Blitz, the women-only water spa on Adelaide Street West. It has classic offerings like massages and face/body treatments alongside their signature water circuit, where you move between a Dead Sea salt pool, a steam room, a cold plunge pool, a sauna, and a hot Epsom salt pool.
So next time you find yourself in Toronto for business, be sure to set aside a bit of time to treat yourself—and potentially your colleagues and clients—to a delightful Toronto experience outside the boardroom.