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A City of highs

A towering city break

From Canada's tallest skyscraper to fabulous eateries, Qin Xie is your guide for 48 hours in Toronto

Suits may have waved goodbye to its stars Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams, but the number of visitors to Toronto, where the TV drama series is filmed, has never been higher.

It's not hard to see why; the city is home to Canada's tallest skyscraper, the CN Tower,  and biggest museum. And long before Suits, it was the backdrop to countless blockbusters. But if you just have 48 hours, here are the essential things to see… 

Day One  Morning:
Take a walking tour with Culinary Adventure Company to the Old Town and St Lawrence Market. You'll hear all about the history behind the 'haunted ballroom' of the King Edward Hotel, and see landmarks such as the Flatiron Building and the Cathedral Church of St James.

The tour finishes with a visit to the St Lawrence Market, where you'll try snacks from Toronto's best-loved vendors for lunch. A Toronto speciality is the peameal-bacon sandwich (a type of back bacon rolled in cornmeal) from Carousel Bakery. And you'll want to pick up a couple of jars of Kozlik's mustard - their maple syrup version is divine.

It's worth walking further east to the Distillery District, a trendy enclave of artists' studios, restaurants and shops, and featuring a weird spider sculpture.

Go to the Distillery District for shops, restaurants and to see the spider sculpture


Afternoon:
Trek west to explore the city centre and track down filming locations for Suits. Fans will recognise Bay Adelaide Centre as the fictional offices of Specter-Litt. Bymark restaurant was the scene of several dinner dates.

Numerous meetings took place in hotel lobbies, including the Fairmont Royal York and the Ritz-Carlton.

The enormous Union Station handles some 300,000 passengers a day - and features Roman columns and Guastavino tiled ceilings that accentuate the Beaux-Arts building. You can enter PATH, the walkway that connects almost every building in the city centre. The mainly underground footpath is furnished with shops and restaurants so you never have to walk outside in the bitterly cold winter months. Go to Richmond Station restaurant for a casual dinner - the locals swear by their burgers.

Day Two  Morning:
Begin at the Bloor Street Culture Corridor, where there are 20 museums and galleries.

The Royal Ontario Museum is the biggest in Canada. Its eye-catching exterior - a deconstructionist creation known as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal - makes it hard to miss, but it's the Rotunda inside that you have to see.

More than a million squares of Venetian glass are used for the mosaic ceiling that's as impressive as any from the Byzantine era.


The architecturally striking Royal Ontario Museum


Afternoon: 
Venture north to Midtown, where you'll find Casa Loma. The palatial mansion, once the biggest private residence in Canada, was so lavish it ruined its original owner, Sir Henry Pellatt. The millionaire financier spent so much on its construction he was eventually declared bankrupt. By the time he died, he was living in the modest bungalow of his former chauffeur.

But the building now houses an extraordinary museum and is one of the best known filming locations in the city, featuring in movies such as X-Men and Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

We dine at Actinolite,in Ossington Avenue, one of Canada's best restaurants.

Stop off in New York:
Just one hour forty minutes away by flight, New York is a great destination to visit before or after your time in Toronto. Check out one of New York’s hottest new hotels in the heart of Manhattan, striking and stylish Made will bowl you over with its chic airy rooms, says James Murphy.


Visit the oddly-named Good Behaviour rooftop bar of the stylish new Made hotel


The bar in the lobby, with low-slung leather couches has the look of a smart living room - they want you to feel right at home. And there’s greenery, with oodles of pot plants and hanging baskets everywhere.

The bedrooms have bright wood panelling and very hipster unadorned concrete ceilings.

In the basement is the acclaimed restaurant Ferris and up on the roof is Good Behavior, a bar seemingly designed for quite the opposite, with two balconies, a 22ft curved glass wall and a cute little tiki bar. The bartender mixes a punchy tequila cocktail called a ‘Dirty Finery’.

As the setting sun turns the neighbour-ing Empire State Building to gold I order a second cocktail, happy to consider myself a Made man.


First published in the Mail Online -  October 2018

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