10 Places To Trot In The T-Dot (That’s Toronto BTW)

You may think Canadians hibernate in igloos and intone the word “eh” like they’re in a cult. There’s way more to us than that. Have you forgotten we’re the country who brought you The Biebs and Drake and even Pamela Anderson? Yup, that’s right. You may have gone to Vancouver for the beaches and Montreal for the strippers, but you rarely ever hear–or see–what the largest capital city in Canada has to offer. So let this proud Canadian citizen guide you through the moving (literally moving) restaurants, towers, hockey shrines, hotel castles, and wonderlands that make Toronto–well, Toronto.

Image via U Toronto

360 Restaurant/CN Tower

The 360 is a regular hangout for the affluent, but for most of us, it’s a thrill to climb to the top of the most vertically-endowed tower on Earth. It’s also worth it to wine (from an extensive menu) and dine at its shifting restaurant. That’s why they call the place the 360–you actually feel the restaurant rotate in a circular motion. You can visit the washroom and lose track of your seat, as if your table magically moved away from you. (Actually, that’ll pretty much be what happened.) You can chew on gourmet cuisine like Honey Roasted Butternut Squash Bruschetta and Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Rack Chop, and all at 1,151 feet above ground. If the service doesn’t take your expectations to new heights (ha), then perhaps you’ll ascend the tower’s six expeditious elevators (a 58 second ride, or 15 mph) and step on the world’s highest glass floor (342 metres, or 1,122 feet above the groun). The good news is that the 256 square feet of glass can carry 14 hippos! No wonder the American Society of Civil Engineers selected the CN Tower as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World!

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Hockey Hall Of Fame

Nobody loves hockey more than Canada, and my home has the sport’s most extensive shrine to memorabilia? In this home of the Stanley Cup, guests can target computer-simulated virtual goalies, or practice stopping the shots of Wayne Gretsky and Mark Messier. There are also two theaters showing hockey films, and hoards of hockey artifacts. Where else would you find Zdeno Chara’s skates, as worn by the Bruins captain during the 2001 Stanley Cup final? Where else can you marvel at Patrice Bergeron’s hockey stick? There’s even the legendary Stick Storage Centre, which serves as the most enormous hockey stick storage facility on the globe.

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Liberty Grand (Entertainment Group)

The Liberty Grand has over 20 years of hosting A-list celebrities and industry leaders from all over the world. It’s both a complex and a company that owns several clubs and centres–including amazing Toronto draws like CLounge, Courthouse, Tattoo Rock Parlour, and the Phoenix Concert Centre. Their nightclubs tend to follow a formula of upscale décor and florescent lighting. (Courthouse, however, is more pink, while CLounge is more blue). 25-foot ceilings shelter the Liberty Grand’s very own hardwood floors and four fireplaces, along with a mezzanine embellished with three iron-laced balconies–plus a disco ball. The Liberty Grand can be rented out for weddings, annual New Year’s Eve parties, and other special occasions by “normal people,” but also regularly hosts private soirees for stars like David Beckham, Cameron Diaz, and Gerard Butler.

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The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel

Unlock the keys to the castle in this 977-room twin tower that rises 38 stories above sparkling Lake Ontario. Situated close to Air Canada Centre, the CN Tower, and other cultural landmarks, the Westin Harbour Castle offers a spectacular view of the City Skyline. Nearby activities include boating, hiking, and shopping. There’s a spacious marble lobby, 70,000 square feet of meeting places, and floor-to-ceiling long windows. Scenic amenities also include specifics only exclusive to this hotel, like their very authentic WestinWORKOUT gym (powered by Reebok Gym). There’s also the much-loved “Heavenly Bed” and “Heavenly Bath”–in addition to an outdoor tennis court, indoor heated pool, and whirlpool.

Canada’s Wonderland

This month debuts one of the most immense and physically extensive rollercoasters on earth: Leviathan–which reaches a speed of 148km/92 mph at its first drop. Let’s not even begin to discuss its lift, barrel roll, camelback, and hammerhead. Or try the Behemoth, which pushes you up 230 feet in the air before dropping you down at a 25 degree angle at speeds topping 125 km/78 mph. There’s also the new flying rollercoaster called the Time Warp, which will have you feeling like you’re levitating. Finally, you can be introduced to other Canadian firsts, like Xtreme Skyflyer (“Canada’s biggest free-fall swing”) and Flight Deck (“Canada’s only inverted looping jetcoaster”). Other than its iconic rides, Canada’s Wonderland is also known for its crowd-inducing concerts. Toronto radio station Z103.5 usually holds their annual Summer Rush concert here. That mostly showcases Canadian artists–like a young Justin Bieber–but Lady Gaga also launched her career there.

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Rogers Centre

It’s the home of the Toronto Blue Jays and CFL’s Toronto Argonauts–and the Rogers Centre has no problem accommodating both baseball and football. The place can hold up to 29,000 visitors. With 143,000 square feet of exhibition space, this venue not only hosts sports but conventions, trade shows, concerts, and more! The Rogers Centre sold over 55,000 tickets while hosting MMA:UFC 129, which was both the biggest day in the stadium’s history and a world record for the sport. Show stoppers like deadmau5, Bon Jovi, and U2 have all entertained on the stages of the Rogers Centre, but it has also been a center of pop controversy. Canadian cops famously monitored Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour, and threatened the singer with unsuccessful charges involving obscenity laws.

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Whiskey A GoGo

Just remember, boys: The legal age for alcohol consumption here is 19, so you don’t need to be 21 to get accepted into the club. Whiskey A GoGo, which alleges to be “Canada’s #1 Adult Venue,” has over 200 employees (that’s a lot of dancers!). You can watch UFC games live on a big screen while female dancers strip, touch, and seduce male (or female!) audience members. They also serve food, but it’s not likely that anybody but me cares about that.

AllStar Wings & Ribs

Winning local newspaper awards over the past 5 years (consecutively) for “Best Wings,” the AllStar Wings & Ribs chain creates over 200 flavours of wings. (You must sign a waiver to purchase specialty wings like Armageddon, AKA The End of the World). Some of their wing flavours include Chocolate Covered What?, Mardi Gras, Black Tie Required, Bloody Caesar, and Alfredo The Crazy Italian. There’s an American connection, too, with Allstar boasting “the best wings and ribs north of Texas”–and select locations host weekly Texas Hold’em tournaments. You’ll also want to check out the all-gal servers (in the restaurants and featured on their Allstar Calendars). Their uniforms aren’t as provocative as Hooters, but their good looks (and the diversity of wings) definitely compensate.

Image via PlayersPoker Canada

Casino Rama

For over 15 years, Casino Rama has been open all day and every day. Casino Rama is Ontario’s only First Nations commercial casino, with over 2,500 slot machines, more than 110 table games, ten original restaurants and a world-class, 5,000-seat Entertainment Centre. The 300-room all-suite, full-service hotel includes a spa and adult-only health club facilities. There’s also the Players Passport™ Club allowing guests to play for deals ranging from hotels, sporting events, invitation-only parties, and concerts. There’s also Vegas-level entertainment, with past acts including Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, and Robin Williams.

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TIFF Bell Lightbox

It’s like going to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), but you can go any or every day of the year! This facility offers film screenings, along with lectures, discussions, festivals, and workshops.. That’s saying a lot, considering TIFF is acknowledged and honoured as the most vital film festival after Cannes! Three stories of the Lightbox make up a public atrium, and the remaining two include (but aren’t limited to) five public cinemas, two galleries, three learning studios, a bistro, a restaurant, and a lounge. Films shown range from kitschy fun (like Sing-a-Long-a-Grease) to recent Canadian productions like Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster.

An Open Letter to Women About Goin’ Down [HE SAID/SHE SAID]
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