Every country has that city, that one place where you can go and feel like you are connected to the world, where everything seems bigger (and better) then just what is happening inside of our usual everyday bubbles, this is where you feel either overwhelmed or completely inspired. Welcome to Toronto, Canada’s cultural playground, the home of Drake, Justin Beiber and Toronto International Film Festival. Our home away from home. A lot of different industries find it’s home here, Fashion, Finance, Food, Tourism, which makes it the perfect place for a brand like Judith & Charles. For the girl who is leading a busy lifestyle but still likes to play, to throw on a sporty jacket with a pencil skirt or black trousers is just that easy! The best transitional pieces for when you run out of time to go home and change you need something that can easily go from day to night. The Judith & Charles Fall/Winter 2016 Collection is exactly that, even introducing their newest Athleisure selection that doesn’t sacrifice fashion for function! If you haven’t been (to both Toronto & Judith & Charles) you must absolutely go and if you are Canadian and haven’t been, what are you waiting for?! We heart Toronto and here are just some of the many reasons why:
WHERE TO STAY: HOTRL LE GERMAIN (Mercer St.), legermainhotels.com
The Le Germain group of hotels is hands down one of my favorites. It seems every one has something unique to offer (remember those ceiling taps at the Calgary location?). Toronto’s Mercer Street has an amazing lobby, I could spend hours taking photos of that space. The rooms themselves are spacious (so rare these days) and really allow you to feel like you are home (well yes, I will stay another week thank you!), plus the light in those bathrooms! flattering + useful! Who do I thank? When you travel there is definite comfort in knowing that you can turn to something that is going to be a sure winner and when you are on the road as much as we are you really can’t put a price on space. Too often we get stuck with these tiny little 200 square foot rooms where we literally walk on our suitcases to get around the room. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have finally experienced this beautiful hotel.
WHAT TO DO: ALLAN GARDENS, torontobotanicalgarden.ca
a little bit obsessing over these amazing east coast green houses (as you can probably tell). we don’t have anything like this on the much young west coast, although there are plenty of impressive green houses (think Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory for example). These beautifully intricate vintage looking structures however really elevate the experience of visiting places like Allan Gardens. It’s like being transported to another time with a Great Gatsby opulence vibe don’t you think? The hard thing about Toronto is, unfortunately taking photos in public spaces. The city seems to really crack down on permits and if you decide to go anywhere with an even slightly professional looking camera you may get asked to stop shooting… I wonder how they deal with tourists (#bloggerproblems).
TORONTO ISLAND, torontoisland.com
This one is a recent discovery. Our first time to Toronto Island was just a year ago and it quickly jumped to the top of our list of things to do in the city. The biggest attraction, in my opinion is the ferry ride itself, the views of that Toronto skyline are unbeatable from the short (15 minute) ride across the water. In the warmer months, the island itself is also full of great things to do, from midway rides to pedal boats to laying out on a sandy beach. I have never done it but I can just imagine that this would easily be one of the greatest date spots in town. Quick tip, spend the day on the island and then wait until sunset to get on the boat back to the mainland. Have your camera at the ready, it will be an unforgettable ride.
ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM, rom.on.ca
I have to admit I have yet to actually visit the inside of ROM, every time we are in the city we only have time for a few leisurely items on our itinerary and those usually go to shopping or food (more on that below) but I will never miss an opportunity to at least walk around to see the exterior of this amazing museum. The design itself is a sight to see, when you walk around the building you see where the modern silver extension joins the historical part of the structure, because of those contrasts I think it is such a highlight on anyone’s visit to Toronto. I know they always have amazing exhibits because I closely study the program whenever we are there, their permanent collection is also one I soon hope to see in person.
AGA KHAN MUSEUM, agakhanmuseum.org
Unlike the ROM this was our first ever visit to the Aga Khan Museum. It is more of a trek out of city centre (in the Don Mills area) than some of the other hot spots but, again the architecture alone makes it well worth it, the best way to get there is by car (uber or taxi), a $34 fare from downtown Toronto. The museum is quite young, just a few years old (founded in 2014) and the story of how it came to be is quite a fascinating one. The collections give an insight into Islamic art and culture and offer to bridge the gap of understanding and tolerance. Right beside the museum you will find the Islamic Center that is part of the entire complex.
WHERE TO EAT: QUANTUM COFFEE, quantumcoffee.io
I am no coffee coniseur so I won’t talk about the quality of the coffee (although Tyler promises it is quite delicious) but I can 100% attest to the fact that this shop is one of the best looking ones we go to. Not only is the flow of traffic an interesting spin on what we are all used to (you order on one side of the room and pick up your order on the other), the seating space resembles a creative workspace incubator that you aren’t really sure is part of the coffee shop or shared with the rest of the building (the jury is still out on that one), their patio is easily accessible and equally adorable, packaging on point and of course the interior design! I mean, why have all that space if you can’t just leave it beautifully open for all to visually feast their eyes on, THANK YOU Quantum! Make sure to try their iced teas and cookies as well, because we all know that ‘coffee’ is just code for ‘let’s sit down, talk and sip on something for an extended amount of time’ anyway.
There is a LOT of restaurants in the Toronto area that I could talk about, in fact I could spend the rest of my time on the blog just talking about new food related hot spots that pop up on the regular in this city, it’s insanity! Among some of my favorites however, is FIGO, the Italian inspired cuisine actually offers some of my favourite dishes, old and new and the interior is a beautiful escape, especially in the fall and winter, from the dreary, short (and dark) days outside. Try their Gigli Pasta and Scallops, they will melt in your mouth. At lunch the chicken salad is one of my faves!
FOUNTAIN DINER, facebook.com/recessfountain
I randomly spotted fountain on instagram on one of the days we were already shooting this post and couldn’t resist but to make room for one more amazing discovery to share with you. The fountain diner is directly beside the Recess diner (they even share a door, and website it seems), Recess is just as beautiful but it was Fountain’s retro feel that really drew us in. You won’t find much hype about this spot just yet, I think there are some logistic issues to be figured out on their end still but this spot is definitely open for business. They are open late and get this, have a customizable latte machine so you can request any design your heart desires and it will be ‘printed’ directly on your foam! There is chicken and waffles on the menu and one of my brunch favorites, cheeseburger with egg and avocado. Every craving satisfied!
find Judith & Charles online at judithandcharles.com & shop their Toronto locations at FIRST CANADIAN PLACE (100 King Street West), BAYVIEW VILLAGE (2901 Bayview Avenue), YORKVILLE VILLAGE (87 Avenue Rd.) & SHERWAY GARDENS (25 The West Mall). Follow #JudithandCharlesCITY on Instagram and Twitter as we make our way across Canada!