While Ottawa is the elected capital of Canada – a decision made by Queen Victoria in 1857 – it’s Toronto that’s the capital of Ontario, the province both cities occupy
A mix of green space and skyscrapers, it’s a popular business and leisure destination with literally unmissable attractions (we’re looking at you, CN Tower), as well as boho backdrops lined with coffee shops and elegant luxury hotels.
Star attraction: The CN Tower
Stretching a whopping 553m high, Toronto’s most iconic structure was the tallest free-standing building in the world until the Burj Khalifa came along. Today you can experience it in a number of ways, either by checking out the glass-enclosed ‘SkyPod’ for compelling views over the city, dining at the 360 Restaurant – set on a revolving platform – or getting intrepid with EdgeWalk, which has you harnessed up to circumvent an outdoor platform 365m above the ground.
We love: Kensington Market
Eclectic boutiques and indie eateries aren’t hard to come by in Toronto, with the much-lauded Distillery District boasting both in equal measure. But for an alternative, look to this bohemian neighbourhood, where colourful Victorian houses have been turned into trendy bars, cafes and one-off shops, with vintage clothes and weathered books spilling into flower-filled gardens.
Make time for: Lake Ontario
Toronto’s waterfront is well worth a visit with art galleries, beaches and marinas scattering the shores of this glittering stretch of blue. For one of the best ways of taking it all in, suggest a boat trip; Mariposa Cruises offers lunch and dinner cruises as well as standard harbour trips, taking passengers out to explore the grassy islands that stud these mirror-flat waters as the city skyline fades away.
Where to stay: Chelsea Hotel
With 1,500 rooms spread across 26 floors, this is Canada’s largest hotel – and one of its best-located, set just off Yonge Street in the heart of Downtown, close to the renowned Eaton Centre shopping mall. It’s family-friendly and has a kids’ centre, indoor pool, health club, restaurant and cocktail bar among its draws, plus spacious, contemporary rooms with twinkling city views.
If clients are already heading out to Niagara Falls, suggest tagging on a visit to this postcard-pretty, flower-filled town set at the mouth of the Niagara River. Boutique shops in old Victorian buildings line its tree-fringed streets, while vineyards scatter the surrounding area – many of them offering guided tours and a chance to sample sweet ice wines, Rieslings and other vintages in idyllic emerald surrounds.