Toronto was the starting point of our travels and we only had twelve hours to explore the city’s highlights before boarding a train at Union Station. We wanted to explore the city, experience the cuisine, grab a few drinks, and of course check out the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mill Street Brew Pub
Our first stop took us to the Distillery District for some poutine and local brews. The day was sunny with a bit of wind, but we sat ourselves on the patio and enjoyed the view of the old distillery. We tried the stout and the pale ale. We ordered the brisket poutine and were not disappointed with the meaty twist to the local favorite.
Hockey Hall of Fame
I married a hockey player, so we had to stop in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Definitely worth it; we tested our skills against a computer goalie (turns out I’m pretty terrible), and I took a stab as an announcer, which I found to be hysterical and challenging. The videos of these activities are provided at no cost and are a great souvenir. We also enjoyed looking at the vintage jerseys and equipment; we found a wood Northland Pro, the same as his grandfather played with in his prime.
We hiked through Chinatown to Little Italy for another snack (let me tell you we earned the snack after all the hiking through the city!). We ordered the the house chianti and gnocchi. The waitress brought fresh bread with olive oil for dipping. The olive oil was spicy and ripe and set the stage beautifully for our Italian meal. The menu shared the story of the owner and his mother who cooked authentic Italian cuisine from her heritage. The handmade gnocchi had a wonderful texture and the sauce was rich and creamy. It didn’t last long and was just the satiation our hungry bellies wanted.
As we were walking down the street, we passed a chalkboard sidewalk sign that read “Come see the most adorable patio in the world.” This intrigued us, so we walked into a bar playing smooth jazz and asked the bartender which way to the adorable patio. I’ll have to admit, it was adorable with light globes and old fashioned stringed bulbs and colorful floral china. We took a rest in the shade of the massive tree and enjoyed the company and refreshments.
We ordered a Barnstormer pale ale, americano coffee with milk, and a chocolate chip cookie.
Because we hadn’t eaten enough already… we stopped in for a slice of pizza from “the best pizza in Toronto” only to learn that they don’t sell pizza by the slice. So we ordered a small pepperoni pizza and stuffed our faces. The pepperoni was thick and the pizza came with a spicy oil dipping sauce.
Track & Field
Definitely our favorite bar of the day. The entrance is down a flight of stairs from the main sidewalk. The bartenders are friendly and interesting and there is shuffleboard, bocce ball, and other games to keep guests entertained. We learned a new game, maybe called Skorkople? – each player had a quadrant of the board and you had to get your piece through the pegs to the middle for 20 points, or knock off your opponents’ pieces into the ditch. The first player to 100 wins.
After our adventure, we were glad to learn that Uber was in Toronto and we shared an Uberpool with an entertaining driver and two other passengers.