Looking at booking cheap flights to Toronto, Canada? Why not do something different?
You’ve climbed the CN Tower, wandered the Distillery District and explored Toronto Islands by bike—so what’s next? Thankfully Canada’s largest city has plenty more to offer, including a few things that might just take you by surprise.
From grand castles to rare book libraries, in this post, we’ll uncover some of the most unique things to see and do in Toronto and where to find them, so you can start planning your dream trip.
The Monkey’s Paw
1067 Bloor St W
Book lovers among you may have heard about a little secret called The Monkey’s Paw on Toronto’s Bloor Street. Those who know about this hidden gem may be reluctant to share with others—and for good reason. As well as selling books you can’t find anywhere else, The Monkey’s Paw is also home to the world’s first ‘Biblio-Mat’—a randomised vending machine for old books. Simply purchase a $3 token from the checkout and insert into the vending machine to receive a randomly selected vintage volume.
Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre
189 Yonge St
This next spot brings the beauty of the outside in thanks to its enchanting botanical theme. Located inside the world’s last operating double-decker Edwardian theatre (with two separate stages stacked on top of each other) the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre is blooming with scenes of nature. Visitors can enjoy a variety of performances while surrounded by cascading plants, hanging flowers and walls adorned with whimsical décor. Year-round 90-minute guided tours are also available, giving visitors the opportunity to see the theatre’s original Simplex Silent Film Projector and a dressing room containing historic artifacts.
1 Austin Terrace
A popular museum and tourist attraction, Casa Loma is a 98-room castle in the middle of Toronto that cost so much to build and maintain that it bankrupted a multi-millionaire. Sir Henry Mill Pellatt is best-known for having brought hydroelectricity to Toronto and used his $17 million fortune to build this grand château. But in 1920, the Canadian electricity market was made publicly owned and Pellatt quickly lost his fortune, forcing him to give up his valuable possessions. Casa Loma still holds many of its original attributes and has been used as a set for Hollywood Movies including Chicago and X-Men.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
120 St George St
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Another one for fiction fanatics—the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is one of Canada’s most fascinating libraries and houses many rare and special collections of The University of Toronto. The great thing about this library is that it allows the public to personally handle the books, of course taking care to preserve them as much as possible. Notable collections include historical printings of Shakespeare’s works, ancient papyrus writings, and rare editions of Alice in Wonderland books.
Bata Shoe Museum
327 Bloor St W
Love shoes? You’ll love the Bata Shoe Museum. Featuring a collection of more than 12,000 shoes, this unique attraction is fittingly housed in a building shaped like a shoebox and is named after its founder, Sonja Bata, who has been collecting shoes since the 1940s. The collection now spans 4,500 years of history and has regularly changing exhibits. Keep your eyes peeled for iconic footwear including Elvis Presley’s famous ‘blue suede shoes’, Marilyn Monroe’s high heels and the Dalai Lama’s flip flops. You can find the museum in Toronto’s fashion hub, Yorkville.
The Half House
54 St Patrick St
As the name suggests, this attraction is only one half of a complete house, resulting in pretty unique sight indeed! Despite being built somewhere between 1890 and 1893, The Half House is very much standing strong and although reported to be privately owned and vacant, attracts a growing crowd each year for its truly peculiar exterior.