“Canadians are the friendliest people”, is a phrase I’ve heard all too often and I can finally agree from firsthand experience. Not only are they super friendly and easy going, but Toronto is incredibly beautiful and full of life. From the towering CN Tower to the immense surrounding greenery, the city has a lot to offer young and old. I specifically went to Canada for the first Toronto All Day I Dream event at the historical Fort York site featuring Lee Burridge, Matthew Dekay, and Yokoo (Julien Beltzung). While there I also had the opportunity to roam the city visiting places like the Distillery Historic District, Steam Whistle Brewery, the CN Tower, and my personal favorite Bellwoods Brewery in Little Portugal.
I’ll be frank and say I was slightly disappointed the district did not offer whiskey tours as the actual distillery no longer exists in the area. This part of town is mostly known for the old Gooderham and Worts Distillery buildings being reused spaces for anything from restaurants to hand crafted jewelry stores to art galleries. Located on the east side of Toronto and occupying more than forty heritage buildings and ten streets, it is the largest collection of Victorian-era (1837-1901) industrial architecture in North America. With brick everywhere the eye could reach, it was exciting stepping in and out of art galleries, stopping for a quick coffee, all while feeling like you’ve traveled back in time. If you have an hourish to explore I’d definitely recommend this side of town.
Known for their tasty Pilsner, Steam Whistle Brewery is in the heart of downtown Toronto (just south of the CN Tower) and housed at the John St. Roundhouse, an old steam locomotive repair facility built in 1929. The brewery offers daily tours of their location, either by appointment or first-come-first-served.
When you first enter the facility, you can immediately see the exposed brick walls, the bar, and in the far back two large silos. It was a Saturday afternoon and there was a good crowd inside. I made my way over to the bar and purchased their signature Pilsner (which is the only beer offered there) for $6CA ($4.56 USD). The beer was light and perfect for a summer day. Although, there is no kitchen at this location, the atmosphere and moderately priced beer made for a great time.
At a scary 1,814 feet high, the CN Tower is a Toronto must visit and landmark. The tallest free standing building in the western hemisphere makes for great views of the lake and the entire city of Toronto. I advise you purchase tickets on mobile, at $35 CA ($27 USD) for an adult, and skip the “purchasing tickets line” (unless you don’t mind waiting thirty minutes) and plan an additional hour to get to the elevators that then take you up to the viewing dock.
When you arrive to the top, the city of Toronto is visible through the glass windows which span around the entire sphere. There is a casual restaurant with stunning views in case you’re hungry after the wait (this is not the 360 Dining experience). Walking around, you’ll find the glass floor that looks straight down to the street. It’s intimidating and thrilling at the same time, but don’t worry you won’t fall through.
If you’re slightly more curious, there’s an option to step outside onto a gated, concrete balcony; where the views are even more exciting and you can feel the cool breeze. It also goes around the sphere and you’re able to get a better look at the city.
Overall, we spent more time waiting to get up than actually being at the top, since there’s only so much you can do. If you’ve never been to the tower, I highly recommend as it’s a landmark and offers unique views of Toronto.
I wanted to visit a brewpub with a local feel. I constantly found myself in Little Portugal, which is said to be one of the more hip parts of Toronto (and Portugal had just won the world cup so people were still celebrating). I did some quick research for the best in town and found Bellwoods Brewery at the top of the list and to my luck right down the street.
It was 11 pm, the kitchen would be closing in less than an hour, and it seemed like everyone was trying to get in before that happened. There was a line outside with an approximate wait time of 30 mins, which is normal for this place and I was about to find out why.
Their food and beer menus were unlike anything I had seen before. Carrying a wide arrange of hand crafted foods including duck meatballs, tuna ceviche and lamb sausage. All of the beer on their menu is brewed there, seasonal, and while they only brew small batches of everything, quality is their top priority and you can taste it in whatever beer you choose. I had a Belgian saison and split a cheese platter with my boyfriend. Both complimented each other extremely well and left me wanting more. If you have time to adventure to this small gem, it is a must!
All Day I Dream of Toronto Skies
This was a one time event and being an avid fan of the All Day I Dream label, I knew I needed to make the effort and attend the Toronto debut. The party was held at the Fort York Historic National Site, which was a military defense territory back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, just west of downtown Toronto with the skyline in the background. Lee Burridge, Matthew Dekay, and YokoO (Julien Beltzung) were all present for ADID’s debut and played back-to-back for most of the night.
Their production was fantastic with a wooden stage (pictured above), lanterns, and drapery flowing all around. Music wise, it started off with the original ADID sound of melodic deep house which led up to tech house and techno into the night. Great party, great vibes, per usual of an ADID event.