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Getting a feel for the area

Stafford
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Getting a feel for the area

I am visiting Toronto with my husband for 5 days at the end of February/beginning of March. Husband is there because he's been offered a job he really likes with a company based in the Scarborough area. If the package is right he will take the job. Initially we will be based in UK with him making frequent trips over, but the plan eventually would be to relocate the whole family permanently. Although DH has been to Toronto a few times on business, it's my first visit. What is the best way to get a feel for the place in 5 days? I want to do some of the touristy bits, as the job might not work out and I don't want to have missed the opportunity to see the sights. But I want to get a feel for a city that might be my home in the future. Bit of a big ask, but does anyone have any advice? I have been to Niagara from the US side (I've heard it's not a patch on the Canadian side, but we really want to concentrate on getting the most from the city in the short time we have there.) We will be hiring a car, but are happy to use public transport. Thanks in advance.

Toronto
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1. Re: Getting a feel for the area

Touring and getting a feel for a place to live are very different IMO. Have you given a thought to which part of the city your hotel is in? From a sights perspective...the CN Tower with the new aquarium at the base, the Art Gallery of Ontario and for the Gardiner Museum, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame if that's your thing. Shopping wise strolling in Yorkville can be fun, to buy or get are more average shopping experience there's the Eaton Centre or Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Visiting the St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market is always fun. There are many neighbourhoods with lots of great vibes - it depends on your interests. Scarborough is the east side so you might want to visit those areas to get a feel for residential as well as entertainment. It'll still be winter so make sure to bring warm clothing and boots to keep your feet warm and dry may still be a necessity.

SE Ontario
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2. Re: Getting a feel for the area

Some links to peruse:

http://www.torontolife.com/

http://www.toronto.ca/

http://www.blogto.com/

Toronto
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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3. Re: Getting a feel for the area

Explore some of Toronto's signature neighbourhoods: Kensington Market, Little Italy, Little India, Greektown (the Danforth), the Beaches, the Annex, West Queen West, Parkdale, etc. Neighbourhoods are what define the feel of Toronto, and this wouldn't be a bad way to spend time for any tourist here, but particularly appropriate if you want a taste of what living here is like. If the charm and vibrancy of these places is not lost on you in the miserable cold of late February, I'm sure you'll love them in the summer.

Toronto, Canada
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for Toronto, Isla de Vieques
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4. Re: Getting a feel for the area

We were going to say pretty much the same as tweedwolfscream. We'd add that a visit to St. Lawrence Market would be in order. Perhaps we're a bit odd, but we love to visit grocery stores in places we travel to (Usually because we tend to cook-in when we travel), so we'd also suggest a visit to the Loblaws supermarket at Maple Leaf Gardens downtown. It's a conversion of Toronto's famous and iconic old ice hockey arena into a massive grocery store under the new athletic center for Ryerson University. (1 block east of College subway station)

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Getting a feel for the area

A couple of other things that would be useful for us to know in suggesting activities:

1) would you be bringing any kids when you relocate? If so, what ages & interests

2) what do the two of you enjoy doing in your leisure time at home (as opposed to when vacationing)?

Toronto, Ontario
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for Toronto
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6. Re: Getting a feel for the area

This isn't a HOHO bus, but rather it's our 501 Queen Streetcar, one of the longest single routes in North America. This really traverses the lower half of the city, so it's a major urban experience. http://thestar.blogs.com/queenstreetcar/ Because it's regular transit, you'll pay for a new ride each time you get on, or you can just ride it through and make note of places you want to come back to.

Stafford
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7. Re: Getting a feel for the area

Thank you all so far for your replies. Answer to the first question from Bruce_and_John: We have three children. When we relocate (thinking about 2 yrs) they will be 11, 16 and 19. Our eldest has special needs (autism and OCD mainly) so will need to be supported by us throughout his adulthood. He loves the outdoors life, animals, and computers! My daughter is determined to become a pastry chef. My youngest is obsessed with maths. We are a mixed bunch!

Question two: our interests: travel (luckily!), sports (DH particularly but daughter into gymnastics); theatre/literature (me, mainly) history. I would like to do some volunteering in the area of special needs (use what I know, as well as getting involved in community life. I run a special needs play club at the moment in the UK.) I'd also add that we're getting on a bit to be making such a huge move....we'll be almost 50 if and when this comes off...but I like to meet challenges head on!!

Stafford
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8. Re: Getting a feel for the area

DH wants us to visit some realtors while we're there...and do a lot of driving around. We are staying off Woodbine Avenue in Markham.

Toronto
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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9. Re: Getting a feel for the area

As you're probably aware, Markham is a suburb located outside Toronto proper, so driving will be the best way to get into the city itself when exploring it (though transit is better within the city, or at least within the downtown core).

To flyinmom's comment, the way to use the TTC as a hop-on-hop-off service is of course to buy a day pass for $11.00. During the week you'd need one pass per person, but on weekends your whole family could share a day pass, so it's quite economical.

Ontario
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10. Re: Getting a feel for the area

www.realtor.ca is a good resource of homes for sale across Canada. Scarborough is quite varied in terms of the age and quality of the neighbourhoods. You could also look at little closer to the city in The Beach or Leslieville, to the east in Durham Region (Ajax, Pickering, Whitby etc) or to the north in York Region (Markham, Unionville, Richmond Hill, Stoufville)