Toronto the unexpected cool city


I had heard many great things about Toronto in my travels, from either people who had visited there or from expats living overseas. However I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. For me it was like a more polished version of New York city, with it’s hipsters, trendy markets and speak easy bars. Not to mention all the amazing food. Now I did do some of the generic touristy attractions but for this travel guide I’m going to focus on the ‘cooler’ side to Toronto, and I’m not talking about the temperature. So once you’ve booked your Toronto hotel put your hipster glasses on and go explore.

Head to the super trendy markets

You can’t have a “trendy” city without some “trendy” markets. Both the Kensington and St Lawrence Markets are the two most popular in Toronto. Head on down to Kensington to explore their wonderful vintage stores, great cafes and speak easy bars. The St Lawrence Market offers many accredited award-winning restaurants, so go ready to eat up a storm.

Go on a taste tour of the many food trucks

You can’t have a hipster city without food trucks. This food truck urban trend has hit the Toronto streets and really you just can’t go wrong with any of them. My favourite was the vintage ‘Crossroad Diner’. It was like it had stepped straight out of the 50s, serving kitschy diner food, with even a sandwich dedicated to the great king, Elvis. To find out the locations of these moving cafes you can follow @foodtrucksto on twitter or visit

Head West

If you want to hang out in hipsterville central then head west of Toronto. Here you will find the Kensington Markets as mentioned above, and many other hipster hot spots like Queen Street West, Dundas West and Ossington. Check out graffiti alley and the many culinary and coffee delights in Queen St West, where hipster cafes are in abundance. Definitely check out Tealish if you are a big tea drinker for their vast range of tasty teas. If you feel like something alcoholic then go sip on cocktails and enjoy speak easy, hidden bars that only the hipsters know about. Some of my favourite bars were located in Ossington, a Street that runs perpendicular to Queen St. If you have a hipster beard and tats you will fit right in here. The Black Hoof in Dundas Street had to have the best cocktails I’ve ever tried. Really in these areas don’t go with a set agenda, just have fun exploring. If you can try and make friends with a local who can take you to all the hidden gems then this is a definite bonus.