TORONTO — The Major League Baseball postseason is here, and after a 21-year drought, I suspect Mariners fans are ready for their fair share of the fun, the dramatic moments and the jaw-dropping plays of the MLB playoffs.
As a lifelong Torontonian and devoted Blue Jays fan, I remember dancing around the house when Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series. In this year’s regular season, the Mariners and my Jays faced off seven times, with the Mariners winning five of those games.
For Mariners die-hards making the international cross-country trip to support the M’s, check out these seven landmarks and tourist sites not far from the ballpark, Rogers Centre, as you explore the multicultural city of Toronto. You’ll likely notice some similarities to famous Seattle sites.
St. Lawrence Market
93 Front St. E., Toronto; +1-416-392-7219; stlawrencemarket.com; 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday; farmers market on Saturdays, 5 a.m.-3 p.m.; free to enter, food prices vary
St. Lawrence Market radiates Toronto history. The North Market’s ongoing Saturday farmers market started here 219 years ago, while the South Market boasts more than 120 vendors, bursting with local produce, cheeses, cured meats and baked goods.
A stroll around the market is the perfect opportunity to fill your belly with hot apple cider, explore a historical site, and meet the many local artisans and farmers who make this market such a vibrant and dynamic place.
Ferry terminal: 11 Queens Quay W., Toronto; ferries begin fall service daily at 6:30 a.m., final ferry departs Ward’s Island at 11:45 p.m. daily; tickets range from free to $8.70 for an adult return trip depending on age and ferry line; secure.toronto.ca/FerryTicketOnline
Amid the hustle and bustle of Toronto — with a population near 3 million — the Toronto Islands are a great change of pace.
Catch the ferry at Queens Quay on the Harbourfront to Ward’s Island, Centre Island or Hanlan’s Point, islands interconnected by pedestrian bridges. Visiting all three is ambitious and largely dependent on the ferry schedule (st.news/Toronto-ferry), so choose your ferry wisely. Once on the islands, you may find a trout pond (Hanlan’s), a hedge maze (Centre), entire neighborhoods (Ward’s Island), bike, canoe and kayak rentals (Centre), restaurants (all over), a clothing-optional beach (Google it) and more.
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas St. W., Toronto; +1-416-979-6648; ago.ca; 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; $25/adults, free/ages 24 and under
The Art Gallery of Ontario, or “A-G-O,” is a must-see for visitors to Toronto. In the heart of downtown, the popular AGO has several permanent installations of Canadian and international art, plus excellent rotating exhibitions, such as an exhibition of paintings by late Trinidadian Canadian artist Denyse Thomasos, which opened Oct. 5. The AGO also boasts the world’s largest collection of sculptures by renowned British artist Henry Moore.
Insider tip: Make sure to leave time for a visit to the gallery’s cafe and a walk in Grange Park, located directly behind the AGO. Grange Park is a cozy and dynamic park with an up-close view of another celebrated Toronto landmark, the OCAD University main building.
Just west of downtown Toronto, bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street and College Street; kensington-market.ca
From fruit stands and restaurants to screenprints and handmade goods, Kensington Market has something for everyone.
This eclectic neighborhood bristles with an energy fueled by the movement of cyclists, skateboarders, delivery people, pedestrians, vendors and residents. Kensington is a destination for locals and tourists alike, so be prepared to weave on busy sidewalks as you explore the neighborhood’s many shops and restaurants. Kensington Market is a great place to grab authentic Toronto souvenirs while enjoying craft beer, Jamaican patties, tacos, dim sum and countless other local favorites.
290 Bremner Blvd., Toronto; +1-416-868-6937; cntower.ca; 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; timed general admission tickets: $43/adults (14-64), $30/seniors, $30/ages 6-13, $14/ages 3-5
While Seattleites may feel as though the Space Needle (at 605 feet) meets all their freestanding-structure-with-rotating-restaurant needs, Toronto’s CN Tower (1,815 feet) is three times taller and, arguably, three times more enjoyable.
From 1975 until 2007, the CN Tower was the world’s tallest freestanding structure, and in 2011, Guinness World Records certified EdgeWalk at the CN Tower as the highest external walk on any building in the world. Whether you want to overcome a fear of heights or simply take in all of Toronto from a bird’s-eye view, the CN Tower is a feat of modern engineering that offers incredible perspectives. (Bonus: It’s right next to Rogers Centre.)
The Queen Streetcar
Named one of the top 10 trolley routes in the world by National Geographic in 2010, the 501 Queen streetcar, aka the Queen Streetcar, is a great for people who love to learn about a place through exploring and people-watching.
The full east-west route spans 30 miles and travels through a range of neighborhoods. Purchasing a Presto Day Pass at the nearest subway station is the move, as this experience can vary significantly depending on traffic, number of people, time of day, etc. With a day pass, you can exit the streetcar at any point — to grab a bite, take a photograph or explore — then hop back on when you’re ready.
Whether you ride the full 501 route or only a portion, there’s plenty to enjoy as you move through several historical Toronto neighborhoods, surveying Toronto’s architectural history.
In Toronto’s Fashion District, the alley runs between Queen Street West and Richmond Street West, bounded by Augusta Avenue and Spadina Avenue; free
Tucked away in Toronto’s Fashion District, Graffiti Alley is one of the city’s most photographed sites. This alley, which begins at 1 Rush Lane, showcases local graffiti with bold, colorful murals that are playful, intricate, political and whimsical.
Graffiti Alley is a relatively short alley, so it’s best experienced on an afternoon stroll or when paired with another nearby attraction, such as one of the many great restaurants nearby (check out Queen Street West).