A Downtown Walk


Start the day at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art , taking 90 minutes to peruse the permanent collections and visiting exhibit. On your way out, pop into the gift shop to have a look at the unique crafts.

Head north to Bloor St and turn left, walking a half block to the iron gates of Philosophers’ Walk, beside the ROM. Take this charming footpath, which follows the course of the now buried Taddle Creek, exiting at Hoskin St in the heart of the University of Toronto campus. Wander south to the Late Gothic Revival Hart House, lunching at Gallery Grill on food that matches the impressive surroundings.


After lunch, poke around the stately common rooms and library of Hart House, noting the paintings throughout. Check out Canadian art at Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, too.

From Hart House turn right toward University College and some of the most historic buildings on campus. Stop by the Laidlaw Wing to visit the University of Toronto Art Centre . Just to the south, on King’s College Circle, is the 1906 Convocation Hall, with its Ionic-column-supported dome. Peek inside if the doors are unlocked.

From here, it’s only a couple of blocks’ stroll south and west to Chinatown. Indulge in a feast at Lee Garden

(331 Spadina Ave)

Best of the Rest

  1. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

    Historic and modern pieces from around the world 

    • 111 Queen’s Park

    • 416 586 8080 (call for opening times)

    • Adm

  2. West Queen West

    A neighborhood of eclectic shops, cutting-edge galleries, and funky cafés .

    Boutique in West Queen West
  3. Bloor Street

    An upscale shopping strip of high-end fashion and home-decor stores .

  4. Little Italy

    Bars and restaurants buzz at night; shops and delis bustle during the day .

  5. Spadina Museum

    An 1866 house restored with its original artifacts. Tours of the home mandatory; wandering the gardens is free.

    • 285 Spadina Rd

    • Open Jan–Apr: noon–5pm Sat–Sun; May–Aug: noon–5pm Tue–Fri; Sep–Dec: noon–4pm Tue–Fri, noon–5pm Sat–Sun

    • Adm

  6. Osgoode Hall

    Ontario’s first law school now houses upper provincial courts. The interior of this heritage building is magnificent, the restaurant, good value.

    • 130 Queen St W

    • 416 947 3300

    • Open 9am–5pm Mon–Fri

  7. Old City Hall

    Carved into the entranceway columns are caricatures of local politicians – with one exception – a straight-faced depiction of the architect. The building now serves as a courthouse .

    • 60 Queen St W

  8. The Annex

    Leafy residential sidestreets and lively cafés, ethnic restaurants, pubs, and shops along Bloor Street make for a great stroll .

  9. University of Toronto

    A sprawling campus of greenspaces and historic stone buildings dominates a huge swath of the central city, fanning out north, east, and west from Queen’s Park up to Bloor Street. A more recent addition is the post-modern Graduate House. .

    Graduate House, University of Toronto
  10. Ontario Legislative Building

    This stately building is set in a park dotted with statues and cannons . Visitors can watch politicians in action from the gallery or join in a tour of the building.

    • 1 Queen’s Park

    • Open Victoria Day–Labour Day: 8:30am–5:30pm daily; Labour Day–late May: 8:30am–4:30pm Mon–Fri

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