Classic Attraction: Toronto Islands

Where there’s overbearing smog and bustle, there’s an antidote. Quick ferry rides to the Toronto Islands chain offer mellow beaches, extended parkland and a fresh perspective on the Centre of the Universe.

If lolling is too low key, there are also biking and walking paths, boat rentals and moorings, the Centreville Amusement Park, a disc golf course and acres of sports pitches.

Local Picks

“Patios, we do early! It’s either The Rivoli, a place I’ve been frequenting since I was a teenager, or my local fave, The Beaconsfield…. A lot of my friends work and congregate there. For backup, go across the street to The Drake Hotel. And for a Hank Williams-inspired nightlife commencement, check out Communist’s Daughter, Red Light or the Dakota Tavern for whisky and great live music.”

k-os (aka Kheaven Brereton), Juno Award-winning musician and record producer

“I love hanging out in Little Italy. I’d usually go to Presse Internationale, where you can get all sorts of foreign magazines, then to Il Gatto Nero to sit on the patio and read and people-watch, one of my favourite things to do. I’d get a cappuccino and two biscotti, because it’s very hard to decide between the chocolate and vanilla ones. At night, I would go to The Royal, a great little cinema that shows independent movies.”

Emily Hampshire, Gemini Award-winning actor

“Have an early breakfast overlooking the mouth of the Niagara River at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club, the oldest in Canada. Then spend the day driving through Niagara’s tender fruit and grape country, visiting the unique wineries and dining with the creative young chefs in restaurants that proudly feature local cuisine, fresh from the farm. I love to hang out at the bar at Restaurant Oban Inn, run by my friend, Denis Davicino, with his all-VQA wine list in Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

Donald Ziraldo, chairman of both Ziraldo Icewine and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre